NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2024

The Jets extend their points streak as they remain atop the overall standings, the injury-depleted Blackhawks upset the Flames, the Capitals and Red Wings score late game winners, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets picked up their sixth straight win and extended their points streak to 12 games by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. Mark Scheifele scored two goals while Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist for the 26-9-4 Jets, who sit alone atop the overall standings with 56 points. Nick Schmaltz and Dylan Guenther replied for the 19-17-2 Coyotes (40 points), who sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Chicago Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell tallied twice and collected an assist to lead his injury-depleted club to a 4-3 upset of the Calgary Flames. Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for the 12-26-2 Blackhawks. Nazem Kadri scored two goals for the 17-18-5 Flames, who are three points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have nine regular players sidelined by injuries. They include Connor Bedard (fractured jaw), Taylor Hall, (season-ending knee surgery), Seth Jones (shoulder), Nick Foligno (fractured finger), Anthony Beauvillier (upper body), Tyler Johnson (undisclosed), Andreas Athanasiou (groin), Joey Anderson (shoulder) and Taylor Raddysh (lower body).

The Washington Capitals nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on John Carlson’s goal with 53 seconds remaining in the third period. Carlson also picked up an assist while Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a goal and two assists as the Capitals (19-13-6) sit just outside the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 44 points. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the 20-10-6 Kings as they are perched in third place in the Pacific Division with 46 points.

Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen netted the game-winner with 1:07 left in the third period in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Alex Lyon made 29 saves for the win as the Red Wings improved to 20-16-4 and also sit one point out of the final Eastern wild-card spot. Trevor Zegras scored both goals for the 13-25-1 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New Jersey Devils hold the final Eastern wild card spot with 44 points with two more wins than the Capitals and two games in hand over the Red Wings.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. It’s unclear if he’ll be available for Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Devils placed forward Tomas Nosek (foot) on long-term injury reserve.

The Minnesota Wild have called up goaltender Jesper Wallstedt for the first time in his career. Wallstedt, 21, was the Wild’s first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2023

The Canadiens defeat the Sabres, the three stars of the week are revealed, plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Patrik Laine and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen made 36 saves to backstop his club to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Brendan Gallagher and Tanner Pearson each had a goal and an assist and Justin Barron tallied his first of the season for the Canadiens as their record improved to 3-1-1. Jeff Skinner replied for the Sabres as they fell to 2-4-0.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman David Savard left the game in the third period following a solid penalty-killing effort when he blocked two hard shots by Tage Thompson. One of them broke one of Savard’s skate blades but the other struck the blueliner on the left hand. An update on his status could be announced on Tuesday.


NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart are the league’s three stars for the week ending October 22, 2023.

THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall is once again listed as week-to-week after aggravating a shoulder injury suffered on Oct. 11 against the Boston Bruins. He only missed one game at that time.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed forward Patrik Laine (upper body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 20. He suffered the injury after being elbowed in the head by Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson, who is appealing a four-game suspension for the infraction.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury that he suffered during Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

CAP FRIENDLY: Speaking of the Ducks, they placed defenseman Jamie Drysdale (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 15.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils recalled defenseman Cal Foote from their AHL affiliate in Utica and placed forward Tomas Nosek (lower body) on IR.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Rick Bowness has taken a leave of absence after his wife Judy suffered a seizure on Sunday. She was taken to a hospital where she is undergoing further testing.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins rookie center Matthew Poitras is making the case to stick with the club for the entire 2023-24 season. A second-round pick by the Bruins in the 2022 draft, the 19-year-old Poitras has two goals and an assist in his five games thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins can keep Poitras on the roster for four more games after which they must decide whether to retain him for the entire season or return him to the OHL’s Guelph Storm. If they keep him, his entry-level contract begins on his 10th game of the season.

It makes sense from a salary-cap perspective to return Poitras to the OHL. However, he’s made that decision difficult to justify given his on-ice performance thus far.

TSN: NHL veteran forward Sam Gagner signed a one-year AHL contract with the Bakersfield Condors, who are the minor-league affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. The 34-year-old has played 1, 015 NHL games with seven NHL clubs including the Oilers. He’s also done previous stints in the AHL with Lehigh Valley, Toronto and Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated that Gagner is trying to resume his playing career after undergoing season-ending double hip surgery in March. He signed a PTO with the Oilers but didn’t appear in any preseason games as he continues to rehab.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Hitchcock and Ed Belfour were inducted Sunday into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Hitchcock coached the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999 when Belfour was their starting goaltender. Hitchcock will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Belfour was inducted in 2011.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2023

Nicklas Backstrom talks about his recovery from hip resurfacing, the Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov and the Blackhawks’ Philipp Kurashev face arbitration, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is looking forward to playing a full season after his recovery from his hip resurfacing procedure last year.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (NHL Images).

Backstrom, 34, indicated that he’d been dealing with chronic hip pain since 2015 which eventually worsened, affecting his play and quality of life away from the arena. Since the procedure, he said that he’s gotten his life back and is confident he’ll be even stronger for the Capitals in the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom missed the first half of last season recovering from the procedure, finishing with 21 points in 39 games. At the end of last season, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan expressed uncertainty over whether he could fully regain his form.

Backstrom’s performance will likely be the main focus when Washington’s training camp opens in September. Improvement in his play will be a significant factor in the outcome of the Capitals’ 2023-24 season.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Ilya Samsonov are $2.5 million apart in their salary arbitration filings. Samsonov seeks a one-year contract worth $4.9 million while the Leafs countered with $2.4 million. The two sides have until Friday to reach an agreement on a new contract before the scheduled arbitration hearing.

THE ATHLETIC: The Chicago Blackhawks and forward Philipp Kurashev have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract with an arbitration hearing slated for Thursday. It appears that this will go before an arbitrator. Kurashev seeks a one-year, $2.65 million deal while the Blackhawks seek a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.4 million.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets and Gabriel Vilardi have avoided arbitration as the two sides agreed to a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.437 million.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights avoided arbitration with forward Brett Howden, signing him to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.9 million.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The New Jersey Devils signed former Boston Bruins forward Tomas Nosek to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1 million.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: The Kraken signed head coach Dave Hakstol to a two-year contract extension through 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken’s performance this season landed Hakstol that extension. They reached the playoffs in just their second season of existence. He was a finalist in 2022-23 for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

ESPN.COM: New NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh is focused on getting NHL players involved in the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Winter Games in Italy. He indicated that he’s been working with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, collectively together with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL last participated in the Winter Olympics in 2014.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL defenseman Markus Nutivaara said he doesn’t miss playing hockey after a hip injury prematurely ended his playing career. The 29-year-old announced his retirement two weeks ago.

Nutivaara began to feel the effects of the injury in 2019-20. He said that when his hip failed to improve, his back started to fail and other problems flared up. “I skated on one leg for three years,” he said. He indicated that he underwent two operations to address osteoarthritis in his hip until the doctors informed him they could do no more.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During the interview, Nutivaara said his hip is still pretty bad. He took the time to praise the San Jose Sharks for their support, singling out his Finnish teammates as well as Sharks icon Joe Thornton.

Nutivaara also warned young players off taking painkillers. He said that he took them often during the 2019-20 season, indicating that he felt stomach pain doing so. He said it wasn’t worthwhile to continue his playing career if he needed painkillers to do it.

TSN: Nate Thompson has announced his retirement following his 15-season NHL career. He last played in 2021-22 with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 38-year-old forward scored 65 goals and collected 99 assists over 844 career games with the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Flyers.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2023

The league-leading Bruins extend their win streak over the Sharks to 11 games, the Devils’ Jack Hughes reaches a notable scoring milestone, the Canucks replace Bruce Boudreau as head coach with Rick Tocchet, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins picked up their 11th straight win over the San Jose Sharks by blanking them 4-0. Linus Ullmark made 17 saves for the shutout, becoming the fastest goaltender in NHL history to win 25 games in a season. Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (37-5-4) as they sit atop the overall standings with 78 points, 12 ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the weekend, the Bruins announced that center Tomas Nosek will be sidelined for a month with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot.

The Bruins will have an opportunity to set the single-season record for wins if they maintain their current pace over the remainder of the schedule. The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning share the current record of 62 victories.

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes (NHL Images)

An overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jack Hughes scored his 30th goal of the season to become the first Florida-born player in NHL history to reach that single-season milestone as his Devils (30-12-4) sit two points back of the Hurricanes in second place in the Metropolitan Division. Sidney Crosby replied for the 23-15-8 Penguins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins activated center Ryan Poehling from injured reserve for this game. He’d been sidelined by an upper-body injury since Dec. 30.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller tallied a hat trick to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots for the win as the Coyotes improved to 15-27-5. Phil Kessel scored for the Golden Knights (29-17-2), who’ve lost four of their last five and hold a one-point lead over the Seattle Kraken for first place in the Pacific Division with 60 points.

The Winnipeg Jets blew a 3-0 lead but recovered to down the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 5-3. Karson Kuhlman tallied the winning goal while Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets (31-16-1), who move into a tie with the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars with 58 points. Kevin Hayes scored twice for the Flyers as they slipped to 20-21-7.

Los Angeles Kings forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings (26-17-6) moved ahead of the Edmonton Oilers into third place in the Pacific Division with 58 points. Ian Mitchell replied for the 14-27-4 Blackhawks.


VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: The Canucks yesterday fired Bruce Boudreau as head coach, replacing him with former Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet. They also announced Adam Foote has replaced Trent Cull as an assistant coach while Sergei Gonchar has been hired as a defensive development coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It had been speculated for a couple of weeks that Tocchet would take over as Canucks’ coach. He has six seasons of head-coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes and was also an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons.

Canucks fans knew this was coming but were understandably upset over management’s shoddy treatment of Boudreau leading up to his firing. Many took to social media to express their anger and disappointment with the organization.

Some fans also had a #FireTocchet hashtag trending on Twitter. However, that’s not fair to Tocchet, who had nothing to do with the Canucks’ shabby treatment of Boudreau. Let’s give him some time in the role to see how he does.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels raised concern over the Montreal Canadiens’ treatment of Cole Caufield following the announcement on Saturday that he would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Engels wondered why the Canadiens’ medical staff didn’t shut down Caufield sooner rather than allowing him to continue playing through the injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a justifiable concern by Engels and he’s not the only member of the Montreal media puzzled by the Canadiens’ handling of Caufield’s condition. To be fair, reports indicated the young winger had been gritting his way through his injury, following the time-honored code of all professional hockey players of playing through pain.

Nevertheless, it was revealed there was concern that Caufield’s injury would worsen if he were hit or fell a certain way. That would’ve sidelined him for much longer and perhaps put his effectiveness as a scorer at risk.

Caufield is a foundation player for the rebuilding Canadiens. It seems foolhardy to allow him to continue playing with an injury that had the potential to adversely affect his playing career.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the latest on Patrik Laine, injury updates, waiver news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs got third-period goals by Justin Holl and Ilya Mikheyev to hold off the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Leafs center Auston Matthews’ goal streak ended at eight games but he collected an assist to extend his points streak to 11. Teammate Jake Muzzin collected three assists.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Brad Marchand’s overtime goal lifted the Boston Bruins the New York Rangers 3-2. Marchand extended his points streak to nine. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin suffered a lower-body injury in the second period and spent most of the third period on the bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs sit atop the overall standings with 23 points while the Bruins vaulted past the Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning into second place with 20 points.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine said he and the coaching staff have moved on after he was benched during their previous game for disrespecting a member of the staff. He and assistant coach Brad Larsen spoke amicably during practice yesterday. While it’s not confirmed Larsen was the coach in question, Portzline feels their discussion spoke volumes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Laine benching, Mikko Koivu’s retirement and Pierre-Luc Dubois’ recent departure have critics of head coach John Tortorella wondering if he’s on thin ice with the Jackets. I don’t believe that’s the case.

Laine admitted he deserved his benching. The now-retired Koivu was an aging center whose limited effectiveness led to his reduced playing time. Dubois requested a trade for reasons not directly tied to Tortorella. I think management and the players still believe in their coach.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Loui Eriksson and Ottawa Senators center Artem Anisimov was placed on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt either guy gets claimed. Their play has declined and they’re carrying expensive salary-cap hits. Eriksson is signed through 2021-22 at $6 million annually while Anisimov’s is carrying $4.55 million for this season.

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks-Vegas Golden Knight game for Thursday will proceed as scheduled after Golden Knights forward Tomas Nosek was pulled from Tuesday’s contest due to a positive COVID-19 test. Nosek was immediately isolated from his teammates and close contact tracing initiated. The Golden Knights didn’t practice yesterday.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers games on Sunday against the New York Rangers has been postponed. The Flyers will be out of commission until Monday when they will resume practicing. Three players – Claude Giroux, Justin Braun and Travis Sanheim – were added to the NHL protocol list earlier this week.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jared McCann is sidelined on a week-to-week basis with an undisclosed injury.

TSN: The Washington Capitals hired Michael Peca as a player development coach.

NEWSDAY: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced arenas and stadiums in the state can admit up to 10 percent capacity provided they follow appropriate social distancing and masking protocols.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2020

Check out the recent speculation on the Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Toronto Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: Examining the Philadelphia Flyers’ long-term needs last week, James O’Brien noted Shayne Gostisbehere surfaced in trade rumors this season. He pointed out the 26-year-old defenseman was hampered by injuries this season. He doesn’t feel they should sell low on a player who can generate offense, is reasonably young, and carries a generally cheap annual average value ($4.5 million) through 2022-23.


Does Shayne Gostisbehere still have a future with the Philadelphia Flyers? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $69.5 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. They have enough to re-sign restricted free agents like Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, Philippe Myers, and Robert Hagg, and should have sufficient space to re-sign or replace unrestricted free agent goalie Brian Elliott. If they want to add to their lineup, however, they’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade. The preference could be to get a player of decent value for Gostisbehere, but they could sell low and use the cap savings to pursue another player via a separate trade or free agency.


THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): Jesse Granger recently examined which Vegas Golden Knights’ free agents will stay or go. He believes keeping UFA goalie Robin Lehner will mean moving a big piece of their lineup because they cannot afford to invest $13-$14 million in Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. Granger predicts UFA forward Ryan Reaves could re-sign for one more year at $1.5 million. The emergence of Nicolas Roy could make Tomas Nosek expendable. It might be time to move on from Deryk Engelland and Jon Merrill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Golden Knights pull a swerve and trade Fleury, they’ll bid adieu to Lehner following this season, whenever that might be. If Reaves is discussing a two-year extension, perhaps it’ll be for $1.5 million annually.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox addresses some Toronto Maple Leafs speculation in a recent mailbag segment. He doubts the Leafs can land St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo via free agency. He noted the Leafs prefer dealing for players with term left on their contracts, suggesting Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Minnesota’s Matt Dumba as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo were willing to sign with the Leafs, they cannot afford him. It’s believed it could cost over $9 million annually to sign him. Assuming a flat cap for next season, the Leafs have nearly $77 million invested in 16 players for next season. Unless they shed significant salary, they won’t have sufficient cap space to invest in Pietrangelo.

As for Manson, Ristolainen, and Dumba, the asking price for each will likely be a top-six scorer, preferably a center. That’s what the Ducks, Sabres, and Wild need. And no, I don’t believe Alexander Kerfoot will address that need.

Fox believes Andreas Johnsson could be the player Leafs GM Kyle Dubas would be most comfortable trading, but he doesn’t consider him the one most likely to be moved. He feels Kerfoot or Kasperi Kapanen would be more enticing to GMs with defensemen they’re willing to trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnsson’s sophomore slump and injured right knee hurt his trade value. It could take parting with Kapanen or Kerfoot to land that top-four blueliner the Leafs desperately need after this season.