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 – February 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2021

Bruins edge the Rangers, Blues down the Coyotes, plus the latest on Steven Stamkos, Matt Murray, Zach Werenski and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 10 games by blanking the New York Rangers 1-0. Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves for the shutout while Nick Ritchie scored the only goal in a chippy affair that totaled 58 minutes in penalties with most of those in the second period. Earlier in the day, the Rangers announced winger Artemi Panarin would miss this game due to a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins (22 points) opened a four-point lead atop the East Division and moved to within a point of the first-overall Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers, meanwhile, have just three victories in their last 10 games.

Justin Faulk scored twice (including the game-winner) and collected an assist as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Brayden Schenn had a two-point night for the Blues. The Coyotes played without John Hayden as he was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images)

Earlier in the day, Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko surprised his teammates with an appearance during an optional practice. He’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and his return to action is still weeks away.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed captain Steven Stamkos on the COVID-19 protocol list. The development is unrelated to the lower-body injury that sidelined him from Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

TSN: Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury and won’t play in today’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will need a better effort from backup Marcus Hogberg. He’s winless in five appearances with a 4.86 goals-against average and .836 save percentage.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returns to the lineup today against the Chicago Blackhawks after being sidelined for three games with a lower-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: Matt Dumba and Mats Zuccarello joined a depleted Minnesota Wild roster in the club’s first practice since their schedule was paused by COVID-19 10 days ago. Dumba could be ready to return to action for the Wild’s game on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews could be ready to return to the lineup after being sidelined since Jan. 28 with an injured foot. The Avs are slated to play the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday in their first game since their schedule was paused by the coronavirus.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The list of Flyers on the protocol list grew to seven as Oskar Lindblom and Scott Laughton were added yesterday.

THE SCORE: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league is working on changing the draft lottery. While Daly didn’t divulge details, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports there were a number of people around the league who felt it unfair that the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, who finished dead last in 2019-20, ended up with the fourth-overall pick in last year’s draft rather than selecting first overall. Changes to the draft are expected to be discussed with the league board of governors at a future date.

USA HOCKEY: announced New York Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury has been named the general manager of the 2021 US National Men’s Team.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2019

The Canucks re-sign Alex Edler, Lightning winger Ryan Callahan going on LTIR, Ducks re-sign Ryan Miller and more. Get the details on these and other stories on the eve of the 2019 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver begins at 8 pm ET tonight with the opening round. The remaining six rounds will be held Saturday. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday re-signed defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. Edler, 33, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Vancouver Canucks re-sign defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for both sides. Edler gets a raise and a no-movement clause and stays with the only NHL team he’s ever played for. The Canucks, meanwhile, retain their best defenseman on a short-term deal plus he’s agreed to make himself available for the 2021 NHL expansion draft. As in the Vegas draft, players with no-movement clauses on expiring contracts must be protected unless they agree to be exposed in that draft.

TSN: The Canucks are reportedly in talks with former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli to join their management staff. Canucks GM Jim Benning worked for Chiarelli during their tenure with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live for a reaction from a Canucks fan.

 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning revealed Ryan Callahan will be placed on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old winger is suffering from degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Callahan has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million. When this news broke, some fans felt this was a sneaky way for the cap-strapped Lightning to free up payroll for next season. The timing is merely coincidental. Callahan’s career and his dream of winning a Stanley Cup are over. That’s the real story here.

If the Lightning needs real salary-cap relief they could attempt to trade his rights to a club in need of reaching the cap floor. For now, it appears they’ll go the LTIR route. 

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed goaltender Ryan Miller, center Derek Grant, and defenseman Korbinian Holzer to one-year contracts. Miller’s deal is worth $1.125 million. Cap Friendly indicates Holzer’s salary is $850K and Grant’s $700K.

SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn will test the upcoming unrestricted free agent market. 

TVA SPORTS: L.A Lariviere has a two-part series (translation required) listing some interesting behind-the-scenes stories from previous NHL drafts. Among them: Max Pacioretty spiking a proposed deal at last year’s draft that would’ve sent him to the LA Kings. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have hired Jim Playfair as an assistant coach responsible for their defensive play.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes intend to hire former Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley as an assistant coach. 

NHL.COM: The league announced rule changes for video review and coach’s challenges. Coaches will now be able to challenge missed stoppage of play calls in the offensive zone that result in goals. On-ice officials will be able to review their work on major penalties (other than fighting), match penalties, and double-minors for high-sticking. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2019

Bruins and Sharks take 3-2 leads in their respective series. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: David Pastrnak scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Boston Bruins edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Bruins hold a 3-2 series lead as the series returns to Columbus for Game 6. 

David Pastrnak’s two goals lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory in Game 5 against the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images).

Most of the scoring took place in the third period. The Bruins held 2-0 and 3-1 leads but the Blue Jackets stormed back to tie the game before Pastrnak put it away at the 18:32 mark of the period. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists for the Bruins. Jackets defensemen Seth Jones and Dean Kukan accounted for two of the Jackets’ three goals. Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy limped off the ice after blocking a shot with his foot in the dying seconds but claimed he was fine afterward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That third period was arguably the most entertaining of the postseason thus far. A game the Bruins seemed to have in hand nearly slipped away as the Jackets rallied back to seize the momentum before Pastrnak sealed the deal. The Bruins can end this series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win on Monday night. 

Thanks to Tomas Hertl’s two-goal performance, the San Jose Sharks overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in Game 5 of their second-round matchup. Tyson Jost tallied for the Avalanche while teammate Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves. Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon’s point streak ended at eight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks did a fine job shutting down the MacKinnon line last night. Special teams also made the difference for San Jose, tallying a power-play goal and killing off three penalties. With a 3-2 series lead, the Sharks are poised to advance to the Western Conference Finals with a win in Game 6 on Monday. 

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk’s underwent season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He’ll be sidelined four-to-six months. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will miss van Riemsdyk’s presence on their blueline in the Eastern Conference Finals. He was having a fine postseason performance up until suffering that injury during Game 2 of their second-round series with the New York Islanders. 

THE SCORE: Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry doubled down on his view of the Hurricanes as a “bunch of jerks” for their elaborate post-game victory celebrations during the regular season. He also took a shot at their fans. “I’m told the owner said, ‘Entertain the crowd,’ and they still draw 13-to-14,000 people,” Cherry said. “And these people that are here now, now (that) they’re winning (are) front-running fans as far as I’m concerned.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s true the Hurricanes weren’t drawing well for most of the season, finishing 30th in attendance percentage (76.7). And yes, those post-game victory celebrations were staged to stir up some buzz to bring more fans back to the building. But after a decade of mediocrity and missed postseasons, who can blame their fans for staying away? It is difficult to support a club when it gives you little to cheer about for 10 years. 

Fans in any market will support a franchise if they at least believe the club can be a winner. For those who believe so-called “traditional hockey markets” support their teams through difficult times, a glimpse at the attendance of the Chicago Blackhawks between 1996-97 and 2006-07 suggests otherwise. For that matter, examine the attendance of “real hockey markets” when their teams are struggling on the ice. With rare exceptions (hello there, Toronto), attendance in nearly every market fluctuates based on the club’s performance. 

ESPN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Seattle is still in the mix to host the 2021 NHL Draft. The city was recently awarded an NHL expansion franchise. Their inaugural season is set for 2021-22.