NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2024

The four All-Star Game rosters are set, the three stars and rookie of the month for January are revealed, the latest on Sam Reinhart’s contract situation and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The four teams are set for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game following the player draft by team captains Auston Matthews and singer Justin Bieber, Nathan MacKinnon and singer Tate McRae, Jack and Quinn Hughes with singer Michael Buble, and Connor McDavid with actor Will Arnett.

Among the notable picks:

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

The hometown Toronto Maple Leafs all-stars will be playing on Team Matthews as he and assistant captain Morgan Rielly used their first two picks to select William Nylander and Mitch Marner.

Team Hughes used the first overall pick to select Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league in scoring with 85 points.

Team MacKinnon chose Pittsburgh Penguins captain (and MacKinnon’s fellow Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native) Sidney Crosby with their first pick.

Team McDavid selected Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebucyk and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand was the last pick of the draft as he joined Team MacKinnon. Well, he wasn’t chosen by that team. Each of the final four players – Anaheim Ducks winger Frank Vatrano (Team Hughes), New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (Team Matthews), San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (Team McDavid) and Bjorkstrand – were assigned to their respective teams.

NHL.COM: Speaking of MacKinnon, he’s the league’s first star for January 2024. Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner is the second star with Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson the third star.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber was named the Rookie of the Month for January 2024.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart said his contract talks with the club are going well and he has no problem with the process taking more time. “I’ve got no issues with them being ongoing. They certainly don’t either,” said Reinhart, going on to say the main focus of both sides right now is winning the Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both sides have expressed a willingness to get a deal done stretching back to last fall.

Reinhart has already set a career high this season with 37 goals and with 62 points is on pace to exceed his career-best of 80 points. He’s due for a big raise on his next contract. The 28-year-old is earning an average annual value of $6.5 million and could earn between $9 million and $10 million annually on his next deal.

With over $28 million in projected cap space for 2024-25, the Panthers can afford to re-sign Reinhart. It will put a big dent into their remaining cap space and could complicate efforts to re-sign pending UFA defensemen Brandon Montour and Gustav Forsling as well as restricted free agent Anton Lundell.

THE TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs great Dave Keon believes current Leafs stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander will probably reach the top of the list among the club’s all-time scoring leaders. “And unless they win a Cup, that will be their legacy,” he said.

What is the object of this exercise? At the start of the year when you gather in training camp, the object of the exercise is to win the Stanley Cup,” said Keon. “If you have all of these players putting up great numbers and you’ve won one playoff series in eight or nine years, and you haven’t even played for the Stanley Cup, then you have to take a look in the mirror.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keon is speaking some harsh truth here. One of the greatest two-way forwards in NHL history, he won four Stanley Cups in six seasons with the Leafs between 1961-62 and 1966-67 and won the 1967 Conn Smythe Trophy.

Yes, the league and the game have changed since Keon’s heyday 60 years ago. Matthews, Marner and Nylander aren’t to blame for their club’s inability to build up a solid supporting cast around them. Nevertheless, they’re the foundation on which the club’s success depends. So far, they’ve struggled to meet those postseason expectations.

CALGARY SUN: Elias Lindholm posted a heartfelt message on his Instagram account to Flames fans following his trade to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. “Thank you Calgary and thank you C of Red for these five and a half years,” he wrote.

It’s been truly amazing to represent this organization and play in front of you all. You guys have been nothing but incredible to me and my family. We’re so grateful for our time in Calgary and it will always have a special place in our hearts. All the best, it’s been an honor.”

TSN: The sexual assault case involving five players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior team will be before a court in London, Ontario starting on Monday.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube, New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote and unsigned Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton (who played in Switzerland this season) are each charged with one count of sexual assault. The five are on indefinite leaves of absence from their teams.

McLeod also faces an additional charge of sexual assault for “being a party to the offence.” The alleged incident occurred in London on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada event.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2024

The fallout from the Leafs re-signing William Nylander, an update on Oilers goalie Jack Campbell, and the latest on the Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

FALLOUT FROM THE NYLANDER SIGNING

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes the work has just begun for Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving after signing William Nylander yesterday to an eight-year, $92 million contract extension.

On July 1, captain John Tavares and winger Mitch Marner will be eligible to sign contract extensions as they’ll both be in the final season of their current deals. Marner’s next contract will probably cost between $11.5 million annually and $13.25 million.

Treliving could also consider tweaking his roster by the March 8 trade deadline. Bolstering the defense remains a priority. He could also look at adding a depth forward.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran also noted that T.J. Brodie, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Meanwhile, goaltender Ilya Samsonov continues to work on improving his game with the AHL Marlies.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski speculates Nylander’s new contract could come up in contract negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and Elias Pettersson. The difference, however, is Nylander was slated to become a UFA on July 1 whereas Pettersson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel could also benefit from Nylander’s new deal. They’re a little older but could make the case for seeking over $10 million annually on their new contracts.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will likely cost the Leafs more than Nylander’s $11.5 million and less than Auston Matthew’s $13.25 million AAV to get Marner under contract. He could come in between $12 million and $12.5 million on a long-term deal.

Tavares is playing well but the 33-year-old Leafs captain will have to accept a pay cut from his current $11 million AAV to stay in Toronto. How much of a cut will determine whether he has a future with the Leafs beyond July 1, 2025. It’ll have to go at least below $10 million for sure.

The Leafs can afford to re-sign Brodie, Bertuzzi and Domi but they won’t overpay to do so. It won’t be surprising if at least one of them ends up hitting the open market on July 1.

Pettersson is two years younger than Nylander and keeping pace with the Leafs winger in points. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up with a similar contract given his value to the surging Canucks.

Reinhart and Guentzel could get over $10 million annually on their next contracts with the salary cap rising by $4.2 million for 2024-25. Whether they get them from their current clubs remains to be seen.

WILL THE OILERS TRY TO MOVE CAMPBELL?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland intends to see if Jack Campbell can bounce back though there’s no real sign of it yet.

I’ll watch Jack Campbell, I’ll work the phones, I’ll watch our team and ultimately between now and the trade deadline, make some decisions with our staff as to what we think we need to do,” said Holland.

LeBrun speculates the Oilers GM could attempt to add a veteran goalie to be a 1B with Stuart Skinner or a more traditional backup. He thinks a goalie trade is possible but doesn’t see a likely scenario where they can move Campbell’s contract before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks it could cost the Oilers two first-round picks to convince a club to take on the remaining three years of Campbell’s contract. Unless the Oilers are willing to retain up to half of his $5 million average annual value, I don’t see him going anywhere by deadline day.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan believes roster changes are inevitable for the struggling Ottawa Senators. With their playoff hopes fading away, management must decide who stays and who goes.

Scanlan wonders what effect the years of losing could have on defenseman Thomas Chabot and team captain Brady Tkachuk. He wondered if the new front office is as devout to sticking with the mantra of building with youth as their predecessors.

General manager Steve Staios has publicly said he wants to add a veteran or two. However, there is a theory that he could also attempt to shake things up by moving one or two of the young core players.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes believes all eyes will be on Senators forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Dominik Kubalik leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. Both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Mendes also noted that Thomas Chabot’s no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. While it seems doubtful the Senators would trade their best defenseman, the new regime in charge isn’t beholden to anyone on this roster as they didn’t acquire any of them.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Staios is trying to juggle salary-cap space to make room for center Shane Pinto once he’s finished serving his 41-game suspension later this month. He’ll have to demote someone or make a cost-cutting trade.

Garrioch also reports Staios will find it difficult to add one or two veteran players at this time. Teams that have good character players prefer to keep them and those that are available come with a high asking price. A league executive also said those players prefer going to a playoff contender rather than Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch indicated Staios and his front office team aren’t ready to move core players like Chabot, Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Jake Sanderson. We won’t see any of those guys being peddled by the trade deadline.

Nevertheless, Scanlan makes a good point about the effect that years of losing could have on some of those players, especially guys like Chabot and Tkachuk who’ve been there the longest. Perhaps one or two of them grow weary of this situation and request a trade in the offseason.

For now, Tarasenko and Kubalik appear to be the only notable Senators certain to be on the move by the deadline. We’ll see if that changes in the coming weeks.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 7, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 7, 2024

The latest on William Nylander’s contract negotiations, the Flames and Noah Hanifin could be renewing talks, plus updates on the Senators and Ducks in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

NYLANDER DEAL COMING THIS WEEK?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander are closing in on an eight-year contract extension with an expected average annual value of $11.5 million. The deal could be officially announced as early as Monday.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There have been reports from Friedman and his colleague Nick Kypreos since last week that the two sides were working on a lucrative long-term extension. It was believed the aim was to get the deal done before the All-Star weekend from Feb. 1 to 3 in Toronto.

So what do you think, folks? Are the Leafs overpaying for Nylander or is this the right amount? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

FLAMES AND HANIFIN STILL TALKING CONTRACT

Friedman believes the Calgary Flames and defenseman Noah Hanifin have renewed contract negotiations after they were ended earlier in the season. He didn’t think there was any chance of the two sides picking up those discussions. However, Friedman doesn’t think it’s out of the question that the two sides could reach a deal but wouldn’t put any odds on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two days ago, Friedman’s colleague Eric Francis suggested Hanifin as the one player of their pending UFAs (the others being Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev and Dan Vladar) worth retaining.

Francis pointed out that Hanifin still wants to stay in Calgary, he’s only 26 and it would make sense to re-sign a reliable No. 3 defenseman. He also noted the two sides were close to agreeing to an eight-year extension worth $7.5 million annually until the club’s slow start brought those talks to a halt.

Hanifin will draw plenty of interest if he becomes available leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. He could fetch the Flames a solid return of futures if they opt to rebuild. Whether it comes down to that could depend on their performance over the next two months.

SENATORS CALLING AROUND FOR HELP

Friedman reports Ottawa Senators management has been calling around letting other clubs know they’re willing to try some things. They’re unwilling to move their young core players but they’re in the market for what Friedman called professional players, those who know how to play properly and take good care of themselves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has reported since last week that Senators general manager Steve Staios is seeking a veteran for their third line who can help alternate captain Claude Giroux work with their young players.

Garrioch cited a league executive saying it’s difficult to find those types of players right now because most are on expiring contracts and the trade deadline is still two months away. Like Friedman, Garrioch also reports that Staios hasn’t yet reached the stage where he’d consider moving one or two of his young core players.

There are rumors the Senators are shopping pending UFA Dominik Kubalik. However, there isn’t much of a market for the struggling winger.

CAN THE DUCKS LAND A SCORING STAR THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently suggested the Anaheim Ducks could use a player such as William Nylander to take the eventual step out of their rebuilding process.

Stephens noted that the Ducks have the salary cap space to spend this summer and they need to add a pure sniper such as Nylander. With the Leafs winger likely to be off the market soon, there aren’t many decent free-agent alternatives.

Florida’s Sam Reinhart isn’t in the same class as Nylander. Jake Guentzel could re-sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos is 34 and appears to be on a slow fade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens acknowledged that any chance of the Ducks landing Nylander was “pure fantasy”. He’s not wrong about what they’ll need to take the next step in their development but it doesn’t look like they’ll find it via this summer’s free-agent market.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2023

The latest on the Oilers, Flames, Hurricanes, Sharks, Flyers, Devils and Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST FROM GARRIOCH’S “INSIDER TRADING”.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch has a collection of trade rumors this week from around the NHL. So let’s dive in…

The Edmonton Oilers continue to look for a goaltender after sending Jack Campbell to the minors. However, it’s believed the front office wants to give new head coach Kris Knoblauch an opportunity to right the ship before trading away assets.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (NHL Images).

Garrioch thinks the Oilers kicked tires on St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington. It’s believed they’re willing to move a number of assets with the exception of their 2024 first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington has a full no-trade clause so he’s probably not going anywhere. He also has a $6 million average annual value that the cap-strapped Oilers can’t afford to take on unless they can shed salary in the deal or in a separate move.

The Calgary Flames are trying to move center Elias Lindholm and defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. They’re all slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Zadorov recently made a very public trade request which apparently hasn’t sat well with his teammates. He’s been linked to Toronto, where former Flames general manager Brad Treliving is the Maple Leafs GM. They’re looking for a defenseman with John Klingberg on long-term injury reserve (LTIR).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cites a league source recently speculating that the Bruins could be interested in Zadorov. The source also noted that the Bruins had been listening for offers for Matt Grzelcyk and wondered if a one-for-one swap was possible.

The Flames could be keeping their options open but I don’t see them moving anyone right now. They’ve risen into wild-card contention in the Western Conference and will likely want to see how things progress before deciding if they’ll be sellers by the March 8 trade deadline.

Teams in the market for a defenseman should contact the Carolina Hurricanes. They’re willing to move pending UFA blueliners Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce was the subject of offseason speculation but the Hurricanes apparently intend to hang onto him and sort out his contract situation once the season is over. DeAngelo, on the other hand, could be available if clubs are seeking an experienced puck-moving rearguard.

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier is willing to move Mackenzie Blackwood. Several teams have expressed interested in the 26-year-old goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood is playing fairly well this season with the rebuilding Sharks. He also carries an affordable $2.35 million AAV through 2024-25 and lacks no-trade protection. However, the earliest I see him moving could be leading up to the March trade deadline. Blackwood’s future with the Sharks could also depend on whether Grier intends to sign pending UFA goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to a contract extension.

The Flyers are willing to give forward Morgan Frost a fresh start elsewhere because he’s been scratched by head coach John Tortorella. There’s talk they were interested in shipping him to Ottawa for Shane Pinto. However, that was before Pinto was suspended for breaking the league’s gambling rules. Garrioch said the Senators have shown no interest in moving Pinto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frost could have an opportunity to draw back into the Flyers’ lineup with Noah Cates sidelined for six to eight weeks.

LATEST ON THE DEVILS

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald could be looking around for help between the pipes. Friedman noted that Fitzgerald was also interested in boosting his goaltending at the start of the season but has ramped up those efforts as the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid continues to struggle.

Nichols noted that Fitzgerald was in the mix for Connor Hellebuyck prior to his re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets. Other options could include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson, Jake Allen or Sam Montembeault of the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart or Ville Husso, James Reimer or Alex Lyon of the Detroit Red Wings.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted the Devils had spoken with the Calgary Flames regarding defenseman Nikita Zadorov. However, they want to see if their club can regain its “A” game following their sluggish start before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have also piled up for the Devils this season with key players such as Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Timo Meier sidelined for long periods of time. Perhaps a healthier roster might help them right the ship.

In the meantime, I expect Fitzgerald will keep an eye on the goalie market. Even if the club improves over the course of the season, he could seek an upgrade by the trade deadline if they’re in playoff contention by then.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS AFTER LOSING THE KANE SWEEPSTAKES?

ESPN: Kevin Weekes believes the Florida Panthers will shift their focus to re-signing pending free agents such as Sam Reinhart, Gustav Forsling and Brandon Montour now that the Patrick Kane sweepstakes has ended.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers GM Bill Zito remains hopeful of getting Reinhart under contract. The rise in the salary cap for next season could make it possible for Zito to re-sign everyone provided they take the decision to accept less money to stay. That’s what Aleksander Barkov did while Matthew Tkachuk took less than market value to join the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart will be the most expensive to re-sign. He’s earning an AAV of $6.5 million but is on pace for a career-high season as he leads the Panthers with 15 goals and 27 points in 22 games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2023

The Oilers get their first win under new head coach Kris Knoblauch, Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon and Pierre Turgeon are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Zach Hyman, Connor McDavid and Evander Kane lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the New York Islanders 4-1, giving new head coach Kris Knoblauch his first NHL victory. Leon Draisaitl scored the tying goal for the 4-9-1 Oilers and finished the night with a goal and three assists while McDavid had two points. Mathew Barzal tallied for the Islanders (5-6-3) as they’ve lost four straight games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of McDavid, he denied having anything to do with the club’s decision to replace Jay Woodcroft as bench boss with Knoblauch, who coached the Oilers captain during his Junior A days with the OHL’s Erie Otters.

McDavid said he’s aware of a perception that he’s had a hand in the decision to make the coaching change but insisted nothing could be further from the truth. “I woke up to a text, like probably a lot of you guys as well,” he said.

The Colorado Avalanche scored five unanswered goals as they rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists while Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Devon Toews and Tomas Tatar each had two points as the Avalanche improved to 9-5-0. Brandon Tanev netted his first of the season for the 5-8-3 Kraken.

HEADLINES

HHOF.COM: Former NHL stars Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon and Pierre Turgeon were officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

Joining them were former Colorado Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix, former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock and Canadian women’s star Caroline Ouellette.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2024 for their well-deserved induction into the Hall of Fame.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor and Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander are the league’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 12.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights visited the White House on Monday where they were honored by President Joe Biden on their Stanley Cup win.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy practiced with his teammates yesterday for the first time since undergoing back surgery in late September. He indicated that he’s at least two weeks away from coming off the injured reserve list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big step forward for Vasilevskiy and a promising sign that he could be back in action by the end of the month at the earliest.

THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov’s absence from practice on Monday sparked speculation he’s been nursing an injury. The 26-year-old winger has 15 points in as many games but hasn’t looked like himself for much of this season. Head coach Dean Evason said Kaprizov was a “little banged up” but was vague as to whether it’s been something that’s been bothering him for a while.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having their best player hampered by an injury could in part explain why the Wild are off to a 5-8-2 start to this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Wild, they placed forward Frederick Gaudreau on long-term injury reserve retroactive to Oct. 24. The move makes him eligible to play for the Wild against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Sweden this weekend. It also allows them to add Jesper Wallstedt to the roster as their third goaltender.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo will play in his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Anaheim Ducks placed center Trevor Zegras (lower body) on injured reserve. He has just two points in 12 games and was sidelined for their last two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras missed training camp and preseason play due to a contract dispute that wasn’t resolved until Oct. 3. That could account for his slow start and his lower-body injury.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic is out for four to six weeks with a fractured ankle suffered during Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers. The club has recalled defenseman David Jiricek from their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big blow for Roslovic and the Jackets. He had eight points in 14 games before his injury.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, rookie Adam Fantilli isn’t happy with his club’s losing skid. The 19-year-old rookie acknowledged they have a young team “but that does not matter,” he said. Fantilli added that he hates to lose and doesn’t want to get used to it. “I’m not happy about the series of losses we’ve had,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It hasn’t taken long for Fantilli to become a key player for the Blue Jackets. He’s tied for the club lead in scoring with nine points and sits fourth among this season’s rookie scorers.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Milan Lucic suffered a setback rehabbing his injured ankle which has delayed his return to the lineup by a week. He’s been sidelined since Oct. 21 and was placed on long-term injury reserve on Oct. 27.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks forward Andreas Athanasiou is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL Players Association Executive Director Marty Walsh expressed his frustration and concern on Monday over the Arizona Coyotes’ search for a new arena.

Walsh cited rumors of the NHL adding two more expansion clubs but felt the Coyotes are like an expansion club because of their arena woes.

They’re playing right now in a college arena, 5,100 fans that go to those games, and they don’t sell out. I think that’s the first thing we have to do – figure out what is the long-term play on Arizona.”

Walsh said the NHLPA would support a plan for a new arena but noted there is currently no plan or conversation on the matter. “So that, to me, is showing that there’s no urgency on their side.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently reassured fans that he and the league are committed to keeping the Coyotes in Arizona. He expressed the hope that the club could announce its new arena plans later this season.

In mid-October, Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez said the team is hoping to announce a new arena plan within the next 60 days. That suggests they should have something in place by mid-December.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2023

A special honor for Nathan MacKinnon plus the latest on Sam Reinhart, Martin Necas, Brock Boeser and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: The Halifax Mooseheads announced they will be retiring former star Nathan MacKinnon’s No. 22 during their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League home opener on Sept. 22 against the Charlottetown Islanders.

MacKinnon played his junior hockey with the Mooseheads from 2011-12 to 2012-13 before being chosen first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He led them to the 2013 Memorial Cup and was named tournament MVP.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

It’s a true honour to have my jersey retired by the Mooseheads,” he said in a statement. “I can’t wait to share this moment with everyone back home in moose country.”

MacKinnon is the first member of the Mooseheads to be a first-overall NHL draft pick. He also joins Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Alex Tanguay and Jody Shelley as the only Mooseheads to have their numbers retired.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Sam Reinhart is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, the 27-year-old Panthers winger hopes to stay in Florida. “It’s not something I stress over or lose sleep over too much,” said Reinhart. “They know I want to be here, I know they want me here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart is in the final season of a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $6.5 million. He scored 31 goals last season, marking the second straight year that he exceeded the 30-goal plateau. Reinhart also had eight goals and 13 points in 21 playoff games during the Panthers’ Stanley Cup run last spring.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Martin Necas is in the final season of his two-year, $6 million contract. The 24-year-old forward will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

Necas said he’s putting his focus on improving his play rather than on a new deal. “Whatever is going to come is going to come,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas enjoyed a breakout regular season with a career-best of 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 82 games but was limited to just seven points in 15 playoff contests. He’s hoping to build on last season’s efforts and improve his postseason performance.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser said he and his teammates are “sick and tired of having these expectations and not following through” after missing the playoffs in the last three seasons.

Boeser, 26, also understands he needs to be better than last season’s 18-goal performance. He was hampered by a broken hand at the start of training camp and was still grieving the death of his father earlier in the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Boeser and the current core of Canucks players. He could be among some big changes for the club if they miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Kasperi Kapanen has been accused of aggravated drunken driving in Finland. The case was brought to court in late August but few details were provided. Further information is expected following a court hearing in February 2024. Kapanen, 27, made a statement indicating he made “an unacceptable error in judgment” and would take “full responsibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound like Kapanen will face a suspension by the Blues or the NHL. St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong released a statement indicating the club was aware of the incident. He expressed disappointment in Kapanen’s “lapse of judgment” but is “entrusting him to make the necessary changes to avoid putting himself in a similar situation in the future.”

DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers hired former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray as a Senior Advisor. They also formally announced the hiring of former NHL winger Dany Heatley as a pro scout.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios will have his No. 7 retired by the Blackhawks during a Feb. 25 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

A three-time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy (twice with the Blackhawks), he spent nearly nine seasons with the Hawks from 1990-91 until traded to the Wings in Feb. 1999. Chelios also spent over nine seasons (1998-99 to 2008-09) with the Red Wings, winning two Stanley Cups.