NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

PHWA midseason award winners, All-Star Game skills competition participants announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the midseason favorite for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced their 2019-20 Midseason NHL Award winners. Among them are  Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Calder Trophy). The PWHA also named Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander as their comeback player of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring serious injury or a significant decline in performance, McDavid is a lock for the Hart, Carlson for the Norris, and Makar for the Calder. Hellebuyck’s had an outstanding first half, but he’s struggled of late, which could affect his Vezina chances over the remainder of the season.

Participants for the skills competition for the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis were announced yesterday.

CALGARY SUN: The upcoming All-Star game is a family affair for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. The brothers grew up watching their father Keith play for the St. Louis Blues in the early 2000s until his retirement in 2010.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The effects of Kendall Coyne Schofield’s participation in the skills competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game are examined in a new documentary.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner voiced his support of general manager Doug Wilson despite the club’s disappointing season. “While we are all very disappointed in the team’s performance thus far this season, Doug has a long history of leading our team to success,” said Plattner. He pointed to the club’s quick turnaround under Wilson after missing the playoffs in 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Plattner’s confidence of Wilson, but I think the Sharks GM is facing the biggest challenge of his management career. He’s saddled himself with expensive veterans and doesn’t have much to draw upon in the prospect pipeline for trade bait.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin’s imminent return is good news for a Leafs blueline that’s struggled in his absence.

CBS SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve.

TSN: Marc Methot believes his playing career has come to an end. He underwent knee surgery a year ago while with the Dallas Stars, but the knee continues giving him pain. The 13-year NHL veteran spent five seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Methot said he hasn’t made an official decision yet on his future.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2019

The PHWA mid-season awards plus updates on Erik Karlsson, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson are among the winners of the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s midseason awards.

Kucherov gets the nod for the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), Giordano for the James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman), and Pettersson for the Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year). They also gave the nod to Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron for the Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) and Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov for the Lady Byng Trophy (most gentlemanly player). 

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is the midseason favorite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

The PHWA voted Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson as the Vezina Trophy winner, New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz for the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year), Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving as GM of the Year and Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner as comeback player of the year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The PHWA votes each year for the Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke, and Lady Byng trophies so their midseason votes provide an early insight as to this year’s front-runners. 

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid still believes his struggling club can reach the playoffs this season. He denied there were character issues or turmoil within the dressing room and said he wants to be part of the solution. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ recent firing of Peter Chiarelli as general manager has given rise to concerns by fans and media over the club’s direction and McDavid’s future in Edmonton. He’s in the first year of an eight-year contract. Should the losing continue, some wonder if he’ll still be with the Oilers when that deal expires.

MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said he’ll be participating in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game this weekend in San Jose. Karlsson has been dealing with a nagging lower-body injury and missed the Sharks’ last two games. 

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon underwent an MRI on his foot yesterday and could miss the All-Star Game. He is considered day-to-day.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Avalanche, they will wait until the offseason to hold contract talks with winger Mikko Rantanen, who’s a restricted free agent this summer without arbitration rights. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rantanen’s on pace for 120 points and currently sits second in the NHL scoring race. Doesn’t matter when he and the Avs start contract talks. He’s going to get paid a lot of money, probably at least $10 million annually, perhaps much more.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated following the All-Star break. It’s believed he suffered a slight tear in his meniscus and could miss three weeks. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have loaned goaltender Carter Hart to their AHL affiliate during the All-Star break.

TSN: Former NHL player Ryane Clowe stepped down yesterday as head coach of the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers citing ongoing concussion symptoms suffered during his playing career. The Growlers are an affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. GM Kyle Dubas said Clowe will remain in the organization in an as-yet undertermined role.