NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2021

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, Alex Edler, Patrick Maroon and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka examined possible ways an NHL player could “throw” a game. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane is facing allegations from his estranged wife that he conspired with bookies to fix games.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

Taking unnecessary penalties, a reduction in ice time and a lack of offense are three ways a skater could throw a game. While Kane took 28 penalty minutes in his first 13 games last season, he drew only 14 in his final 43 games. He was also the Sharks’ highest-scoring player and led all their forwards in ice time, playing in all situations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pashelka interviewed a former NHL player about the allegations. He doubted a skater could throw a game because there are too many variables involved, adding the only player capable of doing so would be the goaltender.

The league is investigating the allegations leveled at Kane which it intends to complete before training camp opens next month.

THE PROVINCE: Steve Ewen reported former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler said he received a contract offer from the club but didn’t get into the details. He signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings. He admitted the past season played a part in his decision to move on. “For me and the team, I don’t think anyone was happy with last year,” he said. “I think it was just a weird year. I didn’t have as much fun as I’ve had before playing hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ewen reminded us that the Canucks lost several key players last fall to free agency, the club struggled through a COVID-19 outbreak and they struggled in the standings, failing to make the playoffs.

THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Patrick Maroon believes his club can win a third straight Stanley Cup next season. “It depends on our health, how guys are feeling, our attitude,” he said. “But we’ve been texting together as a group and thinking, we’ve brought our top two lines back, our big four on D, the best goalie in the world.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salary-cap constraints have chipped away at the Lightning’s depth this summer. They lost Yanni Gourde to the Seattle Kraken to the expansion draft, Tyler Johnson to Chicago in a cost-cutting trade, and David Savard, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, Luke Schenn and Curtis McElhinney to free agency. They brought in cost-effective veterans such as Corey Perry, Zach Bogosian, Brian Elliott and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to plug the gaps. Nevertheless, they’re going to have to rebuild their third line from within while relying more heavily on their top players.

Still, it would be folly to dismiss the Lightning as a serious Cup contender this season. Led by their core of forwards Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, defensemen Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, they’re in a very good position to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the 1981-82 New York Islanders.

SPORTSNET: Anders Nilsson announced his retirement due to post-concussion symptoms and neck problems. He spent seven seasons with the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators. In 161 games played, he had a record of 59 wins, 74 losses and 15 overtime losses, with a 3.06 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and six shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Nilsson in his future endeavors. Here’s hoping his health eventually improves.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Stuart Skinner to a two-year, two-way contract worth $750K per season at the NHL level.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

Mike Hoffman joining the Blues and two significant trades by the Senators highlights this roundup of the notable Christmas holiday weekend news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout offer. Hoffman can negotiate with other clubs while training with the Blues. However, Rutherford believes the two sides have in place a one-year deal worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, and they’re waiting to officially announce it because of salary-cap implications.

Mike Hoffman joins the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout offer (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubted the Blues would sign Hoffman unless he was willing to reduce his rumored asking price of between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. He’s apparently done so to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Hoffman will provide some much-needed short-term offense with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery. A solid performance could improve Hoffman’s chances of a more lucrative deal in next year’s UFA market.

Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $1.175 million in cap space with Vince Dunn to be signed. They will get cap relief by placing Alexander Steen and his $5.75 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve at the start of the season.

Rutherford points out having Hoffman on a PTO gives Blues general manager Doug Armstrong time to determine how much it’ll cost to re-sign Dunn. It could also allow time to make a cost-cutting trade, though they could also get some wiggle room if necessary by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million AAV) on LTIR.

ARIZONA SPORTS/OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were busy in the trade market on Sunday. Their first move saw them ship a 2021 second-round draft pick (originally owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Derek Stepan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by both clubs. The Coyotes wanted to shed some salary and the rebuilding Senators sought some short-term experience and leadership at center.

PuckPedia pointed out this deal gives the Coyotes a projected $3.7 million in salary-cap space without having to place Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). They can accrue cap space to put toward this season’s trade deadline and their performance bonuses earned won’t automatically carry over into next season. That extra second-rounder will offset their lack of a third-round pick in the ’21 draft.

Some folks wondered why the Senators took on Stepan when (in their minds) they could’ve pursued better options. One reason is Stepan will get more playing time with the Sens than he was getting with the Coyotes. Another is he lacked no-trade protection. His actual salary is another factor. While his annual average is $6.5 million annual average value for this season (the last of his contract), his actual salary is just $2 million.

Critics feel the Senators gave up too much for Stepan by parting with a second-round pick. This, however, was a move they could afford to make. They still have two second-round picks in the ‘21 draft and could land another second-round pick if they decide to peddle Stepan at the trade deadline. Failing that, they could get a third-rounder. Some will scoff at that notion but one must never underestimate the willingness of general managers to overpay at the deadline.

OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Senators’ second deal saw them send the contracts of winger Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette, and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaborik hasn’t played since 2017-18 while Nilsson is expected to miss this season with concussion symptoms. The Lightning will place their combined salaries ($7.5 million) on LTIR, allowing the club to become cap compliant when this season begins.

Like Stepan, Coburn and Paquette will provide the Senators with short-term experience and leadership. Both will be unrestricted free agents next summer, though there’s a chance the Sens could sign the 27-year-old Paquette to an extension if he plays well this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators also signed top prospect Tim Stuetzle yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract. He was given his release by Adler Mannheim in the German league Sunday in order to sign with the Sens.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This signing isn’t surprising considering how well Stuetzle’s performed for the COVID-ravaged German squad thus far in the 2021 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old winger is expected to finish the tournament with Germany and join the Senators’ training camp following a seven-day quarantine in Ottawa.

TSN: Ilya Kovalchuk has officially signed a two-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should bring Kovalchuk’s second tenure in the NHL to a permanent close. He’s no longer the scoring threat he once was, bouncing last season from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed free-agent center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes after Blackhawks promising young center Kirby Dach suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada at the World Juniors.

THE SCORE: The Capitals signed free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson to a professional tryout contract. This signing comes less than two weeks after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season by a heart condition.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year contract worth $850K.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a professional tryout contract. He’ll compete for either a roster spot or a place with the Jackets’ taxi squad.

TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson has opted out of playing the 2020-21 NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for player opt-outs was Dec. 27.

THE SCORE: Forward Mark Letestu announced his retirement yesterday after 11 NHL seasons. He tallied 93 goals and 210 points in 567 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Letestu in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

The latest return-to-play news plus updates on Joe Thornton, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Canadian NHL clubs could be affected if provincial borders close for non-essential travel. British Columbia premier John Horgan recently called upon the federal government to follow his provinces’ lead in discouraging inter-provincial travel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadian teams are located in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and BC. The NHL is considering having an all-Canadian division for this season due to the pandemic as those clubs would have difficulty traveling across the Canada-US border with current restrictions in place. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he won’t force the closure of provincial borders. However, if provinces decide to do it themselves, he would support it.

The NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1, but its push for the NHLPA to accept further salary cuts could close the negotiation window. Hornby cites a source telling Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty a mid-January return was more likely as the players could object to training camp during the Christmas holiday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr reportedly continue holding daily discussions. The salary issue upset the players and generated plenty of headlines, but both sides have not released public statements on the matter nor have they been sniping at each other through the media.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Joe Thornton (NHL Images).

Perhaps cooler heads are prevailing here or it’s the calm before another labor storm. Nevertheless, there’s a belief the two sides should be able to work through the salary issue. They’ll have to hammer out an agreement by Nov. 30 at the latest to maintain their Jan. 1 season-opening timeline.

An outbreak of COVID-19 among players for Davos of the Swiss League has sidelined Joe Thornton. “The whole team is in quarantine after five players, not known to include Thornton, tested positive the past few days,” writes Hornby. Thornton, who recently signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is playing for Davos while awaiting the start of the NHL season.

Speaking of Thornton, SPORTSNET’S Luke Fox reports Davos general manager Raeto Raffainer believes the 41-year-old center’s experience, hockey smarts and leadership will benefit the Leafs in whatever role they choose for him. Thornton has six points in his first six games with Davos.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skating in a European pro league should give Thornton a competitive edge whenever the NHL starts up this season.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby had some difficulty getting across the US border into Canada with his family’s two pet tortoises. It’s since been resolved after securing the necessary export papers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things kind of slowed to a crawl for a while there for Holtby. See, because he has tortoises and they crawl and, okay, I’ll stop now…

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to be ready for training camp following surgery last month to repair a nerve issue in his right arm.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Anders Nilsson is still plagued by concussion symptoms, putting his availability for the coming season into jeopardy. The 30-year-old goaltender’s been sidelined since suffering the injury on Dec. 16.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former NHL winger Ken Schinkel passed away at age 87. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1959-60 to 1972-73. His first six seasons were with the New York Rangers until selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 NHL expansion draft at age 35. He enjoyed his best NHL seasons with the Penguins, with three 45-plus point campaigns. Schinkel went on to coach the Penguins for parts of four seasons and held a variety of front-office roles with the club before joining the Hartford Whalers in 1989.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Schinkel’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2019

A milestone game for Nicklas Backstrom, another big night for Jonathan Huberdeau and Noel Acciari, plus updates on Jack Eichel, Jason Zucker, Darcy Kuemper, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached 900 points with two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. He and Alex Ovechkin were playing in their 900th game together. Ovechkin scored and set up another. Devils defenseman Andy Greene played in his 900th career NHL contest.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reached his 900th career point in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

A five-goal second period powered the Florida Panthers over the Dallas Stars 7-4. For the second straight game, Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four points (one goal, three assists) while teammate Noel Acciari tallied his second straight hat trick. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars while teammate Joe Pavelski played his 1,000th career NHL game. Stars winger Alexander Radulov missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Mitch Marner and William Nylander each scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Rangers 6-3. Auston Matthews collected two assists for the Leafs.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Pettersson each picked up two assists for the Penguins. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless. Edmonton has won only three of their last 12 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers (42 points) have slipped to third place in the Pacific Division. They’re one point ahead of the Calgary Flames, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel returned to practice yesterday but is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. It’s uncertain if he’ll be in the lineup for today’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Center Johan Larsson (upper body) is expected to miss the next two games.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker will miss the next four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair a fractured right fibula.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will turn to Antti Raanta with Adin Hill as his backup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson will miss at least the next two games with a lower-body injury. The club also placed defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body) on injured reserve.

The Ottawa Senators placed goaltender Anders Nilsson on injured reserve after he suffered a concussion. Veteran goalie Craig Anderson has returned from injury and is ready to go. The Senators also announced defenseman Ron Hainsey will miss a week to 10 days with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2019

Sportsnet parts ways with Don Cherry, Jesse Puljujarvi to remain in Finland this season, the Coyotes extend GM John Chayka’s contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes blew a three-goal lead but went on to edge the Washington Capitals 4-3 on shootout goals by Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice for the Capitals. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced general manager John Chayka signed a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 26 when hired as GM in 2016, Chayka’s made significant changes to the Coyotes roster. He re-signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year extension, acquired Schmaltz, Phil Kessel, Darcy Kuemper, Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and drafted Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. His moves appear to be paying off. The Coyotes look like a playoff contender this season.

Sebastian Aho scored twice and Joel Edmundson enjoyed a three-point performance as the Carolina Hurricanes thumped the Ottawa Senators 8-2. Andrei Svechnikov, Brett Pesce, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, and Martin Necas each collected two points.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: announced yesterday Don Cherry was immediately stepping down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada. The move came after Cherry singled out new Canadian immigrants during Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment for not wearing poppies to honor the country’s veterans and troops leading up to Remembrance Day. Cherry’s comments sparked considerable outrage in the press and social media, sparking apologies by Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean, the network, and the NHL.

After 38 years, Don Cherry is no longer on Hockey Night in Canada (Photo via NHL.com).

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Cherry refused to walk back his comments, insisting his remarks weren’t racial or bigoted but made out of respect for Canada’s troops. He also said he felt betrayed over the firing, adding he wasn’t going to be turned into a “tamed robot” to keep his job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what you think of Cherry, his departure from Hockey Night in Canada creates a void it could struggle to replace. He’d been on the show since 1981 and had his Coach’s Corner segment for over 35 years. Former NHL executive Brian Burke is rumored as a potential substitute.

Cherry’s dismissal drew considerable reaction among hockey fans and pundits. Some supported him while others are glad to see him go. He’s had a long history of making controversial statements on topics that had little or nothing to do with hockey. The latest proved to be a bridge too far, sparking an intense backlash the network and the league couldn’t ignore or gloss over with apologies.

TSN: Jesse Puljujarvi intends to spend the rest of this season playing in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent opted to return to his home country to await a trade by the Oilers. The club still retains his NHL rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Puljujarvi in the Rumors section.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov.10, 2019.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno received a three-game suspension by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Saturday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss at least one game with an undisclosed ailment. He didn’t join the team on its five-day trip to the New York area.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is sidelined with an upper-body injury. The club called up Uhro Vaakanainen on Monday.

WASHINGTON POST: Winger Richard Panik has returned to the Capitals after missing 10 games on long-term injury reserve.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader is sidelined for three weeks with a mid-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed Trevor Lewis on injured reserve.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers and called up netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed free agent forwards Troy Brouwer and Jamie McGinn to professional tryout offers.










NHL Most Important Players: Ottawa Senators

NHL Most Important Players: Ottawa Senators