NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2022

Check out the latest on Shea Weber and Jeff Petry plus a look at which players have skated in their final games with the Golden Knights in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming the Canadiens came close to shipping the contract of sidelined defenseman Shea Weber before the March trade deadline to the Arizona Coyotes. However, Coyotes management grew impatient over the amount of time it took to sort out the insurance issues and opted instead to acquire Bryan Little’s contract from the Winnipeg Jets.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber (NHL Images).

Dreger feels it’s only a matter of time until Weber’s contract is shipped to the Coyotes or perhaps to another club interested in acquiring long-term injury reserve relief.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers have wondered why a team like the Coyotes would be interested in acquiring the contract of a player on permanent long-term injury reserve. In the case of a budget team like the Coyotes, they must spend to reach the salary-cap floor but want to keep their actual payroll as low as possible. Weber’s $7.857 million cap hit over the next four seasons would allow them to do so.

At the other end, there could be a handful of teams pressed against next season’s $82.5 million cap ceiling looking for an LTIR player to allow them to legally exceed the cap by up to the sidelined player’s annual cap hit. The downside to this is they cannot accrue cap space over the course of the season that can be put toward acquiring players by the trade deadline.

D’Amico also believes Jeff Petry’s improved performance after Martin St. Louis took over as coach should make it easier for the Canadiens to trade him in the off-season. RDS analyst Marc Denis thinks the Habs would still have to include a draft pick as a sweetener in the deal to make the 34-year-old defenseman more enticing in the trade market.

However, D’Amico pointed to Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes claiming he’d had conversations about Petry with several teams leading up to the trade deadline. Hughes indicated he came close to moving the veteran blueliner but the deal failed to materialize. Interest in Petry should pick up in the offseason, enabling the Canadiens to move him without bundling a draft pick or prospect in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s age and $6.25 million annual average value through 2024-25 remain sticking points. Hughes might have to work quickly to find a suitable trade partner willing to take the blueliner’s full contract off his hands without adding a sweetener before teams start spending their available cap space.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes Hughes won’t be able to make any significant moves until he’s got more clarity about Carey Price’s status for next season. If the 34-year-old goaltender requires more surgery on his knee and misses part or most of next season, the Canadiens GM can place Price and his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR.

Hughes will have to use the savings to bring in a goaltender. Backup Jake Allen struggles under a heavy workload while Samuel Montembault and Cayden Primeau aren’t up to filling the starter’s job on a full-time basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We should learn more about Price’s status before the draft in July. If he’s going to miss substantial time again, Hughes will have to go shopping for a replacement.

Hickey suggested several options via the free-agent market. The St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell are among those who could be available this summer, but the Habs will have competition for their services.

WHO HAS PLAYED THEIR FINAL GAMES WITH THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps looked at several players who have probably skated in their final games with the Golden Knights.

Reilly Smith is among the few remaining original Golden Knights. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. A consistent performer coming off a multi-year deal worth $5 million per season, the 31-year-old winger probably won’t be back unless he agrees to a pay cut.

The Golden Knights had a deal in place at the March trade deadline to ship winger Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks. However, it was overturned by the league when it was discovered his no-trade list was still valid and the Ducks were on it. He could be shopped this summer as a cost-cutting move.

Mattias Janmark, Laurent Brossoit and Nolan Patrick could also be cut loose this summer. Like Smith, Janmark is eligible for UFA status this summer. Brossoit and Patrick each have a year remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Golden Knights sitting at just over $83 million invested in 18 active players next season. Somebody’s gotta go if they hope to be cap compliant and ice a full 23-man roster when the season opens in October. Dadonov and his $5 million cap hit still make him their most-likely salary-dump candidate.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 1, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 1, 2022

Check out the latest on the Canadiens and Jakob Chychrun’s future with the Coyotes in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BUSY OFFSEASON AHEAD FOR THE CANADIENS

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes indicated he’ll need clarity on the condition of Carey Price before he can begin to address his roster needs in the offseason. The 34-year-old goaltender indicated the current condition of his knee would prevent him from playing a full season. Price said he’ll be seeking a second opinion and didn’t rule out a second surgical procedure.

Pat Hickey suggests the Canadiens could see a roster teardown in the offseason. He pointed out they’re up against next season’s $82.5 million salary cap with 19 players, including the probably permanently sidelined Shea Weber, under contract. They’ll get some cap relief by trading Weber’s contract or placing him on long-term injury reserve next season, but it won’t allow enough to go on a free-agent spending spree.

It’s expected Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million cap hit. However, that won’t put them further ahead if they were to pay $7 million per season to sign a pending free agent like Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang. They also must free up cap room to sign restricted free agents Alexander Romanov and Rem Pitlick.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reported Hughes said he’ll evaluate all options to navigate his tricky salary-cap situation. He also said he wouldn’t be trading futures for short-term gains that would adversely affect the club’s long-term success.

Hughes said he has no plans to trade winger Brendan Gallagher, who has five seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.5 million. He’s hoping the 29-year-old winger will have a solid bounce-back performance next season.

The Habs GM made no comment about the futures of winger Jonathan Drouin and Joel Armia. Drouin, meanwhile, hopes to make a full recovery from wrist surgery and prove himself to Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sooner Hughes gets more clarity on Price’s condition the easier it’ll be to conduct his offseason roster plans. If the long-time Canadiens’ starter looks to be sidelined again for a lengthy period or if his playing career is over, Hughes will place his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR for next season. If he can return to action next season, the Habs GM will have to make some deep cost-cutting moves.

Hughes will try to shed some salary even if Price can return next season. We already know he attempted to trade Weber’s contract ($7.857 million through 2025-26) before the March trade deadline and will try again this summer. He’ll likely target budget teams looking to reach the cap floor. Clearing the full amount of Weber’s contract, however, could mean bundling him with a draft pick or a prospect.

Petry made a trade request earlier this season that Hughes attempted to fulfill. The 34-year-old defenseman yesterday said he didn’t want to close the door on his tenure with the Canadiens, saying he’ll be discussing it with his family this summer. Nevertheless, I think Hughes will quietly shop around for the right deal. It also wouldn’t be surprising if he explores Drouin’s value in the trade market.

There’s speculation suggesting Letang could come home to Montreal or that Hughes could target his former client if the 35-year-old blueliner hits the open market. Given the Canadiens’ cap issues and their other roster needs, I don’t see Letang suiting up for the Habs next season.

UPDATE ON CHYCHRUN

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports Jakob Chychrun doesn’t sound like he’s keen to be part of another rebuild with the Arizona Coyotes. The 24-year-old defenseman said he loves playing in Arizona but the recent roster teardown has been difficult for him, saying he badly wants to play for a winner.

Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons with an affordable $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit. He also recalled advice he once received from former teammate Mike Smith about only having so many chances and not letting them go by every year. “You really have to take advantage of the short time you have in this league because it flies by,” said Chychrun.

Morgan indicated Chychrun hasn’t approached Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong about a trade. However, his comments suggest he’s open to the possibility. Armstrong said he will explore the trade market this summer and admitted that moving Chychrun could be one of his options.

As for the Coyotes’ pending free agents, Morgan reports contract talks have started with RFA forward Lawson Crouse. He also anticipates they’ll bring back RFAs Barrett Hayton and Christian Fischer, as well as explore signing pending UFA defenseman Anton Stralman, who’s indicated a willingness to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan believes there’s a good chance Chychrun could be traded this summer. However, that depends on whether a club is willing to pay what’s believed to be a high asking price by Armstrong. He also felt the Coyotes GM will try to repair the relationship with his defenseman if a trade doesn’t materialize.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2022

The three stars and the rookie of the month for April are announced, the Red Wings fire head coach Jeff Blashill, plus the latest on Carey Price, Ryan Ellis, Patrik Laine, Mathew Barzal and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are the NHL’s three stars for April 2022. Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight was named the rookie of the month.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings yesterday fired head coach Jeff Blashill. They also announced assistant coach Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko were relieved of their duties.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill spent seven seasons as the Wings’ bench boss. He wasn’t to blame for the club’s struggles as management tore down and rebuilt the roster during those years. However, the Wings’ failure to meet heightened expectations this season led to his downfall.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen reports Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could seek a head coach who will demand more from his players and develop the club’s young talent. He listed former NHL coaches like John Tortorella, Paul Maurice, Claude Julien, and Jim Montgomery among the possible candidates Yzerman could consider as Blashill’s replacement. It’ll be interesting to see if the Wings GM hires one of those veterans or opts for someone else.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he didn’t believe the current state of his surgically repaired knee would be sustainable to play an entire season. He indicated he’ll be seeking a second opinion regarding ongoing swelling of the knee after games and didn’t rule out a second procedure.

Price, 34, admitted he approached Friday’s season-closing game against the Florida Panthers as if it could be his last. Nevertheless, he remains determined to resume his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price will have a longer offseason recovery period this time around compared to last year. Still, the uncertainty over his future could affect the Canadien’s offseason plans. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, general manager Kent Hughes said he’d like to sign interim head coach Martin St. Louis to a three-year contract. On Friday, St. Louis indicated he would be shedding the interim tag and returning next season behind the Canadiens’ bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens showed noticeable improvement once St. Louis took over in February. It bodes well for what he might be able to achieve with a better, healthier roster.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sidelined Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis dismissed recent speculation suggesting he was unhappy with the team. He also indicated he and the club have determined the root cause of the pelvic injury that limited him to just four games this season. Ellis indicated they now have a clear rehab plan in place and he’s hoping to be healthy for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was expected to be the core piece of the Flyers’ defense corps and an important part of what management hoped would be a bounce-back season for the club. His absence played a big part in their downfall. Getting him back healthy for 2022-23 could help the Flyers get back on track.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: On the subject of Flyers defensemen, Keith Yandle played the final game of his NHL career on Saturday as confirmed by teammate Nick Seeler. The 35-year-old reigning NHL Ironman (989 consecutive games) didn’t speak to the media yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yandle’s performance has been in decline over the past three seasons. In 1,109 games with the Flyers and the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, he has 103 goals and 516 assists for 619 career regular-season points.

NHL.COM: Patrik Laine doesn’t see any issues that would prevent him from signing a new contract this summer with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 24-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He also thanked the club for their support as he coped with injuries and the death of his father in November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine had 56 points in as many games to finish third among Jackets scorers. He’s completing a one-year, $7.5 million contract and could seek a lucrative long-term deal.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins admitted he found it difficult at times this season to maintain his focus while dealing with the grief of the sudden death last summer of his close friend Matiss Kivlenieks. He said he and goalie coach Manny Legace relied on each other to cope with the emotional trauma. Kivlenieks died during a fireworks accident at Legace’s home last July 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins admitted he was rattled at times earlier this season by the celebratory cannon fired at Blue Jackets home games and from fireworks displays during last New Year’s Eve celebrations. He managed to overcome those issues thanks in part to Legace’s support.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal indicated his willingness to sign a contract extension. The 24-year-old has a year remaining on his current deal with an annual cap hit of $7 million. “This is where I want to be, this is where I want to win,” said Barzal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello would probably love to ink Barzal to a new deal this summer. His reputation as a tough negotiator, however, could make it a slow process. I’m not saying it won’t get done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if talks drag on through the summer.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets chairman Mark Chipman confirmed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will continue in his role into the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That douses the recent rumors floating around about Cheveldayoff’s future. He has a busy offseason coming up as he must find a new head coach, improve the Jets’ porous defense, and sign restricted free agent center Pierre-Luc Dubois to a new contract.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kurtis MacDermid was fined $2,187.50 by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno on Friday. Avs forward Logan O’Connor was fined $1,812.50 for cross-checking Wild defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in the same game.

ARIZONA HOCKEY NOW: The Coyotes played their final game at Gila River Arena on Friday. After 19 seasons, they’ll be moving next season to Arizona State’s new hockey arena while awaiting word on a proposed new NHL arena in Tempe.

THE ATHLETIC: Malcolm Subban earned praise from his Buffalo Sabres teammates after singing the National Anthem during the club’s final game of the season on Friday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban sounded pretty good. Maybe there’s a future for him as a singer following his playing career.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2022

What’s the latest on Carey Price’s future? Will the Canadiens attempt to trade Shea Weber and Jeff Petry this summer? Should they try to trade for Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Carey Price’s uncertain future took another turn yesterday when it was reported the Canadiens goaltender would be traveling to New York for an appointment concerning his surgically repaired knee. He’s listed as day-to-day but Cowan thinks he may be done for the season.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Price has four more seasons remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $10.5 million. Cowan doesn’t expect the 34-year-old goalie to retire with that much money left on the table. The Canadiens could end up placing him on long-term injury reserve next season depending on the status of his knee. A trade at this point seems impossible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Price still hopes to be in net for the Canadiens’ season-ending home game against the Florida Panthers on Friday. The netminder also wants to resume his playing career next season. Nevertheless, the ongoing uncertainty over Price’s knee will generate plenty of speculation over his future during the offseason.

Cowan also noted that Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber has been on LTIR all season. He’s signed through 2025-26 with an annual cap hit of over $7.8 million. General manager Kent Hughes will attempt to trade Weber’s contract during the offseason. He’s also expected to shop blueliner Jeff Petry, who has three more seasons left with an AAV of $6.25 million.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico suggests Petry’s improved play of late will make him easier to move. The 34-year-old defenseman reportedly requested a trade and Hughes appeared to have a deal in place before last month’s trade deadline but it eventually fell through.

D’Amico suggests Petry will draw interest from teams with salary-cap flexibility looking to build a competitive roster this summer. He also pointed out this summer’s free-agent market is thin on comparable defensemen with John Klingberg and Kris Letang as the only standouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes tried to offload Weber’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes before the trade deadline but they opted to take on the remainder of Bryan Little’s deal from the Winnipeg Jets. The Canadiens GM will try to entice teams seeking to reach the cap floor to take Weber off his hands. However, that could involve bundling that contract with a sweetener such as a quality draft pick, a prospect or a decent young player.

The Dallas Stars were said to have had an interest in Petry as a potential replacement for Klingberg when it was rumored the latter might be shopped at midseason. That died out when the Stars decided to keep him as they pressed to clinch a playoff berth. Perhaps there’s a fit in Dallas for Petry if Klingberg departs as expected via free agency in July.

D’Amico also took note of Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent speculation suggesting Pierre-Luc Dubois’ name could be in this summer’s trade market if he’s unwilling to sign a long-term contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets.

The Canadiens have plenty of tradeable assets to acquire the 23-year-old Dubois if they’re not interested in a long rebuild. However, D’Amico believes the Habs should remain patient as it’s clear they’re not just one player away from being contenders. He felt they must stand pat and continue replenishing their prospect pool with more elite talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ contract situation will be worth watching this summer. I believe and the Jets will hammer out a long-term extension.

Should Dubois become available, I think interested clubs will want assurances he’ll sign a lengthy deal with them. He’s just two years away from UFA eligibility and they won’t want to give up quality assets on a player who could walk away in 2024.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

Auston Matthews tallies his 60th goal of the season, Steven Stamkos reached 100 points, the Hurricanes clinch the Metropolitan Division, the Predators and Kings secure playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice to reach the 60-goal plateau as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Matthews is the first player to score 60 goals in a season since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12. He’s also the first American-born player to reach that mark. John Tavares also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the shutout. Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. With the win, the Leafs (113 points) secure second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stamkos scored twice and collected two assists while Nikita Kucherov also had a four-point performance. The Lightning have won four straight games and sit in third place in the Atlantic with 108 points. Before the game, the Blue Jackets confirmed Boone Jenner and Sean Kuraly will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the season ended today, the Leafs and Lightning would face each other in the first round. We’ll find out for sure by week’s end.

The Carolina Hurricanes (114 points) clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division by holding off the New York Rangers 4-3. Sebastian Aho scored to reach his 400th career point, Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei each collected two points and rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov got the win with a 31-save performance. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied his 52nd goal of the season. His teammate, Andrew Copp, returned to action from a lower-body injury but left the game in the second period. So did winger Artemi Panarin but it appears both were held out of this contest for precautionary reasons. The Rangers sit second in the Metro with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes were hopeful that sidelined starting goalie Frederik Andersen would be ready to return to action for the opening game of the playoffs next week. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports the current expectation is he’ll miss the Hurricanes’ first few games of the first round.

An overtime goal by Elias Lindholm gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators, but the latter still secured a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 95 points. Matthew Tkachuk scored in the final second of regulation to tie the game and set the stage for Lindholm’s winner. Both players have 41 goals on the season. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the Predators to reach 42 goals while teammates Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund each had three points. The Flames (110 points) recently clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators goaltender Juuse Saros left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left leg. An update on his condition could come on Wednesday.

The Dallas Stars moved closer to clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference after downing the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on a shootout goal by Miro Heiskanen. Jason Robertson scored twice to reach 40 goals on the season while Jake Oettinger kicked out 33 shots. The Stars hold the final wild-card spot with 95 points. With 91 points, the Golden Knights’ playoff hopes now hang by a thread while the Stars’ victory means the idle Los Angeles Kings have clinched a postseason berth with 96 points. They will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have a slim chance if they win their final two games and the Stars lose their last two in regulation, thus ensuring they’d take the wild-card berth on the basis of regulation wins. The Stars, however, need just one to qualify for the postseason.

Speaking of the Oilers, they secured second place in the Pacific Division with 100 points by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to reach a career-high 122, widening his lead in the scoring race by seven points over the Florida Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau. Mike Smith kicked out 33 shots for his 10th straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins winger Jason Zucker left the game in the first period with an undisclosed ailment. The Penguins (101 points) have already secured a playoff berth but hold a one-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Capitals, they failed to overtake the Penguins after falling 4-1 to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 32 stops for the Islanders. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche gained ground on the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s 16-game points streak. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves for the win while Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (118 points) moved within two points of the Panthers. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected an assist. The Blues remain in third place in the Central Division with 109 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews returned to the lineup after sitting out the last four games dealing with undisclosed minor injuries. Sidelined teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are both expected to return in time for the playoffs next week.

Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand, Tayler Hall and David Pastrnak each collected two points as the Bruins (105 points) sit three points behind the Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers sit first overall with 120 points.

The Minnesota Wild remains tied with the Blues with 109 points following a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka got the win with a 35-save performance while Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Kirill Kaprizov had two assists for Minnesota, who holds second place in the Central over the Blues with a game in hand. Wild forward Marcus Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the past four games due to a bout of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Blues will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome of their final games will decide which one gets home-ice advantage in their upcoming series.

Quinn Hughes set a single-season record for Vancouver Canucks defensemen by reaching 66 with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks were officially eliminated from playoff contention by the Stars’ win over the Golden Knights. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to down the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Tim Stutzle had two goals and two assists and Brady Tkachuk picked up three helpers for the Senators. Nolan Foote tallied twice for the Devils.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Max Comtois and Sonny Milano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is traveling with his teammates to New York, where he has a medical appointment concerning his surgically repaired knee. He’s listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s sparked speculation in Montreal over whether Price will play in the Canadiens’ final game of the season on Friday against the Panthers as well as concerns about whether he can continue his playing career. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Price still plans on being in net for Friday’s game and he wants to play next season. Nevertheless, we can expect questions about Price’s future to carry over into the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

Remembering the late Mike Bossy, Carey Price returns to action with the Canadiens, an independent report clears NHLPA of wrongdoing in Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COMMUNITY HONORS MIKE BOSSY

NHL.com: Hall-of-Fame scorer Mike Bossy passed away yesterday at age 65 of lung cancer. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the New York Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Bossy also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982 and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

New York Islanders hall-of-famer Mike Bossy (NHL.com).

Retiring in 1987, Bossy scored 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games, along with 85 goals and 160 points in 129 playoff games. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky as the only players to score 50 goals nine times but is the only one to do it in nine consecutive seasons.

Gretzky, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (who has eight 50-goal seasons) and former teammates Denis Potvin, Glenn “Chico” Resch and Bryan Trottier were among those in the NHL community paying tribute to Bossy as a player and a person.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bossy was the purest goal scorer I ever saw. Others may have tallied more career goals but only because a back injury cut short his career. His streak of nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are testament to his greatness.

Along with Potvin, Trottier, Billy Smith, Butch Goring and the late Clark Gillies, Bossy was instrumental in turning the Islanders into the last true Stanley Cup dynasty. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, former teammates, the Islanders organization and his broadcasting colleagues at TVA Sports.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carey Price returned to action for the first time since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final but he couldn’t prevent his Montreal Canadiens from being blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders. Price stopped 17 of 19 shots but Isles goaltender Ilya Sorokin stole the show with a 44-save performance. Zach Parise and Noah Dobson beat Price with Brock Nelson getting an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens honored Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence.

Price didn’t look too bad considering he’d been sidelined for nearly the entire season. He couldn’t be faulted for Parise’s 3-on-0 goal or Dobson’s screened wrister that beat him on the stick side. His teammates dominated much of the play through the first two periods. However, Sorokin was on top of his game in this contest, picking up his seventh shutout to tie a franchise single-season record.

The Florida Panthers picked up their ninth straight win by thumping the Winnipeg Jets 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau extended his points streak to 13 games with two goals and an assist. Claude Giroux collected three assists and Gustav Forsling scored twice as the Panthers (112 points) moved within two points of the first-overall Colorado Avalanche. Jets captain Blake Wheeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau now has 108 points and sits two behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in this season’s scoring race.

This loss could be the dagger in the heart of the Jets’ playoff hopes. They have 81 points with seven games remaining in their schedule, sitting eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the Stars holding a game in hand.

HEADLINES

TSN: An independent report into the NHLPA’s handling of the Kyle Beach investigation did not find any “individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure”. The Toronto law firm Cozen O’Connor was hired to investigate PA executive director Donald Fehr’s response to concerns raised by two player agents about former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s allegations he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Fehr denied any recollection he’s received a call from one of those agents. However, he didn’t deny the call may have happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was critical of the report’s findings. He pointed out Dr. Brian Shaw, a program administrator for the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, found Beach’s account to be a credible report of sexual assault. “After reading this passage, I don’t understand how anyone can claim there wasn’t any ‘systemic failure’ here,” writes Friedman.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche can clinch first place in the Western Conference with a win tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames get another chance to secure a playoff berth when they face the Arizona Coyotes. They sit atop the Pacific Division with 99 points.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat has been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after taking a shot off his left leg on Thursday against the Coyotes. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks when the schedule has ended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting five points out of a wild-card berth, the Canucks already face an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. Losing Horvat makes that pursuit more difficult.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brandon Carlo could be in the lineup after the defenseman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s game.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is being evaluated for a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with his teammates to Boston.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss this weekend’s games against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders due to an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach suffered a sprained right shoulder on Thursday. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract extension worth $900K.