NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

The Lightning take a 3-1 series lead over the Bruins, the Islanders and Golden Knights go up 2-1 in their respective series, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Boston Bruins 3-1 to take a 3-1 lead in their second-round series. Nikita Kucherov collected two assists for the Bolts.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat has four goals in his last three games against the Boston Bruins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take of this game by following this link. If both teams keep playing the way they have over the past three games, this series could be over on Monday evening.

Three unanswered goals by Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, and Anders Lee gave the New York Islanders a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Semyon Varlamov returned to the net after giving up three goals on 10 shots in Game 2, stopping 26 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong first period by the Flyers was snuffed out by the Isles’ solid defense and opportunistic scoring over the next two periods. In what’s become a running theme in this postseason, the Flyers’ leading scorers weren’t much of a factor. Their playoff bubble will burst if this trend continues.

Robin Lehner picked up his second shutout in three games by kicking out 31 shots to blank the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Alex Tuch and Zach Whitecloud scored in the first period and Mark Stone tallied in the third. The Golden Knights lead the series 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The game was pretty much over in the first period when Vancouver failed to cash in on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Defensive mistakes by the Canucks led to all three Vegas goals, the most egregious being Alex Tuch blazing through the defense to open the scoring.



THE DENVER POST: The recent two-day protest pause in the schedule could help the Colorado Avalanche, allowing banged-up players like Nikita Zadorov, Joonas Donskoi, and Matt Calvert a chance to heal and return to the lineup.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be the one to watch as the Florida Panthers narrow their list of contenders for their general manager position.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk has interviewed for the GM position.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Panthers job.

SPORTSNET: Kevin Weekes, Mike Futa and Bill Armstrong are also being considered by the Panthers, as well as the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for the Panthers and Coyotes. Both clubs desperately need quality management.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Joel Kellman to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $750K. The first season is a two-way deal.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

Niklas Kronwall retires, Coyotes officially introduce Phil Kessel, the latest NHL CBA speculation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: After 15 NHL seasons, all of them with the Red Wings, defenseman Niklas Kronwall announced his retirement yesterday. He’ll stay with the team as a special advisor to general manager Steve Yzerman, who praised Kronwall as one of the best two-way blueliners of his era.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall retired after 15 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kronwall joined the Wings during their years as a league powerhouse, helping them reach two Stanley Cup Finals and winning the Cup in 2008. Known for his physical style of play, any player on the receiving end of his big hits were said to be “Kronwalled.” Yzerman already prepared for the possibility of Kronwall’s retirement, signing Patrik Nemeth this summer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday formally introduced winger Phil Kessel to the Arizona media. Acquired earlier this summer in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel hopes to improve the Coyotes and grow their fan base.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes escrow is the key to securing an extension to the current NHL collective bargaining agreement. It could be attained if the league figures out a way to reduce escrow payments by the players by four-to-six percent.

One way would be freezing or limiting the rise of the salary cap. If revenue keeps rising (especially under a new U.S. TV deal and player tracking technology that would increase revenue from legalized gambling), that would reduce the escrow claw-backs from players’ salaries.

Campbell points out that would mean less spendable money in the system. It would affect players seeking new contracts and lead to more contract buyouts, cost-cutting trades, and demotions to the minors.

Campbell also cites a league source claiming the NHLPA’s five-percent escalator could be abolished. “And now it’s a matter of needing your revenues to grow at a greater rate than the growth in the upper limit. So you either freeze the upper limit, which would bring a more dramatic reduction in escrow, or you fix the upper limit for a number of years.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league and the PA address the escrow issue. The PA executive and other players will be meeting today in Chicago to review their current negotiations with the league and plan their next move. They have until Sept. 15 to exercise their early opt-out clause. However, there’s speculation that date could be extended up to Jan. 1 to allow more time to work out a three-year CBA extension to 2024-25.

YARDBARKER: The Los Angeles Kings are reportedly making progress with restricted free agent center Adrian Kempe. It’s expected he’ll sign a short-term bridge deal.

CBS SPORTS: Winger Stefan Noesen signed a professional tryout agreement with the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, former 2013 first-round pick Kerby Rychel signed a one-year contract with KHL club Neftekhimik.

FOXSPORTS OHIO: Former Columbus Blue Jacket Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre has joined the club’s broadcast team as an in-studio analyst.

THE SCORE: Barrie Colts head coach and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk is stepping aside for health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The club didn’t reveal any further details regarding Hawerchuk’s condition. Here’s hoping he gets well soon.

TSN: Rick Olcyzk joined the NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise. A former Toronto Maple Leafs scout, he also spent four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant general manager alongside Seattle GM Ron Francis.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine, Jonathan Toews and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Anze Kopitar’s four-goal performance carried the Los Angeles Kings to a 7-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Anze Kopitar scored four goals as the Los Angeles Kings crushed the Colorado Avalanche 7-1. Tobias Rieder also scored twice for the Kings (89 points), who moved back into third place in the Pacific Division by one point over the Anaheim Ducks. With 88 points, the Avs hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their franchise-record 51st win of the season with a 7-6 victory over the New York Islanders. The win also moves the Lightning (106 points) into first place overall with the Nashville Predators. J.T. Miller scored twice and Brayden Point had a three-point performance for Tampa Bay. Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Ryan Pulock each scored two goals for the Isles.

Sergei Bobrovsky’s 33-save shutout performance carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Jackets’ 10th straight win, moving them into a tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins (89 points) for second in the Metropolitan Division. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist. The Panthers, with 81 points, remain one behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Connor McDavid’s four-point game (two goals, two assists) powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-2 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators. With 94 points, McDavid sits one behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced defenseman Oscar Klefbom underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McDavid wins the scoring title this season it’ll strengthen the case for those who believe he should win this year’s Hart Trophy, despite the fact the Oilers won’t make the playoffs. 

Auston Matthews signaled his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with a goal to help his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-2. Matthews missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury. Morgan Rielly collected three assists for the Leafs, who snapped the Predators’ 15-game points streak.

The Vegas Golden Knights became the first expansion team to reach 100 points in a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. Logan Couture netted the game winner for the Sharks (93 points), who remain four ahead of Los Angeles for second in the Pacific Division.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Detroit Red Wings 1-0, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Brett Connolly scored the only goal and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 39 shots. Earlier in the day, the Wings announced defenseman Mike Green will undergo season-ending cervical spine surgery. Meanwhile, the Capitals recalled goalie Pheonix Copley as starter Braden Holtby appeared to suffer a leg injury in a recent game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And now you know why the Red Wings couldn’t find any takers for Green at last month’s NHL trade deadline. 

Claude Giroux collected three assists and Travis Konency tallied twice as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 4-3. The Flyers (88 points) remain one point behind Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Valentin Zykov and Jeff Skinner lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The duo each scored twice for Carolina (75 points), who sit seven points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Alex Edler scored two goals for the Canucks. The Blackhawks played without captain Jonathan Toews, who’s expected to miss several games because of an upper-body injury

TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine suffered a bruised leg after blocking a shot in a recent game against Los Angeles. While the injury isn’t serious, the Jets offered no timeline for his return. 

CBS SPORTS: Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza (back injury) could miss the remainder of the regular season. 

St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo received a fine for cross-checking Boston Bruins winger Jordan Szwarz.

NORTHJERSEY.COM:  With Corey Schneider struggling, the New Jersey Devils could ride the hot hand with backup Keith Kinkaid in their quest to clinch a playoff berth. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider’s been in a horrible slump lately, going winless in his last 11 starts with a .868 save percentage. Kinkaid, meanwhile, won nine of his last 12 starts with a .931 save percentage. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks broadcaster Ed Olczyk announced he’s now cancer free. He’d been battling colon cancer since last fall. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, “Edzo!” Good news indeed. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2017

Stars of the week plus updates on Erik Karlsson, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Parise & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored twice to power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kucherov now has seven goals this season, scoring in six straight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov came into his own last season as a goal scorer. I expect he’ll be challenging for the Richard Trophy this season. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 15. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Erik Karlsson makes his much-anticipated return to action tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. He’s been recovering from off-season foot surgery. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers yesterday placed forward Leon Draisaitl (concussion-like symptoms) on injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise left practice yesterday after suffering a setback in his attempt to return from an undisclosed injury.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets placed forward Mathieu Perreault (lower body) on injured reserve. 

BSN DENVER: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday and has returned to Denver for evaluation.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner is expected to start tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals on the fourth line. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move will be a short-term one. Marner carries a team-worst plus-minus of minus-6 and this is to improve his defensive game. 

USA TODAY: Over five weeks after starting a 24-week chemotherapy program for colon cancer, NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk is returning to the broadcast booth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Welcome back, Eddie, and continued best wishes for a swift recovery. 

MACLEAN’S: Hall of Famer Ken Dryden calls upon NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to do more to reduce concussion injuries and make the game safer for the players. Dryden examines the issue in detail in his new book “Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For years, the league has been slow to recognize the seriousness of concussion-related injuries, especially with regards to life-altering brain trauma such as CTE. In recent years, it has taken steps to address concussion injuries but more work is still required to make the game safer. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights apologized for a series of tweets on its Twitter account deemed as sexist prior to the club’s recent game against Boston.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2017

Nashville Predators name defenseman Roman Josi as their new captain.

Predators name Roman Josi as captain, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators named defenseman Roman Josi as their new captain. He takes over from Mike Fisher, who announced his retirement during the offseason. The 27-year-old becomes the second Swiss-born captain in NHL history.

CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers are experimenting with long-time center Claude Giroux by moving him to left wing during practice on Tuesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin will donate $500,000 of his own money over the next ten years to a new local hospital with the goal of helping to raise another $5 million over the next decade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens fans took to comparing Drouin’s donation to the $10 million pledge by former Habs star P.K. Subban to a children’s hospital. Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore has the perfect response to those critics. “Folks…let’s not compare Drouin + PK donations/pledge to raise. Who cares. Both are nice gestures 2 great causes. That’s all that matters.”

NJ.COM:  New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with “Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, a rare but treatable form of cancer.” The condition is treated with oral medication and Boyle said he intends to play through his treatement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Boyle in his recovery from this disease. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a fractured left ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Meanwhile, forward Zach Sanford will undergo surgery for a dislocated left shoulder and will be sidelined five-to-six months.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Tyler Myers hopes to return to form after missing most of 2016-17 to a groin injury and his young son suffering a stroke. Both have since recovered and are doing well. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Colin White is “devastated’ after suffering a broken left wrist that will sideline him six-to-eight weeks. White was hoping to crack the Sens roster this season. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks analyst and former NHL player Ed Olczyk will undergo six months of chemotherapy. He recently underwent surgery for colon cancer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Olcyzk makes a complete recovery and returns to his broadcast duties soon. 

TSN: The NHL has begun cracking down on slashing and faceoff infractions. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crackdowns on “tapping” slashes is long overdue. However, it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Ditto for the effort to speed up faceoffs, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock and Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand have already expressed their displeasure. I daresay other players and coaches will voice their criticism in the coming days.

THE PROVINCE: The growing Chinese market could be a bonanza for the NHL. The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks face off against each other in two exhibition games this week in Shanghai and Beijing.

ARIZONA SPORTS: A look at the high cost of maintaining a hockey facility in a desert environment. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2017

The Vancouver Canucks play two preseason games against the LA Kings in China.

NHL releases preseason schedule, Blackhawks analyst Ed Olczyk battling cancer, update on Andreas Athanasiou & more in your morning coffee headlines. 

 NHL.com: The preseason schedule has been released. Notable games include the Vegas Golden Knights playing their first-ever game when they face the Canucks in Vancouver (Sept. 17). The Canucks and Los Angeles Kings will play two games against each other in China (Sept. 21 and 23).

The Detroit Red Wings will play their first game in Little Caesars Arena when they host the Boston Bruins on Sept. 23.  On Sept. 25, the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will face off at Credit Union Place in Summerside, PEI. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks TV analyst and former NHL player Ed Olczyk announced yesterday he’s battling colon cancer. While he’ll likely miss the start of the season, the 50-year-old Olczyk expects to resume his duties once his treatment is completed. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes for a swift and complete recovery. 

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he remains in constant discussions with restricted free agent winger Andreas Athanasiou. The Wings lack of salary-cap space has thus far prevented Holland from re-signing Athanasiou.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on the Wings’ cap situation later this morning in my Rumors section.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed forward Stephen Gionta to a one-year, two-way contract. He’ll earn $650K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. 

USA TODAY: ESPN is getting back into the hockey market via BAMTech. Disney, the network’s parent corporation, has acquired a majority stake in the streaming service. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The first batch of Arizona Coyotes single-game tickets go on sale Aug. 17.