NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2021

Patrick Kane honored for his 1,000th career game, Andrei Vasilevskiy sets a franchise record, three more Canadiens games are postponed by COVID-19 concerns, changes to the NHL Draft and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrick Kane collected two assists to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the Florida Panthers 3-2. Goaltender Kevin Lankinen made 33 saves as Chicago snapped a four-game losing skid. Before the game, the Blackhawks honored Kane for recently playing in his 1,000th career NHL game. Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov missed the game with a lower-body injury. The Hawks (35 points) hold a two-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for fourth place in the Discover Central Division while the Panthers (44 points) remain one point behind the second-place Carolina Hurricanes.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves for his franchise-record 12th consecutive win as his club edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Second-period goals by Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde gave the Lightning the victory. With 50 points, they sit atop the NHL’s overall standings and hold a five-point lead over the Hurricanes in the Central Division. Before the game, Stars coach Rick Bowness announced forward Joel Kiviranta will be sidelined “for a while” with a lower-body injury.

The Nashville Predators got a 31-save performance Juuse Saros to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Mikael Granlund and Mathieu Olivier were the goal scorers while captain Roman Josi collected an assist in his first game in two weeks. The Predators (31 points) are four back of the Blackhawks in the Central. Meanwhile, the NHL is investigating an incident during this game when one of the referees was overheard on a hot mic apparently admitting to targeting the Predators for a penalty in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The incident didn’t affect the outcome of the game but it would be a concerning issue for the league if its officials give the impression they’re singling out teams or players for questionable infractions.

Shootout goals by Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak gave the Arizona Coyotes a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Arizona overcame a 4-2 deficit on third-period goals by Lawson Crouse and Phil Kessel to force extra time. Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta was placed on injured reserve before the game with a lower-body injury. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists with the Avs (43 points), who sit two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Jonas Johansson made 28 saves in his debut with Colorado. The Coyotes (33 points) are four back of the fourth-place St. Louis Blues.

The New Jersey Devils got a 30-save effort from Mackenzie Blackwood to hold off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Yegor Sharangovich and Travis Zajac each had a goal and an assist for the Devils. Sean Couturier scored twice for the Flyers (34 points), who remain two back of the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers had won just three of their last 10 games. They’ve failed to gain ground on a Bruins team sidelined by COVID-19 protocols.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens next three games have been postponed because of COVID-19 protocols. They were scheduled to play the Edmonton Oilers today and Friday and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. Their game this past Monday with the Oilers was also postponed when Canadiens forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were placed on the COVID protocol list. They remain the only two Habs on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will have a difficult time making up those games. The Gazette reports they’re scheduled to play 16 games in 30 days in April and four games in eight days in May. It will also be a problem for the Oilers.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Four Anaheim Ducks – Danton Heinen, Ben Hutton, Jacob Larsson and Anthony Stolarz – were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. The total number of players on the list has grown to 15.

TSN: The NHL’s proposed changes to the draft lottery were formally approved yesterday by the league’s board of governors.

Starting this year, only the top-two spots in the draft will be determined by the lottery, down from the previous number of three.

Starting in 2022, a team can move up a maximum of 10 spots, meaning only 11 of the 16 non-playoff teams will be eligible for the first-overall pick. Also starting in 2022, a team can win the lottery no more than twice in a five-year period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pierre LeBrun reports the changes are meant to augment the chances of the bottom teams getting the first-overall pick. That became an issue in three of the last four drafts when teams with the worst record in the league slid to fourth overall in the draft lottery.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin skipped practice yesterday dealing with a lower-body injury. Head coach Peter Laviolette downplayed Ovechkin’s absence by claiming it was “more just maintenance than anything.”

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury and hasn’t been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Austin Watson could be sidelined for a while with an injured left arm. He was spotted in the stands during practice yesterday with a cast on that arm.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks forward Kurtis Gabriel was fined $3.017.24 by the NHL’s department of player safety for a pre-game altercation with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid on Monday. Head coach Bob Boughner was fined $5,000.00 and the team received a $25,000.00 fine.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s action, Oilers-Canadiens game postponed over COVID-19 concerns, stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko lifted the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 5-3, handing the landing their 14th consecutive defeat. Kreider and Kakko tallied twice for the Rangers. Dustin Tokarski played his first NHL games since 2016, making 33 saves after taking over for sidelined Sabres goalie Carter Hutton early in the first period. With the win, the Rangers (32 points) moved within two points of the fifth-place Philadelphia Flyers and within four of the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

Dougie Hamilton collected an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Alex Nedeljkovic made 19 saves for the shutout and Sebastian Aho picked up two assists. The Hurricanes (45 points) vaulted into second place in the Discover Central Division with a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers. The Blue Jackets (33 points) are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks but slipped to fifth place.

A third-period goal by Chris Tierney gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Rookie goaltender Filip Gustavsson kicked out 35 shots for his first NHL victory. The Flames (33 points) remain in sixth place in the Scotia North Division, four points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens.

An overtime goal by Anthony Beauvillier lifted the New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Isles rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin made 36 saves for his eighth straight win. Flyers center Sean Couturier returned to the lineup after missing one game with a hip injury. The Islanders sit in first place in the MassMutual East, two points up on the Washington Capitals. Meanwhile, the Flyers (34 points) sit two points behind the fourth-place Bruins.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

The Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on a third-period goal by Nick Bjugstad. With 39 points, the Wild remains two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Honda West Division. Marcus Johansson returned to the Wild lineup after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury.

Mark Stone scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down St. Louis 5-1. The Golden Knights have won six of their last seven contests and sit in first place in the West with 45 points, three points up on the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues remain in fourth place with 37 points.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 22-save shutout and Adam Lowry scored twice to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. Canucks center Brandon Sutter missed the game with an undisclosed injury while captain Bo Horvat limped off in the third period after being struck by a shot from teammate Alex Edler. The Jets sit in third place in the North Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oilers and three up on the Canadiens.

The Colorado Avalanche picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Joonas Donskoi scored two goals and Philipp Grubauer picked up the win with 24 saves. Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson left the game with an upper-body injury. With 42 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Wild for second place in the West Division.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 41 saves backstopping his club over the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Ryan Donato tallied the game-winner in the third period. The loss leaves the Kings with 32 points, five back of the fourth-place Blues in the West.

HEADLINES

Monday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens was postponed after Canadiens forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. The Habs also canceled practice for today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first North Division game to be postponed this season. The Canadiens will be awaiting the results of further testing. Placing Kotkaniemi and Armia on the list doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve contracted the coronavirus. Further information is expected later today. If all players pass the subsequent testing there’s talk this game could be played tonight.

The additions of Kotkaniemi and Armia to the COVID protocol list pushed the total number to 10 players. The Boston Bruins have five players on the list, including David Pastrnak, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

The Canadiens also announced forward Tyler Toffoli will be sidelined until at least Sunday with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the remainder of the Canadiens’ games for this week aren’t postponed.

Nashville Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 21.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks claimed forward Travis Boyd off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s the second time in a week the Canucks have plucked a player off the Leafs roster, having claimed Jimmy Vesey on March 17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some see those moves as the Canucks positioning themselves to become sellers by the April 12 trade deadline. That may well be the case if they fail to gain any ground in the North Division playoff race.

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league isn’t expecting to have full arenas this season despite more American teams allowing limited numbers of socially distanced fans to attend their games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2021

Last night’s action featured milestones for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Carey Price. Get the details plus the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 717th career NHL goals as his Washington Capitals crushed the Buffalo Sabre 6-0. Ovechkin is tied with Phil Esposito for sixth on the all-time goals list. Washington goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves for his first career NHL shutout. The Capitals (40 points) sit two back of the first-place New York Islanders in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to reach his 1,100th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Tristan Jarry kicked out 42 shots for the win while Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists. The Penguins (37 points) won their sixth straight to sit third in the East Division while the Bruins (32 points) are clinging to fourth place.

Patrick Kane scored to collect his 1,064 point but his Chicago Blackhawks fell 6-3 to the Florida Panthers. Kane sits fifth on the all-time points list for American-born players, one behind Keith Tkachuk. Florida tallied five unanswered goals with captain Aleksander Barkov leading the way with a goal and two assists. The Panthers (42 points) vaulted over the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Discover Central Division while the Blackhawks hold fourth place with 33 points.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 34 saves to pick up the win in his 700th career game as his club doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Montreal winger Tyler Toffoli scored twice and collected an assist while Winnipeg winger Kyle Connor tallied two goals. The Jets (36 points) remain in second place in the Scotia North Division while the Canadiens held onto fourth place with 33 points. Earlier in the day, the Habs announced defenseman Ben Chiarot will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery on a fractured hand.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 38 shots while Calle Jarnkrok scored and picked up three assists as the Nashville Predators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the Predators while Steven Stamkos tallied Tampa Bay’s only goal as the Lightning (40 points) slipped to third in the Central Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jakub Voracek, who also collected two assists. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin also had a goal and two helpers. With 31 points, the Flyers sit one back of the fourth-place Bruins in the East.

J.T. Miller scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame on goals by Josh Norris and Colin White. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko picked up the win with a 42-save performance as the Canucks (30 points) sit three behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division.

The Calgary Flames picked up their third straight win under new coach Darryl Sutter with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Noah Hanifin netted the game-winner in the third period just over a minute after Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl tied the game. Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira left the game after being knocked out by Brett Ritchie during a first-period fight. Khaira answered the challenge from Ritchie following a high hit on Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who left the game but later return to action. The Oilers (36 points) remain in third place in the North Division while the Flames (31 points) are two behind the fourth-place Canadiens.

Mark Stone scored the game-winning goal and set up the game-opening tally as his Vegas Golden Knights held off the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Max Pacioretty also scored while Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 23 shots for the win. Timo Meier scored for the Sharks. With 39 points, the Golden Knights opened a four-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Honda West Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 15.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen’s recent struggles may be tied to the groin injury he’s playing through.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen Leafs fans on this site and elsewhere demanding general manager Kyle Dubas acquire a goaltender. However, they have limited salary-cap space and the pickings are slim in the trade market for rental goalies.

I’ve seen some suggest Arizona’s Antti Raanta as one option but he’s unlikely to move with Darcy Kuemper sidelined and I’ll be very surprised if the Coyotes trade the latter. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier could be the best available choice but the Leafs could face competition for his services from contenders like Colorado and Washington.

TSN: Three Rangers (Pavel Buchnevich, Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox) are among the five players on yesterday’s NHL COVID-19 protocol list. New Jersey’s Will Butcher and the Islanders’ Noah Dobson are the others.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest on Anders Lee, Erik Karlsson, Marcus Foligno and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders picked up their ninth straight win by edging the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on a shootout goal by Oliver Wahlstrom. The Isles also extended their points streak to 12 games and sit atop the MassMutual Eastern Division with a league-leading 42 points. However, they also announced earlier yesterday that captain Anders Lee has been placed on long-term injury reserve retroactive to last Thursday, raising the possibility he could be unable to return for the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will allow the Islanders to exceed the $81.5 million salary cap by up to the equivalent of Lee’s annual average value ($7 million) if they wish to add players before the April 12 trade deadline. They’re already exceeding the cap with permanently sidelined defenseman Johnny Boychuk ($6 million AAV) on LTIR.

Dougie Hamilton and Nino Niederreiter scored as the Carolina Hurricanes extended their win streak to eight games by nipping the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. With the win, the Hurricanes (41 points) vaulted into first place in the Discover Central Division, one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson (NHL Images).

A three-goal third period lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist while Zach Parise collected two assists as the Wild (35 points) picked up their fourth straight win and moved within two points of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Wild forward Marcus Foligno missed the game with a lower-body injury and could be sidelined for a while.

The Ottawa Senators got two goals from Drake Batherson and rookie goalie Joey Daccord made 33 saves for his first NHL victory to hold off the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. The Senators opened the scoring with two goals within seven seconds. Daccord got the start when Matt Murray was a late scratch with an upper-body injury. Zach Hyman tallied twice for the Leafs (40 points), who remain in first place in the Scotia North Division but have dropped five of their last six games.

Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and an assist to give the Colorado Avalanche a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The victory gave the Avs 34 points, moving them into third place in the Honda West Division.

Alexander Radulov scored in a shootout as the Dallas Stars edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. It was Radulov’s first game since being sidelined on Feb. 4. The Jackets (29 points) sit four points behind the fourth-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Discover Central Division.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson is hoping the San Jose Sharks can avoid a roster rebuild and find a way to build with their current core group. “Obviously, I did not sign here to go through a rebuild or go through what I did for 10 years with Ottawa,” said Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s comments raised hackles among some Senators followers who pointed out the club reached the playoffs (including the 2017 Eastern Conference Final) in five of his nine seasons in Ottawa. During the same period, however, the club twice tore down its roster to rebuild with younger talent.

Karlson obviously wanted to play for a long-time contender and felt the Sharks were his best bet. Nevertheless, that might no longer be the case with their aging core of expensive veterans. He might not want to see the club rebuild but management could have little choice if they miss the playoffs this season.

THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen and forwards Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev are among six little-known NHL players making names for themselves this season. Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud and Senators defenseman Artem Zub are also earning recognition for their efforts.

TSN: Five players – Edmonton’s Kyle Turris, Los Angeles’ Olli Maatta, New Jersey’s Will Butcher, the Islanders Jean-Gabriel Pageau and the New York Rangers’ Phillip Di Guiseppe – were on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list as of Sunday.

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks forward Carter Rowney will be sidelined four-to-six months following surgery on his left knee.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021

Recaps of Saturday’s action, Tom Wilson receives a seven-game suspension, Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his father Walter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers got two goals from Ryan Strome to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Adam Fox opened the scoring for the Rangers with a beautiful end-to-end goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils (16 points) looked like they could contend for a playoff berth several weeks ago. Their recent skid sent them tumbling toward the bottom of the MassMutual East Division standings, one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. They could be joining the list of potential sellers at the April 12 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Sabres, they dropped their sixth straight in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal’s between-the-legs game-tying goal launched was the start of a four-goal outburst in the second period for the Islanders as they extended their points streak to seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Islanders (32 points) sit atop the East Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images)

Evgeni Malkin scored and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Flyers winger Travis Konecny also had a goal and assist as his club is tied with the Penguins (27 points) but holds fourth place in the East on win percentage (.643) with two games in hand.

A hat trick by Noel Acciari powered the Florida Panthers over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (34 points), who are tied with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Discover Central Division. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Matt Duchene on injured reserve. He will be sidelined three-to-five weeks with a lower-body injury.

Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to sweep their two-game set. Canucks goaltender Thatcher kicked out 37 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko’s play has improved since mid-February. He’ll likely get the bulk of the starts in the coming weeks as the Canucks (24 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves while Lance Pitlick tallied twice for the Coyotes. The win puts Arizona (25 points) just two behind the Wild for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division.

Carey Price turned aside 28 shots, Brendan Gallagher notched two goals and Tomas Tatar collected three assists as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Josh Anderson scored in his first game with the Habs after being sidelined for three games by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most convincing Canadiens win since their 6-2 victory over the Canucks on Feb. 1. They’re now 2-1-2 in their first five games under interim coach Dominique Ducharme.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a nine-game winless skid with a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks blew a 2-0 lead but overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Troy Terry and Kevin Shattenkirk to set the stage for Ryan Getzlaf’s game-winner in the extra frame. Terry scored twice and Rickard Rakell had a three-point night. Mikko Rantanen replied with two of his own for the Avalanche.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist for the Stars to snap their four-game losing skid.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s season debut following offseason shoulder surgery couldn’t help the St. Louis Blues from dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Adrian Kempe tallied the game-winner while Anze Kopitar scored twice for the Kings. Tarasenko was held scoreless while teammate David Perron had a goal and an assist. With 25 points, the Kings sit two back of the fourth-place Wild in the West Division.

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading fourth shutout in a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Alex Tuch scored twice to extend his goal streak to four games. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Vegas sits atop the West Division with 33 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got goals by Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid to edge the Calgary Flames 3-2. McDavid also had two assists on the night. The Oilers (30 points) sit two up on the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division and two back of the Jets.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL suspended Capitals winger Tom Wilson for seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Friday. Carlo was taken to the hospital for treatment overnight but was released yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Wilson’s history of reckless hits resulting in four fines and three suspensions it’s not surprising the league handed down this judgement. He’s now been suspended for a total of 30 games in the NHL career.

SPORTING NEWS: Wayne Gretzky eulogized his father Walter during the latter’s funeral yesterday in Brantford, Ontario. “He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family,” said Wayne. “We’d be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad.” He also pointed out COVID-19 played no part in Walter’s passing, indicating he’d suffered a bad hip injury several weeks ago. He passed away last week at age 82.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Walter. Your legacy will live as long as your son’s.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights were left scrambling for new accommodations after the San Jose hotel they were staying in abruptly closed due to bankruptcy.

THE SCORE: A small number of NHL players in the United States have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Some received it because of the city where they lived where the vaccine became available.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 to sweep their three-game series. Jimmy Vesey scored two goals, Jason Spezza collected three assists and Fredrik Andersen made 26 saves in his return to action after missing four games with a lower-body injury. Auston Matthews also returned after missing two games with a wrist injury but was held scoreless.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs outscored the Oilers 13-1 in their three games, including back-to-back shutouts. They held Oilers captain Connor McDavid scoreless while Leon Draisaitl managed just one assist.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their fourth straight victory by taming the Minnesota Wild 5-1. Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves while Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Colin Stephenson each had a goal and an assist. Wild winger Zach Parise was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career with the club owing to an overextended shift during Monday’s overtime loss to Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has bounced back well from last season’s inconsistent performance. He’s among the league leaders with 11 wins, a .939 save percentage, 1.71 goals-against average and three shutouts. The 36-year-old netminder could become a Vezina Trophy finalist if he can maintain that level of play.

Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each had four-point performances as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves for the shutout. It was a costly win for the Avs as center Nathan MacKinnon left the game in the third period after a hit to the head from Sharks winger Joachim Blichfield, who received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon seemed to be doing okay following the game. We should find out today or tomorrow if he avoided serious injury.

A shootout goal by Jakub Vrana lifted the Washington Capitals over the Boston Bruins 2-1. David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins while Lars Eller replied for the Capitals. The Bruins honored former captain Zdeno Chara with a video tribute as he returned to Boston for the first time since signing with the Capitals in the offseason. Before the game, the Bruins announced center Charlie Coyle was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list.

The St. Louis Blues got power-play goals from Oskar Sundqvist, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sandford to hold the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington kicked out 27 shots. The Ducks have dropped eight straight games.

Arizona Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta stopped 40 shots as his club nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Two goals 40 seconds apart in the second period by Nick Schmaltz and Johan Larsson gave the Coyotes the win. The Kings have dropped three straight.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said his decision to fire goalie coach Stephane Waite during Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Ottawa. He said he consulted interim head coach Dominique Ducharme beforehand but not with netminder Carey Price, who learned of the move following the game. The Habs hired Sean Burke as their new director of goaltending.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin said the move was made to help Price improve his performance, which has fallen off over the past four seasons. The Habs GM is not expected to make any further organizational changes this season after firing coaches Claude Julien and Kirk Muller last week. However, Bergevin could face losing his job if his moves fail to improve the Canadiens,

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter was fined $5,000.00 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros on Tuesday. Saros is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (lower body) was placed on long-term injury reserve yesterday.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said league revenue for 2021-22 could be affected by Canada’s slow vaccine rollout. While admitting it is premature to make predictions, Daly hinted it could affect everything from revenue to competition, including division alignment, travel and trades. He also said the league remains optimistic that its trajectory remains on pace toward a normal work environment for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadian government maintains the COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all its citizens who want one by September. Recent reports suggest the distribution of those vaccines could speed up in the coming months. Nevertheless, we won’t know for certain until the start of next season what the effect will be on Canadian teams and league revenue.