NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2020

The latest return-to-play news plus updates on Carey Price, Mikko Rantanen, Nick Foligno, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY UPDATES

NHL.COM: The NHL announced 26 players out of over 250 tested positive for COVID-19 since Phase 2 of the return-to-play plan began on June 8. Fifteen who took part in small-group training tested positive while an additional 11 tested positive outside the Phase 2 protocols. All have self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. Over 1, 450 tests have been implemented.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league didn’t indicate when those players contracted the coronavirus or the severity of their symptoms. Earlier reports indicated most were asymptomatic, with a small number having a low-grade fever. We also don’t know how many of those players have since recovered.

Those numbers will increase as more players report to their NHL cities ahead of Phase 3 (mandatory training camp) on July 10. Health and social distancing protocols will be stricter in Phase 3, though the league won’t be quarantining the players during that period.

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports a decision on the two host cities for the 24-team playoff tournament could come today. While the state of Nevada is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Las Vegas could still be chosen as a host because it could have the best “locked-down” or “protected” bubble of the remaining candidates.

McKenzie also reports the league and the NHLPA appear to be getting closer toward an agreement on the final two phases of the return-to-plan plan and a CBA extension. A vote could come this week. July 10 is the tentative start date for Phase 3 but it could be pushed back a little with no effect upon the start of Phase 4 on July 30.

In a lengthy Twitter post, McKenzie pondered some possible changes in the CBA extension. He wanted to know if it would be 3 or 4 years or 3 years with a mutual opt-in/opt-out in year 4. He also wondered if there would be limitations on salary variance and signing bonuses, or opt-outs of the playoff tournament for players with existing medical conditions (diabetes, asthma, etc) or penalty-free opt-outs for those uncomfortable with taking part.

McKenzie points out the two sides still haven’t reached an agreement regarding bonus money owed on July 1. He also notes they must work out an international hockey calendar, but the Winter Olympics no longer appear a consideration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the bonus issue is part of the CBA extension, the two sides might need a separate agreement on that, perhaps a tentative on to push the bonuses to the end of October as they did with expiring contracts.

Until recently, it was believed the players were keen to return to the Olympics. If that’s no longer the case it’s probably because the changes in the NHL calendar over the next couple of years and ongoing concerns over the coronavirus could make participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games almost impossible.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Sean Shapiro reports the availability and location of hotels near American Airlines Arena played a major role in Dallas being ruled out as a potential hub city.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price returned to Montreal for the first time since the schedule was paused in mid-March.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen skated with his teammates in Phase 2 training. Rantanen had been sidelined by an injured shoulder suffered in late February

Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer have recovered from their previous injuries. Sidelined defensemen Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, and Sami Vatanen could be ready to participate in the Phase 3 training camp.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said he and his teammates aren’t interested in the possibility of his club having a shot at winning the first-overall pick in the 2020 draft. “We play to win the Stanley Cup regardless,” he told SiriusXM NHL Network Radio. He added the No. 1 pick is management’s concern.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a silly theory floated by some fans suggesting some teams in the qualifying round could tank to become eligible for the second phase of the draft lottery to determine the winner of the No. 1 pick. They’re not going to endure Phase 3 training camp followed by a locked-down Phase 4 tournament isolated from family and friends away from their home cities while undergoing constant COVID-19 testing just to have a 12.5 percent chance at winning the rights to Alexis Lafreniere. Their motivation is winning the Stanley Cup and helping the league recoup some of their $1.1 billion in losses from the COVID-19 shutdown. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings canceled their prospect tournament in September and will conduct training camp for 2020-21 at Little Caesars Arena due to COVID-19.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The sports-marketing agency Wasserman expanded its pool of European hockey talent by acquiring Acme World Sports. Acme’s clients include Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen, Dallas’ Esa Lindell, and Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen.

VANCOUVER SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Vancouver Province sportswriter Tony Gallagher has been honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for journalism excellence. Tampa Bay Lightning play-by-play man Rick Peckham received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions by a broadcaster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Gallagher and Peckham.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

Sidney Crosby has a four-point game, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, the Senators honor Chris Phillips, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up four points in a 5-2 victory over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. Bryan Rust collected three points as the Penguins (80 points) moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division. Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 43rd goal of the season for the Leafs (70 points), who cling to third place in the Atlantic Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch due to illness. Earlier in the day, the Penguins also revealed forward Zach Aston-Reese is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led his club to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from the Penguins’ dominant performance, but that was a pathetic effort by the Leafs in a must-win game. They’ve dropped six of their last nine and remain in danger of slipping out of a playoff spot.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 17 saves to shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0, snapping his club’s five-game losing skid. It was their first victory since Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident last week in Anaheim. Bouwmeester released a statement yesterday indicating he’s on the road to recovery. With 76 points, the Blues hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference. Devils’ Will Butcher and Nick Merkley left the game with injuries.

The Ottawa Senators honored former defenseman Chris Phillips by retiring his number and thumping the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. They tallied four goals in a 3:29 span in the first period and sealed the two with two third-period goals. Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the way with two goals and two assists while Artem Anisimov also scored twice. Brandon Montour scored twice for the Sabres, who remain eight points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic.

Travis Konecny had a three-point performance as the Philadelphia Flyers rolled to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, leaving the latter winless in their last six games. The Flyers (73 points) vaulted over the New York Islanders and the Blue Jackets into third in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 4-1 win over Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes (72 points) hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Predators (65 points) remain three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. With 67 points, the Jets are one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Montreal Canadiens blew a 3-1 lead to fall 4-3 to the lowly Detroit Red Wings, who swept their four-game regular-season series. Andreas Athanasiou scored twice for the Wings, handing the Habs their fifth straight defeat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, we can close the book on the Canadiens’ playoff hopes for 2020. Earlier in the day, they traded defenseman Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues for two draft picks. More moves are likely in store leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Wings, meanwhile, won 15 games thus far this season. Four of those came against the Canadiens.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen received some good news when an MRI on his upper-body injury revealed no requirement for surgery. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined eight weeks with a rib cartilage fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks already made a significant move to address Boeser’s absence by acquiring Tyler Toffoli earlier this week. They might not be done dealing.

CBC.CA: A shoulder injury will sidelined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom for the next two-to-three weeks.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers acquired minor-league winger Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Joey Keane.










NHL Injury Outlook: Week Before NHL Trade Deadline Reeks of Chaos

NHL Injury Outlook: Week Before NHL Trade Deadline Reeks of Chaos

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

Avalanche lose Mikko Rantanen to injury, Canadiens’ Shea Weber close to returning to action, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning won a franchise-record 11th straight game with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nikita Kucherov tallied the winner in overtime as the Bolts (85 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for first overall in the league standings. It was a costly defeat for the Avs, as winger Mikko Rantanen suffered an upper-body injury (shoulder) that could sideline him for weeks. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed goaltender Philipp Grubauer remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen could miss weeks with a shoulder injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing sparking speculation over what moves the Avs will make to bolster their injury-depleted roster. I’ll have more details this morning in the Rumors section.

Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane tallied his first career NHL hat trick to down the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. With the win, the Flames (68 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Pacific Division. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Arizona Coyotes (68 points) hold the second Western Conference wild-card spot after edging the New York Islanders 2-1. Conor Garland tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Coyotes. Andy Greene collected an assist in his first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Islanders have dropped three straight games.

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 25 shots in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights (70 points) move into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division, but the Oilers hold two games in hand. The Capitals (79 points) cling to a one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the fifth straight game and remains stuck at 698 career goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and Aaron Ekblad collected two assists to give the Florida Panthers a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Panthers (68 points) move within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. Following the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon got emotional when asked if he thought that was his last home game with the Sharks. Dillon is a free agent this summer and considered a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans and pundits love to bandy about the names of possible trade candidates. We shouldn’t forget that these are human beings. While the players acknowledge getting traded is part of the business of hockey, it can still be difficult facing the prospect of leaving a team.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and former LA Kings winger Tyler Toffoli (now with the Vancouver Canucks) are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 16.

THE SCORE: Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined three weeks with a rib injury, while winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) is done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news explains why the Canucks acquired Toffoli from the Kings last night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber has returned to practice with his teammates and could play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Weber had suffered an ankle injury that supposedly had him sidelined for six weeks amid speculation it was career-threatening.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have suspended defenseman Zach Bogosian for failing to report to their AHL affiliate after he recently cleared waivers. The suspension removes Bogosian’s $5.14 million salary-cap hit from the Sabres’ books, providing them flexibility as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. The club could negotiate a mutual contract termination with Bogosian.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2020

Game recaps, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mikko Rantanen tallied his second career NHL hat trick as the Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Linemate Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen picked up his second career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

The Buffalo Sabres took a 3-0 lead over the Florida Panthers and held on for a 3-2 victory. Sam Reinhart and Marcus Johansson each picked up two points for the Sabres. Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up three goals on seven shots, further highlighting what’s been a miserable performance this season by the former two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s stats are truly horrid, sporting the second-worst goals-against average (3.33) and seventh-worst save percentage (.895) among NHL goalies with at least 15 games-played this season. To say this is not what the Panthers expected from Bob when they signed him last summer to a seven-year, $70-million contract is an understatement.

A three-goal third period carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Victor Hedman picked up two assists for the Lightning, who’ve won six straight and moved into third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was only a matter of time until the talent-laden Lightning overcame their slow start to the season and surged back among the playoff contenders.

An overtime goal by Eric Staal gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Staal’s teammate Zach Parise made contact with Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck in the crease but it was ruled he was shoved into Hellebuyck. Jets coach Paul Maurice disagreed with the call but withheld further criticism of the officiating. “It’s goalie interference all day long for me and there’s not a lot of gray area on that one, but I’m not giving them any money. Not one dime,” he said in his postgame press conference, referring to recent fines levied at Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella for his tirade last week against officials.

Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller scored two goals in a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a costly victory for the Coyotes as goaltender Antti Raanta left the game with a lower-body injury following the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes starter Darcy Kuemper is still sidelined with a lower-body injury. They’ll be hoping Raanta won’t be sidelined for long.

The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to seven games by nipping the New York Rangers 2-1. Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves for the win as Tyler Myers tallied the game-winner late in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have recovered nicely from what appeared to be another season-threatening swoon a month ago. They’re now third in the Pacific Division with 50 points.

Mike Smith’s 35-save performance carried the Edmonton Oilers over the slumping Boston Bruins 4-1. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers while Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 31st goal. The Bruins have won just four of their last 15 games (4-5-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Bruins lack of secondary scoring is coming back to haunt them. Expect general manager Don Sweeney to try and address that issue in the coming weeks.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 3-0 deficit to edge the St. Louis Blues 5-4 on an overtime goal by Chandler Stephenson. Vegas has won four straight. Blues winger David Perron had a three-point performance.

Toronto Maple Leafs backup Michael Hutchinson turned in a 33-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points.

Brandon Tanev’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Penguins have won eight of their last 10 while the Canadiens are winless in their last five (0-4-1). Artturi Lehkonen tallied twice for the fading Habs.

The San Jose Sharks held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2, ending the latter’s 12-game points streak. Kevin Labanc potted the game-winner while Zach Werenski scored both Blue Jackets goals.

The Nashville Predators snapped a three-game losing skid by downing the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Predators captain Roman Josi extended his points streak to nine games by collecting two assists. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to action for the first time since having his wrist slashed by a skate blade on Nov. 25.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is day-to-day with lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s loss to the Canucks.

CBS SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks winger Ondrej Kase missed practice yesterday tending to a bone bruise.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2019

Mikko Rantanen makes a splashy return with the Avalanche, Alex Ovechkin tallies a hat trick, fallout from the Peters firing and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen made a splashy return to action by picking up four points in a 7-3 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. It was his first game since being sidelined by a leg injury on Oct. 21. Joonas Donskoi also enjoyed a four-point performance, Nathan MacKinnon picked up three points, and Nazem Kadri scored two goals. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored to extend his points streak to 15 games.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen collected four points in a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images)

Alex Ovechkin tallied a hat trick to lead the Washington Capitals over the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov collected three assists. Ovechkin now has 20 goals on the season, sitting second to Boston’s David Pastrnak (24) in the goal-scoring race. The Wings’ winless skid has stretched to nine games. Earlier in the day, they acquired goaltender Eric Comrie from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Vili Saarijarvi.

The Vancouver Canucks got a four-point performance from Tanner Pearson to down the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Canucks captain Bo Horvat picked up three assists. Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast each tallied shorthanded goals. Devils rookie Jack Hughes missed the game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Devils near the bottom of the conference, there are reports they’re entertaining offers for Taylor Hall. Check out the Rumors section for details.

The Philadelphia Flyers extended the Montreal Canadiens’ winless skid to seven games (0-4-3) with a 4-3 overtime victory. Ivan Provorov tallied the game-winner while Flyers goalie Brian Elliott kicked out 39 shots. Tomas Tatar scored twice for the Habs, who lost defenseman Victor Mete to a lower-body injury. The Flyers sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 35 points.

Calgary Flames winger Elias Lindholm scored twice in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted his team-leading 14th goal for the Senators.

John Tavares tallied in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Tavares also had an assist on William Nylander’s game-opening goal. Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton made 41 saves in a losing cause.

Carolina Hurricanes netminder James Reimer made 36 saves as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. The Lightning also revealed defenseman Brayden Coburn is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury, while winger Alex Killorn (lower-body injury) is listed as day-to-day.

Florida Panthers rookie goaltender Chris Driedger’s first NHL start was a memorable one, turning aside 27 shots to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. Anton Stralman scored twice for the Panthers.

Semyon Varlamov replaced an ailing Thomas Greiss in the first period and backstopped the New York Islanders to a 2-0 shutout over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Isles center Mathew Barzal scored one goal and collected an assist on the other. Isles defenseman Nick Leddy returned to action after missing one game with a lower-body injury. Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski left the game with an upper-body injury.

Logan Couture scored twice and Tomas Hertl picked up two assists as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. It’s the Sharks’ 11th win in their last 13 contests.

St. Louis Blues forwards Jaden Schwartz and Ryan O’Reilly each had two points in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game with an undisclosed injury. The Penguins also played without winger Bryan Rust, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

A 33-save effort by Jack Campbell enabled the Los Angeles Kings to hang on for a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis issued a statement yesterday claiming he informed then-team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. of alleged physical incidents between former coach Bill Peters and two players. Earlier in the week, Karmanos claimed he was not aware of the incidents and would’ve immediately fired Peters had he known. Francis said he took immediate action to address the issue and no further incidents occurred.

Peters resigned Friday as coach of the Calgary Flames after former NHL player Akim Aliu claimed he hurled racial slurs at him during their tenure with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs a decade ago.

SPORTSNET: Speak of Aliu, he’ll be meeting with the NHL this week to to discuss the cultural problems in hockey.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Sean Avery claimed he was kicked by coach Marc Crawford during a game in 2006-07 when they were with the Los Angeles Kings. Avery said the incident occurred when he took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

“He didn’t have me serve it, we got scored on, and he let me have it. You know how I stand at the end of the bench? He came down and gave me an ass kick that left a mark.” Avery found the incident more bemusing than upsetting.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will miss tonight’s game against the Canadiens with a lower-body injury. Winger Brad Marchand is questionable for the game as he’s battling flu symptoms. Winger David Backes (concussion symptoms) could be close to returning to the lineup.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu will appear in his 1,000th NHL game today when his club takes on the Dallas Stars.