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.


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.


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.

NHL Gold & Mold: McDavid Passes 400 Points, Coyotes Can’t Keep a Lead

NHL Gold & Mold: McDavid Passes 400 Points, Coyotes Can’t Keep a Lead


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2019

Evander Kane suspended plus updates on Sidney Crosby, Dylan Larkin, David Krejci, and more in your season-opening NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane received a three-game suspension for shoving an on-ice official during a preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane receives a three-game suspension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s fortunate he didn’t receive more than that. His suspension had some Sharks fans wondering if it might open the door for a return by Patrick Marleau but that’s not going to happen

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby rejoined his teammates in practice yesterday for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury over the weekend. Meanwhile, the club is expected to put sidelined winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Placing Rust and defenseman Zach Trotman on LTIR, along with yesterday’s demotions of goaltender Casey DeSmith and defenseman John Marino, ensures the Penguins will be cap compliant to open the season. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin left practice yesterday following a collision. The club will learn more about his status later today. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center David Krejci (lower-body) remains uncertain for the club’s season-opener on Thursday against Dallas. Meanwhile, contract extension talks have begun between Bruins management and defenseman Torey Krug. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little (concussion) is sidelined indefinitely while blueliner Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) will miss at least four weeks. The Jets also lost goaltender Eric Comrie via waivers to the Arizona Coyotes and claimed Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Carl Dahlstrom off waivers. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Greg Pateryn (sports hernia surgery) will be sidelined up to six weeks. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens demoted forward Ryan Poehling to their AHL affiliate in Laval. A concussion limited him to just two preseason games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s only a matter of time until Poehling is back with the Canadiens. He’s a promising young forward with a potentially bright future in Montreal. 

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with forward Micheal Haley. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres assistant coach Don Granato is on a leave of absence after being hospitalized with severe pneumonia. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

SPORTSNET: After 13 seasons with ten NHL clubs, forward Lee Stempniak has announced his retirement. In 911 career games, Stempniak tallied 203 goals and 266 points in 469 games. His best season was his sophomore campaign in 2006-07, tallying 27 goals and 52 points with the St. Louis Blues. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Stempniak and his family in their future endeavors. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2019

Blackhawks win exhibition game in Germany, Hurricanes names Jordan Staal as their new captain, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Evander Kane, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Drake Caggiula and Alex Nylander scored as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated Eisbaren Berlin 3-1 in exhibition play on Sunday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is considered day-to-day after injuring his left leg during a preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres. Coach Mike Sullivan labeled Crosby’s status as encouraging after he skated briefly before practice yesterday. Bryan Rust (left arm) is still being evaluated while Alex Galchenyuk (undisclosed) is listed as day-to-day.

The Carolina Hurricanes name Jordan Staal as their new captain (Photo via NHL Images)

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes named center Jordan Staal as their new captain. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin and forward Jordan Martinook are the new alternate captains. Meanwhile, blueliner Jake Gardiner (undisclosed injury) is questionable for the Hurricanes’ season-opener on Thursday.

SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets center Bryan Little left yesterday’s pre-season game against the Minnesota Wild following a high hit from forward Luke Kunin.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson left Saturday’s pre-season contest against Florida with an undisclosed injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was ejected from yesterday’s pre-season game against the Vegas Golden Knights for abuse of officials when he made contact with one of the referees after slashing Deryk Engelland and subsequently shoved the official.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could be subject to supplementary discipline over this incident. The league takes a dim view of that sort of thing. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals winger Tom Wilson earned two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct after taking exception to what he alleged were comments aimed toward him by a Hurricanes coach.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed forward Charles Hudon and goaltender Charlie Lindgren on waivers.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed Zac Rinaldo to a one-year, two-way contract and placed him on waivers to send him to their AHL affiliate in Stockton.

STLTODAY.COM: The pre-season game between the Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets was cancelled when mechanical issues grounded the Blues’ charter aircraft.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski is joining the club’s broadcast team.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2019

Taylor Hall denies he’s close to a new contract with the Devils, the Canadiens could be shopping a forward, trade talks could heat up for the Penguins, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports Taylor Hall disputed reports claiming he’s close to re-signing with the New Jersey Devils. While confirming his agent met over the weekend with Devils general manager Ray Shero, the winger claimed it was a preliminary meeting.

Taylor Hall denies he’s getting close to signing a new contract with the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Hall, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He described the meeting as a positive one. “That’s the thing, when a guy like (TSN reporter Darren) Dreger says stuff that a deal is imminent or it could be close, there wasn’t even numbers discussed. That’s when you have to just let things take shape and see where they go.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s what Dreger actually said:

“Well, Taylor Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, met with Devils general manager Ray Shero over the weekend and it sounds like they’re making some traction here”…”Now, you have to keep in mind that is coming off a significant injury. He loved the way he was treated by the Devils organization – very professional from start to finish. He likes what Shero has done in the changes that he’s made to the lineup of the New Jersey Devils”…”So it’s one of those situations. It could happen sooner than later, which is saying a lot considering that he’s in the final year of his contract.”

In other words, Dreger merely speculated that there might be some progress. Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Devils and Hall are “underselling this a bit.” He said they’re trying “to make a serious run at an extension.”


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are looking to move a forward. He points out promising youngsters Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, and Ryan Poehling are pushing for roster spots. Friedman noted Jonathan Drouin played a team-low 11:57 in Monday’s 3-0 preseason loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and suggests this is something worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs assigned Evans to the Laval Rocket but Suzuki and Poehling could be on the Habs roster when the season opens next week.

While the thought of Drouin being shopped just two years after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning makes for interesting speculation, I doubt the Canadiens will move him. Le Journal de Montreal indicated Nick Cousins or Charles Hudon could be the odd man out.

Recent rumors indicate the Habs have interest in Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka. Perhaps Cousins or Hudon gets dangled for the young blueliner.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford suggested a trade is a possibility before the start of the season. The Penguins are over the $81.5 million salary cap by between $300-400K and must become cap compliant before the season opens next week.

During the summer, Rutherford admitted interest in trading goaltender Tristan Jarry but couldn’t find any takers at the time. He now believes the goalie market has heated up in recent days. Jarry and goalie Casey DeSmith are no longer waiver exempt, meaning they could be claimed by another club if the Penguins attempt to demote one of them.

Yohe also reports sources claim the Penguins are willing to deal “numerous players” for the right return. They include Jarry, defenseman Jack Johnson, and forwards Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication what the “right return” would be for those players, though I daresay it would be an affordable young roster player. If push comes to shove, it could come down to Jarry or DeSmith.

Johnson’s declining performance and contract (four years remaining at $3.25 million annually) could be a tough sell. There’s been talk Rutherford is reluctant to part with Rust or Bjugstad.


Friedman said the Anaheim Ducks continue to look for a right-shot defenseman. They recently attempted to acquire Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes but that deal fell through. Faulk was shipped yesterday to the St. Louis Blues. He also said there’s nothing imminent on Tyler Toffoli. The Los Angeles Kings forward is slated to become a UFA next summer and could attract interest in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have been linked to Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres’ asking price could be a scoring right-winger.

If Toffoli and the Kings failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, he could be shopped if the Kings are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 24, 2020 trade deadline.


NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2019

Updates on Brayden Point and Travis Konecny, potential Penguins trade candidates, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported little progress in contract talks between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brayden Point. LeBrun speculates negotiations “might be even more stalled than people think.” He still believes a deal will get done but “right now not remotely close as far as I can tell.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning and center Brayden Point are reportedly still far apart in contract talks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we saw with Mitch Marner’s negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs, things can change very quickly, especially with training camps underway. With Marner under contract, restricted free agents like Point will increasingly draw more attention.

Cap Friendly indicates the Lightning has over $8.4 million in salary-cap space. They’re trying to get Point’s new deal within their cap payroll while leaving sufficient space for anything that might come up during the season. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault are disappointed Travis Konecny isn’t in training camp yet. The 22-year-old RFA winger’s camp reportedly prefers a long-term deal and Fletcher said he’s willing to be flexible in negotiations. Hall suggests a long-term deal for Konecny before he reaches a higher level in performance might be better for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ivan Provorov re-signed earlier this week, the Flyers have around $6.6 million in salary-cap space. My guess is they’d prefer to bring in Konecny for around $5.5 million annually in order to leave sufficient wiggle room for other moves this season.


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked about the chances of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Bryan Rust. He thinks the winger is a prime candidate if GM Jim Rutherford feels the need to make a cost-shedding move. Nevertheless, Yohe believes Rust will be in the Penguins’ lineup when the season opens.

Yohe noted they’d love to move Jack Johnson, pointing to Rutherford’s attempt to include the defenseman in a failed late-May attempt to ship Phil Kessel to the Minnesota Wild. He also suggested Nick Bjugstad as a trade option but feels the Penguins don’t want to touch their forward lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yohe pointed out Rutherford also said he can find other means to get under the salary cap besides making a trade. I expect Rust, Johnson, and Bjugstad will be skating for the Penguins when the season opens.

Should the need arise to make a trade for cap or roster reasons, we probably shouldn’t overlook the possibility of Rust or Bjugstad getting shopped. I don’t see a market for Johnson unless his performance significantly improves this season.


TSN: cites Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks yesterday reporting Stars GM Jim Nill told him Julius Honka has requested a trade. Nill has reportedly attempted to trade the 23-year-old restricted free agent defenseman during the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, Honka’s stock declined as he struggled to crack the Stars roster. They won’t get much in return for him, perhaps a third- or fourth-round pick.