NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the league announces updates to its 2021-22 schedule, the Canadiens introduce Kent Hughes as their new GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz turned in a 34-save shutout to blank the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win and their ninth in the last 10 games. They also opened a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues atop the Western Conference with 55 points.

New York Rangers forward Ryan Reaves (NHL Images).

The New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit and rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Adam Fox and Ryan Reaves each scored two goals as the Rangers moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who remain in third place with 51 points in the Atlantic Division.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Lawson Crouse and Loui Eriksson each had two points. Coyote defenseman Jakob Chychrun picked up an assist in his return to action after being sidelined for 11 games by an upper-body injury and COVID protocols.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league will play 95 games from Feb. 7 – 22 as part of its comprehensive update to its 2021-22 schedule. That three-week window was originally scheduled for the 2022 Winter Olympic break. With the NHL withdrawing from the Beijing Games, this period will be used to make up a number of games postponed by COVID protocols.

THE SCORE: Newly appointed Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes held his introductory press conference yesterday at the Bell Centre. His plans for the club include building an offensive-minded club with a focus on speed and puck possession.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes will have two months to determine which players he could shop before the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs such as Ben Chiarot are the most likely to be moved. There are also questions over the futures of veterans such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin over whether they’ll want to be part of a full rebuild if that’s the direction the Habs take under Hughes. Those will likely be addressed in the offseason given their expensive contracts.

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel will be traveling with the Vegas Golden Knights on its four-game road trip next week. However, head coach Peter DeBoer said the 25-year-old center is at least a month or two away from making his debut with the club. The Golden Knights acquire Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in November and he underwent artificial disk replacement surgery on Nov. 12. He started skating with the club earlier this month in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET’s Nick Kypreos reports he’s heard the NHL will need until the end of this week to complete its investigation into whether Evander Kane violated COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. No decision is expected until next week at the earliest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Kane could soon sign a new NHL contract if the league rules in his favor, perhaps with the Edmonton Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov received a two-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety for a knee-on-knee hit on Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehlers is expected to be sidelined for at least three games.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault received a $5,000.00 fine for a dangerous trip of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings claimed center Gemel Smith off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s the older brother of Red Wings winger Givani Smith.

NBC SPORTS: One day after the Boston Bruins retired Willie O’Ree’s No. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to award the 86-year-old the Congressional Gold Medal. He was a hockey pioneer by becoming the first black man to play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree for this recognition of his work as a hockey trailblazer during and after his playing days.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

The Bruins retire the number of hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree, the Canadiens hire Kent Hughes as their new general manager, updated COVID protocols are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins retired hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in a pregame ceremony last night. It was the 64th anniversary of O’Ree’s debut as the first black player in NHL history with the Bruins, becoming the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired.

The Boston Bruins raise Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 banner (NHL.com).

Following the ceremony, the Bruins were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored two of the Hurricanes’ five goals in the first period while Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo each finished the night with three points. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled after giving up five goals on 12 shots. The Hurricanes are tied with the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division with 54 points but hold three games in hand while the Bruins hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

Johnny Gaudreau collected four assists as the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game losing skid to drop the Florida Panthers 5-1, ending the latter’s nine-game points streak. Sean Monahan scored twice and Matthew Tkachuk collected three points. Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers in his first game in Calgary since being traded to Florida last season. The Flames (42 points) move within two points of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Panthers (57 points) slip to second in the overall standings.

Victor Hedman scored twice and chipped in an assist to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Despite playing with 12 forwards and four defensemen, the shorthanded Lightning picked up their fourth straight win to regain first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Kings (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 27th goal in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Tom Wilson netted the game-winner in overtime as the Capitals (53 points) sit one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be sidelined for more than one game after leaving in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals defenseman Dmitri Orlov. With 40 points, the Jets are two back of the Flames.

The Vancouver Canucks got a 31-save performance from Thatcher Demko to down the Nashville Predators 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson each scored for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Jets. The Predators, meanwhile are third in the Central Division with 51 points.

New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of a shootout to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost nine straight games. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 31 shots to give the Isles their sixth win in their last eight games. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced center Kevin Hayes will miss the next three to four weeks following a procedure to drain fluid from his adductor region.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Michael Hauser kicked out 43 shots in his season debut to backstop his club over the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Tuch and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Montreal Canadiens netminder Sam Montembault turned aside a career-high 48 shots in a 5-3 victory over the slumping Dallas Stars. Christian Dvorak scored twice while Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in his first game back with the Canadiens since Nov. 20. The Stars have dropped three straight and slip one point behind the Canucks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Stars, the Canadiens announced they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. A bilingual Montreal native, Hughes was a player agent with a client list that included such notables as Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hughes hiring received widespread acclaim among NHL pundits. He built up an excellent reputation during his years as an agent. He understands the business of hockey, especially dealing with players and negotiating contracts.

Canadiens Executive VP of Hockey Ops Jeff Gorton is good friends with Hughes and reportedly wanted him for the job from the start. However, the latter apparently needed some convincing before agreeing to a five-year deal with the Canadiens.

This hiring should allay concerns among some Canadiens followers that Gorton was seeking a frontman while he pulled the management strings. Hughes wouldn’t have left his lucrative gig to be a puppet GM even for a friend.

Hughes and Gorton now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding a Canadiens roster seriously depleted by injuries to superstars Carey Price and Shea Weber, the departures of leaders such as Phillip Danault and Corey Perry to free agency, and significant talent gaps in the roster. They must decide the fate of embattled head coach Dominique Ducharme, who has two years remaining on his contract.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA announced it will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star Break in early February, saying COVID-19 cases are declining around the league. The current testing policy will remain in place until Feb. 3.

Testing of asymptomatic individuals will continue when it is needed for crossing the Canada-US border. One negative test result will be required for players to return to team facilities following the All-Star break. The 90-day testing “holiday” for those who have recovered from COVID-19 will remain in place. Both sides also agreed to maintain the five-day isolation period for those who test positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA want to avoid any further game postponements that could jeopardize their intent of ending the regular season on April 29. It also appears they don’t want rosters to become significantly depleted as teams jockey for playoff positioning over the final half of the schedule.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel, Montreal Canadiens wingers Cole Caufield and Joel Armia and Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat are the latest notable players to enter the NHL COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel have been named the Last Men In for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) will miss their upcoming games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl got into a testy exchange yesterday with Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson during a press conference yesterday. At one point, Matheson asked Draisail, “Why are you being so pissy?” after the forward declined to give much of an answer to one of his questions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ poor play of late now seems to have ratcheted up tensions between the players and some of the reporters covering the club. Maybe Draisaitl should’ve been more forthcoming but most hockey players talk in cliches when addressing the media so I don’t know what answer Matheson thought he was going to get out of him with that catty remark.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022

A record night for Timo Meier, the Blues retire Chris Pronger’s number, an update on Carey Price, the stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier set a personal and franchise record with a five-goal performance in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Tomas Hertl collected four assists and Erik Karlsson had three as the Sharks (44 points) opened a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is the fifth player in the past 25 years to score five goals in a game, joining Mika Zibanejad (2020), Patrik Laine (2018), Johan Franzen (2011) and Marian Gaborik (2007). The last player to tally six goals was Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler in 1976.

The Colorado Avalanche extended their home winning streak to 14 games by downing the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on a shootout goal by Mikko Rantanen. Pavel Francouz made 25 saves for the Avalanche after Darcy Kuemper left the game midway through the second period with a head injury following a collision with Wild winger Jordan Greenway. Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist in regulation. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche moved into first overall in the Western Conference with 53 points. With 47 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot.

Jason Zucker scored twice and Jake Guentzel tallied as the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3, handing the latter their fifth loss in their last six games. Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen each collected two assists as the Penguins have won 13 of their last 15 contests to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. The Golden Knights (48 points) sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a three-point lead over the Kings.

The St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on the night they retired former captain Chris Pronger’s No. 44. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev each scored two goals and collected two assists while Ryan O’Reilly had a three-point performance. Both clubs have 51 points but the Blues moved ahead of the Predators into second place in the Western Conference standings with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pronger spent nine of his 18 NHL seasons with the Blues, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named as one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history in 2017.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their eighth straight defeat. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.

Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

The Seattle Kraken snapped a nine-game losing skid by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on shootout goals by Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves.

A three-point performance by Nick Schmaltz gave the Arizona Coyotes a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the latter their sixth straight loss. The sad-sack Canadiens are dead last in the overall standings with seven wins and 19 points in 37 games.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they announced goaltender Carey Price will have to restart rehabilitation on his surgically repaired knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason but the week-long break due to COVID-19 earlier this month that closed the club’s practice facility put him back at square one in his rehab. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Price returns to action before the end of this season. His rehab was also delayed by a month earlier in this campaign after spending four weeks in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

This should also put the kibosh on that silly speculation suggesting teams in need of a proven starting goalie (hi, there, Edmonton Oilers!) would try to acquire Price before the trade deadline. His hefty contract and full no-movement clause made moving him almost impossible. The uncertain deadline for his return should kill off that slim chance.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 16, 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, that will mollify critics who believe Marchand got screwed by being passed over for the 2022 All-Star Game (end sarcasm mode).

TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown will be sidelined at least three weeks with a broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas, Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss are among the latest players to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Seattle Kraken claimed Karson Kuhlman off waivers from the Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2022

The Canucks down the Capitals, the Oilers struggle to halt their tailspin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Elias Pettersson scored two goals as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Washington Capitals in the only NHL game on the schedule yesterday. Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist while Thatcher Demko picked up the win with a 31-save effort as the Canucks snapped a three-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 26th goal of the season to tie Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for the league lead.

NBC SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is among several of his teammates at a loss to explain their club’s tailspin in the standings following a 6-4 loss to the 30th overall Ottawa Senators on Saturday. “We’ve talked about it over and over and over again in that room and obviously we haven’t found an answer yet,” a dejected McDavid told reporters following Saturday’s game.

The Oilers began the season 16-5-0. They’re 2-10-2 in their last 14 and have fallen out of playoff contention in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Steve Tambellini, Craig MacTavish and Peter Chiarelli before him, general manager Ken Holland has failed his team. Lousy goaltending, a porous defense and lack of scoring punch behind McDavid and fellow superstar Leon Draisaitl accounts for the Oilers’ woes this season.

It’s up to Holland to fix this mess. So far, his only solution seems to be entertaining the idea of adding free-agent winger Evander Kane and his personal baggage into a fragile dressing-room environment. Some observers suggest replacing head coach Dave Tippett might provide a spark but it won’t overcome the obvious roster issues.

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Los Angeles Kings forward Adrian Kempe, and Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland are among the latest players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

NHL.COM: Today is the last day for fans to vote for the final players from each division in its “Last Man In” polling.

THE BUFFALO NEWS‘ Mike Harrington reports Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson will miss the next two games with an upper-body injury. He has seven points in 32 games this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2022

The Panthers remain atop the overall standings, Alex Ovechkin and Marc-Andre Fleury reach more milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers (57 points) maintained their place atop the overall standings by crushing the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-2. MacKenzie Weegar collected four points, Aaron Ekblad had three assists while Carter Verhaeghe and Anton Lundell each scored two goals. Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots in the first period.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Alex Killorn lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Dallas Stars 3-1, handing the latter their seventh straight road loss. Nikita Kucherov chipped in two assists for the Lightning (57 points), who sit second overall due to the Panthers holding two games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves to shut out the New York Islanders 2-0. Alex Ovechkin scored into an empty net to reach the 25-goal plateau for the 16th time in his career. Only seven other players (Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Teemu Selanne, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Marcel Dionne) have as many 25-goal seasons. It was a costly win for the Capitals as T.J. Oshie left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. They hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Chicago Blackhawks to pick up his 70th career shutout in a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, becoming the 14th netminder to reach that milestone. Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik were the goal scorers as the Ducks drop three straight games to fall into third place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

The Los Angeles Kings moved into second place in the Pacific by beating the Seattle Kraken 3-1. Phillip Danault scored twice and Adrian Kempe tallied his career-high 17th goal. The Kings have 45 points but hold three games in hand over the Ducks.

Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves to pick up his first shutout with the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had two goals and an assist as the Avalanche (51 points) move into first place in the Western Conference with four games in hand over the Nashville Predators.

Speaking of the Predators, they fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins on an overtime goal by Taylor Hall. He and Brad Marchand each finished the game with a goal and an assist, with Marchand reaching the 20-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career. Juuse Saros made 40 saves for the Predators. The Bruins have won five straight games and hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins remain three points up on the Bruins for the first Eastern wild-card spot by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Jake Guentzel as he and Kris Letang each had a goal and an assist. Louis Domingue turned aside 40 shots for the victory. With 42 points, the Sharks hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Chris Kreider snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their seventh straight defeat. Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for the Rangers while teammate Artemi Panarin collected two assists. The Rangers sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes remain two points back of the Rangers by dropping the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist while Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots. The Canucks have lost four of their last five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After rattling off seven straight wins after hiring Bruce Boudreau as head coach it appears the Canucks are returning to earth. Trade rumors about J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat could resume if the losing skid continues.

Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and Ilya Mikheyev rallied the Toronto Maple Leafs over the St. Louis Blues 6-5. Matthews and Mitch Marner each had a goal and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored twice for the Blues. The Leafs (51 points) remain in third place in the Atlantic Division while the Blues (49 points) are third in the Western Conference.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 to hand the latter their sixth straight loss. Josh Norris tallied twice for the Senators while Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was held scoreless. With 38 points, the Oilers are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaky goaltending and porous defense continue to dog the Oilers and threaten to derail their season.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 saves for his first shutout with the Detroit Red Wings to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists while rookie winger Lucas Raymond scored and chipped in an assist.

SPORTSNET: Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Washington Capitals winger Conor Sheary were among the players placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol on Saturday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Reid Boucher had pled guilty to a third-degree count of criminal sexual assault against a minor stemming from two incidents in 2011. 

Then 17 and a member of the United States National Team Development Program, Boucher forced his then-12-year-old billet sister to perform oral sex on him twice, doing so by threatening to blackmail her with a video in the first incident and then threatening to tell people about their first non-consensual encounter.

After spending parts of six NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, Boucher has been playing in the KHL since last season. He was allowed by the judge overseeing his case to enter a plea that will result in no up-front jail time. If he successfully completes his sentence, the charge won’t appear on his criminal record. Meanwhile, his victim has dealt with the trauma of those incidents, struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders and self-harm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boucher pleads guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl twice 11 years ago, leaving her traumatized for over a decade, and gets a slap on the wrist and continues his playing career. So much for justice.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

The Panthers and Wild romp to lopsided wins, the Avalanche tie a franchise record plus the latest suspensions, COVID updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sam Bennett and Jonathan Huberdeau each had four-point performances as the Florida Panthers crushed the Dallas Stars 7-1. Bennett tallied a hat trick while Huberdeau collected three assists. Anthony Duclair scored and set up two others as the Panthers (55 points) reclaimed first place in the overall standings.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Score indicates the Stars have one of the worst road records (4-11-1) in the league, with just one regulation win away from Dallas. Head coach Rick Bowness wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. “We have some guys who are very comfortable playing at home and very uncomfortable playing on the road,” he said.

The Minnesota Wild tallied four third-period goals (including two within four seconds early in the period) to down the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Mats Zuccarello scored twice and picked up an assist while Kirill Kaprizov had two helpers. With 46 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Ducks (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division but have just three wins in their last 10 contests.

A shootout goal by Nazem Kadri lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Avs tied a franchise record by picking up their 13th straight home victory as they overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. With 49 points, they’re one point back of the Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators. Coyotes goaltender Ivan Prosvetov made 44 saves.

HEADLINES

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders forward Ross Johnston received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer on Thursday.

TSN: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan was fined $2,500.00 for a dangerous trip (slew foot) on Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Connor Brown is listed as week-to-week with a suspected broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich and Toronto Maple Leafs Justin Holl, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie were placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes star Shane Doan is taking over as the general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey team and former NHL coach Claude Julien takes over as head coach.

NBC SPORTS: Aisha Visram is believed to be the first woman to work on the bench during an NHL game as she filled in for the Los Angeles Kings’ sidelined athletic trainer during their 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Visram is the head trainer of the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Ontario, California.