NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2023

The Bruins’ David Krejci collects three points in his 1,000th NHL game, the three stars of the week are revealed and the Wild sign Matt Boldy to a contract extension. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center David Krejci celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game with a three-assist performance in a 6-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jeremy Swayman had a 29-save shutout while David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha each scored two goals as the league-leading Bruins (35-5-4) hold a 10-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 72 points. The Flyers dropped to 18-19-7 on the season.

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils picked up their seventh straight road win by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Tomas Tatar. Jack Hughes scored with 10 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime and the shootout. With 61 points, the Devils (29-12-3) sit one point behind the Hurricanes in third place in the overall standings. James Reimer stopped 38 shots and Timo Meier had a goal and an assist for the Sharks as they fell to 13-23-9.

Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger kicked out 27 shots to blank the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. Jamie Benn scored what proved to be the game-winner as the Stars (26-12-7) move into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets with 59 points. The Jets hold first-overall in the Western Conference with a game in hand. With 58 points, the 28-15-2 Golden Knights slipped to third overall in the conference. They also lost defenseman Alec Martinez to an undisclosed injury.

The Colorado Avalanche got two goals and two assists from Nathan MacKinnon in a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist for the 22-17-3 Avalanche (47 points) as they moved to within four points of the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Red Wings’ record slipped to 18-17-7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also welcomed back winger Valeri Nichushkin after a nine-game absence with an ankle injury.

Speaking of the Flames, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Juuse Saros stopped 38 shots, including 21 in the third period while Roman Josi and Juuso Parssinen scored for the Predators as they improved to 20-17-6 and sit five points back of the Flames, who slipped to 21-15-9 on the season.

Third-period goals by Nick Paul, Brandon Hagel and Victor Hedman lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Seattle Kraken by a score of 4-1, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. With 57 points, the Lightning (28-13-1) moved to within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Kraken (26-13-4) remain two points back of the first-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

New York Rangers goalie Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Barclay Goodrow and Kaapo Kakko each had two points as the Rangers improved to 25-13-7 to sit four back of the Devils in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points. The Blue Jackets (13-28-2) have dropped four of their last five contests.

The Washington Capitals overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the New York Islanders 4-3 on an overtime goal by Dmitry Orlov. The Capitals (24-16-6) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 54 points. The Islanders (23-18-4) are four points back of the Capitals with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders weren’t happy that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin went unpenalized for what they considered an illegal hit to the head of forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the second period. Pageau left the game briefly but did return to action. Meanwhile, Capitals forward Nic Dowd left the game in the first period with an apparent leg injury and didn’t return.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (22-15-6), who hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference (50 points) with two games in hand over the Islanders. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry each had two goals for the 12-27-5 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The St. Louis Blues collected their 2,000th franchise win by nipping the Ottawa Senators 2-1. Jake Neighbours and Noel Acciari scored for the Blues (22-20-3) as they also sit four points back of the Flames for the final Western wild-card spot. The Senators slipped to 19-21-3 and have dropped four of their last five games.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists in a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves for the Panthers (21-20-4) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 46 points. The Sabres dropped to 21-19-2 and have lost four of their last five games.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones, Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 15, 2023.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday announced the signing of winger Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million contract extension. The average annual value of the contract, which begins in 2023-24, is $7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boldy, 21, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. He wasted little time establishing himself as a promising playmaking winger, netting 39 points in 47 games as a rookie in 2021-22 and 29 points in 42 games this season.

The Wild obviously believes big things are in store for Boldy. This deal could turn into a long-term bargain if he meets those expectations. It will also have a more immediate effect on the club’s salary-cap payroll for 2023-24, leaving them with $9.3 million in cap space.

THE ATHLETIC: The Carolina Hurricanes reassigned goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederik Andersen’s recent return from injury meant they have to demote Kochetkov, who remains waiver-exempt this season.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks physician Dr. Bill Regan said there were two setbacks that stalled winger Tanner Pearson’s recovery from a hand injury that ended his season. He underwent two surgeries but the club didn’t reveal any details regarding the problems that arose during his rehabilitation due to patient privacy and confidentiality.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pearson’s situation raised questions and some criticism over the club’s handling of his treatment. The NHLPA is reportedly looking into the matter.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs winger Nick Robertson has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery. His recovery is expected to take six months.

OTTAWA SUN: Potential owners of the Senators could have their first opportunity to review the club’s finances as early as Tuesday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2022

The Red Wings stage a big rally to defeat the Penguins, the Bruins continue their winning ways, the Leafs are fined for violating the CBA and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jake Walman. Magnus Hellberg stopped all 19 shots he faced after replacing Ville Husso in the Red Wings net while David Perron scored the tying goal as his club improved to 15-11-7 on the season. Jason Zucker tallied twice for Pittsburgh as they dropped to 19-10-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang were all held scoreless in this contest as the Penguins were outshot 46-31.

Third-period goals by Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Zacha lifted the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils (22-11-2). Linus Ullmark stopped 30 shots for the 28-4-3 Bruins as they extended their points streak to nine games and sit atop the overall standings with 59 points, seven ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. The once red-hot Devils, meanwhile, have dropped eight of their last nine contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Devils placed defensemen John Marino (upper body) and Ryan Graves (lower body) on injured reserve. Both are considered week-to-week.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Bruins fourth-line forward Tomas Nosek (undisclosed) was kept out of the lineup for this game. Head coach Jim Montgomery called it nothing serious, preferring Nosek not to play in back-to-back games during his recovery.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made a season-high 49 shots backstopping his club to a 3-2 shootout upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. Adam Henrique scored twice in regulation while Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry tallied in the shootout for the 10-22-4 Ducks. Mark Stone and Ben Hutton replied for the Golden Knights (24-12-2), who hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Gibson’s fifth game this month and his first since Dec. 13 as injuries and illness limited his playing time.

The Calgary Flames nipped the Seattle Kraken 3-2 as Jonathan Huberdeau snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period. Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist for the Flames (17-13-7) while Philipp Grubauer made 41 saves for the 18-11-4 Kraken.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point scored twice to drop the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Victor Hedman collected two assists as the Lightning improved to 21-11-1 while the Canadiens (15-17-3) dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also set a franchise record in this game by starting five rookies (Kaiden Guhle, Johnathan Kovacevic, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Justin Barron) on their blueline.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs were fined $100,000 by the NHL for violating the collective bargaining agreement. They traveled to St. Louis on Dec. 26 for their game the following day against the Blues. That date was a mandated off-day for all team purposes, including travel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans criticized the league for this action. However, it was the NHL Players Association that mandated off days for players in the CBA. The league is merely enforcing the rules.

Meanwhile, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was fined $25,000 by the league for what it called “demeaning conduct directed at the officials” during the Leafs 5-4 overtime win against the Blues. Keefe was upset over what he considered two uncalled infractions by Blues players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second infraction was Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese getting cut by a high stick from Blues winger Brandon Saad. I don’t think Keefe was unjustified in his anger at the officials over that missed call.

Speaking of the Leafs, Morgan Rielly is set to return to the lineup in Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. The 28-year-old defenseman has been sidelined since Nov. 21 by a knee injury. During his absence, the Leafs went 12-2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not to imply that the Leafs are a better team without Rielly but rather an indication of how well they adjusted during his absence. Having their best defenseman back in the lineup should only make them better.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers placed goaltender Carter Hart on injured reserve despite the fact he practiced with the club earlier this week. He is expected to play in the final two games of their upcoming road trip against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks provided he clears concussion protocol.

THE SCORE: Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has reinjured his surgically repaired left ankle. There is no timetable for his return. Nichuskin underwent the procedure in early November and returned to the lineup on Dec. 9.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 3 by a concussion.

YARDBARKER: The Minnesota Wild placed winger Marcus Foligno (lower body) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2022

Mitch Marner extends his points streak in the latest Leafs win, Johnny Gaudreau talks about his decision to leave Calgary for Columbus, the latest salary cap update for 2023-24 and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his franchise-best points streak to 21 games as his club blanked the Los Angeles Kings 5-0. Marner scored his 11th goal of the season while Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for the shutout as the Leafs (17-5-6) sit three points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins with 40 points. The Kings dropped to 14-11-4.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto defenseman T.J. Brodie returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a strained oblique. However, forward Nick Robertson is expected to miss significant time after suffering a shoulder injury in the first period. The Leafs are on a roll, going 10-0-3 since dropping a 4-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 11.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored twice and Steven Stamkos picked up two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Stamkos extended his points streak to 12 games while Brian Elliott kicked out 34 shots. The Lightning improved to 16-9-1 while the Predators fall to 12-10-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning honored defenseman Ryan McDonagh with a video tribute. He spent five seasons with the Bolts before being traded to the Predators in the offseason.

Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals and picked up an assist to defeat the St. Louis Blues by a score of 5-2. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots for the Jets (17-7-1) as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games. The Blues (12-15-0) have dropped seven of their last 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets sit in fifth place in the overall standings with 35 points. Defenseman Logan Stanley returned to action after being sidelined since Oct. 24 with a fractured foot. Jets forward Saku Maenalanen left this game with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Miro Heiskanen tallied twice for the Stars (15-7-5), who sit in second place in the Central Division behind the Jets. The Senators sit in last place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-14-2.

The Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves as the Panthers improved to 13-10-4. The Red Wings sit at 13-8-5.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau wants Calgary Flames fans to know that he didn’t string them or the team along before signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said the former Flames winger. He said it ultimately came down to being able to play closer to home and spend more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were offering more money on a long-term team deal but Gaudreau left that cash on the table to accept a slightly lesser offer with the Blue Jackets.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the salary cap for 2023-24 will be the prime topic at next week’s NHL Board of Governors meetings. The cap could rise by $3.5 million or more over the current $82.5 million if the players repay their remaining cap debt from the pandemic to the owners by the season’s end. If they don’t finish paying it off, and a lot of observers believe they won’t, the cap will only rise by $1 million.

LeBrun and Darren Dreger said there could be a third option whereby the NHL Players Association ask the players if they want the cap to rise by between $2 million and $3 million for next season. From a player’s perspective, it must not impact escrow. So far, there’s been no discussions on that issue between the league and the PA but they’ll have to have that conversation before early summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how they would work that out if the players are willing to find a way for a bigger bump in next season’s cap. LeBrun and Dreger didn’t indicate how the league and the PA could “massage the cap” in a way that won’t affect escrow payments.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Some good news for the injury-ravaged Avalanche as winger Valeri Nichushkin could return from ankle surgery for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.

CBS SPORTS: John Klingberg will return to the Anaheim Ducks lineup Friday against the San Jose Sharks. He’s missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury.

AM NY: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty is ready to return to action after missing the last six games with a back injury.

GOPHNX.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have loaned forward Dylan Guenther to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships.










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 – September 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2022

Gabriel Landeskog and Nick Suzuki are among notable stars sidelined as training camps open. Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire season, plus the latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Mark Stone, Mathew Barzal and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is expected to miss the start of the 2022-23 season with a lower-body injury that’s been nagging him since last season. Meanwhile, winger Valeri Nichushkin is not participating in on-ice activities with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog underwent knee surgery in March and missed the remainder of the regular season but returned in the playoffs to lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki will be sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Joel Edmundson will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Winger Josh Anderson and Jake Evans are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson missed all but 23 games last season recovering from a back injury.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire upcoming season with a torn psoas muscle causing hip and core muscle issues. General manager Chuck Fletcher said it’s possible the 31-year-old blueliner’s career is in jeopardy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis’ injury sidelined him for all but four games last season. His absence is a big blow to the Flyers blueline.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said the nerve pain in his back is fully gone following surgery earlier this year. The 30-year-old winger missed 45 games last season. He said he’s looking forward to getting into at least one preseason game before the regular season begins next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone’s absence contributed to the Golden Knights missing the playoffs last season.

TSN: Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick will miss the coming season with an upper-body injury. A former first-round pick, the frequently sidelined Patrick played just 25 games last season.

THE ATHLETIC: A number of lawyers and diplomats worked with the Minnesota Wild and the agent for Kirill Kaprizov to help the Russian winger secure a U.S. work visa for the coming season. There were concerns the 25-year-old Kaprizov wouldn’t be able to return to the Wild due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he doesn’t think there was much truth to reports claiming Kaprizov used a fake military ID. The young winger has been in Minnesota for the past seven weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Kaprizov and other Russian NHL players encounter further difficulties getting work visas next summer if the war is still going on by then.

NEW YORK POST: Mathew Barzal isn’t stressed about not having a contract extension yet with the Islanders. The 25-year-old center remains hopeful of getting a deal done before the start of the season in two weeks’ time. There appears to be genuine sentiment between Barzal and Islanders management toward getting a new contract in place soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal will be a restricted free agent next summer and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks won’t be discussing contract extensions with forwards Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry and defenseman Jamie Drysdale until after the 2022-23 season. GM Pat Verbeek wants to see how the season goes and doesn’t want contract negotiations to be a distraction for the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras and Drysdale will be completing their entry-level contracts. Terry will be completing his second NHL contract and will have arbitration rights next summer.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart said he’s fully cooperating with the NHL investigation into sexual assault allegations aimed at eight players on Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss the opening week of training camp with a sore back.

TSN: The Arizona Coyotes placed Andrew Ladd on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. He was acquired from the New York Islanders last year. Per the terms of the deal, the Coyotes will receive a 2023 third-round pick from the Isles as a result of Ladd being placed on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd is in the final year of his contract. Given his age and injury history, the 36-year-old winger’s NHL playing career appears to be over.

Former Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has rejoined the team as a special alumni advisor.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Ryan McLeod to a one-year, $798K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That bargain price could enable the Oilers to start the season with a 21-man roster while GM Ken Holland seeks ways to free up additional cap space if unable to do so over the next two weeks.

THE ATHLETIC: Russian players who are scheduled to participate in upcoming NHL games in Prague will not be allowed into Czechia owing to that country’s stance on Russia’s war with Ukraine.

The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are scheduled to play in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. Yakov Trenin plays for the Predators while Alexander Barabanov and Evgeny Svechnikov skate for the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Mike Grier said the NHL is handling this situation with Czechia. He doesn’t anticipate his club will forfeit those games but added, “we all go or we don’t go.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

Evgeni Malkin to test UFA market while Penguins re-sign Rickard Rakell, Avs promote Joe Sakic and re-sign Valeri Nichushkin, Senators trade Matt Murray to the Leafs and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger broke the news yesterday that long-time Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin intends to test the free-agent market when it opens on Wednesday at noon ET. Colleague Pierre LeBrun reported there was a bit of progress in negotiations between Malkin and the Penguins but his decision to go to market reflects his frustration with the process.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins reportedly are offering Malkin a three-year term while he’d prefer a longer deal. I can’t say I blame him considering the Pens re-signed teammates Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to six-year contracts.

There’s still time for the two sides to reach an agreement and the Pens have the cap space to re-sign him. Nevertheless, Malkin could draw plenty of interest in the open market. Whether he’ll get a long-term deal remains to be seen.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins re-signed Rickard Rakell to a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the March trade deadline, netting 13 points in 19 regular-season games with the Penguins. The AAV is reasonable but the term is too long for a 29-year-old winger who last reached 30 goals in 2017-18.

Maybe Rakell will regain that form with the Penguins, but I think his chances of doing so would be better skating alongside Malkin. His linemates for next season could include an aging Jeff Carter and a frequently injured Jason Zucker.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche promoted general manager Joe Sakic to president of hockey operations. Assistant general manager Chris MacFarland takes over as the GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic will still be involved in the major decisions but MacFarland will handle the day-to-day work. The move was made in part because other clubs were expressing interest in hiring MacFarland as a general manager. This was a shrewd decision by the Avs to keep him in the fold.

Speaking of the Avalanche, they signed Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million. The 27-year-old winger was slated to become a UFA on Wednesday. Meanwhile, it appears winger Andre Burakovsky will be testing the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bought out by the Dallas Stars in 2019, Nichushkin turned his career around in Colorado, enjoying a career-best 52-point regular season and netting nine goals and 15 points in 20 playoff games in their march to the Stanley Cup. It’s a major raise for Nichushkin on a deal that seems rather lengthy. However, it could work out for the Avs over the long term if he maintains that high level of two-way play.

OTTAWA SUN: The Ottawa Senators traded goaltender Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in 2024 for future considerations. The Senators also retained 25 percent of the 28-year-old Murray’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As more than one pundit and fan pointed out on social media, this trade will either make Kyle Dubas look like a genius or ensure the coming season will be his last as Maple Leafs GM.

When healthy, Murray is a good goaltender who backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. However, he’s been plagued by injuries in recent years that have sidelined him for lengthy periods of time and hampered his performance. Dubas now needs to find a reliable backup goaltender for Murray.

Senators GM Pierre Dorion is enjoying a fine off-season thus far. He acquired a proven 40-goal scorer last week in Alex DeBrincat and freed up a logjam in goal while shedding the bulk of Murray’s cap hit. He now has room to pursue some additional veteran depth via free agency or the trade market.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’re working on trading winger Connor Brown and hired former Sens defenseman Wade Redden as a player development coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have granted Evander Kane’s agent permission to speak with other clubs. However, they remain hopeful of working out an agreement on a new contract with the 30-year-old winger. It’s believed they offered Kane a three-year deal worth $4.75 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Kane’s situation pans out. The uncertainty over the outcome of his contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks plus his well-documented personal baggage could scare off other clubs, making the Oilers perhaps his best option.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports St. Louis Blues winger David Perron could be heading to market. The Blues want to re-sign him but currently lack sufficient cap space to do so. Perron could command up to $6 million annually on the open market.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are reportedly in negotiations with David Krejci for a potential return to Boston. The 36-year-old center spent last season playing Czechia.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks placed Henrik Borgstrom and Brett Connolly on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out their contracts. They’ll become UFAs on Wednesday. They’ve also brought back Derek King as an assistant coach following his solid stint as their interim bench boss in 2021-22.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov has been offered a one-year contract by his former KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s a restricted free agent who cannot be signed to an offer sheet. It’s believed this is an attempted leverage move by his agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL offer is for less than $1 million US. I doubt Isles GM Lou Lamoriello will be swayed by this tactic. There was concern over whether this offer meant Romanov would have difficulty returning to the United States. However, he and his wife are reportedly in Miami.

TSN: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Ondrej Kase and Chicago Blackhawks forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik were among a number of restricted free agents who did not receive qualifying offers by Monday’s 5 pm ET deadline. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puck Pedia also has a list of RFAs who didn’t get qualifying offers. Some, like Samsonov, Kase, Strome and Kubalik would’ve cost more to qualify than their teams could afford because their actual salaries were higher than their annual cap hit. Some of them could’ve also received higher salaries through arbitration. These players could still sign with their current clubs but it would be for less than what they would’ve received through qualifying offers or arbitration.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ben Bishop has returned to the Dallas Stars as a coach in an informal capacity.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks have parted ways with scouting director Doug Wilson Jr.