NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2024
Penguins lose Jake Guentzel in loss to the Panthers, the Flyers name a new captain, plus the latest on Morgan Rielly, Brendan Gallagher, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists while Anton Lundell tallied twice for the 34-15-4 Panthers, who sit second in the Eastern Conference standings with 72 points. The Penguins (23-20-7) dropped their third straight game and also lost winger Jake Guentzel in the third period with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting seven points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, the Penguins’ playoff hopes are fading. That could push general manager Kyle Dubas to become a seller by the March 8 trade deadline. Guentzel has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill as a trade candidate but his value in the trade market could suffer if he’s sidelined long-term. There was no update following the game regarding his status.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 17 shots to shut out the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Morgan Barron scored the only goal for the Jets (32-14-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 69 points. Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 38 shots for the 14-33-5 Sharks.
The Minnesota Wild picked up their fourth straight win with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the 25-23-5 Wild (55 points) as they moved to within three points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Logan Cooley scored for the Coyotes (23-25-4), who also lost goaltender Connor Ingram for seven to 10 days after he left the game following the second period with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ promising play over the first three months of this season has disappeared in recent weeks. They’ve been in a nosedive in the standings over the past several weeks, winning just twice in their last 10 games and tumbling out of a wild-card spot in the process.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers named Sean Couturier as their new team captain with Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny as their alternate captains. Couturier is the 20th player in franchise history to become captain and the first since Claude Giroux was traded to Florida in 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The timing of this announcement was puzzling as teams tend to name captains before the start of the season. One reader suggested perhaps they were waiting to see if Couturier, who missed all of 2022-23 recovering from back surgery, would be healthy enough to play out this season. Whatever the reason, Couturier was the obvious choice as he’s been their leader throughout this season.
Speaking of the Flyers, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen could be sidelined for two-to-three weeks due to a minor procedure for an upper-body injury.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly intends to appeal his five-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa Senators center Ridly Greig last Saturday.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of suspensions, Brendan Gallagher returns to the Canadiens lineup for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. He served five games for an illegal hit to the head of New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech.
TSN: Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for high-sticking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Michael Eyssimont.
DAILY FACEOFF: Calgary Flames forward Jakob Pelletier is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
THE ATHLETIC: A league source confirmed the NHL will stage a Stadium Series game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, March 1, 2025, at Ohio Stadium. It will be the Blue Jackets’ first outdoor game in franchise history.
ESPN: A union representing junior hockey players has filed a lawsuit against the NHL as well as the Canadian Hockey League and its affiliated junior hockey leagues and clubs. The suit alleges the development system for professional prospects violates antitrust laws.