NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2020

The Stars draw first blood in their second-round series with the Avalanche, plus the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Steven Stamkos, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars took a 1-0 lead in their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-3 victory in the opening game. The Stars’ first line led the way, with Alexander Radulov scoring twice and collecting an assist, Tyler Seguin opening the scoring and assisting on another, and captain Jamie Benn adding three helpers.

Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov (NHL Images).

Nathan MacKinnon had a three-point game (two goals, one assist) for the Avalanche, who lost starting goalie Philipp Grubauer with an apparent left leg injury during the second period. Avs defenseman Erik Johnson also suffered a lower-body injury in the first period. He tried to return during the second and spent the third period on the bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Led by their first-liners, the Stars dominated much of the play in this game. Apart from MacKinnon, the Avs failed to match their opponent’s intensity.

We could learn more about the status of Grubauer and Johnson later today. Colorado coach Jared Bednar didn’t sound optimistic about his goalie returning to action for Game 2. “He won’t be hitting the ice tomorrow or anything like that,” said Bednar. While he’s hopeful Grubauer can return soon, he indicated backup Pavel Francouz will have to get the job done during his starter’s absence.

SPORTSNET: A suggestive social media post by the agent for Marc-Andre Fleury raised eyebrows and questions over the status of the Vegas Golden Knights netminder. Allan Walsh yesterday tweeted a picture depicting Fleury with a sword in his back and the name “DeBoer” on the blade, suggesting Walsh’s client was being stabbed in the back by Vegas coach Peter DeBoer.

Fleury has appeared in just two postseason contests with Robin Lehner getting the bulk of the starts. Elliotte Friedman last night reported Fleury remains with the Golden Knights and the club seems to be ignoring Walsh’s provocative post. Neither side issued a statement on the matter, but Friedman indicated Fleury met with team officials yesterday and they’re satisfied this won’t be an issue.

 

 

 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Walsh has Fleury’s best interests at heart and he’s going to bat for his client, but this post was over the top. The Golden Knights are trying to win the Stanley Cup. DeBoer is simply going with the better goalie. Right now, that’s Lehner. Walsh’s post created an unnecessary distraction for his client and the team.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said team captain Steven Stamkos won’t be available for Game 1 of their club’s second-round series against the Boston Bruins. Stamkos remains sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered during Phase 2 training.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher underwent surgery on Friday for his fractured jaw and returned home to British Columbia. He was also playing with a slight tear in his hip suffered during the qualifying-round series with Pittsburgh.

THE SCORE: NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury issued a statement yesterday indicating he was temporarily stepping away from his role following an insensitive remark made about women during a broadcast on Thursday. The remark was condemned by the network and the league shortly afterward.  










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2020

The league continues evaluating its options to resume the season while looking ahead at 2020-21, plus the latest on Alexander Radulov, Sidney Crosby and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league continues to entertain all options regarding the resumption of the 2019-20 season. “In terms of where we go from here, we’re modeling all sorts of options and everything is on the table,” he said. “But we’re going to have to be flexible and react to things that are beyond our control.

Bettman hopes the Ottawa Senators player who tested positive for COVID-19 makes a swift recovery. He also said the league is taking steps to ensure all its employees are safe and taken care of during this crisis. Bettman indicated he’s been in constant contact with businesses, other hockey leagues and sports leagues.

NBC SPORTS: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said playing a full 82-games schedule in 2020-21 is the league’s priority. Whatever steps are taken to resume this season must not adversely affect its ability to stage a full ’20-’21 campaign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If maintaining the remainder of the current schedule creates risk for 2020-21, I believe they’ll either cancel the rest of the regular season in favor of staging the 2020 playoffs. If that isn’t feasible, they’ll have to scrap the entire thing and focus on staging a full ’20-’21 campaign.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks say none of their players have shown COVID-19 symptoms at this time. They’ll continue monitoring their players through the league’s self-quarantine period through March 27. An Ottawa Senators player tested positive for the virus after coming down with symptoms following his return from the club’s recent California road trip.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche may have been exposed to the coronavirus during a recent road game against the San Jose Sharks. Santa Clara County, where the Sharks play their home games, was a coronavirus hot spot at the time.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Alexander Radulov tested negative for COVID-19. Radulov was ill for six days before the league pausing its schedule a week ago, missing two games.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has cancelled his summer hockey school over coronavirus concerns (Photo via NHL Images).

 TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby canceled his summer hockey school in Cole Harbour, NS as a result of the current pandemic.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Speaking of the Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford and team president and CEO David Morehouse will take voluntary pay cuts to ensure other members of the Penguins staff won’t be financially affected by the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens recently donated 13,000 pounds to a local food bank. The food was originally slated to be used during the remainder of the club’s home games in March.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins are the only NHL team yet to announce how they’ll take care of their employees during this pandemic. A group of concerned Bruins players is running a GoFundMe page soliciting donations to help TD Garden employees. The club last week released a statement indicating they intend to reveal further information about helping those employees, citing the sheer size of their parent company Delaware North as one of the challenges.

THE SCORE: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise has pushed back its March 31 plan to unveil its team nickname.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: CHL leagues canceled the remainder of their regular-season schedules.

NBC SPORTS: The USHL and NAHL canceled its seasons.

ESPN.COM: The cancellations of all NCAA winter and spring championships robbed Cornell University of a shot at a rare double national championship. Their men’s and women’s teams are both ranked No. 1 in the country.

BARDOWN: Former NHL enforcer Tie Domi ripped into Hockey Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, calling the former New Jersey Devils defenseman “the biggest phony” he ever played against.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What do you think, folks? Is Domi right? Or is it merely a case of sour grapes? Feel free to weigh in via the comments section below.

NBC SPORTS: The 10 finalists for the 2020 Hobey Baker Award have been revealed:

Morgan Barron, Jr., F, Cornell
Jason Cotton, Sr., F, Sacred Heart
Jack Dugan, So., F, Providence
David Farrance, Jr., D, Boston University
Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, North Dakota
John Leonard, Jr., F, Massachusetts
Dryden McKay, So., G, Minnesota State
Marc Michaelis, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Scott Perunovich, Jr., D, Minnesota Duluth
Jeremy Swayman, Jr., G, Maine










NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2020

The NHL schedule may be paused, but the trade and free-agent rumor mill rolls on. Check out the latest on the Oilers and Stars.

PAUSE IN THE SEASON COULD AFFECT OILERS OFF-SEASON PLANS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently speculated the Edmonton Oilers’ player evaluations and summer plans could be affected by the current pause in the NHL schedule. Those evaluations include recently-acquired players like Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ellis, as well as possible summer free-agent targets like Taylor Hall and Mike Hoffman. Green and Ellis are also eligible for UFA status this summer, while Athanasiou is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Could the Edmonton Oilers be forced to shed salary to re-sign RFAs like Andreas Athanasiou? (Photo via NHL Images)

Mitchell acknowledged bringing Hall back to Edmonton seems improbable because of the cost of signing him and the Oilers’ limited salary-cap space. Pursuing younger, less expensive options would be preferable.

Mitchell also examines the difficulties facing the Oilers if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million for 2020-21. They currently have over $71.2 million invested in 17 players. Re-signing RFAs like Athanasiou, Ethan Bear, and Matt Benning could gobble up $7.5 million, leaving only around $2 million available. General manager Ken Holland must also re-sign or replace UFA goalie Mike Smith.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A flat cap means Holland must find a way to shed salary to re-sign key players and replace those who depart via free agency this summer. Perhaps the league and the NHLPA will agree to allow one-time amnesty buyouts if the cap doesn’t rise for ’20-’21.

Otherwise, Holland will have to get creative and that means dumping salary via trades. Problem is, there will be other clubs in the same boat and there won’t be as many with sufficient cap space to take on additional salary for next season.

SHOULD THE STARS SHOP RADULOV IN A COST-CUTTING DEAL?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks was asked about if the Stars could move winger Alexander Radulov this summer to free up cap space to add a young second-line center. Radulov’s no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade on July 1.

DeFranks acknowledged it’s possible but doubts Radulov would fetch a second-line center. “This is the player you’d be trading: a 34-year-old (on July 5) winger with a cap hit of $6.25 million that is coming off a career-worst goal-scoring year. That’s not going to get the value Radulov probably gets last year at this time.”

He also pointed out this summer’s free-agent market is heavy on wingers and light on centers. He suggested Roope Hintz, who plays wing or center, could be their second-line center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with DeFrank’s take on Radulov’s value and his assessment of the free-agent market. Unless there’s an amnesty buyout implemented this summer if the salary cap remains flat, Stars GM Jim Nill would have to look at cost-cutting trades if he wants to shed salary to address his roster needs.










NHL Injury Outlook: Is Anyone Safe Now?

NHL Injury Outlook: Is Anyone Safe Now?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2020

The Lightning picked up their ninth straight victory, Zach Sanford scored four goals in a losing cause for the Blues, Zack Kassian in hot water again, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their ninth consecutive win by dropping the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 20 games. Oilers winger Zack Kassian could get a call from the NHL department of player safety for kicking the Lightning’s Erik Cernak in the chest with his skate during a first-period scrum. Cernak was unhurt in the incident. The Bolts played without Nikita Kucherov, who remains sidelined with a lower-body injury. The Lightning (81 points) move within a point of the Boston Bruins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the overall standings.

Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian kicked Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest with his skate on Thursday (Photo via NHL Images)

 Zach Sanford’s four-goal performance wasn’t enough to prevent the St. Louis Blues from dropping a 6-5 overtime decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice, including the winning goal, while teammate Max Pacioretty also netted two goals. The Golden Knights (66 points) sit third in the Pacific Division.

Cam Talbot turned in a 44-save performance as the Calgary Flames shut out the Anaheim Ducks 6-0. Mikael Backlund and Mark Jankowski each scored twice as the Flames (66 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the West.

Tyler Seguin’s goal early in the third period proved to be the winner as the Dallas Stars held off the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made 16 saves in his first game since suffering a neck injury on Feb. 3. Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson left the game with what’s being called a serious knee injury. Stars center Andrew Cogliano played his 1,000th career NHL game. Earlier in the day, the Stars placed winger Alexander Radulov (upper body) on injured reserve while the Leafs placed goalie Michael Hutchinson on waivers.

Craig Smith tallied his first NHL hat trick and Juuse Saros turned in a 31-save shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the New York Islanders 5-0. With 61 points, the Predators move to within three points of the Coyotes for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk scored and set up two others to lead his club over the Florida Panthers 6-2. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up three goals on nine shots. The Panthers (66 points) remains two points behind the Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division.

Buffalo Sabres rookie Victor Olofsson scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. It was Olofsson’s first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Jan. 2. Sabres captain Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists. The Jackets (71 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Washington Capitals overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the third straight game and remains two goals shy of 700 for his career.

Wayne Simmonds scored twice as the New Jersey Devils tallied four unanswered third-period goals in a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed defenseman Sami Vatanen (undisclosed) on injured reserve.

A two-goal first period enabled the Ottawa Senators to nip the Arizona Coyotes 3-2, snapping their six-game losing skid. The Coyotes (64 points) cling to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Shootout goals by Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin gave the New York Rangers a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Panarin also tallied a goal and an assist in regulation. The loss keeps the Wild (61 points) three back of the Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher in the face on Wednesday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2020

Patrik Laine’s hat trick power the Jets over the Senators, Ilya Kovalchuk comes through again for the Canadiens, Claude Giroux reached 800 career points, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrik Laine tallied a hat trick and Kyle Connor picked up four points as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Laine moved past Sidney Crosby with the seventh-most goals (133) scored by a player before the age of 22. With 61 points, the Jets passed the Arizona Coyotes into the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Patrik Laine’s hat trick powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of the Coyotes, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. While they also have 61 points, the Jets hold a game in hand. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 29 saves to extend his home points streak to a team-record 18 games. Charlie Coyle scored twice and Patrice Bergeron had a three-point game. The Bruins (80 points) hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals in the overall standings. Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta was scratched before the game with a lower-body injury.

Two third-period goals by Leon Draisaitl lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Nashville Predators 3-2. The Oilers had a scare when captain Connor McDavid suffered a bruised knee in the second period, but he returned to play over five minutes in the third. Draisaitl (85 points) holds a four-point lead over McDavid for top spot in the NHL scoring race. The Oilers (64 points) moved within a point of the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division, while the Predators (59 points) remain two points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

The Montreal Canadiens edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on an overtime goal by Ilya Kovalchuk. Marco Scandella scored the tying goal late in the third period. John Tavares tallied for the Leafs. Kovalchuk leads the Habs with three game-winning goals, with two of those in overtime. Montreal winger Jonathan Drouin returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 15. The Canadiens (61 points) are five points behind the Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 18 games with a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist for the Bolts, who’ve won six straight and remain five points behind the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Lightning also revealed defenseman Ryan McDonagh will be sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury.

Kris Letang had a goal and an assist and Tristan Jarry kicked out 33 shots as the Pittsburgh Penguins hung on for a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Penguins (73 points) sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

New Jersey Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood picked up his second straight shutout to blank the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Nikita Gusev, Blake Coleman, and Kyle Palmieri were the goal scorers. The Kings have dropped nine of their last 10 contests.

Claude Giroux picked up three points, including his 800th career point, as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Washington Capitals 7-2. Sean Couturier tallied two goals for the Flyers, while Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin remains two goals away from 700 career goals. The Flyers (67 points) sit just outside the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Third-period goals by Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon gave the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, ending Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins’ winning streak at eight games. The Jackets (69 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division.

Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in a 3-2 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Stars sit third in the Central Division with 67 points. Dallas winger Alexander Radulov missed the game with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames snapped a three-game losing skid by thrashing the Vancouver Canucks 6-2. Christian Dube had a goal and two assists and Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist for the Flames (62 points), who cling to the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Canucks winger Brock Boeser left the game with an apparent arm injury and could be sidelined for a little while.

Shootout goals by Andrei Svechnikov and Justin Williams gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 6-5 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Jake Gardiner picked up three assists for the Hurricanes, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points. The Golden Knights (64 points) sit third in the Pacific Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues will retired Chris Pronger’s No. 44 next season. The date has yet to be announced. Pronger had his best seasons with the Blues, spending nine years in St. Louis. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, Pronger won the Hart and Norris Trophies with the Blues in 2000.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes organization may face $5 million in fines if found guilty of allegations involving physical fitness testing of draft prospects.

TSN: The International Olympic Committee engaged with the NHL last week. It’s unclear if they offered enough to sway the league into allowing its players to participate in future Winter Olympics.