NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

Connor McDavid wins the Art Ross Trophy, Auston Matthews takes home the Richard Trophy, and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight. Check out the latest in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader while Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 2021-22.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid finished the season with a career-high 123 points in 80 games, marking the fourth time he’s taken home the Art Ross Trophy and the fifth time he’s netted 100-or-more points in a season.

Matthews won the Richard Trophy after scoring a career-high 60 goals. It’s the second straight year the Leafs center has led the league in goals.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight with the puck dropping on four of the eight first-round, best-of-seven series. The Boston Bruins face off against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Toronto to meet the Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild, and the Los Angeles Kings are in Edmonton to face the Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: All signs point to Alex Ovechkin being in the Washington Capitals lineup for Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Capitals captain missed the final three regular-season games nursing a shoulder injury but took part in regular practices with his teammates over the weekend.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Panthers, sidelined defenseman Aaron Ekblad is practicing with his teammates and could be ready for Game 1 against the Capitals. Ekblad’s been out of the lineup since March 18 with a lower-body injury.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Hurricanes will be without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen for Game 1 against the Bruins tonight. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Andersen’s taken part in off-ice workouts but has yet to take part in full on-ice drills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen was the Hurricanes MVP this season and a potential contender for the Vezina Trophy. His absence could be a critical factor in this series with the Bruins.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news as team captain Gabriel Landeskog has been medically cleared for Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The 29-year-old winger has been sidelined since March 10 by knee surgery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie Tristan Jarry (foot injury) and winger Jason Zucker (undisclosed) are listed as day-to-day and won’t be part of the lineup in their upcoming series with the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers, meanwhile, will get sidelined forwards Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp back in the lineup for Game 1 against the Penguins tomorrow night. Both of them missed the final two games of the regular season for precautionary reasons nursing minor injuries.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was back on the ice with his teammates for practice on Sunday after missing the final four games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. His status remains unconfirmed for Game 1 tonight against the Kings but it’s assumed he could be in the lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars expect to have John Klingberg and Vladislav Namestnikov in the lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Klingberg missed the final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury while Namestnikov missed the final five games.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting (undisclosed injury) is doubtful for Game 1 tonight against the Lightning.

THE PROVINCE: Brock Boeser revealed his father’s battle with dementia during an emotional season-ending press conference yesterday. He revealed it took a toll on him throughout this season. “He’s not doing well. He has pretty bad dementia right now. It got pretty bad this year,” said a tearful Boeser. “It has really hit me hard.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was overcome with emotion and understandably left the press conference soon after. The Province’s Ben Kuzma reported his teammates praised the winger’s perseverance as he attempted to remain a difference-maker for the Canucks.

Fans and pundits sometimes forget the players have to deal with personal issues just like everybody else. Sometimes, it can affect their performance despite their best efforts. My sympathies go out to Boeser and his family during this difficult time.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to a three-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the speculation suggesting Cheveldayoff was in danger of losing his job following this disappointing season. He’ll have his work cut out for him this offseason. The Jets have been declining since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018. One of his priorities will be determining Mark Scheifele’s future with the franchise. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with assistant coach Phil Housley, who was in the final season of a three-year contract.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks parted ways with associate coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson. Crawford had a year remaining on his contract. Derek Kings remains the interim head coach but a decision on his future is expected soon.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Draft Lottery odds were released yesterday, with the Montreal Canadiens leading the 16 eligible teams with 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5) and the Seattle Kraken (11.5). The lottery will be held on May 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list by clicking the link above.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Thousands of Canadiens fans lined up yesterday outside the Bell Centre to pay their respects to the late Guy Lafleur as he lies in state through today. His funeral will be held in Montreal on Tuesday. Lafleur succumbed to lung cancer on April 22 at age 70.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2022

Lightning snap Panthers win streak, the Canadiens and their fans salute Guy Lafleur, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin suffers an injury, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf plays his final game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov had a five-point performance while teammates Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each collected four points as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Florida Panthers 8-4, snapping the latter’s 13-game winning streak. Kucherov, Stamkos and Nicholas Paul each tallied two goals for the Lightning, who sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 106 points. Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Panthers, who still maintain a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the overall standings with 120 points.

Speaking of the Avalanche, they dropped their fourth straight game by falling 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his 200th career victory while Kyle Connor scored his 45th goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of core players Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews to injury and illness has contributed to the Avs’ recent slide. The Avs could also be experiencing difficulty remaining motivated playing in meaningless games this late in the regular season.

The Montreal Montreal Canadiens honored the memory of their late star Guy Lafleur (NHL.com).

The Boston Bruins got two goals from Patrice Bergeron and Erik Haula to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. However, this match was overshadowed by an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring the life and legacy of Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur, who passed away on Friday at age 70. Montreal fans followed the video tribute with a 10-minute standing ovation and chants of “Guy! Guy! Guy!” The Bruins (103 points) hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lafleur meant so much to Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadiens fans around the world. The outpouring of emotion following his death is a testament to how his exciting style of play resonated with fans to this day. The province of Quebec announced it will stage a national funeral for Lafleur. His body will lie in state at the Bell Centre for two days before the funeral on May 3.

Meanwhile, the Capitals dropped a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a shootout goal by Alex Kerfoot. Leafs star Auston Matthews collected two assists but remains at 58 goals on the season. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin left the game with an upper-body injury in the third period after crashing into the boards following a breakaway scoring attempt. The club had no immediate word on his condition. The Leafs are in second place in the Atlantic with 111 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs captain John Tavares and defenseman Timothy Liljegren missed the game. Tavares was given the night off while Liljegren is dealing with a minor issue.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf picked up an assist in his final NHL game but his club dropped a 6-3 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and two assists while Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou and Justin Faulk each collected two points for the Blues, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 109 points. Blues center Tyler Bozak returned to action for the first time since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on March 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is hanging up his skates after 17 seasons with the Ducks. He’s their franchise leader in points, assists, playoff scoring and games played and has been their captain for the past 12 seasons. He also helped them win their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2007 and finishes with 1,019 points. Don’t be surprised if he ends up in a front-office job with the Ducks.

An overtime goal by Dmitry Kulikov lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Nashville Predators 5-4. Joel Erikson Ek scored twice and picked up an assist while Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala each had two points. The Wild are tied with the Blues but hold second place in the Central with a game in hand. Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund each had three points as the Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 94 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ playoff hopes suffered a blow after blowing a 4-2 lead in the third period to fall 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks on a shootout goal by Thomas Bordeleau. Nick Bonino and Timo Meier scored in the final minutes of regulation to tie the game. The Golden Knights (90 points) gained a point to sit three back of the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs each have three games remaining but the Golden Knights need the extra point a win would’ve given them to draw closer to the Stars. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner dressed for the game amid reports he requires knee surgery but was the backup to Logan Thompson. William Carrier returned to the Golden Knights lineup for the first time since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on March 26.

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the New York Islanders 5-2. With 112 points, they’ve opened a four-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly victory, however, as goaltender Antti Raanta left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes starter Frederik Andersen is also sidelined with a lower-body injury. They’re hoping to have him back in the lineup when the playoffs begin next week.

Philadelphia Flyers rookie Noah Cates scored twice and collected an assist while Martin Jones made 37 saves to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. The loss leaves the Penguins (101 points) holding a one-point lead over the Capitals for third place in the Metro Division.

The Edmonton Oilers missed an opportunity to clinch second place in the Pacific Division by falling 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jakub Voracek and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had three-point performances for the Blue Jackets. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists and holds a three-point lead over the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau for first place in the NHL scoring race with 118 points. The Oilers hold a two-point lead over the third-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse missed this contest as he’s listed as day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury. Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov returned to action after being sidelined by an upper-body injury since April 2.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic had a 17-save shutout to blank the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2022

The hockey world honors the late Guy Lafleur, the Oilers clinch a playoff berth, Kirill Kaprizov establishes another Wild milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

HOCKEY WORLD HONORS LAFLEUR

NHL.COM/MONTREAL GAZETTE/THE ATHLETIC/TVA SPORTS: The hockey world was in mourning yesterday following the announcement that Montreal Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur had passed away at age 70 following a long battle with lung cancer.

The hockey world honors the late Guy Lafleur (NHL.com).

Tributes poured in from around the league from current and former stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Patrick Roy and Martin St. Louis, former teammates such as Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Yvon Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire and Chris Nilan and former Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman.

Lafleur was also remembered by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec premier Francois Legault and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Teams, executives and coaches from around the league sent their condolences, including Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. Sakic was Lafleur’s teammate during the latter’s two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques while Sutter played against him in the early-1980s.

The Quebec Remparts, Lafleur’s former junior team, honored his memory prior to last night’s game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wrote my tribute to Lafleur yesterday after seeing news of his passing. I noted his five Stanley Cups as well as his individual honors, statistical achievements, and what he meant to the Canadiens and their fans.

Put simply, he was the greatest player on hockey’s greatest team in the 1970s. A hero to Canadiens fans and admired by non-Habs supporters, Lafleur was worshipped in his home province of Quebec. He was a superstar whose electrifying style lifted fans from their seats and is fondly remembered to this day. He was also a Hall-of-Famer who always had time for his fans long after his retirement from the game. Rest in peace, Flower, you’ll never be forgotten.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff berth with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Evander Kane had a hat trick and chipped in an assist while Connor McDavid had three helpers and Mike Smith made 34 saves. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice for the Avalanche. The Oilers have won eight of their last 10 games and hold second place in the Pacific Division with 98 points. The Avalanche had lost three straight and remain in second place in the overall standings with 116 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have won 23 of their last 34 games since Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach. The addition of Kane in late January is another contributing factor to their turnaround in the second half of the season. He had 20 goals and 36 points in 39 games with the Oilers. A potential concern, however, was the departure of defenseman Darnell Nurse in the second period of this game with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated today.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov became the first player in franchise history to reach 100 points in a season as he helped his club defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-3. Kaprizov scored a goal and picked up three assists while Joel Eriksson Ek tallied twice for Minnesota. The Wild hold a two-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division with 107 points. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored to extend his career-opening points streak to five games.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves for the shutout while Conor Sheary and John Carlson were the goal-scorers. The Capitals have won seven of their last nine games. They’re tied with the Boston Bruins with 99 points but the latter holds the first wild-card berth with a game in hand.

A shootout goal by Tim Stutzle gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brady Tkachuk also scored for the Senators while Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic notched his 20th of the season for the first time in his career.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will visit the White House on Monday as President Joe Biden honors the club for their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup championships.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer dismissed a report by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan citing sources claiming goaltender Robin Lehner was about to undergo season-ending knee surgery. Lehner missed Friday’s practice as a maintenance day, according to DeBoer, who also said he expected the netminder at practice on Saturday and to be dressed for Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time this season that DeBoer has dismissed a report claiming Lehner could undergo season-ending surgery. The previous one occurred in February alleging he’d suffered a serious shoulder injury. Multiple reports claim he’s battling a nagging injury which would account for his inconsistent play this season. There’s been no confirmation of this by Lehner or the club.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forwards Andrew Copp (lower body) and Filip Chytil (upper body) are listed as day-to-day and won’t play against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford were both fined by the NHL department of player safety for their actions against the Lightning during their 8-1 loss on Thursday. Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for charging Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev while Clifford was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Corey Perry.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: ESPN NHL analyst Kevin Weekes is considered a strong candidate for the Sharks’ general manager position. The club is conducting a search to replace Doug Wilson, who recently stepped down as GM for health reasons.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes fans should expect to pay high prices to attend the club’s home games at the 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University. The highest price per ticket for full season-ticket holders works out to $300.00 per game (before separate ticket fees) while half-season tickets work out to $445.00 per game. The cheapest seats for season-ticket holders is $89 per game while the cheapest half-season price is $110.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s just the ticket prices. It doesn’t take into account the price for concessions, souvenirs and parking. It seems to me those tickets will be mostly sold to local businesses, shutting out the average fan and leading to a lot of empty seats in that small arena.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

The Avalanche thump the Kraken after signing coach Jared Bednar to a contract extension, the Canucks get a much-needed win, plus the latest injury and COVID updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Seattle Kraken 7-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Andre Burakovsky also tallied two goals for the Avalanche as they collected their fourth straight victory.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

The Avalanche also announced head coach Jared Bednar inked a two-year contract extension. He’s two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley’s team record for most wins (193) as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumor suggesting Bednar was on the hot seat following the Avs second-round elimination from the 2021 playoffs and their shaky start to this season. They’re climbing back up the Western Conference standings, sitting just outside of a wild-card berth.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 37 shots as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a five-game losing skid. Conor Garland scored what became the winning goal in the second period. The Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in the third period to make it interesting.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He will be monitored by the club’s medical staff and follow the protocols by the NHL and public health officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another hit for the reeling Canadiens in what’s becoming a season from hell for the Stanley Cup finalist.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will be sidelined until early-to-mid December with a broken finger and blueliner Slater Koekkoek will miss three to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the status of injured goaltender Mike Smith has relapsed from day-to-day to week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Nurse will be a big blow to the Oilers’ defense corp. Smith’s status will put more pressure on netminders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone in his right hand.

OTTAWA SUN: After five days without a positive COVID-19 test, the Senators are ready to emerge from quarantine and resume skating on Saturday. Their last three games were postponed as a result of a COVID outbreak but they’re scheduled to face off against the Avalanche in Denver on Monday. Eight of the 10 players who contracted the coronavirus will return to the ice today after completing their 10-day quarantine.

THE PROVINCE: The police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been handed over to crown prosecutors. The police will be waiting to hear if there will be charge approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: Quebec premier Francois Legault will be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the coming months with regards to bringing an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. The league has no plans for further expansion and there’s no indication an existing franchise will be relocated.

The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg a decade ago happened very quickly as the league had to find a new home for the Thrashers after their dysfunctional ownership couldn’t find investors willing to keep the club in Atlanta. Perhaps a similar situation takes place with another franchise but Quebec City hockey fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

TSN: Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes on Jan. 15. It won’t adversely affect the NHL or NBA as the percentage of unvaccinated players in both leagues is negligible.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2021

Oilers Darnell Nurse and Islanders Adam Pelech sign lucrative long-term contracts, concern about season ticket sales and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed Darnell Nurse to an eight-year, $74 million contract extension. The 26-year-old defenseman’s annual cap hit is $9.25 million.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nurse’s new contract raise eyebrows around the league. He’s a very good defenseman but the overall consensus is the Oilers overpaid to keep him in Edmonton. He is also the fifth blueliner this summer to sign a long-term deal worth $9 million or more annually, joining Columbus’ Zach Werenski ($9.583 million), Chicago’s Seth Jones ($9.5 million), Colorado’s Cale Makar ($9 million) and New Jersey’s Dougie Hamilton ($9 million).

The Oilers had little choice. Nurse is their top defenseman and they couldn’t risk losing him next summer to free agency. That would leave them scrambling to find a replacement as they did following Adam Larsson’s surprise departure to Seattle last month. Often, the replacement is more affordable but of lesser skill.

This move ensures some stability on the Oilers’ blueline. Over time, however, it could have long-term salary-cap implications if Nurse’s performance declines over the second half of this deal.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders avoided salary arbitration with Adam Pelech by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to an eight-year, $46 million contract. The annual average value is $5.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The announcement of Nurse’s contract overshadowed the Pelech signing. Islanders fans should be delighted with this deal. Pelech is a solid stay-at-home blueliner who’s become a key part of his club’s defense corps. The term is a little long as it takes Pelech well past his prime years. However, the cap hit is quite reasonable and shouldn’t be a drag on the Isles’ payroll during the latter years of the contract.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken avoided arbitration with defenseman Vince Dunn by reaching an agreement on a two-year contract worth $4 million per season. They also signed free-agent forward Marcus Johansson to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn was among the players selected by the Kraken in last month’s expansion draft. He was coming off a one-year, $1.875 million deal with the St. Louis Blues. This is a “show-me” contract for the 24-year-old Dunn. He’s coming off his fourth-straight 20-point campaign but has struggled with consistency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed forward Brandon Hagel to a three-year contract worth $1.5 million annually.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks centers Isac Lundestrom and Sam Steel accepted their one-year, two-way contracts yesterday. Each will receive over $874K at the NHL level.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed defenseman Conor Timmins to a two-year, $1.75 million contract. They acquired the 22-year-old blueliner from the Colorado Avalanche as part of the return in the Darcy Kuemper trade earlier this week. They also hired Larry Pleau as a special advisor to general manager Bill Armstrong.

THE ATHLETIC: Some NHL executives are concerned over a dip in season-ticket sales for the 2021-22 seasons. Fans are opting more for partial season-ticket plans rather than full-season packages. That includes some fans who were used to opt for the full-season deals in the past.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the new broadcasting deals, gambling deals and the addition of a new franchise in Seattle, the NHL remains a gate-driven league. The worry about season-ticket sales comes amid concerns the cap could remain flattened over the next several years if league revenue doesn’t significantly increase.

As reported by Frank Seravalli yesterday and confirmed by The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro based on his multiple sources, the players owe the league approximately $1 billion because salaries exceeded revenue over the past two seasons. Until that’s paid back, the salary cap will only rise by $1 million per season only if revenue exceeds $4.8 million each season. That’s expected to happen for the coming season.

The amount owed by the players will be repaid through escrow rates agreed upon in last year’s CBA extension. If the debt isn’t fully repaid by 2025-26, the CBA will be extended for another season at a higher escrow rate until the owners’ share is made whole.

Perhaps those partial ticket sales are tied to fans’ concerns over another spike in COVID-19 resulting in another shortened season or restrictions on attendance. That could change in the long term if the league gets through 2021-22 without reductions to the schedule or limitations on the number of fans in the stands.

THE SCORE: Speaking of concerns over rising COVID numbers, The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted out the league has issued a memo to its 32 teams prohibiting the players from all corporate, charity and community-based interaction with fans.

The league and the NHLPA will continue observing vaccination rates and the spread of COVID variants during this offseason to determine whether similar measures will be required for training camp.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports a lawyer for a former Chicago Blackhawks player has asked the U.S. Center for SafeSport to investigate Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of two former Blackhawks players.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2021

On the eve of the free-agent market, the Avalanche re-sign Gabriel Landeskog, the Lightning trade Tyler Johnson to the Blackhawks and the Canucks ship Nate Schmidt to the Jets. Get the details plus other signings and trades in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed Gabriel Landeskog to an eight-year, $56 million contract. The annual average value is $7 million.

The Colorado Avalanche re-sign captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big name off the market just hours before free agency begins at noon ET today. The cap hit isn’t too bad but the term is lengthy for a forward turning 29 in November. Still, it should be worthwhile during the first half of the deal if Landeskog’s performance doesn’t decline during that period. It could get costly over the latter half of the contract if his skills deteriorate.

Landeskog is the Avs’ captain and their first-line left-winger. They need his skill and leadership to remain a Stanley Cup contender over the next four years. His cap hit, however, leaves the Avs with $12.3 million in cap space for 2021-22. That could make it difficult to re-sign goaltender Philipp Grubauer and to fill out the remaining roster spots.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Tampa Bay Lightning trade winger Tyler Johnson to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brent Seabrook’s contract and a second-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning were expected to trade Johnson this summer to free up salary-cap space. By taking on the permanently sidelined Seabrook’s contract, they’ll free up around $5 million in cap space by placing him on long-term injury reserve. That contract is worth an annual average value of $6.875 million through 2023-24.

Johnson’s contract also expires in ’23-’24 and he carries a $5 million annual cap hit. The Blackhawks now have around $2.5 million in cap room, though they can get $3.9 million more if necessary by placing permanently sidelined forward Andrew Shaw on LTIR.

THE PROVINCE/WINNIPEG SUN: The Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A salary dump by the Canucks, shedding $5.95 million through 2024-25 from their books. With over $26 million in cap space, they have sufficient room to re-sign young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. It should also allow them to fend off any offer sheet attempts for Pettersson.

The Jets, meanwhile, add their second defenseman in as many days after acquiring Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals. A lack of depth among their top-four blueliners was an area of concern last season. Schmidt and Dillon should help them address that issue.

THE ATHLETIC: The Seattle Kraken are expected to sign winger Jaden Schwartz when the free-agent market opens at noon ET today.

SPORTSNET: Patrik Laine is accepting the Columbus Blue Jackets’ $7.5 million qualifying offer for 2021-22.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are reportedly closing in on a new contract for center David Krejci.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have re-signed defenseman Mike Reilly to a three-year deal worth $3 million per season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed forward Joel Armia to a four-year, $13.6 million contract. The annual average value is $3.4 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly re-signing defenseman Brandon Montour to a three-year deal worth $3.5 million per season.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers are expected to sign defenseman Keith Yandle to a one-year, $900K contract. Yandle was bought out of his former contract by the Florida Panthers.

NEW YORK POST: The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to sign former Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

WGR550.COM: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed forward Drake Caggiula to a one-year, $750K contract.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets re-signed goaltender Eric Comrie to a one-year, $750K deal.

THE PROVINCE: The Canucks bought out the final season of goaltender Braden Holtby’s contract.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks bought out the remaining three years of goaltender Martin Jones’ contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers bought out the remaining two years of winger James Neal’s contract. They’re also believed to be working on a four-year contract extension for defenseman Darnell Nurse.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche acquired defenseman Kurtis MacDermid from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2023 fourth-rounder.