NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2024

The Rangers take a 2-1 series lead over the Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, the latest on the Oilers and Stars ahead of Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Alex Wennberg gave the New York Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 3 of the 2024 NHL Eastern Conference Final. Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow scored two goals each as the Rangers took a 4-2 lead into the third period. However, Florida stormed back in the third on goals by Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling. Sam Reinhart tallied two goals for the Panthers.

Game 4 is in Florida on Tuesday, May 28 at 8 pm EDT.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most exciting game of this year’s Conference Finals thus far. Reinhart opened the scoring in the first period, Lafreniere and Goodrow quickly gave the Rangers the lead, only to have Reinhart tally his second goal before the period ended.

Lafreniere and Goodrow gave the Rangers a two-goal lead in the second but the Panthers dominated the third period on their way to tying the game.

The Panthers controlled most of the play in this game. Sportsnet’s Luke Fox indicated they led the Rangers in shot attempts (108-44), shots (37-23), scoring chances (46-20), and high-danger chances (15-7). They also went two-for-six on the power play while successfully killing off the Rangers’ two man-advantage attempts.

Goaltender Igor Shesterkin made the difference for the Rangers. He stopped 33 shots to bail out his teammates with several clutch saves.

Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk collected two assists in this contest. He surpassed his father Keith in career playoff points 57-56.

Rangers captain Jacob Trouba delivered a high elbow on Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues in the second period. His elbow made contact with Rodrigues’ head, initially earning a five-minute major penalty before it was downgraded on review to a double-minor, drawing criticism on social media given Trouba’s prior history of questionable hits. The Panthers failed to score on the ensuing power play.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers should scratch checking-line forward Ryan McLeod from Game 3 of the Western Conference Final if Adam Henrique is ready to return from a nagging injury. McLeod has no points and 15 shots in 14 playoff games, averaging nearly 14 minutes per game. He hasn’t scored in his last 26 playoff games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson pointed out that Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch shook his roster earlier in this postseason. He switched struggling goalie Stuart Skinner for Calvin Pickard in Games 4 and 5 of their second-round series against Vancouver and scratched veteran winger Corey Perry for the entirety of that series. He could do the same with McLeod if Henrique is ready to return.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars center Roope Hintz is considered a game-day decision for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Hintz has been sidelined by an upper-body injury since Game 4 of their second-round series against Colorado.


THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored the game-winning goal as Czechia blanked Switzerland 2-0 to win gold at the 2024 IIHF World Championships. Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Kampf scored into an empty net and Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal stopped 31 shots as Czechia won its first gold at the Worlds since 2010.

Dostal was named the tournament’s top goaltender. Los Angeles Kings winger Kevin Fiala of Switzerland was named most valuable player. Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi of Switzerland was the top defenseman.

Sweden defeated Canada 4-2 to win the bronze.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle did not play in Canada’s bronze-medal game against Sweden. He was injured while blocking a shot in Canada’s semifinal game against Switzerland.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk is reportedly returning to Russia. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the 23-year-old Okhotiuk signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, and the Flames can retain his NHL rights with a qualifying offer.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 20, 2024

Brock Boeser is expected to miss Game 7 of Canucks-Oilers series, plus the latest on Blake Wheeler, Seth Jarvis, Jake DeBrusk and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE PROVINCE: Brock Boeser is expected to be out of the Vancouver Canucks’ lineup for Game 7 of their second-round series with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday with a blood-clotting issue.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

Boeser’s status remains unclear if the Canucks advance to the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening. Boeser’s agent declined to comment but a source claimed the 27-year-old winger “is going to be OK.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big blow for the Canucks ahead of the biggest game of their season. They’ll miss Boeser’s production on the ice. He’s tied for fourth with Dallas’ Wyatt Johnston and the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider among playoff scorers with seven goals and tied with J.T. Miller for the lead among Canucks scorers with 12 points.

This must be personally devastating for Boeser’s teammates. Sportsnet’s Courtney Jacobsen observed the Canucks have relied on their resilience to reach this stage of the playoffs. They’ll need it more than ever now.

SPORTSNET: Oilers forward Adam Henrique remains sidelined for Game 7 against the Canucks. An ankle injury has limited him to just one game in this series.

TSN: Blake Wheeler and Filip Chytil participated in the New York Rangers’ optional skate on Sunday. Both forwards skated without non-contact jerseys. Defensemen Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller did not take part in the skate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler told reporters he’s ready to play when the Rangers face the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final. Game 1 is on Wednesday, May 22 at 8 pm EDT in New York.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Seth Jarvis suffered a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder 15 games into this season. “I just kind of dealt with it, slipping in and out a lot,” he said.

Jarvis, 22, played 81 games in the regular season, enjoying a career-high performance with 33 goals and 34 assists for 67 points. He had a team-high 13 power-play goals. Jarvis also suffered a broken finger during the Hurricanes’ first-round series against the New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jarvis hopes that his shoulder won’t require surgery. The team doctor might have something to say about that.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk told reporters he suffered a broken hand during the final months of the regular season. He recovered when the playoffs began, leading the Bruins with five goals and 11 points in 13 games.

THE ATHLETIC’s Fluto Shinzawa reported Bruins winger David Pastrnak played through recurring groin trouble this season. He also reported defenseman Matt Grzelcyk suffered a torn oblique.

DAILY FACEOFF: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau surpassed Patrick Kane as USA Hockey’s all-time leading scorer at the IIHF World Championships with 43 points in 38 games.

Team Canada defenseman Bowen Byram received a one-game suspension for slashing Finland’s Jesse Puljujarvi.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

The Islanders, Penguins and Sabres keep their playoff hopes alive, David Pastrnak reaches a Bruins’ scoring milestone, the three stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Bo Horvat and Simon Holmstrom gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal was Horvat’s 31st of the season for the 33-27-15 Islanders (81 points) as they moved to within one point of Washington Capitals for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the 22-48-5 Blackhawks.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for five goals in the third period to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Penguins improved to 34-30-11 (79 points) and sit three points behind the Capitals. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt each scored their 25th goal of the season for the Devils as they fell to 36-35-4 and dropped six points back of the Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. JJ Peterka scored twice and collected an assist while Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who moved to 36-35-4 (77 points) and are five points behind Washington. Dylan Strome netted his 26th goal of the season for the 36-28-10 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres winger Jeff Skinner played his 1,000th NHL game. Teammate Jordan Greenway missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark turned in a 31-save shutout to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (44-17-15), who sit third in the overall standings with 103 points. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots for the 43-28-4 Predators, who hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot (90 points) but have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak became the first Bruin since Adam Oates in 1992-93 to have at least 35 multi-point games in a season. With 46 goals, he’s also on pace to become the third player in franchise history with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Phil Esposito (five) and Cam Neely (three).

The Vegas Golden Knights rode a four-goal first period to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, extending their points streak to seven games. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 41st goal of the season and picked up two assists as the Golden Knights improved to 42-25-8. With 92 points, they’re third in the Pacific Division. Quinn Hughes scored two goals for the Canucks (46-21-8), who sit fifth overall with 100 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov was ejected from this game for boarding Vegas forward Brett Howden during the first period.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, trade deadline acquisition Tomas Hertl joined practice on Tuesday as a full participant. The 30-year-old center is recovering from knee surgery. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy hinted he might return to action for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored twice to reach the 70-point plateau for the first time in a 5-3 upset of the Florida Panthers. Sam Montembeault kicked out 37 shots for the 29-33-12 Canadiens, who’ve won four of their last five games. Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist for the slumping Panthers (47-24-5), who’ve won two of their last 10 games and sit seventh overall with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left this game with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers played without forwards Matthew Tkachuk (illness) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper-body injury). Verhaeghe is week-to-week and is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Vinni Lettieri snapped a 2-2 tie for the 36-29-9 Wild (81 points) as they’re six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western wildcard. Drake Batherson netted his 27th goal of the season for the 33-37-4 Senators.

Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn scored twice in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Troy Terry and Olen Zellweger each had three points for the 25-47-4 Ducks. Andrei Kuzmenko potted two goals for the 34-35-5 Flames.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg are the league’s three stars for March 2024. Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was named Rookie of the Month for March 2024.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues top prospect Jimmy Snuggerud will return to the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers for his junior year. The 19-year-old winger has scored 42 goals in 79 NCAA games. He had 21 goals and 13 assists this season for the Golden Gophers and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

SPORTSNET: The ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers franchise had its membership terminated by the league’s board of governors.

The Growlers were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate. Deacon Sports and Entertainment, the majority owners of the Growlers and ECHL club Trois Rivieres Lions, had proposed a sale of both teams but only the Lions were saved.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Saturday that there had been a lengthy battle behind the scenes over payments to cities and some NHL teams.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sports media insider Jonah Sigel reports Rogers Communications could sell TV rights to its Monday night games (including playoff games) to Amazon over the final two years of its contract.

Sigel believes Amazon’s interest in getting a foothold in NHL broadcasting suggests it could be part of a broader strategy.

Rogers Communications’ current broadcasting agreement with the NHL has two years to go. The league could prioritize streaming services in its next TV deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wondered what effect the end of Rogers’ TV contract two years from now might have on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue (HRR). It could be a lucrative deal with Amazon or another streaming service. If so, there would be no negative impact on HRR.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2024

The Rangers become this season’s first team to reach 100 points and clinch a playoff spot, Artemi Panarin and David Pastrnak reach the 100-point plateau, Josh Doan has a memorable NHL debut with the Coyotes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers became the first team to clinch a playoff berth and to reach 100 points this season as they nipped the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5. Adam Fox scored in overtime, Artemi Panarin collected three assists and Alexis Lafreniere tallied twice for the 48-20-4 Rangers. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton had a goal and an assist each for the Flyers (36-27-10) as they cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin (102 points) reached the 100-point plateau for the first time, sitting fourth among this season’s leading scorers.

Third-period goals by Trent Frederic and Pavel Zacha lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. Zacha, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (42-16-15) as they sit third in the overall standings with 99 points. Sam Reinhart netted his 51st goal of the season as the Panthers (46-21-5) slipped to fifth overall with 97 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak reached 100 points for the second straight season and sits fifth in the scoring race.

Josh Doan scored two goals (including the game-winner) in his NHL debut with the Arizona Coyotes as they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2. Matias Maccelli and Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist each for the 30-37-5 Coyotes. Boone Jenner and Zack Werenski had a goal and an assist each for the 23-37-12 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doan is the son of former Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who was in attendance watching his son’s first NHL game.

Dallas Stars center Wyatt Johnston scored twice and collected an assist in a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists for the Stars (45-19-9), who sit second in the overall standings with 99 points. Mikael Granlund picked up two assists for the 16-47-8 Sharks.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his 59th goal of the season but his club fell 6-3 to the New Jersey Devils. Jack Hughes tallied twice and Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Curtis Lazar had three points each as the Devils (36-33-4) kept their playoff hopes alive with 76 points, who sit five points back of the Capitals. William Nylander and Tyler Bertuzzi replied for the 40-22-9 Leafs, who sit third in the Atlantic Division with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe roasted his club in his postgame presser, ripping their “immature” performance in this contest. They also played with defensemen Morgan Rielly and Joel Edmundson. Both players are day-to-day with injuries.

The Edmonton Oilers downed the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on an overtime goal by Zach Hyman, who now has 51 goals on the season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid each collected two points for the Oilers (43-23-4), who sit second in the Pacific Division with 90 points. Sean Monahan scored his 22nd goal of the season for the Jets (44-22-6), who have 94 points but are winless in their last four games (0-3-1).

Two goals by Dylan Strome, including the winner in overtime, lifted the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. John Carlson collected two assists for the Capitals, who improved to 36-26-9 (81 points) to hold the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot. Patrick Kane scored the game-tying goal and Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings (36-29-7) as they dropped two points behind the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These clubs are going in different directions in the battle for that wildcard berth. The Capitals are surging with seven wins in their last 10 games while the Red Wings have just three victories in their last 10.

The Nashville Predators scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 on an overtime goal by Roman Josi. Ryan O’Reilly and Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists each for the Predators (43-25-4) as they hold the first Western Conference wildcard berth with 90 points. William Karlsson and Anthony Mantha each had a goal and an assist for the 39-25-8 Golden Knights, who hold the second Western wildcard with 86 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists and Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 38 shots in a 4-1 upset of the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping the latter’s seven-game points streak. Dmitry Orlov replied for the Hurricanes as they slipped to 45-21-7 (97 points) to remain three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers. The Penguins improved to 31-30-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins also honored Jake Guentzel with a video tribute highlighting his nearly eight seasons in Pittsburgh before his trade to Carolina earlier this month. Following the game, Guentzel told reporters he intended to re-sign with the Penguins but he felt management had other ideas. The 29-year-old winger will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Speaking of upsets, the Montreal Canadiens downed the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 to end the latter’s nine-game win streak. Sam Montembeault made 27 saves while Nick Suzuki and Joel Armia scored for the 27-32-12 Canadiens. Nathan MacKinnon scored to extend his home points streak to 35 games and his overall streak to 19 games for the Avalanche (46-21-5), who sit two points behind the Central Division-leading Stars with 97 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon is tied with Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov in the scoring race with 123 points but Kucherov holds two games in hand. Suzuki reached a single-season high of 67 points and is one goal from reaching 30 in a season for the first time. Meanwhile, linemate Juraj Slafkovsky set a franchise record for the most points by a teenager (40) in a single season. Slafkovsky turns 20 on March 30.

The Chicago Blackhawks got two goals from Jason Dickinson to defeat the Calgary Flames 3-1. Petr Mrazek kicked out 38 shots while rookie Landon Slaggert collected two assists for his first NHL points as the Blackhawks improved to 21-46-5. MacKenzie Weegar replied for the 33-33-5 Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dickinson reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his nine-season NHL career.

Seattle Kraken forwards Matty Beniers and Eeli Tolvanen each had a goal and two assists to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Joey Daccord picked up the shutout with 12 saves for the 29-29-13 Kraken. Trevor Zegras was held scoreless in his return to the Anaheim lineup since fracturing an ankle in early January. The Ducks dropped to 24-44-4.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Bruins David Pastrnak, the Jets Mark Scheifele and the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen highlight Tuesday’s action. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored one of three hat tricks in the league on Tuesday in a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Rookie Justin Brazeau tallied twice for the Bruins (41-14-15) as they picked up their third straight win and remain atop the overall standings with 97 points. Brady Tkachuk scored his 31st goal of the season for the 28-35-4 Senators.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak has 44 goals on the season and sits fourth among this season’s goalscoring leaders. His 99 points rank fourth among the scoring leaders.

The Winnipeg Jets doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2 thanks to Mark Scheifele’s hat-trick performance. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 38 shots and Kyle Connor netted his 30th goal of the season for the 44-19-15 Jets as they remain in first place in the Central Division with 93 points and a game in hand over the Colorado Avalanche. Alexis Lafreniere netted his 20th of the season for the Rangers (45-20-4) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without head coach Rick Bowness as he’s on an indefinite leave of absence following a minor medical procedure in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, Lafreniere reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his young career.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick lifted them over the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his points streak to 16 games for the Avalanche (44-20-5) as they remain behind the Jets in second place in the Central with 93 points. Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist for the 36-30-3 Blues (75 points) to remain four points out of the final Western Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche extended their win streak to seven games.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a two-goal performance from Seth Jarvis in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov collected an assist as the Hurricanes (43-20-6) have won seven of their last eight and sit two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metro Division. Kyle Palmieri scored for the 29-24-15 Islanders (73 points) as they’ve lost five straight and sit three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings got an overtime goal from Patrick Kane to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Kane also collected two assists while Lucas Raymond tallied twice for the 35-28-6 Red Wings (76 points) as they regained that Eastern wildcard berth from the Washington Capitals. Zach Werenski had a goal and two assists for the 23-34-12 Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brayden Point netted two third-period goals for the Lightning (37-25-6) as they hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 80 points. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 38th goal of the season for the 36-25-7 Golden Knights as they cling to the final Western wild-card berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov regained first place in the scoring race with 118 points, sitting one point up on the Avalanche’s MacKinnon.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth win in their last seven games by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another for the Canucks (43-18-8) as they hold a one-point lead over the Jets and Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference with 94 points. Rasmus Dahlin scored both goals for the 33-32-5 Sabres (71 points) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth.

An overtime power-play goal by Leon Draisaitl lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Connor McDavid and Adam Henrique also scored for the 41-21-4 Oilers as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Nick Suzuki scored his career-high 27th goal of the season for the 25-31-12 Canadiens.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 with Anze Kopitar scoring twice and collecting an assist. Adrian Kempe picked up two assists for the Kings (35-22-11), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 81 points. Philipp Kurashev had two assists for the 19-45-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks center Connor Bedard collected an assist as he tied Jonathan Toews’ franchise rookie record of 54 points.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and winger Filip Forsberg each had a goal and two assists as their club thumped the San Jose Sharks 8-2. Ryan McDonagh and Kiefer Sherwood each had three assists as the Predators improved to 40-25-4 and hold the first Western wildcard spot with 84 points. Mario Ferraro had a goal and an assist for the 16-45-7 Sharks.

The Philadelphia Flyers held off the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 4-3 victory. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (35-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 78 points. John Tavares had a goal and two assists for the 38-20-9 Maple Leafs (85 points) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch. This drew criticism from his agent citing a lack of communication between his client and head coach John Tortorella.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save shutout from Filip Gustavsson to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Matt Boldy and Ryan Hartman each had two points and Kirill Kaprizov scored his 36th goal of the season for the 34-27-8 Wild (76 points) as they sit three points back of the Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard berth. John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the 23-43-3 Ducks.

New Jersey Devils forwards Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jake Allen stopped 36 shots for the Devils (33-32-4) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth. Tristan Jarry turned aside 33 shots for the 30-29-9 Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed this game, listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.


THE SCORE: Six proposed rule changes have been proposed to the NHL’s competition committee following this week’s meetings of NHL general managers in Florida.

One rule change will go into effect immediately as players will be banned from hanging their legs over the boards when not on the ice. A team will be warned first before receiving a bench minor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should reduce the increasing number of “too many men on the ice” penalties resulting from line changes.

The proposed changes include goaltenders being called for delay of game for intentionally dislodging the net, coach’s challenge for puck over-the-glass calls, and reviews for high-sticking penalties if it’s believed an offense wasn’t committed by the penalized player.

SPORTSNET: Rick Nash was named the general manager of Team Canada at this year’s IIHF World Championships in May. Nash is currently the director of player development for the Columbus Blue Jackets and was assistant GM for Canada at the 2022 Worlds.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula named Pete Guelli as chief operating officer of both teams on Tuesday.

TSN: Former NHL player Chris Simon died Monday at age 52.

Simon played 15 NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild from 1992-93 to 2007-08.

One of the league’s most feared enforcers, he collected 1,824 PIMs in 782 games and received eight suspensions totaling 65 games. He also collected 144 goals and 161 assists for 305 regular-season points along with 10 goals and 17 points in 75 playoff games. In 1999-2000, he led the Capitals with 29 goals.

Simon won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1995-96, helped the Washington Capitals reach the 1998 Stanley Cup Final and the Calgary Flames advance to the 2004 Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simon’s family indicated his death was by suicide. His agent indicated his former client struggled with CTE related to his playing career.

Simon’s role as an enforcer overshadowed his abilities as a player. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2024

Recaps of Monday’s games, the three stars of the week are revealed, Hall-of-Famer Lanny McDonald is in hospital following a cardiac event, and David Pastrnak weighs in on the NHL’s 4 Nations Faceoff tournament. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Alexis Lafreniere lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Artemi Panarin scored the tying goal for the Rangers (31-16-3) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points. Nathan MacKinnon scored for the 32-14-4 Avalanche as he moved into a tie with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov for first place in the scoring race with 85 points. The Avs extended their points streak to 14 games, holding first place in the Central Division with 68 points.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders nipped the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on a late goal by former Leaf Pierre Engvall. Ilya Sorokin made 35 saves for the 21-17-12 Islanders (54 points) as they snapped a three-game winless skid (0-2-1) to sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs (25-15-8) as they hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 58 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defensemen Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock returned to action for the Islanders after missing several games due to injury. Meanwhile, Leafs forward David Kampf is out for a week with an undisclosed injury.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 4.

SPORTSNET: Hall-of-Famer Lanny McDonald is in a Calgary hospital after suffering a cardiac event Sunday after returning from the 2024 NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto. He said he owes his life to two quick-thinking nurses who were catching their flights at the Calgary airport but stopped to attend to him. In the stress of the moment, his wife didn’t get their names.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping McDonald has a quick recovery and learns the names of those nurses so he can thank them properly.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak is no fan of next year’s 4 Nations Faceoff tournament. Scheduled for Feb. 2025, the nine-day tournament features only Canada, the United States, Finland and Sweden.

Pastrnak, who’s from Czechia, isn’t pleased that his country was excluded from the tournament. “It’s a huge disappointment…Definitely not happy about it,” he told Boston.com’s Conor Ryan. He said he understood that it was a quick turnaround and the league probably didn’t have enough time to expand the tournament.

Nevertheless, Pastrnak said he’s not going to watch that tournament, putting his focus on representing Czechia at the 2026 Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame Pastrnak for feeling slighted. It’s a slap in the face to NHL players from smaller hockey-playing nations like Czechia, Germany, Slovakia and others. The league could’ve addressed this by having a Team Europe comprised of NHL players from those countries as they did during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov has entered the NHL-NHLPA player assistance program and will be away from the team indefinitely. The 31-year-old’s production has declined over the past two seasons and he’s struggled with consistency.

TSN: London, Ontario police yesterday confirmed charges against five former players of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube, New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote and unsigned Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton were each charged with one count of sexual assault stemming from an alleged incident following a Hockey Canada event in London in June 2018. McLeod also faced an additional charge of sexual assault for “being a party to the offense.”

The case is set to return to court on April 30.

THE ATHLETIC: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the Flyers, Flames and Devils will receive salary-cap relief for those players during their indefinite leaves of absence to deal with these legal proceedings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be within the realm of the collective bargaining agreement and not something arbitrarily decided by the league.

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators head coach D.J. Smith will join the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach to interim bench boss Jim Hiller for the remainder of the season. Smith was fired on Dec. 18 after over four seasons with the Senators.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Tampa Bay Lightning are getting several injured players back. Forwards Tanner Jeannot and Austin Watson and defensemen Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak and Haydn Fleury participated in practice on Monday.

TORONTO SUN: Matthew Spezza, the younger brother of former NHL star Jason Spezza, died over the weekend from an accidental overdose. Now an assistant general manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jason issued a statement yesterday confirming the news and asking for his family’s privacy to be respected during this difficult time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Spezza family.