NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s games, the salary cap could take a big jump next season, the league releases its first diversity report and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators forwards Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson each had a goal and two assists in a 7-5 win over the Boston Bruins. A third-period goal by Artum Zub put the game out of reach. David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron also each had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who pulled goalie Jeremy Swayman after he gave up six goals on 25 shots.

Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stützle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win in their home opener in front of a rare sellout crowd for the Senators, who had dropped their first two games of the season. The Senators had suffered at the gate during their rebuilding process in recent years. Season ticket sales jumped during the summer as offseason additions like Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux sparked excitement among the fan base.

An overtime goal by Vladislav Gavrikov lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks, who blew an early multi-goal lead for the fourth straight game. Tucker Poolman returned to the Canucks lineup after missing a game to an undisclosed injury while teammate Conor Garland was a healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every team blows a multi-goal lead now and then. Doing it in every game since the season started a week ago indicates a lack of skilled blueline depth and a poor overall defensive game.

The Calgary Flames pushed their record to 3-0-0 by overcoming a 2-0 deficit to nip the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists while Mikael Backlund scored the game-winner in the third period. Logan Thompson made 37 saves for the Golden Knights.

Third-period goals by James van Riemsdyk and Noah Cates carried the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carter Hart made 36 saves for the win as the Flyers have won three straight games. Steven Stamkos scored both goals for the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re already seeing the positive effect that head coach John Tortorella is having on the Flyers roster. Last year’s version would’ve wilted after falling behind 2-0 but this season’s bunch doesn’t give up.

The Buffalo Sabres got a 46-save performance by goaltender Eric Comrie to upset the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. The Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin tied an NHL record for a defenseman by scoring his third straight goal in the first three games of the season. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were each held to an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t sleep on the Sabres this season. They will be a competitive club and could surprise us by getting into the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.

A shootout goal by Gabriel Vilardi gave the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. The Kings got two third-period goals by Matt Roy to force overtime and the shootout round while Vilardi had a goal and an assist in regulation time. Juuse Saros turned aside 32 shots for the Predators.

New York Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom scored twice while teammates Brock Nelson, Noah Dobson and Adam Pelech each collected two assists to down the San Jose Sharks 5-2. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Sharks have lost their first five games of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I smell a rebuild in the Sharks’ future.

The New Jersey Devils overcame a 2-0 deficit to pick up their first win of the season by doubling up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Dougie Hamilton snapped a 2-2 tie while Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each collected two points. Jakob Silfverberg tallied both goals for the Ducks.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said the salary cap for 2023-24 could rise by at least $4 million if the escrow debt owed by the players to the league is repaid in full by the end of this season.

The players incurred a $1.1 billion debt as a result of revenue shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the salary cap being set artificially high at $81.5 million over the past two seasons and $82.5 million for this season under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the NHLPA. The cap was set to rise to $83.5 million next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sharp increase in hockey-related revenue since last season is the reason why the players’ escrow debt could be paid off sooner than expected. HRR is shared equally between the players and the team owners. A return to full 82-game schedules with no attendance restrictions as well as the lucrative new broadcasting deals with ESPN, Disney and Turner Sports are key reasons why the players’ debt could be repaid sooner than expected.

This would be good news for the teams and the players. A spike in the cap to $86.5 million next season means more money for cap-strapped teams. Meanwhile, players eligible for free-agent status next summer could make more than they would’ve under a flattened cap.

THE SCORE: The NHL released its first diversity report revealing that 84 percent of its workforce is white with men making up nearly 62 percent of that total. That mirrors the situation on the ice where more than 90 percent of players, coaches and officials are white.

Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive vice president of social impact, growth and legislative affairs, said the report was meant as a baseline in order to develop hiring strategies and ways to improve the league’s brand. She also indicated it’s not enough for the league to just hire people of color but must also improve its relationship with underrepresented communities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Score article pointed out, the results aren’t surprising for a sport that’s remained overwhelmingly white for socioeconomic and geographic reasons. Nevertheless, the NHL still has a long way to go to expand its inclusiveness of minorities.

This report forms the basis for how it can improve in those areas but how the league follows through will be crucial to achieving its aims. This report cannot be ignored if they truly want to improve diversity within the game.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received a one-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for high-sticking Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs.

THE DENVER POST: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has dropped its years-old doping case against Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin due to the results of additional analyses at a drug-testing lab in Switzerland. The case was based on a drug test Nichushkin had provided in 2013 while playing in the KHL.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Los Angeles Kings placed forward Alex Iafallo on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He is listed as week-to-week.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana remains out of the lineup for personal reasons. His status for Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks remains unclear.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2022

Brad Marchand is practicing with the Bruins, Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury acknowledges his poor start, Matt Murray’s injury could have a silver lining for the Leafs, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL didn’t schedule any games for Sunday, Oct. 17, 2022, so no game recaps this morning.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Brad Marchand returned to practice with his Bruins teammates for the first time since undergoing double hip surgery in May. The 34-year-old winger was a full participant in a light on-ice practice Sunday. “I feel really good. Today was more of a mental victory than anything, “ said Marchand. “It’s been a long four months.”

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand is expected to return to action around the American Thanksgiving long weekend in late November. He’ll be participating in morning skates with his teammates for the time being.

Speaking of the Bruins, they recalled defenseman Dan Renouf. That move suggests Brandon Carlo could be sidelined for a while with an upper-body injury suffered on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

TWINCITIES.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury acknowledged his poor start to this season and admitted he has to improve his play. The 37-year-old goaltender gave up 11 goals on 49 shots over his first two games and was booed off the ice by Wild fans during their 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. “I don’t blame them; I’d boo myself,” said Fleury. “I was not good. I feel bad for the fans. I feel bad for my teammates.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild signed Fleury to a two-year contract and handed him the starter’s job after trading Cam Talbot to the Ottawa Senators. He’s at a point in his career where age could be catching up with him. If so, the Wild could be in serious trouble between the pipes this season.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos suggests losing goalie Matt Murray for four weeks to an adductor injury could be the best thing that could’ve happened to the Maple Leafs. With Murray on long-term injured reserve, it provided them with the salary-cap wiggle room to recall Wayne Simmonds, Nick Robertson and Victor Mete.

This situation gives them an opportunity to fully evaluate Ilya Samsonov in the starter’s job. It also provides the club with a much-needed kick in the pants after they seemed to sleep-walk through their first two games of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The more important factor is Samsonov’s performance. If he proves up to the challenge as a starting goaltender, the Leafs will be fine. Their season could depend on it.

NEW YORK POST: Sammy Blais returns to the Rangers lineup tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s his first NHL regular-season game since suffering a season-ending knee injury last November. An upper-body injury suffered during preseason play kept him out of the lineup through the Rangers’ first three games of this season.

NHLPA released a statement on Saturday after the NHL announced it was closing its investigation into allegations of sexual assault and grooming leveled at Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole due to lack of evidence.

 

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Tyler Pitlick is still skating in practice with the St. Louis Blues despite being released from his professional tryout offer last week. He could earn a contract with the club with Logan Brown looking like he’ll be headed to injured reserve.

THE PROVINCE: It appears Tucker Poolman could be sidelined longer than anticipated as the Vancouver Canucks recalled Noah Juulsen. Poolman was injured during the Canucks 3-2 loss on Saturday to the Philadelphia Flyers.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the NHL and NHLPA should reach an agreement at the end of this season to spread the anticipated $9.5 million increase in the salary cap in 2024-25 and 2025-26 over the next three seasons. It would provide an annual cap increase of $3 million in each season, giving some much-needed cap relief to a number of teams next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks points to a number of teams forced to ice reduced rosters already this season due to constraints brought about by the flattened salary cap. It will rise by just $1 million for next season before jumping by a projected $4.5 million in 2024-25 and another $4 million in 2025-26.

Cap Friendly indicates 13 teams are at or above this season’s $82.5 million cap with another four clubs carrying under $250K in cap room. That makes it difficult for those clubs to ice full rosters or call up replacements from the minors if injuries strike. It could become a problem over the course of the season and perhaps prompt some team owners to call upon the league for some form of cap relief of the kind suggested by Brooks.

The argument can be made that it’s the fault of those teams for overspending on talent. However, some of those big contracts were signed several years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic flattened hockey-related revenues in 2019-20 and 2020-21, freezing the cap over the past two seasons and leading to marginal increases for this season and the next.

Those contracts were signed with the understanding that the cap would continue rising based on the annual projections from league headquarters. No one expected a global pandemic that led to shortened schedules and significantly reduced revenue nor can they be faulted for that lack of foresight.










Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Five days after being sidelined by Hurricane Fiona, Spector’s Hockey is back with the latest notable NHL headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Did you miss me? Because I sure missed all of you!

It’s been difficult for everyone here on Prince Edward Island and for others in Atlantic Canada affected by Hurricane Fiona. My family and I emerged unscathed with no damage to our home or property but many of my neighbors and fellow Islanders weren’t so lucky.

Repairs and cleanup are ongoing but in some cases, it could take weeks. Please spare a thought or prayers for those who still have a lot of work ahead of them to get back to normal. If you wish to make donations to aid those affected by Hurricane Fiona you can follow this link.

I’m grateful to two of my friends for providing me with a place to work until my electricity and internet are restored in the (hopefully) new future. A big thank you to the crews at Maritime Electric and everyone else working hard to get everyone back online.

The following is a brief summary of noteworthy NHL news of the last couple of days. I hope to be back with the daily morning coffee headlines starting Thursday, September 29.

THE SCORE: The NHL salary cap could rise by as much as $10 million by 2025-26. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Rory Boylen, the cap is projected to increase to $83.5 million for 2023-24, to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25, and to approximately $92 million by 2025-26.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And I’m sure we’ll see NHL teams (especially the general managers) being far more prudent spenders and show restraint when signing new contracts over that period…Nahhhhh!

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares recently suffered an oblique strain and will be out for three weeks.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers center Sean Couturier will not require surgery for an ongoing back injury. However, he remains sidelined week-to-week.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry was fined $5,000.00 for roughing Detroit Red Wings forward Jonatan Berggren during preseason play on Tuesday. The Wings won that game 6-2.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks winger Brock Boeser is out three-to-four weeks following surgery to repair a hand injury. TSN reports teammate Ilya Mikheyev suffered a lower-body injury during Monday’s preseason game against the Calgary Flames. He’s listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to dog Boeser, who inked a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $6.65 million with the Canucks this summer.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini denies allegations of child abuse by his own children. The NHL is monitoring the situation. The allegations arose during an open hearing earlier this week over whether Aquilini is still responsible for paying for his three youngest children’s education. He and his wife divorced in 2013.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed Spencer Knight to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.5 million beginning in 2023-24. Along with Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million AAV through 2025-26), the Panthers have the highest-paid goalie tandem in the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those two will become an expensive backup over that period.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Andrew Peeke to a three-year, $8.25 million contract extension.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche released Alexander Galchenyuk from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could spell the end of Galchenyuk’s NHL career. He was the third overall pick in the 2012 Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. After several seasons in Montreal, he’s bounced from the Habs to the Arizona Coyotes (twice), Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning moved their training camp to Nashville ahead of Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida. They postponed two home preseason games earlier this week.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Golden Knights remain among the hottest tickets in the secondary market. They’re fourth in demand among the 32 NHL clubs on the ticket resale marketplace StubHub.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2022

Nathan MacKinnon could be getting close to a new contract with the Avalanche, an update on Brad Marchand’s recovery from hip surgery, Canadiens top prospect Juraj Slafkovsky plays well in debut game during Prospects Challenge and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Nathan MacKinnon is hoping to soon have a contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche. Speaking with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman on their “32 Thoughts” podcast, the 27-year-old center said he assumed the deal would be in place on July 13, the first day when he was eligible to re-sign.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

While admitting it’s taken a little longer than he anticipated, MacKinnon believes the extension is “totally” on its way to completion. “It should be done shortly, I’m hoping,” he said. The long-time Avalanche superstar is earning a team-friendly average annual value of $6.3 million entering this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests MacKinnon could become not just the highest-paid player in Avalanche history but also the highest-paid in the NHL. That honor is currently held by Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, whose AAV is $12.5 million through 2025-26.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Brad Marchand is hoping to return to action with the Bruins by late November, perhaps by the American Thanksgiving weekend. The 34-year-old winger underwent double hip surgery during the offseason. He’s set to begin skating on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will also be without defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to start the season. McAvoy underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to return to the lineup by early December. Grzelcyk also had shoulder surgery and could be back by early November.

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens prospect Juraj Slafkovsky collected an assist and was named the second star in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in the Prospects Challenge tournament on Thursday. The 18-year-old winger was the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He saw playing time at even strength and in special-team situations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Slafkovsky’s progress will be closely monitored by Montreal fans and pundits. The Canadiens are rebuilding and the young Slovakian winger is expected to be a key part of the process. Whether he starts this season with the Canadiens or their AHL affiliate in Laval depends on his performance during training camp, which opens next week.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said league revenue exceeded $5 billion for the first time despite disruptions earlier in the 2021-22 season due to COVID-19. With the NHL returning to a normal schedule for 2022-23, Daly is optimistic that continued revenue growth will lead to a significant increase in the salary cap sooner instead of later.

The salary cap increased by $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23. Daly expects it will rise again by $1 million for 2023-24 but suggested it could increase further if revenues grow enough.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap is growing slowly because the players’ share of revenue exceeded the owners’ during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. As a result, the players have to make whole the owners’ share through escrow, which affects the salary cap’s rate of increase.

It’ll be interesting to see how much the cap could rise for next season if revenue increases exceed expectations. Earlier this year, Daly suggested it would take until 2024-25 before we’d see a significant rise in the cap.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports Daly also indicated the NHL and NHL Players Association are committed to an international tournament calendar that would see the league participate in the next three Winter Olympics and an additional three World Cup of Hockey tournaments.

The deputy commissioner admitted there are challenges associated with that calendar and no guarantees given Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. However, it’s not necessarily dependent on Russian participation.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Sean Durzi to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.7 million. Durzi, 23, had 27 points in 64 games as a rookie last season. Earlier this week, the Kings also re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year deal.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Kings, Alex Turcotte won’t participate in the club’s rookie camp and could miss the start of their main training camp next week due to concussion-related symptoms suffered during the 2022 AHL Calder Cup playoffs. The 21-year-old center’s bid to become a full-time NHL player has been hampered by injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turcotte was the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 Draft and is considered among the Kings’ top prospects. He played eight games last season with the Kings and 27 with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have invited forwards Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Cole to training camp on professional tryout offers.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Jason Demers to a professional tryout offer.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: With goaltender Andrew Hammond deciding not to report to training camp on a PTO, the Panthers have brought in J-F Berube on a professional tryout offer.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets will unveil a statue of the late Dale Hawerchuk on Oct. 1 at True North Square. Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Jets in the 1981 draft and spent nine of his 16 NHL seasons in Winnipeg. He won the Calder Trophy in 1982 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He passed away at age 57 from stomach cancer in 2020.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

The World Cup of Hockey is expected to return in 2024, the salary cap could significantly rise after 2023-24, Phil Kessel signs with the Golden Knights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league and the NHL Players Association are moving forward with plans to stage the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. The intent is to hold the tournament during a 17-day window in February 2024 featuring at least eight nations with games played in North America and Europe.

Daly indicated the plan is to play a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round in North America, with the semifinals and the final held in a North American city.

There is uncertainty over Russia’s participation in the tournament. The NHL has suspended all business operations with that country over its invasion of Ukraine. That’s in alignment with the International Ice Hockey Federation suspending Russia from all international tournaments until further notice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns pretty much guaranteed a World Cup of Hockey for 2024 thanks to the extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The NHL is also expected to participate in the 2026 Olympics.

It’s interesting that the league is willing to shutter its operations in midseason for a World Cup. One of the main reasons why they stayed out of the 2018 Olympics was the supposed unhappiness among team owners over “lost revenue” from a two-week pause in February for the Olympics every four years. It’s a different story for a league-run international tournament where they get the bulk of the revenue.

ESPN.COM: Speaking of Russian players, Daly said the league isn’t anticipating that they’ll have any difficulty obtaining work visas for the coming season. Russian players reapplying for visas encountered some difficulties earlier this season. Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was twice denied entry to the United States before successfully returning earlier this month.

Several European players played without work visas last season after the NHL worked out an exemption with the U.S. Government due to the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: Daly also believes the NHL salary cap will significantly increase following the 2023-24 season. That will be a year earlier than previous forecasts. He said revenue projections for the coming season are very solid. The salary cap rose by just $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23

Vegas Golden Knights sign winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap was artificially set at $81.5 million for the past two seasons due to revenue losses caused by the pandemic. It is to rise by $1 million again in 2023-24 and was supposed to rise by another $1 million in 2024-25 until the players paid back their share of hockey-related revenue through escrow.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Phil Kessel to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 34-year-old winger played the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, netting 44 assists and 52 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights needed some offensive depth among their top-six wingers after trading away Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov this summer in cost-cutting moves. Kessel could end up skating alongside first-line center Jack Eichel. He also needs just eight more games to set the NHL’s Ironman record, currently held by Keith Yandle with 980 games.

NHL.COM: Timo Meier said he hasn’t held contract extension talks yet with San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier. The 25-year-old winger is a year away from restricted free agent status.

Meier said he’s focused on preparing for the upcoming season. He looks forward to meeting with Grier and new Sharks head coach David Quinn when he returns to San Jose for training camp next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Meier should be Grier’s priority if he’s retooling the roster rather than rebuilding it. The winger enjoyed a career-best performance last season with 35 goals and 76 points in 77 games.

Meier’s earning an annual average value of $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million. That’s what it will cost the Sharks to qualify his rights next summer unless the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract at an AAV below $10 million before then.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Alexandre Texier will not be joining the Blue Jackets for the coming season as per the advice of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. He will not be paid his $1.525 million NHL salary for 2022-23 and it won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Texier will be permitted to sign a one-year contract with a European team for this season.

Texier was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the Blue Jackets last March after being sidelined by a fractured finger in January. In a statement, he indicated that he’s experienced personal issues and challenges that require him to be close to his family. He expressed his appreciation to the Blue Jackets and their fans for their support and empathy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Texier receives the help he needs and can maintain his playing career either in the NHL or in Europe.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho was arrested on Aug. 13 in Sweden for drunk driving and had his license suspended as a result. Aho blew .03 on the breathalyzer, putting him over the .02 limit. He was fined 40,000 Swedish Krona.

The incident occurred at 10:30 am after Aho and his wife had visited friends the night before. His agent, Claude Lemieux, said his client was surprised he was still over the limit by the next morning and is very sorry about the mistake.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

The Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as head coach, the Predators are on the verge of being sold, the salary cap range for 2022-23 is set, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports a source claims the Flyers have hired John Tortorella as their new head coach with the official announcement expected Friday.

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as their new head coach (NHL.com).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Tortorella’s new contract is expected to be in the range of four years at $4 million per season. That means the Flyers will be paying $9 million on coaches for next season as they still owe former coach Alain Vigneault $5 million for ’22-’23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella has a reputation as a demanding coach who preaches an aggressive defensive style. He also has a long history of success in almost every NHL city he’s coached in.

Tortorella guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2003-04, winning his first Jack Adams Award this season. He coached the New York Rangers to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals and the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first-ever playoff series win in 2019 by sweeping the Lighting in the opening round. Tortorella won his second Adams Award with the Blue Jackets in 2016-17.

The Flyers, however, will be a challenge for Tortorella. While his hiring fits into management’s goal of “aggressive retooling” of its roster, there are questions about their scoring punch and their blueline depth. Signing him a four-year deal suggests they’re willing to give him the time he needs to reverse the Flyers’ on-ice fortunes.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are nearing an agreement to sell the franchise to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. He’s expected to become the majority owner for an unspecified period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, Haslam could have in store for the Predators. One thing is certain: he won’t be moving the club out of Nashville.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA confirmed the salary cap limits for 2022-23. The upper limit will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million while the lower limit is set at $61 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: League commissioner Gary Bettman announced earlier this week that the upper limit will continue to rise by $1 million increments for at least the next two seasons. If hockey-related revenue continues to improve over that period, the increases will become more robust by 2024-25.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli believes it’s likely the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane will reach some sort of settlement regarding the latter’s grievance over his contract termination. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested an arbitrator might not be available to hear the case until after the NHL free-agency period begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane would still be allowed to sign with another NHL team if his case hasn’t been heard by July 13. However, the arbiter’s subsequent ruling could complicate things for both sides.

Seravalli suggests the arbiter could rule that the Sharks terminated Kane’s contract without cause. That would mean the winger would be reinstated with the Sharks and any contract he signed with another club would be voided. Kane would get the remainder of his original contract back but he’d have to return to the Sharks, which neither side wants at this stage.

THE DENVER POST: Valeri Nichushkin turned into the best bargain signing ever made by Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic. Inked to a one-year, $850K contract in 2019-20 after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, the two-way winger has gone on to become an invaluable member of the Avalanche’s march to the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin’s performance in 2019-20 earned him a two-year extension worth $2.5 million annually. This season has been a career year for the 27-year-old winger, tallying 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games during the regular season and six goals and 11 points in 15 postseason games thus far.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning aren’t panicking over their overtime loss to the Avalanche in the opening game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. They’re 1-3 in Game 1 in this postseason and 11-3 in every other game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be important for the Lightning to win Game 2 on Saturday and return home for Games 3 and 4 with this series tied. While they overcame being down 2-0 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals, they could find it more difficult surmounting a similar deficit against the talented, swift-skatingAvalanche.

WINNIPEG SUN: Barry Trotz is set to meet again with the Jets for more discussions regarding the club’s vacant head coaching position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean it’s a certainty Trotz will sign with the Jets but it is a promising step in that direction.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have signed Sammy Blais to a one-year, $1.525 million contract extension. The 26-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13. He missed most of this season following a knee injury suffered in November.

Speaking of the Rangers, former Blueshirt Sean Avery was found guilty of using his scooter to hit a car that was blocking a bike lane in Manhattan in 2019. He was sentenced to time served.