NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

Penguins and Predators tie their second-round series at 2-2, Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey passed away, Coyotes acquire Kruger from Hurricanes. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and Matt Murray made 20 saves to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 4 to tie their second-round series at two games apiece. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winning goal in Game 3, was held without a shot in this contest. The series returns to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

Jake Guentzel scored twice to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a better defensive effort by the Penguins, who didn’t give up nearly as many odd-man rushes as they had in the previous three games. Guentzel, meanwhile, leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and 21 points. 

P.K. Subban scored the game winner as the Nashville Predators held off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1, tying their second-round series 2-2. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has a strong outing with 32 saves. Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine got his first goal of this series, which returns to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators also did a better job tightening up their defensive play, which had been uncharacteristically sloppy through the first three games of this series. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS BOSTON : Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ lack of production could be cause for concern. Meanwhile, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for “maintenance days” but are expected to be in the lineup tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s depth has thus far compensated for Stamkos’ puzzling offensive difficulties. At some point, however, his sputtering production could become a factor. 

THE MERCURY NEWS / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:  San Jose Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi managed to play in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights despite being hampered by a lower-body injury. He’s still not fully 100 percent approaching Game 5. As for the Golden Knights, head coach Gerard Gallant could tinker with his lineup for Game 5 after his club was shut out by the Sharks in the previous contest. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired center Marcus Kruger and a third-round pick in this year’s draft from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Jordan Martinook and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The Hurricanes are also retaining 10 percent of Kruger’s $3.083-million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, non-playoff clubs are allowed to make trades during the postseason. The Hurricanes acquired Kruger last summer from the Vegas Golden Knights but he spent most of the season buried in the minors. He’ll get a better opportunity to return to the NHL full time next season with the Coyotes, who are in need of experienced depth at center.

Martinook, meanwhile, is a versatile checking-line forward who can skate at center or left wing who carries an affordable $1.8-million cap hit. He should bring some much-needed grit to the Hurricanes’ lineup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined up to six months. 

Former NHL player Jeff Parker, who died last year at age 53, “had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers at Boston University told The New York Times.” Parker was among over 100 players involved in a class-action lawsuit with the NHL claiming the league withheld information regarding the long-term effect of concussion injuries. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks enforcer Dan Carcillo pledges to donate his brain for CTE research following his death. 

SPORTSNET: Former general manager Bill Torrey passed away on Wednesday evening at age 83. During his career, Torrey was GM of the Oakland Seals and New York Islanders and the first president of the Florida Panthers. Torrey built the Islanders into a dynasty, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Torrey’s family and friends. He did a masterful job building the Islanders into a championship powerhouse, drafting Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy and acquiring Billy Smith and Butch Goring. They formed the core of their Cup dynasty. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2017

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin confirms he won’t be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

NHL training camps are open. Check out the latest news in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

CSN MIDATLANTIC: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin issued a statement conceding he won’t be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea. While remaining defiant (“It sucks that we will not be there to play!”), Ovechkin acknowledged the decision was no longer up to him. The NHL and IIHF aren’t allowing players under NHL contract to take part in the 2018 Games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s statement also puts to rest the notion that he could retire from the NHL in order to play for Russia in the 2018 Games. I’m assuming this issue will be among several that will prompt the players to exercise their early-out option from the current NHL collective bargaining agreement in September 2019. 

THE DENVER POST: Center Matt Duchene has reported to Colorado Avalanche training camp, but he doesn’t seem happy about it. “Guys, to start, I’m not taking any questions right now. I’m here to honor my contract, I’m here for respect of the fans, and I’m here for my teammates. I had a great summer training and I’m in good physical condition, so thanks so much I’ll see you in the next couple days, OK?” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Duchene, the subject of non-stop trade speculation for months, thought he might belong to a new club by now. His unhappy demeanor will only stoke the trade chatter. I’ll have the latest in my Rumors section. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders captain John Tavares said he’s comfortable talking contract extension with management during the upcoming season. The two sides have had limited discussions, mostly tied to the Isles efforts to secure a location to build a new arena. He said communication with management hasn’t been an issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. His future with the Isles will continue to draw attention throughout this season. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg clarified comments he made to a Swedish news agency last month suggesting he might only play two more seasons. Zetterberg, who has four years remaining on his contract, said he intends to play out the remaining tenure of the deal but adds it will depend upon his health. Zetterberg’s been plagued by back injuries but he said it’s been getting better the last couple of years.

BOSTON HERALD/CSNNE.COM: The Boston Bruins yesterday re-signed right wing David Pastrnak to a six-year, $40-million contract. The annual average cap hit is $6.67 million and comes with some no-trade protection in the final two years. Meanwhile, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he’s interested in re-signing captain Zdeno Chara, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak’s new deal is a reasonable one for a 21-year-old winger coming off a 70-point breakout performance. The Bruins went a little higher than their original offers worth $6 million per season, but it’s considerably lower than the rumored $7.5 million asking price of the Pastrnak camp. Should the young winger continue to put up 70-plus point campaigns, this deal will be considered a bargain for the Bruins.

As for Chara, he’s no longer the dominant defensemen he once was but he’s still an effective blueliner. I can see him getting a two-year deal or a one-year, bonus-laden contract with the Bruins. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed center Bryan Little to a six-year, $31.7 million contract extension. The annual average value is $5.291 million. Little, 29, was eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The underrated Little wants to spend his entire career with the Jets, who obviously had no qualms accommodating his wish. Though his offensive numbers will likely decline in the final two or three years of the deal, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff complimented his “200-foot game” and his professionalism. Little will be a crucial part of the Jets’ quest to reach the playoff this season. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Marcus Foligno to a four-year, $11.5 million contract. The annual cap hit is $2.875 million. The Wild acquired Foligno last June in a multi-player trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators winger Clarke MacArthur failed his training camp medical yesterday, though the club wouldn’t say if it was related to his concussion history. They hope to have an update on MacArthur’s status in the near future.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger James Neal will likely need another two-to-four weeks to recover from a broken right hand suffered during the 2017 Western Conference Finals .

NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal is nursing a sprained ankle suffered during recent offseason training.

TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs have given defenseman Roman Polak a professional tryout offer. Meanwhile, GM Lou Lamoriello also announced the Leafs are content to play this season without a team captain, instead icing four alternates. 

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL player Jeff Parker has passed away at the age of 53. His brain will be donated for examination. Parker, who played parts of five seasons in the NHL during the late-1980s and early-1990s, was part of the concussion lawsuit filed by former players against the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Parker’s family and friends.