NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2020

The Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference Final, the NHL will begin announcing its award winners, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time since 1993, the New York Islanders are going to the Conference Finals. They shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 7 of their second-round series and face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final in Edmonton.

Thomas Greiss made 16 saves for the shutout while Brock Nelson led the way offensively with a goal and two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a complete team victory by the Islanders. They stifled the Flyers’ offense with their defensive play and aggressive forecheck. Head coach Barry Trotz’s decision to start Greiss over Semyon Varlamov also paid off.

The lack of consistent production by the Flyers’ top scorers was a problem throughout the playoffs. It came home to roost in Game 7 against the Isles defense.

The NHL will begin revealing some of the winners of its individual awards from Sept. 6 to Sept. 13. Those to be announced include the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Sept. 6), Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Sept. 7), Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award (Sept. 8), Jack Adams Award (Sept. 9), Frank J. Selke Trophy (Sept. 10), Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sept. 11), Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award (Sept. 12), and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (Sept. 13).

A 30-minute program during the Stanley Cup Final will announce the winners of the Calder Memorial Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and the Vezina Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this format and I hope the league sticks with it going forward. Their annual award show in Las Vegas has a cringe factor comparable to “The Dundies” episode of The Office.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have reportedly interviewed Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant for their vacant head-coaching position.

SPORTSNET: The Arizona Coyotes have interviewed NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire for their vacant general manager job.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.15 million.

SPORTSNET: A resolution has yet to be reached allowing the families of the players on the remaining four NHL clubs to join them in the playoff bubble in Edmonton. Discussions are ongoing between the league, the NHL Players Association, and the Canadian federal government.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2019

A look at some potential trade targets for the Canadiens, plus the latest on Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE CANADIENS

SPORTSNET: Included Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Anaheim Ducks rearguard Cam Fowler on its list of six trade targets for the Montreal Canadiens to shore up the left side of their blueline.

Should the Montreal Canadiens pursue Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler? (Photo via NHL Images)

Gostisbehere’s star has fallen a bit over the last two seasons. He was a recent healthy scratch and might benefit from a change of scenery. Having already parted ways with Corey Perry earlier this year, the struggling Ducks could be ready to move on from some of their established talent. The 28-year-old Fowler is among their top trade chips to bring in pieces for the future.

Other options include Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Oliver Kylington, Pittsburgh’s Juuso Riikola, and Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin seeks a top-pairing left-side, Fowler is the best option. He’s a solid, all-around blueliner who would bring a big boost to their defense. Those traits are also why the Ducks are unlikely to part with him unless they get a terrific offer, like a good young scoring forward as part of the return. Fowler also has a four-team trade list and might not be keen to go to Montreal. 

Gostisbehere’s struggles since last season have sparked speculation over his future in Philadelphia. He’s a skilled puck-mover but his defensive game often leaves much to be desired.

Brodie’s recent medical scare and UFA status could make him a risky acquisition. Then again, those factors could also make him more affordable. Kylington is young (22), has potential and won’t cost much to acquire, but the Habs are likely in the market for an established top-four defender.

Riikola has been a frequent healthy scratch and I don’t see him significantly improving the Habs’ defense. Like Gostisbehere, Gustafsson is a mobile puck-moving d-man but his defensive play is an area of concern.

WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO WITH GEORGIEV?

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has to figure out what to do with his overcrowded crease. Current backup Alexandar Georgiev has played very well spelling off veteran Henrik Lundqvist. However, he’ll soon become waiver-eligible once he plays his 60th NHL game.

“There’s a lot written about who’s going to be here, and waivers and all that stuff, said Gorton. “We’re just worried about the team playing well, and let events play themselves out.” He insists Georgiev remains “a big part of our team.”

Cyrgalis, however, believes Georgiev could be a very attractive trade piece as the Feb. 24 deadline approaches. He feels the Toronto Maple Leafs are an obvious landing spot. Moving Georgiev would create room to bring up promising Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cyrgalis believes Gorton will still be active leading up to the trade deadline. He feels the Rangers GM wants to bring in assets that will eventually make the Blueshirts a Stanley Cup contender, not just a playoff contender.

When Georgiev’s name first surfaced, I dismissed the notion he’d be available if the Rangers were in the playoff chase by the deadline. If Gorton’s plan is to build a future Cup winner, perhaps he’d consider parting with Georgiev for the right price.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2019

Are the Canadiens scouting the Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Could the Devils poor start affect Taylor Hall’s contract talks? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS EYEING VLASIC?

TVA SPORTS: cites a report by The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz observing the Montreal Canadiens have heavily scouted the San Jose Sharks. Canadiens coach Claude Julien said his club seeks a top-four, left-shot defenseman.

Kurz refers to Sharks blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Montreal native carries a no-movement clause in his eight-year, $56-million contract that runs through 2022-23. He’s currently pointless with a plus-minus of minus-eight.

Are the Montreal Canadiens scouting Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens are scouting Vlasic they might not like what they’ve seen thus far. He’s struggled but so has the Sharks as a team. They’ve won three straight but dropped their first four contests.

If Vlasic won’t waive his no-movement clause it’s a pointless exercise trying to acquire him. Just because he’s from Montreal doesn’t mean he wants to play there. Many Quebec-born NHL players haven’t been keen to experience that fishbowl existence.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there no reason to believe the New Jersey Devils aren’t considering any option other than re-signing Taylor Hall to a long-term extension. The 27-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

It remains to be seen what Hall wants to do. The Devils know being a consistent playoff contender could be key to determining his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils don’t turn things around soon they risk falling into an insurmountable hole this season. That could affect Hall’s decision. If he’s not under contract as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches and they’re out of the playoff race by that point, GM Ray Shero could entertain trade offers.

Friedman also believes the Canadiens looked at Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Riikola played 37 games last season but only one this season and that was as a winger in last night’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Buffalo Sabres are looking to move a defenseman. Friedman thought the Arizona Coyotes could be an option with Niklas Hjalmarsson sidelined for three months. Given the Coyotes’ salary-cap constraints, a big move isn’t likely.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2019

Updates on the Blues and Bruins plus latest on Patrick Sharp, Martin Erat, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist receives one-game suspension (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist received a one-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The incident occurred during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.  Sundqvist will miss Game 3 tomorrow night in St. Louis. 

BOSTON HERALD: Grzelcyk is listed as day-to-day and is in concussion protocol. He didn’t travel with the Bruins but they haven’t ruled him out for Game 3. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp is rapidly rising among the ranks of NBC Sports’ NHL analysts. 

RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS: Former NHL winger Martin Erat has officially retired. He spent 13 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Arizona Coyotes from 2001-02 to 2014-15. Erat spent the past three seasons in the Czech Extraliga. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Erat spent over 10 seasons with the Predators and enjoyed his best seasons in Nashville. However, he’ll be remembered for being traded to the Capitals in 2013 for then-promising prospect Filip Forsberg. Erat lasted only two more seasons in the NHL while Forsberg went on to become a big star with the Predators. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a one-year, $850K contract.