NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

The Bruins bounce back against the Hurricanes while the Leafs, Oilers and Wild take 2-1 leads in their respective first-round series. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 to pick up their first win of the series. The Hurricanes now hold a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each had two points while rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff victory. Game 4 will be on Sunday, May 8.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reunited “Perfection Line” of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron made their presence felt in this contest. Swayman showed no sign of nerves stepping into this contest after being the backup in the first two games.

There was a scary moment for NHL off-ice official Joe Foley as a pane of glass was accidentally knocked loose by Bruins fans and fell on him while he was working in the penalty box. He was taken off on a stretcher and sent to a local hospital for observation, where he is reportedly all right and is expected to recover.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell made 32 saves to help his club hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 in Game 3 of their opening round series. They led Tampa Bay two games to one. Pierre Engvall collected three assists while Ilya Mikheyev tallied twice for the Leafs. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. The two clubs square off in Game 4 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning cut Toronto’s 3-0 lead to 3-2 early in the third period but Campbell’s goaltending and Mikheyev’s two late goals sealed the win. The Leafs’ depth players stepped one as their big guns (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares) were held to just one assist in this contest.

The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick from Evander Kane in their 8-2 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 to go up 2-1 in their first-round series. Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored two goals and an assist while Mike Smith turned in a 44-save performance for the win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got the hook after giving up four goals on 17 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a narrow 4-3 loss in Game 1, the Oilers have outscored Los Angeles 14-2 over the next two games. This series will be over quickly at this rate if the Kings fail to neutralize the Oilers’ offense. They’ll get the opportunity in Game 4 on Sunday.

Minnesota Wild netminder Mark-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to backstop his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 to go up two games to one in their first-round series. Jordan Greenway opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the first period. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ banged-up blueline suffered another blow as defenseman Torey Krug left the game with a lower-body injury. They were already playing without Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy as both are sidelined by upper-body injuries.

HEADLINES

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Friday and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. With starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured foot, the Penguins will turn to Louis Domingue in Game 3. Domingue replaced DeSmith during their series-opening 4-3 triple overtime win over the New York Rangers. The series is tied at a game apiece with Game 3 on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

TRIBLIVE.COM: In other Penguins news, winger Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) will be a game-time decision for Game 3. Winger Rickard Rakell (upper-body injury) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body) are listed as day-to-day.

ESPN.COM: Nashville Predators starter Juuse Saros has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Ingram is expected to get the start for the Predators, who are down 2-0 to the Avalanche in their first-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ingram made 49 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2. He must maintain that level of performance and hope his teammates’ popgun offense can improve if the Predators are to get back into this series.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. It’s uncertain if they’ll start Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov in goal tonight for Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.

THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will undergo further tests and research to attempt to address a nagging back injury that hampered his performance this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: cited Cap Friendly indicating only six teams (Bruins, Lightning, Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, and Winnipeg Jets) will have the full $82.5 million salary-cap payrolls to spend in 2022-23. Fourteen clubs will be affected by performance bonuses exceeding this season’s $81.5 million cap and being applied to next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Click on the link above for the full list. It ranges from as low as $25K (Avalanche) to as high as $1.25 million (Vancouver Canucks).

OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there isn’t a “for sale” sign in front of the Senators. There was speculation the club could be sold following the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March. Bettman said it will be up to Melnyk’s daughters what they wish to do but indicated the club isn’t on the market and there are “no problems”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are being by a three-man group that has had a hand in running the club for several years. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

TSN: Speaking of Bettman, he said former NHL coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t approached him about returning behind the bench. Quenneville resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers last fall for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ mishandling of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against a former video coach in 2010. Part of the conditions surrounding any plan for his return to the NHL coaching ranks is approval from the league commissioner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were recent rumors Quenneville was either contemplating a return or that a club was interested in hiring him.

NHL.COM: The dates for the announcements of the NHL Award finalists have been released, starting with the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday, May 9. Click the link for the complete list. The winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2021

The Avalanche score seven goals for the third straight game, the Flyers long winless skid is over, plus the latest on the Olympics, the Coyotes, the salary cap and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche scored seven goals for the third straight game on route to beating the Detroit Red Wings 7-3. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Devon Toews had three assists as the Avs won their sixth straight home game. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and will be reevaluated today. The Avalanche are the first team to tally at least seven goals in three straight games since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they doubled up the Washington Capitals 4-2. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby collected two assists to extend his points streak to seven games while Tristan Jarry made 29 saves. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin also had two assists while teammates Tom Wilson and Martin Fehervary left the game with injuries.

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped a 10-game winless skid by holding off the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Carter Hart kicked out 41 shots and James van Riemsdyk tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty netted two goals. It’s the Flyers’ first win under interim coach Mike Yeo.

Elias Pettersson scored in a shootout as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 to pick up their third straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau. Nils Hoglander potted two goals and Thatcher Demko got the win with a 34-save effort. Jets’ captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists but left the game in the third period with a possible knee injury. Kyle Connor also had a goal and two assists for the Jets.

Patric Hornqvist and Sam Bennett scored 10 seconds apart in the first period as the Florida Panthers downed the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Phil Kessel replied for the Coyotes, who’ve lost four straight games. The win vaulted the Panthers into first place in the overall standings with 40 points.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots in his return to action after missing two games with a non-COVID-related illness. The Predators have won four straight.

A 36-save performance by Alexandar Georgiev carried the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers as they’ve won eight of their last nine contests. The Sabres have dropped six straight.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with reporters yesterday following the second and final day of the board of governors meetings.

Regarding NHL participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics, Bettman indicated he’s concerned about a host of issues, including COVID-19 testing and potential quarantine in Beijing if a player tests positive. Nevertheless, he said it’s going to be the players’ decision to go unless the league and the NHL Players Association jointly agree to the contrary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports suggest a positive test could lead to a player facing a three-week quarantine in China, raising questions as to when the player can leave the country. Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner is the only player thus far to withdraw from participation, citing mental health concerns.

The NHL is projecting hockey-related revenue will rise to $5.2 billion for this season. The salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23 and to $83.5 million in 2023-24 based upon last year’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) that extended the collective bargaining agreement. That will allow the players to repay the $1 billion in escrow debt owed to the owners by the end of 2023-24, meaning a significant jump in the salary cap for 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How big a jump will depend on how much HRR rises by ’24-’25. It could reach $6 billion which could see the cap rise by $7 million, sparking a frenzy of lucrative long-term contracts for free agents in the summer of 2024.

Bettman also said there were no concerns about the Arizona Coyotes despite the recent threat of eviction from the Gila River Arena over unpaid bills and taxes. The club released a statement claiming they’ve paid those bills, blaming “human error” for the delay. The Coyotes still reportedly owe an additional $2.7 million in rent and other expenses to the city of Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Human error” is the business equivalent of “The dog ate my homework” or “The cheque’s in the mail.” While this raises legitimate questions over the stability of the Coyotes’ ownership, the club won’t be relocating. Put simply, the Coyotes won’t remain in Arizona until Bettman decides it’s no longer feasible.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wondered if Bettman got a contract extension after telling reporters he planned on being in his job for a long time. “So you’re still stuck with me,” he said with a smile.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s helped the owners make a boatload of money over the years while bringing the NHLPA to heel. Like it or not, he’ll be the commissioner for as long as he wants.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane is expected to make his debut today with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. The Sharks assigned the 30-year-old winger to the Barracudas following the recent completion of his 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are believed to be still trying to find a trade partner to take Kane off their hands. There’s no indication when he might be recalled to their lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop gave up eight goals on 34 shots in his first game with the club’s AHL affiliate on Thursday. It was also his first game since undergoing knee surgery in October 2020. He’s with the Texas Stars on a conditioning stint as he inches his way toward a possible return with Dallas.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek is set to play tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. It’ll be his first game since suffering a groin injury in October.

TSN: New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Ruff said he’s worried and concerned over the long-term health of goalie Jonathan Bernier due to a hip injury. Bernier was placed on injured reserve after dealing with the ailment throughout this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like it could be a career-threatening injury for Bernier. There’s no word if he’ll undergo surgery.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt underwent successful surgery for an upper-body injury. There is no timetable for his return.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets placed defenseman Adam Boqvist (upper body) on injured reserve.

THE PROVINCE: The front office purge of the Vancouver Canucks continued Friday as assistant general manager Chris Gear and senior director of hockey operations and analytics Jonathan Wall were dismissed.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

98 percent of NHL players expected to be vaccinated for the coming season, Sidney Crosby hopes Alex Ovechkin breaks Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Carey Price, P.K. Subban and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates 98 percent of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the 2021-22 season opens on Oct. 12. That will leave between 10 and 15 players unvaccinated among 700 players on 32 teams.

The NHL and NHL Players Association didn’t impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions (including restrictions at the Canada – US border requiring lengthy quarantine) contributed to the high number of vaccinations. Teams can also suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of its protocols.

Fully vaccinated players will have any positive COVID-19 tests treated as hockey injuries and continue to be paid. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted during road trips. Regular COVID testing will remain in place for vaccinated players. Coaches and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Daly confirmed that teams who suspend players without pay under the terms of the league’s COVID protocols will receive salary-cap relief from that player’s daily salary-cap hit.

Unvaccinated players can be ruled exempt from suspension if they have legitimate medical reasons for avoiding vaccination or if it conflicts with “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Johnston also reported at least one Caucks remains unvaccinated but the team declined to comment citing medical privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL isn’t fooling around with its protocols this season after a number of game postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of last season led to a series of scheduling changes. It took a physical toll on the players as they endured multiple games within a much more compressed period of time.

Unvaccinated players will have a more difficult time navigating through those strict protocols this season. Those restrictions could encourage the remainder who lack medical exemption to get vaccinated. The risk of suspension without pay for a positive test is too great over the course of the season.

SPORTSNET: Daly indicated the salary cap for the 2022-23 season is expected to increase by $1 million to $82.5 million.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has the support of a long-time rival in his quest to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he told Ovechkin he hopes he does it. “It would be awesome. He’s in range, “ said Crosby. “He can score anywhere from insider the blue line.”

Crosby added one caveat. “I just hope that all his goals that he gets are against the other teams as he’s trying to add toward it.” Gretzky has 894 goals while Ovechkin sits at 730 to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s legacy is secure as this generation’s greatest goal scorer and one of the all-time greats. Most of Gretzky’s records are out of reach of today’s players, so the opportunity for the Capitals superstar to break the goal record would be a phenomenal achievement.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane remains confident that the league will clear him of allegations by his estranged wife that he gambled on NHL games. In an interview with ESPN’s Linda Cohn, the San Jose Sharks winger called the allegations “incredibly false”, claiming he’s never bet on any NHL games or intentionally altered the way he plays.

The NHL opened an investigation into the allegations in July. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he anticipates it will wrap up soon and to have a full report by the start of training camp.

Kane admitted he has a gambling addiction which led to his filing for bankruptcy in July. He also downplayed reports claiming some of his Sharks teammates don’t want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz believes it’s what’s Kane didn’t say during the interview that’s newsworthy. “This was a missed opportunity for him to signal to his teammates/organization that he’s ready to come back, change his ways, and be a solid teammate. Instead, nothing’s changed.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price took to the ice yesterday in full equipment with a member of the team’s training staff. It’s believed the first time he’s skated since undergoing knee surgery in July. He spent 10 minutes on the ice doing stretching and skating drills.

TORONTO STAR: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is an executive producer on an upcoming docuseries entitled, “Black Life: A Canadian History.”

THE ATHLETIC: Andrew Ladd is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NHL again. He was traded this summer to the Arizona Coyotes by the New York Islanders. He played just 30 NHL games over the past three seasons with the Islanders.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will face off in the 2022 Heritage Classic on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

THE SCORE: Two suspects were arrested in the robbery of a St. Louis Blues prospect and a woman on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. The name of the prospect has not been released.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

Salary arbitration schedule set, the latest notable contract signings and an update on the salary cap in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: The hearing dates have been set for players who selected salary arbitrations last week:

August 11
Adam Pelech (New York Islanders)
Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens)
Jakub Vrana (Detroit Red Wings)

August 12
Victor Mete (Ottawa Senators)*

August 13
Neal Pionk (Winnipeg Jets)

August 14
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
Zach Sanford (St. Louis Blues)*

August 16
Adin Hill (San Jose Sharks)*
Ross Colton (Tampa Bay Lightning)

August 17
Kevin Fiala (Minnesota Wild)

August 18
Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators)

August 20
Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators)*
Jason Dickinson (Vancouver Canucks)

August 21
Adam Erne (Detroit Red Wings)
Dennis Gilbert (Colorado Avalanche)

August 23
Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)*

August 26
Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets)
Nikita Zadorov (Calgary Flames)
Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia Flyers)

*indicates player had settled.

New Jersey Devils sign Tomas Tatar (NHL Images).

  NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed Tomas Tatar to a two-year, $9 million contract. The 30-year-old winger spent the past three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes my theory of the Devils acquiring St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko via trade. Tatar reached or exceeded 20 goals six times between 2014-15 and 2019-20 and 45-plus points five times. He’ll likely slot in alongside Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes on the Devils’ top-two lines. Tatar is the third significant UFA signing by the Devils this summer, joining Dougie Hamilton and Jonathan Bernier.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Devils, they signed winger Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year, $4 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, these moves leave the Devils with $14.7 million in projected cap space with restricted free agent Janne Kuokkanen to sign. They still have plenty of room to make another significant addition if they so choose.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Dante Fabbro, signing the 23-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $4.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $17.6 million in projected cap space with Juuse Saros and Eeli Tolvanen to re-sign. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with Zach Aston-Reese, inking the 26-year-old winger to a one-year, $1.725 million deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL is projecting an increase in the salary cap by $1 million for 2022-23. It will be the first raise in the cap since COVID-19 affected the league’s business operations, delinking the salary cap from revenue and creating a $1 billion debt that players are still working to pay back to the owners.

Seravalli believes the anticipated increase in revenue when the NHL resumes a normal 82-game season in 2021-22 could trigger a “lag formula” agreed upon by the owners and players in the CBA extension. Starting in 2022-23, the cap will increase by $1 million each season until 2025-26, when the players’ debt is expected to be repaid should revenue rebound strongly over that period.

Should the debt be repaid by the end of 2025-26, Seravalli indicates the CBA would automatically extend by one season to 2026-27. The cap would revert back to the usual formula where it is tied to actual revenue projections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The debt Seravalli refers to stems from the artificially set cap of $81.5 million for last season and this season. League revenue was far less than projected because of the pandemic. The cap would’ve been significantly lowered had it remained tied to revenue, forcing teams to shed salary. That would’ve been almost impossible because most teams would’ve lacked sufficient cap space to acquire those contracts. It also would’ve left a large number of free agents unsigned.

Instead, it was agreed the cap would be decoupled from revenue and artificially set at $81.5 million. That created an imbalance as the players were receiving most of the revenue. Because the CBA mandates a 50-50 split, the players have to pay back the excess via escrow to make the owners whole.

NHL’s coffers should receive a boost from its new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner plus the addition of the Seattle Kraken. Nevertheless, it remains largely a gate-driven league. The number of fans returning to the arenas post-pandemic will determine how much revenue increases. As Seravalli points out, short of a revenue bonanza, the cap will only slowly rise over the next five seasons.










How Flattened Salary Cap is Affecting NHL Trade Deadline

How Flattened Salary Cap is Affecting NHL Trade Deadline

 










Activity Slows In The NHL Offseason Trade Market

Activity Slows In The NHL Offseason Trade Market