NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

Tuukka Rask makes a triumphant return to the Bruins, the 2022 All-Star Game rosters and captains are revealed but several notable players are passed over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in his season debut as he backstopped the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. David Pastrnak tallied all of the Bruins’ goals, including the game-winner on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. With 44 points, the Bruins moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they fell 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings as the latter tallied four unanswered third-period goals, including three in a span of 1:23. Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another while Sean Durzi had a three-point performance and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves. The Kings (43 points) move into third place in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov collected two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 24 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Lightning holds a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with 55 points. The Canucks have lost three of their last four contests.

The New York Rangers Rangers got a 37-save shutout from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Chris Kreider scored twice, including his first NHL shorthanded goal. Braden Schneider scored in his first NHL game. The Rangers (52 points) sit atop the Metropolitan Division while the Sharks (41 points) still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, they were upset 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators. Nick Paul tallied twice while Matt Murray made 27 saves for his first win of the season. The Flames have dropped four straight games.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with a 33-save performance to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Andrew Copp scored two goals and Kyle Connor scored shorthanded. The Jets (39 points) are two points behind the Sharks and one back of the Flames.

A four-goal third period carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 6-0 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. Elvis Merzlikins turned in a 31-save shutout and Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Seattle Kraken 2-1. The Blues extended their home points streak to 13 games while the Kraken have lost eight straight. With 49 points, the Blues are one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

The Predators, meanwhile, saw their five-game win streak halted in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice while Aaron Dell made 29 saves for the Sabres.

Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie to lift the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Barzal’s teammates Zach Parise and Josh Bailey each collected two points as the Isles’ played their first game in 11 days.

Philipp Kurashev scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their five straight loss. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane also scored to snap a 13-game goalless drought. The Canadiens played without goalie Jake Allen, who is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. Teammate Chris Wideman also missed this game as he’s serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar were among the notable first-time selections for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game to be held in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 5.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid were named captains of their respective division squads as chosen by fan voting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link to see the full rosters as well as the candidates for the “Last Man In” for each division to be decided by fan voting.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the notables passed over for selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The exclusion of Markstrom, Rantanen and Ekblad could be a result of being overshadowed by their more well-known teammates. Marchand’s snub is likely tied to his well-earned reputation for questionable play.

Shesterkin still isn’t as well-known as he should be, though his profile should improve if the Rangers remain among the league’s top clubs. It won’t help him become a participant in this year’s All-Star Game but could help him garner recognition for next season’s event.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A partial tear in a thumb tendon has sidelined Oilers goaltender Mike Smith for at least a week, possibly two. The club has recalled Stuart Skinner from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Evander Kane could help resolve that issue…oh, wait, he’s not a goaltender…never mind…

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny are among the notable players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol on Jan. 13.

AHL’s Iowa Wild signed Eric Staal to a professional tryout contract.

TSN: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said individual active NHL players will not be permitted to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, any player under an NHL contract cannot participate in the Beijing Olympics.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Quebec finance minister Eric Girard the league isn’t aware of any opportunity at this time that would lead to a franchise returning to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one observer noted on Twitter, that was Bettman’s polite way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Oh, and for those of you saying, “What about the Arizona Coyotes?”, should that club be relocated, it’ll likely be to another American city in the Western Conference such as Houston.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

The Avalanche thump the Kraken after signing coach Jared Bednar to a contract extension, the Canucks get a much-needed win, plus the latest injury and COVID updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Seattle Kraken 7-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Andre Burakovsky also tallied two goals for the Avalanche as they collected their fourth straight victory.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

The Avalanche also announced head coach Jared Bednar inked a two-year contract extension. He’s two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley’s team record for most wins (193) as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumor suggesting Bednar was on the hot seat following the Avs second-round elimination from the 2021 playoffs and their shaky start to this season. They’re climbing back up the Western Conference standings, sitting just outside of a wild-card berth.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 37 shots as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a five-game losing skid. Conor Garland scored what became the winning goal in the second period. The Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in the third period to make it interesting.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He will be monitored by the club’s medical staff and follow the protocols by the NHL and public health officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another hit for the reeling Canadiens in what’s becoming a season from hell for the Stanley Cup finalist.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will be sidelined until early-to-mid December with a broken finger and blueliner Slater Koekkoek will miss three to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the status of injured goaltender Mike Smith has relapsed from day-to-day to week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Nurse will be a big blow to the Oilers’ defense corp. Smith’s status will put more pressure on netminders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone in his right hand.

OTTAWA SUN: After five days without a positive COVID-19 test, the Senators are ready to emerge from quarantine and resume skating on Saturday. Their last three games were postponed as a result of a COVID outbreak but they’re scheduled to face off against the Avalanche in Denver on Monday. Eight of the 10 players who contracted the coronavirus will return to the ice today after completing their 10-day quarantine.

THE PROVINCE: The police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been handed over to crown prosecutors. The police will be waiting to hear if there will be charge approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: Quebec premier Francois Legault will be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the coming months with regards to bringing an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. The league has no plans for further expansion and there’s no indication an existing franchise will be relocated.

The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg a decade ago happened very quickly as the league had to find a new home for the Thrashers after their dysfunctional ownership couldn’t find investors willing to keep the club in Atlanta. Perhaps a similar situation takes place with another franchise but Quebec City hockey fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

TSN: Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes on Jan. 15. It won’t adversely affect the NHL or NBA as the percentage of unvaccinated players in both leagues is negligible.