NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

Zdeno Chara sets record for defensemen, Zach Parise reaches a scoring milestone, the Predators retire Pekka Rinne’s number, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for most games (1,652) by an NHL defenseman but his club dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks. Isles winger Zach Parise also reached a personal milestone by tallying his 400th career NHL regular-season goal. Logan Couture netted the winning goal for the Sharks (52 points), who sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Chara and Parise on their respective achievements in what could be their final NHL seasons. Both are now well past their playing prime and could face retirement following this season.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars after they honored former goaltender Pekka Rinne by retiring his jersey No. 35 in a pre-game ceremony. Rinne’s successor, Juuse Saros, made 27 saves for the win as the Predators opened a six-point lead over the Oilers in the first Western wild-card berth with 64 points. The Stars (59 points) sit just behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and a two-time All-Star, Rinne retired at the end of last season as the Predators’ all-time leader in games played (683), wins (369), save percentage (.921), goals-against average (2.43) and shutouts (60).

J.T. Miller scored twice and added two assists while Thatcher Demko made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1, snapping the latter’s 10-game win streak. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat each tallied two goals as the Canucks (56 points) moved within three points of the Oilers. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 66 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead (36) in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap a three-game losing skid. Petr Mrazek kicked out 29 shots while Mitch Marner collected two assists. With 70 points, the Leafs sit two points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Wild remain in third place in the Central with 65 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev left the game early with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Boston Bruins got a two-goal performance by Jake DeBrusk, including the winning goal in overtime, to down the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists while Linus Ullmark stopped 25 shots. Bruins winger Brad Marchand was held scoreless in his return from a six-game suspension. The Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 64 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Kraken has dropped six straight games.

Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 36 shots for the Rangers while teammates Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points, three behind the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Patrik Laine scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Florida Panthers 6-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each collected two points for the Jackets while J-F Berube made 39 saves for the win. The Jackets have won four straight games and sit nine points behind the Bruins. The Panthers remain atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Speaking of upsets, the New Jersey Devils rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes each collected three points while Nico Daws turned in a 37-save performance for the Devils. The Penguins sit one point behind the Rangers in the Metro Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo will be sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury. It appears he injured his midsection during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was enjoying a solid bounce-back performance with the Hurricanes. Skating for much of the season alongside Jaccob Slavin, he’s third among Hurricanes scorers with 40 points.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Kaplan reports Evander Kane described his professional prospects beyond this season as “uncertain” and his pending contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks as “unclear” in a recent court filing in his ongoing bankruptcy case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players Association reportedly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf three weeks ago over the Sharks terminating his contract. A date for a hearing has yet to be determined.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: The Kraken placed winger Jared McCann (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points in 48 games.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for diving/embellishment during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TSN: The Dallas Stars claimed forward Martin Studenic off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2021

The Hurricanes reach their season-opening ninth straight win, Leon Draisaitl overtakes Connor McDavid in the points race, more fallout from the Blackhawks scandal and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their season-opening win streak to nine games by rallying to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Jesper Fast and Martin Necas scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the victory while goaltender Frederik Andersen (27 saves) remains undefeated (8-0-0) this season. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the Blackhawks (1-8-2).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Leon Draisaitl (20 points) scored twice to overtake teammate Connor McDavid in the NHL scoring race in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, ending the latter’s four-game win streak. McDavid (19 points) collected two assists to extend his points streak to nine games. Draisaitl is the first player to reach 20 points in less than nine games to start a season since Mario Lemieux in 2002-03.

The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame a 2-0 deficit and blew a 4-2 lead before nipping the Colorado Avalanche in overtime 5-4. Cole Sillinger and Jake Bean scored twice with the latter tallying the game-winner. Bowen Byram tallied two goals and Nazem Kadri collected three assists for the Avalanche.

A shootout goal by Arthur Kaliyev lifted the Los Angles Kings to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Torey Krug had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-1-1). The Kings (4-5-1) have won three straight games.

HEADLINES

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich’s name has been stamped out in the club’s 2009-10 section of the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks requested Aldrich’s name be removed from the Cup following an independent investigation confirming a 2010 sexual assault allegation against him by former Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach was covered up by senior team executives.

TSN: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews offered clearer support of Beach. “I can’t undo what happened, I’d just like to know more and more about what Kyle feels and what he wants and what he envisions for the future,” said Toews.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin were placed in COVID protocol after testing positive for the coronavirus. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby displayed mild symptoms while Dumoulin is asymptomatic. This news comes less than 48 hours after Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel tested positive. Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Jeff Carter and Zach Aston-Reese also tested positive and were placed in isolation at times since preseason.

THE ATHLETIC: The Nashville Predators will retire Pekka Rinne’s No. 35 on Feb. 24. Rinne retired in July following 15 NHL seasons all spent with the Predators.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Predators, winger Filip Forsberg is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is listed as day-to-day after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Brett Kulak during Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He is not believed to have suffered a concussion.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban was fined $15,000.00 by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip of Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is how much Subban’s stock has fallen. He only appears in headlines now when he’s being fined for dangerous trips (also known as slew footing).

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott is listed as day-to-day with an injured foot.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers have loaned winger Vitali Kravtsov to the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. He can be recalled by the Rangers once the KHL season is over. The 21-year-old winger refused assignment to the NHL and returned to Russia awaiting a trade.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2021

Pekka Rinne retires, Dominique Ducharme becomes full-time Canadiens coach, an updated list of injured Lightning players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were reported yesterday. You can read my take here.

THE TENNESSEAN: Pekka Rinne announced his retirement yesterday. A three-time All-Star, the 38-year-old goaltender spent his entire 15-season NHL career with the Nashville Predators, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2018, backstopping the franchise to its only Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne announced his retirement after 15 NHL seasons (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne had a remarkable NHL career. He holds several Predators single-season records (43 wins, .930 save percentage, 2.12 goals-against average, eight shutouts) and is their career leader in wins (369), shutouts (60) and goals-against average (2.43). Those stats could get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens announced Dominique Ducharme is their full-time head coach, signing him to a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a tale of two seasons for Ducharme. Injuries to key players, a grueling second-half schedule (25 games in 44 days) following a COVID-19 outbreak and limited practice time made it difficult for him to implement his system, prompting questions over his readiness to become a full-time NHL bench boss.

The Canadiens’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final changed that perception. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages the heightened expectations over the course of a full schedule next season with the Bell Centre full of fans.

NBC SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning finally revealed which players were dealing with serious injuries during the 2021 playoffs. Victor Hedman will require surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in March. His expected recovery time is two-to-four weeks. Nikita Kucherov suffered a fractured rib in the semifinal against the New York Islanders, requiring him to wear a flak jacket and undergo pain-blocking injections.

Ryan McDonagh and Barclay Goodrow suffered broken hands. Alex Killorn suffered a broken fibula that sidelined him for most of the Final.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has waived his no-movement clause to allow himself to be exposed in next week’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will provide the Avalanche the flexibility to protect a defenseman they otherwise risked losing in the expansion draft. It’s unlikely the Seattle Kraken will select Johnson, who missed most of this season to injury. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $6 million and a modified no-trade clause.

The deadline for teams to request a player to waive their NMCs to be exposed in the expansion draft was yesterday at 5 pm ET. Those players will have until Friday to reach a decision.

SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken’s expansion draft will be held next Wednesday on an outdoor stage at Gas Works Park with fans in attendance.

TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel said almost every player and coach on their 2010 Stanley Cup roster were aware of the sexual assault allegations leveled by a former teammate against former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Sopel hopes more players from that team will speak out about what they were told about Aldrich. He understands the difficulty some of them feel as they’re either still playing with the club or employed by the team in other capacities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sopel is the first player from that roster to publicly claim there was wide knowledge of those allegations. Former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville issued a statement denying he had prior knowledge of those allegations, insisting he first learned about them through the media earlier this spring. He’s offered to participate in the Blackhawks’ investigation into those claims.

TSN: Former NHL forward Jordan Weal has signed a two-year contract with KHL club AK Bars Kazan. He last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Montreal Canadiens and spent this season with their AHL affiliate in Laval. Weal previously played with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed goaltender Josef Korenar to a one-year, two-way contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2021

The Golden Knights defeat the Canadiens in the opening game of their semifinal series, the Rangers hire Gerard Gallant as head coach, the Hurricanes allow Dougie Hamilton to speak with other clubs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for his 90th career playoff win in a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their semifinal series. Defensemen provided the bulk of the scoring for Vegas with Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez and Nick Holden tallying three of their four goals. Cole Caufield replied for Montreal with his first career playoff tally. Game 2 goes Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights withstood a good start by Montreal, scored the opening goal, and took control of the game in the second period. Canadiens goalie Carey Price played well and made some big saves, but three of the four goals against him resulted from the Golden Knights’ moving him side-to-side with their quick puck movement. The Habs successfully killed four penalties but that disrupted their game plan, which the Golden Knights exploited to their advantage.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have hired Gerard Gallant as their new head coach. The 2018 Jack Adams Award winner recently guided Canada to a gold medal at the World Championships in Latvia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallant has a proven body of work as an NHL head coach. He’s taking over a Rangers club laden with good young talent and a promising future.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Carolina Hurricanes have granted permission to Dougie Hamilton to speak with other clubs. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. This could set the stage for a potential sign-and-trade scenario, though it also allows Hamilton the opportunity to return to the Hurricanes if he doesn’t receive better offers on the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman observes, this is an interesting maneuver by Hamilton and the Hurricanes. Prior to the extension of the CBA last year, pending UFAs were allowed several weeks to speak with interested clubs before the free-agent market opened. That’s no longer the case. It’ll be interesting to see if others teams will follow this example. I’ll have more on Hamilton’s situation in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is this year’s winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom is almost fully recovered from the lower-body injury suffered during their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, he may have to wait to get back into the lineup as Travis Zajac has done a good job in his stead.

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Is there a path for the Bruins to land Jack Eichel? Should the Rangers consider signing Pekka Rinne? What’s the latest on Seth Jones’ contract talks. Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE BRUINS LAND EICHEL?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter examined possible paths for the Boston Bruins to acquire Jack Eichel. The Buffalo Sabres captain raised eyebrows during his exit interview last week expressing unhappiness over his situation, claiming there was a disconnect between himself and the club regarding treatment for his herniated disk in his neck.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Porter believes the Bruins could afford Eichel’s $10 million annual salary-cap hit for the next five seasons if they let unrestricted free agents like David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Sean Kuraly depart this summer. He also pointed out Bruins president Cam Neely admitting his club is a little thin at center. Current top-two centers like Patrice Bergeron and Krejci are in their mid-thirties.

The toughest question is whether the Bruins can afford what would be an expensive asking price by the Sabres. Porter feels it could mean parting with winger David Pastrnak. Eichel’s injury could also complicate matters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will inquire about Eichel if the 24-year-old center and the Sabres fail to smooth over their differences. Sweeney has a recent trade history with the Sabres, having acquired Taylor Hall from them at the trade deadline.

Sweeney got Hall for a song because the veteran winger used his no-movement clause to ensure he’d go to Boston. The Bruins won’t have that advantage with Eichel because his NMC doesn’t kick in until 2022-23.

Sabres GM Kevyn Adam would seek a significant return, perhaps one too expensive for the Bruins. That could involve Pastrnak or defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

SHOULD THE RANGERS SIGN RINNE THIS SUMMER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks makes the case for the New York Rangers to sign Pekka Rinne if the Nashville Predators goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He feels the 38-year-old Rinne would bring much-needed leadership to the Rangers’ dressing room and act as a mentor for starting goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Brooks believes Alexandar Georgiev, the Rangers’ current backup, might benefit from a change of scenery if the Blueshirts move him and his $2.425 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne could test the free-agent market this summer. However, I suspect he’ll retire as a player and perhaps take on a front-office role with the Predators. I

If Rinne decides to continue his career I don’t think he’d be the right choice for the Rangers. Yes, he’d bring leadership but performance is another matter. His best seasons are behind him and he saw only one start for the Predators over the final month of the regular season.

LATEST ON SETH JONES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have asked Seth Jones if he’ll consider looking at a contract extension at some point during the offseason. The 26-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Johnston said Jones has spoken with his agent and is taking the weekend to think things through. He expects the blueliner will get back to Jackets management over the next several days about whether he’s willing to discuss an extension now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Jackets could attempt to trade Jones this summer if he won’t commit to an extension. However, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline recently reported the Jackets were willing to keep Jones into next season without an extension. Initial discussions had begun between Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and Jones’ agent, Pat Brisson.

Kekalainen also told Portzline he and his staff have looked at whether the return is greater for trading pending UFAs one year away from the expiration of their contracts versus moving them at the trade deadline. He feels competition tends to be more intense at the trade deadline.

The Jackets could take their chances going into next season with Jones if he remains unsigned and try to change his mind. If he doesn’t, they’ll shop him to the highest bidder at the trade deadline.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2021

The latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plus updates on the Predators, Sabres, Coyotes, Kings, Red Wings and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cited Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley appearing on Andy Strickland and Cam Janssen’s podcast where he said he doesn’t want goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to be traded. “He never came close to be part of a deal,” said Foley. “I would’ve had a big problem with it if that had been presented to me.” Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins tried to reacquire Fleury through another team and they thought they were close to a deal.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman indicated if Foley doesn’t want Fleury traded then that’s the end of it. The 36-year-old goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Friedman believes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wants to stay with the Edmonton Oilers and management wants to keep him. The biggest challenge is the economic landscape is recovering more slowly than expected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the salary cap is likely to remain at $81.5 million for next season, affecting how much the Oilers can comfortably afford to invest in a long-term extension for Nugent-Hopkins.

Following up on his Saturday report regarding the Nashville Predators’ trade speculation, Friedman said their deep respect for aging goaltender Pekka Rinne means they want him to retire in their uniform. They have no desire to move defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. They’re willing to listen to trade offers but it will be difficult to pry away Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators most likely to be traded are pending unrestricted free agents like Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula or those on affordable contracts (Mattias Ekholm, Calle Jarnkrok) that expire at the end of 2021-22. They’ll entertain offers for expensive underachievers such as Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen but I doubt there will be much interest in either guy.

The Buffalo Sabres are making Brandon Montour available. The 26-year-old defenseman is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer.

The Arizona Coyotes are looking for a center. They could also be interested in a rental player like Montour or a winger like the Vancouver Canucks’ Tanner Pearson if he becomes available.

Don’t expect the Los Angeles Kings to become buyers if they remain in playoff contention by the trade deadline. General manager Rob Blake intends to stick with his rebuilding plan.

UPDATES ON THE RED WINGS AND FLAMES

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes three Detroit Red Wings – Bobby Ryan, Luke Glendening and Marc Staal – could draw attention from rival clubs as the Apr. 12 trade deadline approaches. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, said the Calgary Flames’ recent slump sparked speculation whether GM Brad Treliving was up to something. However, it seems all’s quiet on the Flames front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Ryan, Staal and Glendening could be playing elsewhere by Apr. 12. As for the Flames, Treliving is remaining patient with his roster but his hand could be forced if they don’t show significant improvement. Complicating things, of course, are the COVID protocols and travel restrictions for any players acquired from American teams.