NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

Claude Giroux plays his 1,000th (and possibly final) game with the Flyers, Roman Josi sets a Predators record, Golden Knights lose Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner denies he’s seriously injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s 1,000th and possibly final game with the Philadelphia Flyers ended in a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators thanks to Joel Farabee’s game-winner late in the third period. Farabee, Kevin Hayes and Travis Sanheim each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while Giroux was held scoreless. Predators defenseman Roman Josi collected three assists to set a single-season franchise record with 55 assists while teammate Filip Forsberg scored his 210th career goal to tie the franchise record. The Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 74 points.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is not traveling with the Flyers to Ottawa to face the Senators tonight. He’s expected to be dealt before Monday’s trade deadline.

The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a five-game losing skid by beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 but lost Jack Eichel as he left the game in the second period after blocking a shot with one of his arms. There was no immediate update on his condition. Evgenii Dadonov scored twice as the Golden Knight (70 points) remain one point up on the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Panthers, meanwhile, remain one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 88 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined Golden Knights starting goaltender Robin Lehner denied a report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claiming he could miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Nevertheless, his frequent absences to injury this season and the Golden Knights’ struggles while he’s out of the lineup fuels speculation that management is shopping for a goalie.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs as rookie goalie Erik Kallgren made 34 saves for his second straight win in his second NHL start. Ondrej Kase tallied the winning goal for the Leafs (83 points), who are 4-1-1 in their last six and move within one point of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

The Stars, meanwhile, got the game-tying and winning goals by John Klingberg to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime to snap a three-game losing skid. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Jan. 13.

Leon Draisaitl scored his 40th goal of the season as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 6-1 dubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid was among five Oilers to finish the night with two points while Mike Smith made 27 saves for the win. With 72 points, the Oilers have won four straight and sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his 38th goal of the season, Anthony Mantha scored twice and Vitek Vanecek stopped 39 shots as the Washington Capitals thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. It was a costly win for the Capitals as winger T.J. Oshie left the game with a lower-body injury. The Capitals (78 points) move within a point of the Boston Bruins for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Detroit Red Wing netminder Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 43 shots and Pius Suter scored the only goal to blank the Vancouver Canucks 1-0. Canucks center J.T. Miller’s point streak ended at 13 games. The loss leaves the Canucks (67 points) three points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

Speaking of shutouts, Cal Petersen made 29 saves for his third of the season in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault and Adrian Kempe were the goal scorers as the Kings (76 points) hold a four-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.

A shootout goal by Bryan Rust lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s point streak ended at 10 games. Blues goaltender Ville Husso made 43 saves in a losing cause. The Penguins (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division while the Blues (77 points) sit four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild in second place in the Central Division.

The Rangers, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves for the win as Kyle Palmieri broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period. Rangers winger Chris Kreider netted his 40th goal of the season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot’s season is over after suffering a broken right hand during Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Copp was shaken up but avoided another concussion following a hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist on Sunday. He passed a return-to-play test on Tuesday. Copp has suffered four concussions in his playing career.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was made to shore up Vegas’ injury-depleted blue line.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford was placed on the NHL COVID protocol list.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

Joel Quenneville resigns as Panthers head coach while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a meeting today with league commissioner Gary Bettman as fallout from the Blackhawks scandal continues. Details plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

QUENNEVILLE RESIGNS AS PANTHERS COACH, CHEVELDAYOFF HAS A MEETING TODAY WITH BETTMAN

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joel Quenneville resigned yesterday as head coach of the Florida Panthers in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal. His resignation came following a meeting yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Assistant coach Andrew Brunette takes over as the interim head coach.

Former Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville (NHL Images).

This move is a result of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made by former Blackhawk Kyle Beach against the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Quenneville told investigators he first heard of the allegations through the media but it was determined he was part of the meeting of front office executives to discuss the matter.

The Panthers released a statement that the conduct described in the report on the investigation was “troubling and inexcusable”, adding it stood in direct contrast to their values as an organization and what the club stood for.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But not so much to keep Quenneville from being behind the Panthers’ bench against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, just one day after the report’s findings were released. It’s puzzling why they didn’t at least do that until Quenneville had his meeting with Bettman. It was a bad look for the Panthers.

According to the report’s findings, Quenneville recommended the Blackhawks wait to take action against Aldrich until after the playoffs so as to avoid any unnecessary distractions for their players as they pursued the Stanley Cup.

Quenneville was once a highly-respected NHL head coach with three Stanley Cups and a Jack Adams Award on his resume. He’s second all-time in wins (969) among the league’s bench bosses. All of that is meaningless now. I doubt he’ll ever coach another game in the NHL again.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will meet with Bettman in NHL headquarters today. The meeting was moved up from Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM and took part in that fateful meeting about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are numerous calls on social media for Cheveldayoff’s firing but a recent report indicated he had the support of Jets ownership. Where he stands following his meeting today with Bettman remains to be seen.

Kyle Beach released a statement on Twitter yesterday expressing gratitude for “the outpouring of endless love and support” he’s received since stepping forward to identify himself as the player allegedly sexually assaulted by Aldrich. He expressed the hope his story would bring about change “to promote safety, as well as the health and well-being of society as a whole.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I cannot even imagine what Beach endured as a sexual assault survivor over the past decade. I hope his story brings about the change he seeks and the peace he deserves.

The league is reportedly going to implement “enhanced training measures” specific to dealing with sexual abuse and allegations of abuse. A third party will be employed to handle this with league oversight. Any report or hint of sexual abuse or assault will be immediately reported to the commissioner’s office.

Aldrich still has his name on the Stanley Cup. TSN reports it’s up to the Blackhawks to file a petition to the league to have his name removed. So far, that has not yet taken place.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall called for a change in hockey culture. “This is a game that’s, I guess, what you would call an old boys’ club, and there’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change. Hopefully, they can.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Amen to that, Taylor. Here’s hoping that change happens soon.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record for their longest season-opening win streak by blanking the Boston Bruins 3-0. The Hurricanes have won six in a row as Frederik Andersen turned in a 33-save shutout. Tony DeAngelo, Nino Niederreiter and Andrei Svechnikov were the goal scorers.

Cale Makar had a goal and an assist to collect his 100th career point in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He’s reached that mark in the sixth-fewest games (108) by NHL defensemen. J.T. Compher scored twice for the Avalanche. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington received a 10-minute misconduct for swinging his stick at Avs center Nazem Kadri.

The Calgary Flames completed the sweep of their five-game road trip by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 45 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau tallied his first goal of the season.

Jake Allen also had a 45-save shutout in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist for the Habs as they picked up their first win in San Jose since 1999.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted two goals in his club’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. It was the Lightning’s first home win of the season. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 3-0 lead but an overtime goal by Rasmus Asplund gave them a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Sabres’ record stands at 5-1-1 while the Ducks are winless (0-3-2) in their last five. Ducks center Adam Henrique picked up his 200th career goal.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Kyle Connor assisted on all three Jets goals. The Kings have dropped six in a row.

Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each collected two points as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Martin Jones got the win with 27 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks.

The Seattle Kraken got two goals by Haydn Fleury to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Philipp Grubauer turned aside 30 shots for the win. The expansion Kraken has won two straight on home ice. The Wild played without Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick as both entered COVID protocol yesterday.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov said he’s fully recovered from his undisclosed injury and is ready to return to action. He missed all of training camp and the Isles’ regular-season games to date.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has recovered faster than anticipated from a fractured rib. The club took him off injured reserve yesterday and he could be in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights signed defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a six-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could turn into quite the bargain for the Golden Knights if he should turn into a top-four shutdown defenseman.

YARDBARKER: The Golden Knights also signed blueliner Ben Hutton to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, T.J. Oshie, Owen Power and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WGR 550: During a recent interview with a Boston TV station, Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel was asked if he could ever see himself playing in Boston.

“Yeah, I mean, I think every kid grows up dreaming of playing for their hometown teams,” Eichel said. “Whether that happens now, later in my career … whenever, who knows, if it ever happens. It would be pretty cool, but who knows what’s gonna happen here in the next little bit.”

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s hometown is Chelmsford, Massachusetts, so it’s not surprising he would say he’d welcome an opportunity to play for the Bruins one day. His remarks, however, will only provide more fodder to the trade speculation swirling around him this summer.

The Bruins have the cap space to absorb Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit, but their focus is on finding a top-four, left-side defenseman and re-signing pending free agents like Taylor Hall and Brandon Carlo. They could also bring back long-time Bruins Tuukka Rask and David Krejci on short-term deals.

Eichel might one day suit up for the Bruins, but it seems unlikely he’ll do so this year.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: T.J. Oshie hasn’t spoken with Capitals management about the possibility of being exposed in the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Oshie was born in Washington State and Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol coached him at the University of North Dakota. However, the 34-year-old winger wants to finish his career with the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During an interview last month, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said he was unlikely to expose Oshie in the draft. We’ll find out for certain when the expansion draft protection lists are made public by the NHL on July 18.

RDS: Speaking of the expansion draft, the league will be holding a virtual conference with the general managers on Monday to review the rules and procedures. Teams must submit their protections lists by 5 pm ET on July 17.

NHL.COM: Top prospect Owen Power would have no problem being selected by the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the first-overall selection in this year’s upcoming NHL Draft. The University of Michigan defenseman said it would be “nice and close” to his home in Mississauga, Ontario. He also praised the Sabres’ rich history. “I would love to be a part of it,” he said. The first round of the draft is Friday, July 23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever selects Power might have to wait at least a year before he joins their lineup. The 18-year-old blueliner has indicated he’s leaning toward returning to college for another season.

THE SCORE: The lawyer for former Chicago Blackhawks player who alleged former video coach Brad Alrich sexually assaulted him said her client won’t participate in the team’s investigation into the incident.

Lawyer Susan Loggans said they have no faith in any investigation paid for by the Blackhawks, pointing out they’ve denied any sexual misconduct ever took place. She also said there’s no assurance from the team or anyone else that the results of the team’s investigation would be made public.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2021

The Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues face serious offseason decisions following their first-round exits Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CAPITALS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes re-signing Alex Ovechkin is the offseason priority for the Washington Capitals. Their 35-year-old captain and franchise player is eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 28.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Kaplan wonders how much it would cost the Capitals and for how long to keep Ovechkin in the fold. Sources said he initially sought $12.5 million per season before the pandemic struck. With the salary cap flattened at $81.5 million for the foreseeable future, the Capitals might have budgeted for less. Nevertheless, Kaplan believes Ovechkin will be staying in Washington.

After a coaching change last year failed to improve their playoff fortunes, management could shake up the roster. There’s speculation the club could be growing impatient with center Evgeny Kuznetsov. He carries a $7.8 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25 as well as a 15-team no-trade list.

Kaplan noted the Capitals are among the NHL’s oldest teams. They could start retooling on the fly by bringing in some younger talent like top prospect Connor McMichael.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir also weighed in on the Capitals’ offseason needs, including Ovechkin’s contract and Kuznetsov’s status.

El-Bashir feels whatever general manager Brian MacLellan does with Ovechkin’s new deal will affect the rest of this summer’s decision. Moving Kuznetsov’s big contract won’t be easy but there could be a team with interest in the 29-year-old center. He wonders how this year’s disappointing finish will affect the Capitals’ expansion draft protection list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Ovechkin and the Capitals part ways this summer. Kaplan pointed out Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has indicated his intent to ensure his captain stays put.

Because of the flattened cap, Ovechkin might have to accept something between $9 million and $10 million on perhaps a three-year deal. Despite his age, he’s shown little sign of slowing down, with 24 goals and 42 points in 45 games.

A roster shakeup was likely to happen for cap purposes even if the Capitals hadn’t bowed out in the first round. Cap Friendly shows them with just over $72 million invested in 18 players for 2021-22, with Ovechkin as the only core player due for a new contract.

Moving Kuznetsov would help to address that issue. There could be a market for his services but the recent decline in his play, his three-game suspension for “inappropriate conduct” in the fall of 2019, getting placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list twice this season and his recent benching for missing a team function all but scream, “buyer beware.”

The expansion draft will help alleviate some of that salary-cap issue as they’re going to lose a player to the Seattle Kraken. It could be a high-salaried veteran such as T.J. Oshie ($5.75 million annual average value) or perhaps someone like Justin Schultz ($4 million), Lars Eller ($3.5 million) or Brenden Dillon ($3.9 million).

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLUES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski speculates the St. Louis Blues roster could have a different look next season following a second straight first-round elimination. Pending UFAs include Jaden Schwartz, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Bozak and Carl Gunnarsson, though management has expressed interest in signing Schwartz. They could also bring in an experienced backup for starter Jordan Binnington.

Wyshynski also wondered if the Blues would dare leave oft-injured sniper Vladimir Tarasenko unprotected in the expansion draft. Others who could be exposed include Schwartz, Sammy Blais, Ivan Barbashev, Marco Scandella and Vince Dunn. It’s expected Dunn, a restricted free agent, could be playing elsewhere next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford believes Schwartz’s status could be the Blues’ biggest question heading into the offseason. He struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs but their left-wing depth is thin.

Rutherford suggests Dunn and perhaps Robert Thomas could be trade candidates. He also feels they need to address their backup goaltending, add size to their blueline, and bring back the versatile Bozak on a one-year, plus-35 contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have $66.8 million invested in 20 players next season. A new contract for Schwartz will take a big bite out of their remaining cap space but they could have little choice if they don’t feel they can find a suitable replacement via trade or free agency.

Dunn was a fixture in this season’s rumor mill. He could be shopped this summer for a return that addresses one of the Blues’ roster needs.

Rutherford isn’t advocating for Thomas to be traded but wondered where he fits on the top six if Brayden Schenn is their second-line center. As he suggests, it might not hurt to examine his value in the trade market.

Exposing Tarasenko in the expansion draft would be a bold move. However, I don’t think it’s one they’ll consider.










NHL Playoffs: Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals Game 2

NHL Playoffs: Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals Game 2

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

The Jets clinch a playoff spot, T.J. Oshie get a hat trick the day after his father’s passing, Marc-Andre Fleury and Anze Kopitar reach milestones, the Blues salute David Backes and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets became the third team in the Scotia North Division to clinch a playoff spot by blanking the Calgary Flames 4-0. Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the shutout, Blake Wheeler collected his 800th career point and Mark Scheifele got his 500th career point. The win moved the Jets into third place in the division with 59 points, two up on the Montreal Canadiens.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they failed to secure a playoff berth by falling 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators. Erik Brannstrom collected three assists and Shane Pinto tallied his first NHL goal as the Senators have won seven of their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 57 points, Montreal still holds a 10-point lead over Calgary, though the latter has a game in hand. The Flames playoff hopes, however, are now hanging by a thread.

Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie (NHL Images).

T.J. Oshie scored a hat trick the day following his father’s death as the Washington Capitals doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2. Oshie’s performance, however, was overshadowed by several brawls between the two clubs in the fallout over Capitals winger Tom Wilson receiving a fine for roughing Pavel Buchnevich and injury Artemi Panarin in the previous game between the two clubs. Wilson left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury while Buchnevich received a major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking Capitals winger Anthony Mantha in the face.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Oshie and his family. His hat trick was a fitting honor to his father and a better story than that clown show of a game. With the win, the Capitals regained first place from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the MassMutual East Division with 73 points and hold a game in hand over the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars playoff hopes suffered another blow as they fell 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Cernak had a goal and two assists for the Lightning, putting them into a tie with the Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division. Both clubs have 75 points but the Lightning holds second place with a game in hand. With 56 points, the Stars remain four back of the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Meanwhile, the Predators dropped a 4-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and collected an assist for the Jackets.

Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 490th career victory as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Pietrangelo. Fleury moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice for the Wild. The Golden Knights (76 points) maintained a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division.

As for the Avalanche, they blew a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks. Tomas Hertl scored twice and Evander Kane collected three assists for the Sharks. With 72 points, the Avs are one point ahead of the third-place Wild.

The St. Louis Blues failed to clinch a playoff spot in the West Division following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Troy Terry tallied the winner in the shootout. During the game’s first timeout, the Blues honored Ducks winger David Backes with a video tribute commemorating his 10 seasons in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes, 37, is in the final season of his contract and is expected to retire.

Anze Kopitar collected his 1000th career NHL point to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Sean Walker collected three points and Gabriel Vilardi tallied twice for the Kings to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have been eliminated from postseason contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar’s been a model of consistency for the Kings throughout his 15 NHL seasons. He has 50 points on the season, marking the 14th time he’s reached that plateau.

HEADLINES

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Foligno is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss tonight’s game against the Canadiens and likely Saturday’s contest as well.

CBS SPORTS: Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle suffered an undisclosed injury during Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils and should be considered day-to-day.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere received a two-game suspension for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Mark Friedman.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan is recovering from triceps surgery three weeks ago. An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Ryan hopes to remain with the Wings. Meanwhile, teammate Tyler Bertuzzi underwent back surgery last Friday and is expected to be fully recovered in time for next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed goaltender Anton Forsberg to a one-year, $900K contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk will become the lead NHL game analyst for Turner Sports. He’ll join Kenny Albert as Turner’s top team on TNT when the network’s seven-year contract begins next season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported if the Seattle Kraken select a player in this summer’s expansion draft who received a bonus on July 1, they will have to re-pay that player’s previous team. The Kraken must also draft at least $48.9 million under the salary cap.

FLYERS ALUMNI: tweeted the passing of former NHL player Jim Johnson at age 78. Johnson spent eight seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Flyers and Los Angeles Kings from 1964-65 to 1971-72. An original member of the Flyers, he spent nearly five seasons with the club. In 302 NHL games, Johnson had 75 goals and 186 points.

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