NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2018

Max Domi suspended for remainder of the preseason, Ondrej Pavelec retires and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Canadiens forward Max Domi for the remainder of the preseason for punching Florida Panthers forward Aaron Ekblad in the face during a preseason game on Wednesday. 

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi suspended for remainder of preseason. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting reaction on social media to Domi’s punching Ekblad and his suspension. Many folks drew comparisons to Domi’s father Tie’s sucker-punch of Ulf Samuelsson while Domi’s defenders blame Ekblad for goading Max into punching him. Some, like Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, questioned whether it should be considered a sucker punch. Some folks believe Domi’s suspension was excessive while others consider it a joke that the suspension didn’t carry over into the regular season.

Provoked or not, Domi shouldn’t have popped Ekblad, who had no intention of dropping the gloves. The suspension means Domi won’t get a chance to improve his play while the Canadiens can’t evaluate his performance at center in game situations before the regular season opens next month. 

VANCOUVER SUN:  Canucks winger Loui Eriksson is listed as week-to-week with a bone bruise on one of his legs. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers goaltender Alex Lyon will be sidelined up to four weeks with a lower-body injury. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Former Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavalec announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. “He had a record of 156-167-48 and a goals-against average of 2.88.” Except for 19 games last season with the New York Rangers, he spent his NHL career with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Pavelec in his future endeavors. 


Slim Pickings Remain in 2018 NHL UFA Market

Slim Pickings Remain in 2018 NHL UFA Market

A week into the 2018 NHL free-agent market, not much talent remains for teams attempting to bolster their lineups. Here’s a brief look at the notable names still available as of July 7, 2018.

Left wing Patrick Maroon is the best player still available in this summer’s UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

Patrick Maroon. The best remaining scorer in the bunch. A big-bodied (6’3”, 225 lbs) left winger coming off back-to-back 40-plus point seasons. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in his services.

Kari Lehtonen. The 34-year-old Lehtonen posted a respectable 2.56 goals-against average and .912 save percentage last season in a backup role with the Dallas Stars. He could be a mentor for a rising young starter.

Dan Hamhuis. Though Hamhuis’ best days are behind him,  the 35-year-old defenseman still tallied 24 points while skating over 20 minutes per game with the Stars. He could be a solid depth addition for a playoff contender.

Toby Enstrom. Injuries have frequently sidelined the 33-year-old Enstrom, hampering his effectiveness as a puck-moving blueliner. His experience, however, could be helpful to a rebuilding club.

Brooks Orpik. The shutdown blueliner helped the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup this spring. Traded to Colorado and bought out, the Capitals are reportedly interested in bringing him back for one more year.

Steve Mason. The 30-year-old struggled with injury and inconsistency as the Winnipeg Jets’ backup last season. Those factors could hurt Mason’s efforts to land with another NHL club.

Luca Sbisa. Missed all but 30 games to injury last season but was solid in the playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights. Sbisa could be a good depth addition to a blueline in need of a physical rearguard.

Antoine Vermette. The 35-year-old’s 20-goal, 40-point seasons are well in the past. However, he could provide depth for clubs in need of a veteran checking-line center.

Alexei Emelin. A physical defenseman, Emelin could provide some experienced grit as a third-pairing blueliner.

Ondrej Pavelec. The 30-year-old netminder sported a decent .910 save percentage serving as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy with the New York Rangers.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2018

Game recaps, Sidney Crosby reaches a scoring milestone, Jack Eichel sidelined and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his 400th career goal during a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up his 400th career NHL goal as he led his club to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Crosby, who tallied twice, became the 95th player in league history to reach that milestone. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a significant achievement by Crosby, but he’s got a long way to go to crack the top-50 all-time goal scorers. Indeed, very few active players rank among the all-time scoring leaders. 

After missing three games with concussion symptoms, New York Rangers winger Jimmy Vesey returned to action and scored the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the day, the Rangers announced backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec (strained MCL) will miss two to three weeks

Tomas Tatar scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Washington Capitals 5-4. The Wings blew a 4-1 lead in the third period as the Capitals stormed back on goals by Brett Connolly, Dmitry Orlov and Nicklas Backstrom to force the extra frame. 

Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves and Reid Boucher scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks shut out the Dallas Stars 6-0. Canucks forward Jake Virtanen scored and added an assist. 

Colin Wilson had a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. Ryan O’Reilly scored and set up two others for the Sabres, who announced earlier in the day that center Jack Eichel is sidelined indefinitely by a high-ankle sprain. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a horrible season for the Sabres. Losing their best player indefinitely is the cherry on the shit sundae. 

Two shorthanded goals and a power-play tally gave the Boston Bruins a 5-3 win over the struggling New Jersey Devils, who’ve dropped four in a row. Bruins blueliner Torey Krug scored one of the shorthanded tallies and potting the goal with the man advantage. 

Matthew Tkachuk scored two third-period goals as the Calgary Flames nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Their win, however, was overshadowed by a groin injury suffered by goaltender Mike Smith in the dying seconds of the game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith was writhing in pain and had to be helped from the ice. No word yet on how long he could be sidelined but it doesn’t look good. 

A three-point performance by Sean Couturier powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, giving the Flyers their fourth consecutive win. Backup Michal Neuvirth made 38 saves for Philadelphia. 

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Couture also had a goal and an assist during regulation play. 

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown received a one-game suspension for kneeing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on Saturday. 


Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

New York Rangers sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year contract.

The NHL free-agent period opened at noon ET today. Here’s a look at the day’s notable signings thus far. Analysis of the most noteworthy signings will follow later today in my Soapbox section.

Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a three-year contract worth $5.5 million per season. 

San Jose Sharks have reportedly re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year, $6.5 million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning sign winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $2 million contract. 

Anaheim Ducks signed goaltender Ryan Miller to a two-year deal worth $2 million annually. 

Los Angeles Kings sign winger Mike Cammalleri to a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a $1 million base salary. 

Anaheim Ducks re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler to an eight-year, $52-million contract extension. The deal kicks in on July 1, 2018. 

San Jose Sharks re-signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to an eight-year, $56 million contract extension and re-up goaltender Martin Jones to a six-year, $34.5 million extension.  Both deals commence on July 1, 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year, $750K contract. 

Buffalo Sabres sign goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign winger Justin Williams to a two-year, $9 million contract.  

Pittsburgh Penguins sign defenseman Matt Hunwick to a three-year, $6.75 million contract. 

Winnipeg Jets sign goaltender Steve Mason to a two-year deal worth $4.1 million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres signed winger Benoit Pouliot to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Dan Girardi to a two-year deal worth $3 million per season. 

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Trevor Daley to a three-year, $9.5 million contract. 

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is heading to the Winnipeg Jets. Three years, $4.33 million AAV.

Center Brian Boyle is reportedly heading to the New Jersey Devils on a two-year deal. (Update: It’s two years, $5.5 million)

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are signing defenseman Ron Hainsey to a two-year deal. (Update: $3 million per season. )

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports center Nick Bonino is joining the Nashville Predators. Four years, $4.1 million AAV.

NBC SPORTS cites a report from NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes saying the New York Rangers signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year deal worth $6.9 million per season.  TSN’s Frank Seravalli, however, reports Shattenkirk’s agent calls this premature, claiming his client is still considering his options. 

TSN contributor Aaron Ward reports hearing  the Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a five-year contract with defenseman Karl Alzner worth roughly $4.5 million annually. (Update: It’s a five-year, $23-million contract. $4.6 million AAV).

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports it looks like the Vancouver Canucks will sign forward Sam Gagner (three years, $3.15 million per). Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (two years, $3 million) goaltender Anders Nilsson (two years, $2.5 million AAV) and forward Alex Burmistrov are also expected to join the Canucks. 

 Winger Patrick Sharp is rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s reportedly a one-year, $1 million contract. ($800K base salary, $200K in bonuses).

Center Martin Hanzal is expected to join the Dallas Stars. (Update: Three years, $4.75 million annually). 

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier is joining the Colorado Avalanche. (Update: Two years, $2.75 million per season)

Goalie Ondrej Pavelec is heading to the New York Rangers. (Update: One year, $1.3 million). 


NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2017

Kevin Shattenkirk tops the list of this year’s top unrestricted free agents.

The NHL’s free agent market opens today. Check out the latest free-agent and trade speculation. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning could be two clubs with more interest in Washington Capitals UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche could also be lurking. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the New Jersey Devils could target Shattenkirk, who could seek a seven-year deal worth around $7 million annually. That would be too rich for the New York Rangers, but perhaps not for the Devils, who have plenty of salary-cap space and are in need of skilled blueline depth. Cyrgalis also speculates the Devils could pursue center Nick Bonino and left wing Thomas Vanek via free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils, Coyotes and Avalanche have the cap space to ink Shattenkirk to a lucrative long-term deal. If it gets down to a bidding war, I can’t see the Lightning winning that one unless he’s willing to accept less to play in Tampa Bay. 

Darren Dreger reports Capitals winger Jason Williams was high on the Dallas Stars list, while the Nashville Predators are still poking around. He’d reportedly like to stay in the East. He’s been linked to the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is pushing hard for his club to bring back Williams, who helped the Canes win the Stanley Cup in 2006. 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports the Islanders, Flyers and Lightning are among Williams’ suitors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of interest in the 35-year-old Williams, who remains a capable second-line right wing. Given his age, he’ll likely get a two-year deal and it could be for around $4 million annually. If he intends to stay in the East he won’t lack for destinations. Maybe he joins the Lightning for one more shot at a Stanley Cup run.

CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz cites reports the San Jose Sharks have offered up a two-year contract offer to forward Patrick Marleau and could be prepared to offer up a multiyear deal to Joe Thornton. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates perhaps there’s some rationale for the New York Rangers to sign Thornton and Marleau to lucrative bonus-laden one-year contract if they’re unable to remain with the Sharks. However, there’s no indication the duo are willing to consider that option. If so, Brooks wonders if it’s worthwhile to offer the pair matching two-year deals for around $5.5 million per season. 

Darren Dreger reports the Rangers are in talks with former Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Marleau and Thornton accept two-year deals with the Sharks. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. If they do move on, I expect they’ll try to sign with teams as close to San Jose as possible. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL Network’s Brian Lawton reporting he was working “on 2 rumours involving @EdmontonOilers. Draisaitl @Avalanche trade for Duchene & @SanJoseSharks interest in him. Lot of moving parts!” He notes Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli emphatically denied the report.  ‘We are not trading him. I have talked to nobody nor will I,” said Chiarelli. Staple said he doesn’t get how a Draisaitl for Duchene swap would work for the Oilers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk the Draisaitl camp seeks over $9 million annually on his new contract, but he’s coming off an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. There’s no need to trade him. I expect he’ll ink an eight-year deal for around $8 million per season with the Oilers. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets “are pursuing all avenues toward increasing their firepower at forward, which means big trades and noteworthy free agent signings over the next few days should not be a surprise.” He expects they’ll pursue a first-line center via trade, noting recent reports linking the Jackets to Colorado’s Matt Duchene.

Acquiring Duchene, however, could cost them two roster players plus a prospect and a draft pick. If they’re offering up one of their wingers as part of the deal for Duchene, it would explain their interest in left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, whose rights are owned by the New Jersey Devils. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Jackets over the next couple of days. It looks like they’re willing to go all in to push themselves into Stanley Cup contention for 2017-18. Could see at least one big move by them.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are no closer to re-signing right wing Alexander Radulov, who’s reportedly seeking a six- or seven-year deal. The Dallas Stars could have some interest in Radulov, who turns 31 later this month. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also aren’t any closer to re-signing Andrei Markov. GM Marc Bergevin could be scrambling to replace those two when the market opens today. 

Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets appear for now to be out of the bidding for Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. He’s believed seeking a six-year deal worth around $5 million annually.

TWINCITIES.COM:  Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said his club won’t be a big player in the upcoming UFA market. Fletcher has about $17.6 million in salary-cap space after shipping Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville yesterday to the Buffalo Sabres. The Wild are looking at options at center and for a right-shot defenseman, but they could consider in-house options to address those needs. 

NEWS 1130’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks could be close to a deal with former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2017

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton tallied his 1,000th career assist in a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Game recaps. stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Joe Thornton became the 13th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000 assist mark while Joe Pavelski scored two goals as the San Jose Sharks edged the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced goaltender Ondrej Pavelec underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and could be sidelined for a month.

Kari Lehtonen made 42 saves and Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist to give the Dallas Stars a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, snapping the latter’s 15-game home winning streak. 

Alex Burrows had a goal and an assist while Dion Phaneuf and Erik Karlsson each collected two assists as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2. 

Antti Raanta made 38 saves and Mika Zibanejad tallied the only goal as the New York Rangers blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. 

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price were the NHL stars for the week ending March 5, 2017. 

TSN: The opening day of this week’s meeting of NHL general managers in Florida was spent basically spitballing ideas over what the league could look like within a decade. Much of the discussion was based on ideas about generating more offense. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound as though any of the ideas bandied about, such a larger nets or changing the location of the faceoff dots in each zone, will be implemented anytime soon. 

ESPN.COM: NHL officials believe protocols put in place two years ago to address a widespread outbreak of mumps have helped curtail the latest outbreak among several players on the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin issued an apology for a racially charged comment about black women that he made during an interview on Russian TV several years ago. “In 2012, I was a guest on a Russian TV show and made insensitive comments that I deeply regret,” Panarin said in a statement the Blackhawks released to the Tribune. “I understand my comments are offensive and I apologize for my hurtful words.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin’s comment, saying the one thing he’d never do was sleep with a black woman, appeared to be a poor attempt at humor on his part. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights made their first-ever player transaction on Monday, signing junior free agent center Reid Duke to a three-year entry-level contract.