NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s action, stars of the week, concern over growing COVID numbers on Canucks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice and John Tavares picked up his 800th career points as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Calgary Flames 5-3. Matthews has a league-leading 27 goals on the season as the Leafs sit atop the Scotia North Division with 55 points. Leafs goalie Jack Campbell extended his record to 9-0-0. Mikael Backlund scored two goals for the sputtering Flames, who’ve dropped eight of their last nine and sit sixth in the division with 35 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick a fork in the Flames, folks, they’re done. They’re eight points out of a playoff spot in the North and show no sign of reversing their death spiral in the standings.

Montreal Canadiens center Eric Staal (NHL Images).

Eric Staal’s first goal with the Montreal Canadiens was an overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Staal made his debut over a week after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. It was a costly win for the Habs as winger Brendan Gallagher could be sidelined for weeks with a fractured thumb. With 43 points, the Canadiens sit five points behind the third-place Oilers in the North.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The feisty Gallagher will be difficult to replace. The Habs are pressed against the salary cap. If Gallagher’s out until the playoffs perhaps GM Marc Bergevin will place him on long-term injury reserve. It would free up $3.75 million to put toward pursuing a forward or defenseman before the April 12 trade deadline.

The Winnipeg Jets survived a late push by the Ottawa Senators for a 4-3 victory. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied twice for the Jets (49 points), who sit one point up on the Oilers for second place in the North Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Jets dominated the Senators, outshooting them 46-23.

A four-goal second period enabled the Colorado Avalanche to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-4. Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, extending their points streak to 15 games and sitting in first place in the Honda West Division with 56 points. Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists for the Wild. With 48 points, they are third in the West.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their first win in four games by downing the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Alec Martinez scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo picked up an assist in his first game in St. Louis since the former Blues captain signed with Vegas in the offseason. The Golden Knights are second in the West with 52 points while the struggling Blues are sixth with 38 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years after winning the Stanley Cup and a year after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, the Blues are in serious danger of missing the playoffs. They’re winless in their last seven (0-6-1), tallying just eight goals in that stretch.

Michael Bunting’s first career NHL hat trick powered the Arizona Coyotes over the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Adin Hill kicked out 36 shots for his third straight win as the surging Coyotes (43 points) hold a five-point lead over the Blues and San Jose Sharks for fourth in the West.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Travis Sanheim. The Flyers moved to within three points of the fourth-place Bruins (44 points) in the MassMutual East Division. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 4, 2021.

The list of Vancouver Canucks on the NHL’s COVID protocol list grew to 17 players as Nils Hoglander tested positive. The league has extended the postponement of Canucks games to April 10.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly expressed concern over the Canucks’ COVID numbers but remains confident the team will be able to complete its 56-game schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend upon how many more Canucks test positive, the severity of their symptoms, how long they’ll be sidelined, and if this outbreak remains contained to the team. The league has a buffer week of May 10-14 to allow for rescheduled games to be completed.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness remains hopeful his COVID test result on Sunday turns out to be a false positive. He’s fully vaccinated and said he feels fine despite the positive test. If his follow-up test is negative he’ll be unable to rejoin the Stars in time for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to the NHL’s COVID protocols.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Tanev is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have sent rookie forward Trevor Zegras to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. The Ducks were pleased with the promising youngster’s play as a winger but want to give him more experience at center. It’s expected he’ll return to the Ducks before the end of the season.

NEW YORK POST: A Minnesota medical examiner ruled the March 3 death of Mark Pavelich a suicide. The former Team USA and NHL forward was receiving treatment at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Minnesota as part of his civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019. He was diagnosed with a mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, likely related to repeated head injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, my condolences to Pavelich’s friends, family and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s games, Brent Seabrook retires, Sabres GM speaks about his club’s poor performance and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brad Marchand scored twice and set up another to lead the Boston Bruins over the Washington Capitals 5-1. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom collected an assist to give him 700 for his career. Capitals winger Tom Wilson could face supplemental discipline after he drilled Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in the head during the first period. Wilson was unpenalized on the play while Carlo left the game and was taken to hospital for his injury.

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson has a history of questionable hits stretching back to 2015. His previous antics earned him four fines and three suspensions totaling 23 games.

A shootout goal by Philipp Kurashev lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Alex DeBrincat scored twice, Patrick Kane collected two helpers and Malcolm Subban made 39 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have proven to be a handful for the Lightning in this series compared to their previous one earlier in the season. It’s indicative of how much the Hawks have improved since the opening weeks of the schedule.

David Perron’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Mike Hoffman’s overtime winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Perron scored twice while Ryan O’Reilly assisted on every Blues goal. The Kings have dropped four straight.

The Colorado Avalanche got an overtime goal by Valeri Nichushkin to nip the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Avs center Nathan MacKinnon remained sidelined by an apparent head injury suffered during Wednesday’s game against San Jose. He received clearance to play but was a late scratch to avoid further injury. Head coach Jared Bednar believes MacKinnon could miss a couple of more games.

A three-goal first period powered the Minnesota Wild to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jordan Greenway and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and an assist while Kirill Kaprizov and Marcus Foligno both collected two assists.

Max Pacioretty scored in overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Pacioretty scored twice and added an assist. Vegas goalie Oscar Dansk made 24 saves to pick up his first win since 2017.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook announced his playing career is over due to injuries. The 35-year-old blueliner’s last game was Dec. 15, 2019, after which he underwent surgery on both of his hips and right shoulder. He then suffered a back injury during the opening day of training camp in January. Seabrook finishes his career with three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015), an Olympic Gold Medal (2010) and 464 points in 1,114 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook spent his entire 15-year NHL career with the Blackhawks and played a crucial role in their rise from league laughingstock to three-time Stanley Cup champion. He hasn’t officially retired, however, as he has three years and $15 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. He’ll remain on long-term injury reserve, which will provide the Blackhawks with a measure of salary-cap relief.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams expressed his unhappiness yesterday over his club’s poor performance. He called where the team was at this time “unacceptable”, criticized what he called a lack of competitiveness by the players, emphasized he has “full authority on hockey decisions,” indicated “everything is being evaluated” when asked about head coach Ralph Krueger’s status and claimed team captain Jack Eichel has not requested a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams’ statement seemed to be the club’s attempt to mollify Sabres fans upset with the club’s lack of progress. Talk is one thing, action is another. The fans are more interested in what, if anything, the current management intends to do to end this team’s decade of mediocrity.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite said the club expected starting goalie Carey Price would struggle in January and February as he adjusted to sharing his workload this season with backup Jake Allen. Price was expected to improve as the season wore on and saw more starts.

Waite also said the long-time Habs netminder isn’t at 100 percent physically but he can still play. “He’s not hurt but he has some stiffness. He has to learn to play with the pain and that’s why we need a very good backup and that’s what we have in Montreal right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will further stoke debate among Canadiens fans over whether Price will ever regain his once-dominant form on a consistent basis.

THE SCORE: Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s not looking to make a coaching change. Bench boss Travis Green is in the final season of his contract but Benning believes Green and his staff “have done a good job with our group”. As for trades, the Canucks GM said his struggling team has to figure this out from within as new players would have to quarantine for two weeks and regain their conditioning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, no Jake Virtanen to the Anaheim Ducks for Danton Heinen as rumored a week ago?

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are breathing a sigh of relief as they learned goaltender Igor Shesterkin suffered a mild groin strain during Thursday’s win over the New Jersey Devils. He had to be helped off the ice at the end of the third period when he was unable to put weight on his right leg. He’s listed as day-to-day.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former 1980 Team USA forward Mark Pavelich, 63, was found dead in a Minnesota treatment facility. Pavelich helped Team USA upset the powerful Soviet Union squad on route to winning Olympic gold in 1980. He went on to spend six seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks, tallying 329 points in 355 games.

Pavelich was arrested in 2019 and charged with a violent assault on his neighbor but was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. Family and friends believe his condition was linked to head trauma suffered during his playing career. He was receiving treatment for his condition and was believed to be making progress at the time of his death.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2020

More details on a possible resumption of the schedule in July, the potential plans for the 2020 Draft, the Blue Jackets re-sign goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST ON THE POSSIBLE RESUMPTION OF 2019-20 NHL SEASON

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the NHL is looking at a series of phases toward re-starting the 2019-20 season. It’s currently been in Phase 1 (lockdown, quarantine, self-isolation) since mid-March. The league is optimistic about moving into Phase 2, which would see players from around the world returning to their NHL clubs and getting into a two-week quarantine period of small-group training.

Following that could see Phase 3, which could see a plan of four divisional cities hosting multiple teams staging two-week training camps. After that would be Phase 4, the resumption of games.

Darren Dreger suggests the Phase 2 period would ideally be around May 15. He said the league and the NHL Players’ Association are discussing restart strategies, but some teams aren’t optimistic about whether it’s safe enough to return anytime soon.

Pierre LeBrun reports the league is vetting 12 NHL cities for those four divisional hosts. He cites colleague Frank Seravalli indicating Toronto, Edmonton, Dallas, and Pittsburgh were under consideration. LeBrun also mentioned Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul), and Columbus.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports at least one NHL team told its players to be prepared to report on May 15 to begin informal workouts before a training camp of up to three weeks. Not every NHL club, however, is acting in a similar matter. He added Columbus is the favorite to host Metropolitan Division games.

Brooks also said there has yet to be in-depth conversations between the league and the NHLPA regarding health protocols to protect the players from COVID-19. It’s unknown if players returning from Europe would need to be quarantined for two weeks before rejoining their clubs.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports Winnipeg has been removed from that list of potential locations, citing various infrastructure issues such as suitable hotel accommodation to house all those players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A growing sense of cautious optimism has been evident this week among NHL officials over a possible resumption of the season. However, they’ve also repeatedly stressed it would depend upon ensuring the health and safety of its players and those involved in staging those games. They’re hopeful, but they’re also not going to rush things. Like provinces and states that are starting to ease back restrictions, the league will do this step by cautious step.

2020 NHL DRAFT UPDATE

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the NHL head office is keen to stage the 2020 NHL Draft in early June, well before the proposed resumption of the schedule. Pierre LeBrun said there’s been considerable pushback from NHL general managers. They’re concerned about determining the draft order, as well as the ability to make normal trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Ottawa Sun that a June draft would likely use a points percentage system to determine the draft selection order. Based on the reports from McKenzie and LeBrun, however, most of the general managers are against the notion of staging the draft before the start of the season. Several teams also made deals during this season involving conditional picks to be determined by playoff performance or a player re-signing with his new club. Sorting that out could create more headaches for the league.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Elvis Merzlikins to a two-year, $8-million contract extension. The 26-year-old goaltender was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins’ new deal came within a week of the Jackets re-signing Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year, $5.6-million deal. They now have over $75 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson still to re-sign.

Some are wondering why general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is re-signing players when next season’s salary cap has yet to be determined. Same goes for St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong. It’s been suggested their recent moves indicate the salary cap will remain at $81.5 million for next season.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky played to a tie in their NHL 20 matchup, raising over $41K for coronavirus relief.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Former NHL player and 1980 Team USA alum Mark Pavelich is no longer resisting mental health treatment. He’s making progress toward a newly scheduled hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial for assaulting a neighbor last year.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

John Carlson leads the Capitals over the Kings, Evander Kane and Ryan Johansen fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman scored twice, including his 100th career NHL goal, in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Carlson has 42 points in 30 games this season. The Capitals have won five straight games.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson tallied his 100th career NHL goal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Face Off Hockey Show host Scotty Wazz points out Carlson is on pace to become the first defenseman since Ray Bourque (1993-94) to exceed 90 points in a season. He’s currently on track for 115 points.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a five-game losing streak by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Tyler Ennis led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists. The Senators held Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet while Leon Draisaitl was limited to an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not easy to contain McDavid and Draisaitl. Any team that can have a chance of beating the Oilers.

Tristan Jarry had a 28-save shutout performance backstopping the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson (illness) joined Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz on the sidelines. The Penguins are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Avs. During the game, Avs center and former Leaf Nazem Kadri was honored with a video tribute by the Leafs and a nice ovation from Toronto fans.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas on Tuesday.

TSN: Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen also received a $5,000.00 fine for elbowing Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is expected to miss two weeks with an upper-body injury. Captain Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will be sidelined at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl (finger) is on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Nick Shore off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: A Minnesota judge ruled former NHL player Mark Pavelich is mentally ill and dangerous, ordering him committed to a secure treatment facility. Another hearing is scheduled in February to determine if he’ll be committed for an indefinite period.

Pavelich, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” US Olympic team, faced criminal charges for beating a friend with a metal pole following a fishing trip. His family is convinced he’s suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy related to repeated concussions during his NHL career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2019

Big nights for Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the Stars rally back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Wild, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

A four-point performance by Alex Ovechkin carried the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and added two assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ovechkin moved ahead of Luc Robitaille into 12th spot on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list with his 669th career goal. Nicklas Backstrom collected three helpers and John Carlson scored twice for the Capitals. Auston Matthews had a three-point effort for the Leafs, who also lost defenseman Jake Muzzin to a leg injury following a first-period collision with Capitals winger Tom Wilson.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists as his club crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Dominik Kahun and Dominik Simon also each had a goal and two assists. The Penguins welcomes back winger Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Brian Dumoulin off injured reserve.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-3. Stars winger Alexander Radulov led the way with a hat trick and an assist while Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski each had a goal and an assist. Wild winger Kevin Fiala was a healthy scratch.

Nick Bonino tallied a natural hat trick and Pekka Rinne picked up his second straight shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner made 48 saves in defeat while teammate Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook wasn’t pleased about it. I’ll have more on his situation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

The Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to four games by beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1, handing the latter their third straight loss. David Pastrnak scored to extend his points streak to 10 games while Brad Marchand picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games. Bruins center David Krejci returned to action after a five-game absence, tallying a goal and an assist.

Cam Fowler set a franchise record for most goals by an Anaheim Ducks defenseman in a 7-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Fowler surpassed Scott Niedermayer with his 61st career goal. Carter Rowney scored twice, Josh Mahura collected three assists, and John Gibson made 36 saves for the Ducks. Nikolaj Ehlers had three points in a losing cause. The Jets played without winger Patrik Laine, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The New York Rangers upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Filip Chytil scored the game-winner in his season debut, Ryan Strome had a two-point performance, and goalie Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 29 shots. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Pat Maroon and Anthony Cirelli left the game with injuries and are considered day-to-day.

Andrei Svechnikov scored twice, including a lacrosse-style goal, as the Carolina Hurricanes edge the Calgary Flames 2-1. Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for the win. Earlier in the day, Flames winger Tobias Rieder cleared waivers but remained in the lineup.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped an eight-game winless skid by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Dylan Larkin had a two-point outing and netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Head coach Jared Bednar believes the winger will miss some significant time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s two-thirds of the Avalanche’s first line out of the lineup. Landeskog joins Mikko Rantanen (leg injury) on injured reserve. It’ll be a big test for the Avs, who sit atop the Western Conference standings.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Nikita Gusev will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s matchup against the Lightning.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Mark Pavelich was deemed unfit to stand trial for an alleged assault of a neighbor in August. The judge suspended the trial, ruling Pavelich “lacks the ability to rationally consult with counsel, is incapable of understanding the proceedings, and is incapable of participating in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2019

The Wild hire Bill Guerin as their new general manager, the Senators re-sign Colin White, the Islanders sign Derick Brassard and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday named Bill Guerin as their new general manager. Guerin spent 18 seasons as an NHL player and the past decade as an executive with the Pittsburgh Penguins, including the past five years as assistant GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild hope Guerin, a proven winner as a player and in management, can right the ship and change the culture after they missed the playoffs last season. He didn’t waste any time getting started, re-signing forward Joel Eriksson Ek to a two-year, $2.975-million contract.

Guerin must also re-sign restricted free agent winger Kevin Fiala. He must decide if defenseman Jared Spurgeon still has a future with the Wild as he enters the final season of his contract.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday re-signed center Colin White to a six-year, $28.75-million contract. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $4.75 million and lacks no-trade protection.

Ottawa Senators re-sign center Colin White to a six-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: White is considered a core player for the rebuilding Senators. The 22-year-old played 23 games between 2016-17 and 2017-18. Last season was his first full NHL campaign and he didn’t disappointed, tallying 41 points in 71 games to finish fifth among NHL rookies.

A swift, versatile two-way forward, White should prove worthy of his new contract over the next six years. Given his upside, this deal could turn into a bargain for the Sens.

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders yesterday signed center Derick Brassard to a one-year, $1.2-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for recent speculation claiming Brassard was on the verge of joining the Edmonton Oilers. The Isles hope the 31-year-old will provide some much-needed depth at center on their bottom-six.

MILE HIGH HOCKEY: (stick tap to Shawn Lamba) cites a report out of Finland indicating Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen “is set to travel to Hamar, Norway next week to begin training with Storhamar of the GET league.” Rantanen reportedly intends to keep his options open if a new contract with the Avalanche isn’t in place when training camp opens next month. Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston believes a new contract with the Avs isn’t far off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The site reports Rantanen is believed seeking an annual average value in the range of $10 million. There’s also speculation he could get a four-year deal worth around $9 million per season. We’ll find out soon enough when Rantanen is signed and for how much for how long.

TSN: cites The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger reporting Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski seeks a three-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit around $5 million.

Hedger also said he’s heard Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Ivan Provorov’s camp has asked for $10 million per season, likely on a long-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Werenski probably thinks he’s not going to get more than Seth Jones’ $5.4 million AAV as Jones is a better all-around rearguard. As for Provorov, I’ll be stunned if the Flyers pay him $10 million annually. He’s a talented defenseman yet to reach his full potential but he’s not worth that much.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are still awaiting word from winger Justin Williams if he’ll return for another season. GM Don Waddell said he doesn’t want to set a deadline for Williams to reach a decision but noted time is getting short. Williams, meanwhile, is visiting family in Northern Ontario and has “nothing to report.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t surprise me if Williams makes his decision following the Labor Day weekend.

TSN: Former Washington Capitals winger Dmitrij Jaskin is expected to sign with the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPORTING NEWS: Mark Pavelich, a member of the 1980 USA “Miracle on Ice” team and a former NHL player, was arrested Monday for reportedly attacking a neighbor with a metal pole following a fishing trip.

The charges include “second- and third-degree assault, possession of an illegal shotgun and possessing a gun with a scratched off serial number.” Pavelich was ordered by a Minnesota judge to undergo a mental evaluation before standing trial.