NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2019

Auston Matthews faces a disorderly conduct charge, Connor McDavid plays his first preseason game, plus updates on Josh Morrissey, Brock Boeser, Robin Lehner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is facing a charge of disorderly conduct over an incident in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 28.

Matthews and several friends allegedly attempted to get into a security guard’s car. When she confronted the group, Matthews is said to have pulled down his pants, bent over and “grabbed his butt cheeks” through his underwear. The guard claimed the group appeared to be intoxicated. A pre-trial conference is set for today in Scottsdale but Matthews doesn’t have to appear in person.

A disorderly conduct charge could jeopardize Auston Matthews’ chance of being named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs issued a statement last night indicating they were aware of the situation. Neither they or Matthews will comment further.

The 22-year-old center was considered among the candidates for the Leafs’ captaincy. This incident could derail his chances. The allegations haven’t been proven in court but more than one Toronto pundit has taken Matthews to task over his behavior. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, they released goaltender Michal Neuvirth from his professional tryout offer.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid made his preseason debut as the Edmonton Oilers fell 4-2 to the Coyotes. It was the Oilers’ captain’s first game since tearing a ligament in his left knee in the final game of the 2018-19 regular season in April.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey missed the third period of his club’s 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames as a precautionary measure. Coach Paul Maurice said Morrissey was “tightening up”, adding his exit wasn’t related to blocking a shot earlier in the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron could return to action in the club’s final preseason contest on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s recovering from a nagging groin injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Brock Boeser and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg were placed in concussion protocol following Monday’s preseason contest against Ottawa. It’s uncertain how long they’ll be absent from the lineup.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner left practice yesterday with an undisclosed health issue. No word on how long he could be out of the lineup. 

TSN: Former Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish was fired by the KHL”s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl after just eight games.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Duane Sutter and Kevin Stevens as professional scout. Former NHL forward Jay McClement also joined their scouting department.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

Taylor Hall returns to the ice, Dan Girardi hangs up his skates, plus updates on Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Goligoski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored a goal and collected an assist in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers in preseason play on Friday. It was Hall’s first game since suffering a knee injury last December. “I felt pretty good,” said Hall, who played just over 18 minutes. “There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to the game at certain points, but it was a lot of fun to be out there and (to) have some success right off the bat was a good feeling. It’s kind of the way you’d want to draw it up if you were coming back.”

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall returned to action in his first game since last December (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a promising start for Hall. He’ll be crucial to the Devils’ playoff hopes this season.

TSN: Defenseman Dan Girardi yesterday announced his retirement. He spent 13 seasons in the NHL, 11 with the New York Rangers and two with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid, big-minute defensive blueliner, Girardi’s best seasons came during his long tenure with the Rangers, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. In recent years, however, his performance declined as he struggled to adjust to the increasingly faster pace of the game. Best wishes to Girardi and his family in their future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said he recently had a “wonderful conversation” with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who’s taken a leave of absence from the club. Maurice offered up no timetable for the big blueliner’s return. He also downplayed a chance encounter at a restaurant between a couple of fans and Byfuglien, with one of the fans claiming the defenseman told her he will be playing this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ official line is they’re giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs during this leave of absence. A report earlier this week claiming the rearguard was pondering his future has Jets fans understandably concerned he might retire.

THE ATHLETIC: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski admitted he lost his passion for the game around mid-December last season. However, he was re-energized following the club’s mandatory off-week in late-January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics believe the off-week for teams is a waste of time, hurting momentum and roster cohesiveness. Goligoski’s case proves it can be beneficial for players experiencing burnout.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $925K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was the Rangers’ only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. While he was holding out for more, the Rangers lacked sufficient cap space to give him a more substantial raise. If he matches or exceeds last season’s promising 30-point performance, the Blueshirts will reward him for it next summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon on waivers yesterday for assignment to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens rookie Ryan Poehling is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while veteran Paul Byron is nursing an upper-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals named Jim Slater to their player development department.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

Niklas Kronwall retires, Coyotes officially introduce Phil Kessel, the latest NHL CBA speculation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: After 15 NHL seasons, all of them with the Red Wings, defenseman Niklas Kronwall announced his retirement yesterday. He’ll stay with the team as a special advisor to general manager Steve Yzerman, who praised Kronwall as one of the best two-way blueliners of his era.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall retired after 15 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kronwall joined the Wings during their years as a league powerhouse, helping them reach two Stanley Cup Finals and winning the Cup in 2008. Known for his physical style of play, any player on the receiving end of his big hits were said to be “Kronwalled.” Yzerman already prepared for the possibility of Kronwall’s retirement, signing Patrik Nemeth this summer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday formally introduced winger Phil Kessel to the Arizona media. Acquired earlier this summer in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel hopes to improve the Coyotes and grow their fan base.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes escrow is the key to securing an extension to the current NHL collective bargaining agreement. It could be attained if the league figures out a way to reduce escrow payments by the players by four-to-six percent.

One way would be freezing or limiting the rise of the salary cap. If revenue keeps rising (especially under a new U.S. TV deal and player tracking technology that would increase revenue from legalized gambling), that would reduce the escrow claw-backs from players’ salaries.

Campbell points out that would mean less spendable money in the system. It would affect players seeking new contracts and lead to more contract buyouts, cost-cutting trades, and demotions to the minors.

Campbell also cites a league source claiming the NHLPA’s five-percent escalator could be abolished. “And now it’s a matter of needing your revenues to grow at a greater rate than the growth in the upper limit. So you either freeze the upper limit, which would bring a more dramatic reduction in escrow, or you fix the upper limit for a number of years.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league and the PA address the escrow issue. The PA executive and other players will be meeting today in Chicago to review their current negotiations with the league and plan their next move. They have until Sept. 15 to exercise their early opt-out clause. However, there’s speculation that date could be extended up to Jan. 1 to allow more time to work out a three-year CBA extension to 2024-25.

YARDBARKER: The Los Angeles Kings are reportedly making progress with restricted free agent center Adrian Kempe. It’s expected he’ll sign a short-term bridge deal.

CBS SPORTS: Winger Stefan Noesen signed a professional tryout agreement with the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, former 2013 first-round pick Kerby Rychel signed a one-year contract with KHL club Neftekhimik.

FOXSPORTS OHIO: Former Columbus Blue Jacket Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre has joined the club’s broadcast team as an in-studio analyst.

THE SCORE: Barrie Colts head coach and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk is stepping aside for health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The club didn’t reveal any further details regarding Hawerchuk’s condition. Here’s hoping he gets well soon.

TSN: Rick Olcyzk joined the NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise. A former Toronto Maple Leafs scout, he also spent four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant general manager alongside Seattle GM Ron Francis.