NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2021

The Lightning thump the Islanders to take a 3-2 lead in their semifinal series, updates on the Golden Knights and Canadiens, 18 players exempt from the expansion draft, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are one game away from returning to the Stanley Cup Final after crushing the New York Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 of their semifinal series. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each scored twice, Nikita Kucherov collected three assists, Brayden Point scored to extend his goals streak to eight games, and Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 21-save shutout.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Islanders center Mathew Barzal could face supplemental discipline from the NHL department of player safety after receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta, who was shaken up and played just one shift in the third period.

The Lightning holds a 3-2 series lead and can wrap up the series in Game 6 Wednesday on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the Lightning’s most dominating performance of these playoffs. It was also the Islanders’ worst effort of the postseason. The Bolts jumped from the gate early with three first-period goals, chasing Isles starter Semyon Varlamov from the net. Backup Ilya Sorokin didn’t fare any better, allowing five goals on 26 shots.

This loss isn’t all on the Isles goaltenders. Their teammates seemed caught off guard by the Lightning’s strong start and never really mounted much of a response.

Barzal’s frustration boiled over when he crosschecked Rutta. It could prove more costly to the Isles in Game 6 if his actions result in suspension.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights’ top forwards are struggling to score in their semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens. Nicolas Roy has two goals, Mattias Janmark one, and that’s it for their scoring forwards. Their defensemen have accounted for the bulk of their offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have done a good job thus far bottling up Vegas’ top scorers. They’ll have another opportunity to find a way to thwart the Habs’ tight-checking system in Game 5 tonight in Las Vegas.

TSN: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher believes the longer this series goes the more pressure falls on the heavily favored Golden Knights. “As this series goes on, we get more and more comfortable in these situations and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve shortened this series to a best-of-three,” said Gallagher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game could determine the direction of this series. The winner will have a chance to close it out in Game 6 on Thursday in Montreal.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector weighs in on the poor quality of officiating in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mark (no relation) isn’t the only pundit raising questions about the questionable calls and missed penalties in every series thus far. We can expect this issue to be raised by reporters during NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual postseason press conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma expressed concern over the recent positive COVID-19 tests of Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme and Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon. He suspects they contracted the coronavirus in Las Vegas, where transmission rates are six times higher than in Quebec as health guidelines in Vegas have gone from relaxed to non-existent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of where Ducharme and McCrimmon were infected with COVID-19, the league and the two clubs must ensure their health protocols for this series remain strictly enforced. An outbreak among the players could put their health at risk and derail their series.

CAP FRIENDLY: 18 NHL players are exempt from next month’s expansion draft due to injury or career-ending illness. They include Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, Arizona’s Marian Hossa, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, Tampa Bay’s Marian Gaborik and Washington’s Henrik Lundqvist.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Matt Nieto to a two-year, $1.7 million contract.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Blake Comeau to a one-year, $1 million contract.

ESPN.COM: J.T. Brown has retired from professional hockey to join the expansion Seattle Kraken as a television analyst. He played seven NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild from 2011-12 to 2018-19, finishing with 72 points in 365 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brown in his broadcasting career.

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers passed away Monday from lung cancer at age 58. He was diagnosed in 2019 despite being a non-smoker.

Kurvers spent 11 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks from 1984-85 to 1994-95, finishing with 421 points in 659 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kurvers’ family, friends, former teammates and associates, and the Wild organization.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, Golden Knights to re-sign Mark Stone, Roberto Luongo reaches another milestone, Wild re-sign Eric Staal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: A four-goal second period carried the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 30th goal of the season while Sabres center Jack Eichel scored twice. The Sabres (66 points) sit six points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Leafs (80 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division.

The Montreal Canadiens (73 points) failed to widen their lead in the standings over the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, falling 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider made 34 saves and Connor Carrick collected two assists for the Devils. The Canadiens sit one point ahead of the Hurricanes and Penguins in the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

Victor Hedman’s shootout goal enabled the Tampa Bay Lightning to edge the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. The Bolts are the first team this season to reach 100 points.  

Shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Brian Boyle gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Predators defenseman P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist while Leon Draisaitl tallied twice for the Oilers. The Predators (79 points) move one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets into first in the Central Division. 

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo moved into third on the all-time wins list (Photo via NHL Images)

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 485th career win in a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Luongo moves into third on the all-time wins list. Teammate Mike Hoffman had a three-point performance. With the loss, the Avalanche (66 points) fall out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Avs were playing without forward Matt Nieto, who’s sidelined six-to-eight weeks with a lower-body injury

Jacob Markstrom had a 29-save shutout performance and Bo Horvat scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. The Canucks (62 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, and Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 24. 

SPORTSNET: Mark Stone has agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights shortly after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators yesterday. The deal, expected to be worth over $9 million annually, cannot be officially signed until March 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will be a significant new contract for Stone, who’s on a one-year, $7.35-million deal this season and was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. With 62 points in 59 games, the 26-year-old Stone is among the league’s best two-way players and would’ve been among the top free agents in the 2019 UFA market. It’s a big commitment by the Golden Knights, signaling their intent to continue building upon their early success and remain a legitimate playoff contender. 

TSN: The Minnesota Wild re-signed center Eric Staal to a two-year, $6-million contract extension. Staal was slated to become a UFA in July

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal stated his intent to stay with the Wild before the trade deadline. They’ve rewarded him for his loyalty and see him as an experienced leader who’ll help guide them through their current roster retool. 

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars winger Mats Zuccarello will undergo surgery today to repair a broken arm and will be sidelined four weeks. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have activated goaltender Corey Crawford off injured reserve and assigned Collin Delia to Rockford.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (upper body) could be sidelined longer than expected after suffering an apparent left arm injury during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyles. Teammate Ben Chiarot, meanwhile, was fined over $3,700.00 for cross-checking Coyotes forward Nick Cousins.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2018

Alex Burrows retires, latest player signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

SPORTSNET: After 13 NHL seasons, winger Alex Burrows announced his retirement to become an assistant coach with the AHL’s Laval Rocket. He finished his NHL playing career with 205 goals, 409 points and 1,134 PIMs in 913 games. He spent over 11 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and less that two with the Ottawa Senators. 

Former Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators forward Alex Burrows retires (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burrows’ best seasons were with the Canucks. Skating on the same line with the Sedin twins, Burrows tallied 26-plus goals and 48-or-more points four times between 2008-09 to 2011-12. His most memorable goal was the overtime winner in Game 7 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Burrows’ agitating style was hated by opposing players and fans but he was beloved by the Canucks and their supporters. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel has changed his number from 15 to 9, the same number he wore in college hockey. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Ryan Strome to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.1 million.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a two-year, $3.95-million contract with forward Matt Nieto. 

SUN-SENTINEL: The Florida Panthers re-upped defenseman Alexander Petrovic to a one-year, $1.95-million deal. 

TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed unrestricted free agent forward Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $650K contract. Ennis was recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed goaltender Oscar Dansk to a two-year, two-way deal worth $675K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars agreed to a one-year contract with center Jason Dickinson worth $875k. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick Beau Bennett signed with KHL club Dinamo Minsk. 

TSN: Ottawa Senators assistant general manager pleaded not guilty to a second charge of sexual harassment. 

SPORTSNET: In notable non-NHL news, the RCMP has charged the driver of a transport truck with ” 29 criminal charges in a fatal collision that killed 16 people, including 10 players, with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team” in April. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2017

Game recaps plus injury and waiver updates in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM : Shea Weber scored twice, Alex Galcheyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty ended their goalless droughts and Carey Price made 26 saves as the Montreal Canadiens snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Earlier in the day, the Panthers claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the first time this season, all the Canadiens top players were at their best at the same time. The Habs looked a little shaky in the first period and fell behind 1-0 early in the second but three goals late in the second period (two on the power play) shifted momentum in their favor. As for the Panthers claiming Niemi, that move suggests starting goalie Roberto Luongo could be sidelined longer than expected. 

In his first-ever NHL star, goaltender Oscar Dansk made 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Tomas Nosek had a goal and an assist for the Knights, who’ve won seven of their first eight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights fairy-tale start continues. No one expected them to play this well. This was their second straight win against one of the top teams in the Western Conference, having defeated the St. Louis Blues in their previous game. 

John Tavares tallied a hat trick to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, leaving the latter winless through their first nine games of this season. Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller collected two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keller’s performance is among the few bright spots for the floundering Coyotes thus far this season. He leads all NHL rookies in goals (six) and points (10). 

Steven Stamkos had two assists and Nikita Kucherov scored a goal to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Both players now have 10-game point streaks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s only early in the season but the Lightning are serving notice they’re back as serious Stanley Cup contenders. 

Phil Kessel scored in overtime and Matt Murray made 29 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 2-1. Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers. Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz left the game in the first period with a concussion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Murray’s heroics, this game never would’ve reached overtime and the Penguins wouldn’t have won. He made several big saves in this one. The Oilers didn’t help themselves, missing some opportunities to score with an open net. 

Ryan Getzlaf netted a goal and an assist in his return from injury as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2. Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick, the second-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, left the game with a possible concussion

Matthew Tkachuk scored in regulation and netted the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames rallied to defeat the Nashville Predators 3-2. Dougie Hamilton had two assists for the Flames. 

Matt Nieto’s first career NHL hat trick carried the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Adrian Kempe scored the game-tying goal and the winner in a shootout as the Los Angeles Kings edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed Jeff Carter (leg injury) on injured reserve

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 21-year-old Kempe’s off to a terrific start for the Kings. With five goals and seven points in nine games, he’s already exceeded the two goals and six points he netted in 25 games last season. 

Robin Lehner turned in a 32-save shutout performance and Benoit Pouliot scored the only goal to give the Buffalo Sabres a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. 

Anders Nilson kicked out 29 shots as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the injury-ravaged Minnesota Wild 1-0. Jake Virtanen potted the game’s only goal. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced defenseman Troy Stecher will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky will be out six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair his fractured left thumb. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers placed forward Adam Cracknell on waivers and recalled Cristoval “Boo” Nieves. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2017

Washington Capitals forward Daniel Winnik (26) celebrates what would be his game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Game recaps, including the end of the Blue Jackets’ win streak and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets’ 16-game win streak ended with a thud, falling 5-0 to the Washington Capitals. Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, and Nate Schmidt each collected two points, and goaltender Braden Holtby made 25 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets came within one game of tying the NHL record of 17 consecutive victories. Even though they fell short by one game, their 16-game run was still very impressive. Barring a stunning second-half collapse, the points they collected during that streak should ensure them of a playoff berth in April. 

Earlier in the day, Kuznetsov was fined $2,000.00 by the league for diving/embellishment. 

Patrick Maroon tallied a hat trick and Cam Talbot made 33 saves as the Edmonton Oilers squeaked past the Boston Bruins 4-3. 

Colton Sissons also had a hat trick to power the Nashville Predators to a 6-1 beatdown of the Tampa Bay Lightning, giving the Predators their fourth straight road win. 

Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal each scored twice as the Minnesota Wild overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Koivu scored the game-tying and game-winning goals. Earlier in the day, a source revealed Sharks winger Tomas Hertl (knee injury) won’t return to action until mid-to-late February. 

Artem Anisimov scored twice and Patrick Kane potted the winner in overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan O’Reilly, returning to the Sabres after being hospitalized last month for an emergency appendectomy, collected two assists. 

Tomas Vanek scored twice and rookie goaltender Jared Coreau made 33 saves for his first NHL shutout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. 

Jeff Skinner scored the winning goal as the Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2. The Hurricanes were also bolstered by the return of top defenseman Justin Faulk, who was activated Thursday from injured reserve. 

LA PRESSE: The banged-up Montreal Canadiens received some good news on Thursday, as top center Alex Galchenyuk (knee injury) and veteran defenseman Andrei Markov (lower-body injury)have rejoined the club.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed forward Matt Nieto off waivers from the San Jose Sharks. 

OTTAWA SUN: Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, expects a decision regarding NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics by the end of January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fasel and NHL Players Association director Donald Fehr remain optimistic of NHL participation. League commissioner Gary Bettman, however, remains pessimistic. 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Tucson Roadrunners’ captain and former NHLer Craig Cunningham had part of his left leg amputated on Christmas eve. Cunningham had collapsed due to a heart condition prior to an AHL game in late-November and was in a coma for some time. The procedure which ultimately saved his life adversely affected circulation in his left leg. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cunningham’s playing career is over, but at least his life was saved. Hopefully, he’ll be able to continue in hockey in some capacity, perhaps as a coach or scout or in a front-office role. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2017

Winnipeg Jets rookie Patrik Laine scores against Florida Panthers’ goalie Roberto Luongo.

Game recaps, waiver news, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Patrik Laine scored a goal and set up another as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1, giving the young Jet sole possession of the NHL rookie goal and points lead and tying him with Mark Scheifele for the Jets’ scoring lead.  Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr collected his 1,136th career NHL assist, moving into fifth place on the all-time leader list. 

Max Pacioretty scored twice, including his second straight overtime goal and Al Montoya made 39 saves as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Dallas Stars 4-3. It was a costly victory for the Habs, as Paul Byron (possible concussion) and Brendan Gallagher were sidelined by injuries. Gallagher will see team doctors after reinjuring his surgically repaired left hand. The Stars, meanwhile, were without the services of Jamie Benn, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. 

Henrik Lundqvist turned in a 30-save performance while Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner each scored twice to lead the New York Rangers to a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jakub Voracek also scored twice for the Flyers. 

Ryan Miller had a 22-save shutout as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Arizona Coyotes 3-0, giving the Canucks their fifth straight victory. Earlier in the day, the Canucks claimed forward Reid Boucher off waivers from the New Jersey Devils, who had only claimed Boucher from the Nashville Predators just two days ago. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Written off as a playoff contender a month ago, the Canucks have surged to within one point of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. That explains why all the Canucks trade chatter has died down. 

John Gibson turned aside 23 shots to backstop the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks played without captain Ryan Getzlaf (lower body injury), who is on injured reserve.

Mikael Backlund scored for the fifth straight game as the Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Boston Bruins Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt passed away yesterday at age 98. Schmidt led the Bruins to two Stanley Cups during a playing career that was shortened by World War II, then went on to build the “Big Bad Bruins” powerhouse of the 1970s as the club’s general manager. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Schmidt’s family and friends. He was a fine player in his day, a gentleman and one of the greatest players in Bruins’ history. 

OTTAWA SUN: Good news for Nicholle Anderson, wife of Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, in her battle with cancer. Recent tests reveal her primary tumor has dramatically shrunk. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly (appendectomy) could return to action tonight. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie uses an electrical current machine to help him stay in top physical shape. 

The Bruins yesterday placed goaltender Anton Khudobin on waivers

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks placed winger Matt Nieto on waivers. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes claimed forward Ty Rattie off waivers from the St. Louis Blues.