NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

Claude Giroux plays his 1,000th (and possibly final) game with the Flyers, Roman Josi sets a Predators record, Golden Knights lose Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner denies he’s seriously injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s 1,000th and possibly final game with the Philadelphia Flyers ended in a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators thanks to Joel Farabee’s game-winner late in the third period. Farabee, Kevin Hayes and Travis Sanheim each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while Giroux was held scoreless. Predators defenseman Roman Josi collected three assists to set a single-season franchise record with 55 assists while teammate Filip Forsberg scored his 210th career goal to tie the franchise record. The Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 74 points.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is not traveling with the Flyers to Ottawa to face the Senators tonight. He’s expected to be dealt before Monday’s trade deadline.

The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a five-game losing skid by beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 but lost Jack Eichel as he left the game in the second period after blocking a shot with one of his arms. There was no immediate update on his condition. Evgenii Dadonov scored twice as the Golden Knight (70 points) remain one point up on the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Panthers, meanwhile, remain one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 88 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined Golden Knights starting goaltender Robin Lehner denied a report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claiming he could miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Nevertheless, his frequent absences to injury this season and the Golden Knights’ struggles while he’s out of the lineup fuels speculation that management is shopping for a goalie.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs as rookie goalie Erik Kallgren made 34 saves for his second straight win in his second NHL start. Ondrej Kase tallied the winning goal for the Leafs (83 points), who are 4-1-1 in their last six and move within one point of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

The Stars, meanwhile, got the game-tying and winning goals by John Klingberg to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime to snap a three-game losing skid. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Jan. 13.

Leon Draisaitl scored his 40th goal of the season as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 6-1 dubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid was among five Oilers to finish the night with two points while Mike Smith made 27 saves for the win. With 72 points, the Oilers have won four straight and sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his 38th goal of the season, Anthony Mantha scored twice and Vitek Vanecek stopped 39 shots as the Washington Capitals thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. It was a costly win for the Capitals as winger T.J. Oshie left the game with a lower-body injury. The Capitals (78 points) move within a point of the Boston Bruins for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Detroit Red Wing netminder Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 43 shots and Pius Suter scored the only goal to blank the Vancouver Canucks 1-0. Canucks center J.T. Miller’s point streak ended at 13 games. The loss leaves the Canucks (67 points) three points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

Speaking of shutouts, Cal Petersen made 29 saves for his third of the season in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault and Adrian Kempe were the goal scorers as the Kings (76 points) hold a four-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.

A shootout goal by Bryan Rust lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s point streak ended at 10 games. Blues goaltender Ville Husso made 43 saves in a losing cause. The Penguins (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division while the Blues (77 points) sit four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild in second place in the Central Division.

The Rangers, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves for the win as Kyle Palmieri broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period. Rangers winger Chris Kreider netted his 40th goal of the season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot’s season is over after suffering a broken right hand during Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Copp was shaken up but avoided another concussion following a hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist on Sunday. He passed a return-to-play test on Tuesday. Copp has suffered four concussions in his playing career.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was made to shore up Vegas’ injury-depleted blue line.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford was placed on the NHL COVID protocol list.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 14, 2021

Are trades coming for the Canucks while they search for a new general manager? What’s the latest on the Canadiens hunt for a new GM? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Kevin Woodley reported Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford received calls from other clubs interested in making trades even before he arrived in Vancouver. The former general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was hired for the job last week and met with the Vancouver media for the first time yesterday.

Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford (NHL.com).

Rutherford acknowledged there are holes in the Canucks roster that must be addressed but he’s not going to rush into making any deals nor will he make a lot of calls. His primary focus is on improving the hockey department.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Rutherford is busy compiling a list of potential candidates to replace Jim Benning as the Vancouver Canucks’ general manager. He hopes to hire someone in the near future and also indicated he’d like to hire a new assistant general manager later this week.

Rutherford said he’s not there to be the general manager but he’s capable of doing the job. He indicated he’d like to take some time to evaluate his roster. He also stated he doesn’t want to move draft picks unless they’re in the later rounds because it’s not the cycle the club is in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford has a well-earned reputation as a wheeler-dealer but he also understands the reality of the club he’s taking over in Vancouver. Kuzma points out they’re already capped out and their young core must be supported by players in the same age group.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Canucks like J.T. Miller, Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson were being floated as trade candidates. I daresay they’re off the market for now and perhaps for the remainder of the season.

Any significant moves by Rutherford and his new general manager will likely take place during the offseason. Much will depend on who becomes the next Canucks GM and the club’s performance over the rest of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin report there are at least three women on the Montreal Canadiens long list of potential general manager candidates. Even if a woman isn’t hired for the position, there’s a good chance they could be eligible for other roles in the organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A woman has never held a general manager role in the NHL. She would have to be bilingual to become the Canadiens GM.

The Canadiens recently hired former New York Ranger GM Jeff Gorton as their executive vice president of hockey operations. He would work in tandem with whoever becomes their next GM. If they’re lacking NHL experience, he will mentor them until they’ve become accustomed to the role.

The leading candidates are believed to be Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere. Darche is the director of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning while Briere manages the day-to-day operations of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021

Marc-Andre Fleury reaches 500 career wins, Australian hockey pioneer Nathan Walker reaches a milestone, the sale of the Penguins is approved, the Canucks name Jim Rutherford as team president, the latest on the Coyotes’ arena saga & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury became the third goaltender in NHL history to reach the 500-win plateau as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Fleury made 30 saves for the shutout to join Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy in the 500-win club and sits 51 wins behind Roy for second place on the list. Jonathan Toews and Henrik Borgstrom scored for the Blackhawks. Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch for the Hawks.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Nathan Walker tallied his first career NHL hat trick as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The first Australian player to reach the NHL, Walker was playing his first game of this season after being recalled by the Blues on Wednesday. Blues fourth-string goalie Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves for the win. Robby Fabbri scored both goals for the Wings.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ondrej Palat also scored twice for the Bolts who won their fifth straight game. Tampa Bay forward Anthony Cirelli missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Lightning coach Jon Cooper became the fastest bench boss to reach 400 career NHL wins, doing so in his 659th game. Ondrej Kase scored two goals for the Leafs.

The Minnesota Wild extended their win streak to eight games by dropping the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Jordan Greenway scored twice, Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot kicked out 33 shots for the Wild, who sit atop the overall standings with 39 points. Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon returned to action after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.

Sebastian Aho scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes picked up a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Noah Hanifin scored for the Flames, who’ve lost three straight. The Hurricanes are on a three-game win streak.

The Boston Bruins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on a late third-period goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Linus Ullmark picked up the win with a 41-save effort. Leon Draisaitl potted both goals for the Oilers with Connor McDavid getting assists on both goals. Edmonton defenseman Cody Ceci returned to the lineup after being in isolation for the past nine days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Seattle Kraken. Kyle Connor scored twice for the Jets, who’ve won three of their last four contests.

Jonathan Quick made 27 stops for his 56th career shutout as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Dallas Stars 4-0. Kings forward Adrian Kempe netted his 11th goal of the season while Andreas Athanasiou scored in his first game after being in COVID protocol for the past six games.

A late goal by Eeli Tolvanen lifted the Nashville Predators over the New York Islanders 4-3. Predators forwards Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist. The Isles have lost 12 of their last 13 and still seek their first win in UBS Arena.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Josh Gibson made 33 saves to backstop his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Rickard Rakell tallied the winning goal in a shootout. The Ducks extended their points streak to six games.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM: The NHL board of governors yesterday voted to approve the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group. The deal is said to be in the range of $900 million.

THE ATHLETIC: The board of governors also approved the Respect Hockey program introduced by league executive Kim Davis to ensure its commitment to inclusion, diversity, safety and respect for its players and employees. Sheldon Kennedy and his Respect Hockey group will also be part of the initiative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the result of the Chicago Blackhawks sex scandal in which two players alleged they were sexually abused by a former video coach in 2010. One of them, Kyle Beach, came forward with his story following an independent investigation that reveals efforts by senior Blackhawks officials to cover up the allegations.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also present the board of governors with a presentation on the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the league. Daly didn’t rule out the possibility of enhanced protocols beyond what the league is doing now.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday announced they have paid off their outstanding tax debt of $1.4 million to the Arizona Department of Revenue. This came after the City of Glendale threatened to lock the team out of Gila River Arena if the debt wasn’t paid by Dec. 20.

SPORTSNET: Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports reports the Coyotes still owe the arena operator over $2.7 million in unpaid rent and other expenses. The team will receive a timetable for future payments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This saga just keeps rolling on, raising concerns about the Coyotes ownership’s ability to meet its financial obligations. The club’s situation will reportedly be discussed during Day 2 of the NHL board of governors meeting on Friday.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday announced Jim Rutherford has been hired as their new president of hockey operations. He will also serve as interim general manager while a full-time replacement is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, guiding both clubs to Stanley Cup championships. He also developed a reputation as a wheeler-dealer, though those moves sometimes came at the expense of each club’s prospect depth. It’ll be interesting to see how well he works with whoever becomes the next general manager of the Canucks.

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens could have a new general manager in place by early January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The front-runners are believed to be Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere. Darche is director of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning while Briere runs the day-to-day operations of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.

THE PHILADEPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers placed forward Joel Farabee (shoulder) on injured reserve.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (upper-body) has been placed on injured reserve as he sees a specialist regarding treatment for his injury.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Kurtis Gabriel to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Chad Krys. Both are currently playing in the AHL.

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame formally welcomed its 2020 and 2021 inductees yesterday. Former NHL player Tony Granato was part of the class of 2020. Former NHL player and former Philadelphia Flyers executive Paul Holmgren, former NHL player and current broadcaster Peter McNab and long-time hockey writer Stan Fischler were members of the class of 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to everyone on their inductions.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2021

Speculation over who could become the next general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers listed their potential candidates to replace Stan Bowman as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Bowman stepped down on Tuesday following the release of Tuesday’s report into the findings of an independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault of two players by former video coach Bradley Aldrich.

Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton (NHL.com).

Among the notable names on their list were NHL senior director of player safety Patrick Burke, analytics guru Meghan Chayka, former Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Michael Futa, former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, former player and current TV commentator Ed Olczyk, Carolina Hurricanes assistant GM Eric Tulsky and NHL analyst Kevin Weekes.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli included Gorton and Weekes on his list of potential candidates, joining interim Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson, Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby, Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray and former Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Blackhawks need experience in the GM’s chair going forward. He suggested Rutherford, Gorton and former Penguins and New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could stick with Davidson or look to someone else within their organization. Perhaps they think outside the box and bring in someone with limited management experience such as Chayka. Olczyk or Weekes.

Dreger could be right that they’ll look to someone with experience who can be a steady hand on the tiller. Gorton could be the best bet here given his rebuilding efforts with the Rangers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Hurricanes, the Vezina Trophy finalists are announced, the 2021 Draft Lottery goes tonight, an update on Jack Eichel and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A third-period goal by Anthony Cirelli was the game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Alex Killorn opened the scoring in the second period for the Lightning. Andrei Svechnikov got the Hurricanes on the board late in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the win as the Bolts were outshot 32-15. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck left the game with an injured right leg following a second-period collision with teammate Warren Foegele. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said it didn’t know the extent of Trocheck’s injury but indicated it didn’t look good. An update could come later today.

Losing their second-line center would be another blow to the Hurricanes’ forward lines. Winger Nino Niederreiter is out for the series with an undisclosed injury suffering in practice before Game 1.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

Speaking of Andrei Vasilevskiy, he joins Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche as this year’s finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the fourth straight season Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist, winning the award in 2018-19. It’s the first time Fleury and Grubauer have been honored.

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery goes tonight at 7 pm ET at league headquarters. The Buffalo Sabres have the best odds of winning after finishing with the worst overall record, followed by the Anaheim Ducks. The expansion Seattle Kraken has the third-best odds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Draft will be held virtually on July 23-24. Follow the link above for full details on the lottery rules and this year’s top prospects.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has reached the end of the rehab period for the herniated disk in his neck. If he still wants the neck surgery that team doctors haven’t been comfortable with, he has the right to take the team to arbitration. If he doesn’t agree with the arbiter’s decision, he can ask for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The surgical procedure Eichel prefers has never been done before on an NHL player. The team doctors’ preference is for continued rehab. It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds if Eichel feels he hasn’t made much progress with his current treatment.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted goaltender Tuukka Rask has been battling nagging injuries. However, he doesn’t feel there’s any reason to believe Rask won’t be ready to play against the New York Islanders tonight in Game 3 of their second-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask appeared to struggle during the Bruins’ overtime loss in Game 2. If that continues in Game 3 we could see backup Jeremy Swayman for Game 4.

TSN: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in Game 2.

WINNIPEG SUN: The province of Manitoba will allow 500 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers into the MTS Centre tonight for the Winnipeg Jets’ opening game of their second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin said he suffered a sprained shoulder during his club’s series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Teammate Joel Eriksson Ek played through a knee injury suffered in Game 6. The duo won’t require offseason surgery.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a one-year, two-way contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Connauton will earn $825K at the NHL level. He spent most of this season on the Panthers’ taxi squad, seeing action in seven games.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins have given teams around the league permission to speak with former general manager Jim Rutherford before his contract with them expires at the end of June. Rutherford stepped down as GM in January for personal reasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2021

The Hurricanes eliminate the Predators to advance to the second round while the Canadiens stay alive with an overtime win over the Leafs. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of their opening-round series. Sebastian Aho tallied the overtime winner as the Hurricanes rallied from a 3-1 deficit. Aho scored twice and Dougie Hamilton netted the game-tying goal on an assist by Jaccob Slavin. Nick Cousins, Mikael Granlund and Ryan Johansen scored for the Predators.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.

An overtime goal by Nick Suzuki gave the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadiens had a 3-0 lead at one point but the Leafs battled back thanks to two third-period goals by Jake Muzzin. Joel Armia scored twice the Habs. Game 6 goes Saturday night in Montreal with the Leafs holding a 3-2 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the first game in this series that Montreal looked like the better team despite blowing that three-goal lead. Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield’s heads-up play at his blueline picking off a blind pass by the Leafs’ Alex Galchenyuk set the stage for Suzuki’s winner. The Habs will become the first Canadian team in these playoffs to have fans in the stands as 2,500 people will be in attendance for Saturday’s game.

Game 1 of the second-round series between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins is 8 pm ET on Saturday, May 29 in Boston.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek will be in the lineup for Game 7 tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights. Eriksson Ek was banged up in the previous game after crashing into the Golden Knights’ net in Game 6 but said he’s good to go for tonight’s contest.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights go into tonight’s game against the Wild without forwards Ryan Reaves and Peyton Krebs and defenseman Brayden McNabb. The trio was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri awaits his fate after appealing his eight-game suspension before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. A decision could be announced as early as today. Kadri was suspended by the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in the first round.

NHL.COM: The NHL Central Scouting Bureau released its final rankings of the prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power topped the list of North American skaters while winger William Eklund of Djurgarden in the Swedish Hockey League leads all international skaters.

TSN: Sports agency PBI Sports announced it represents former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. The announcement is seen as Rutherford showing interest in returning to NHL management. Rutherford stepped down as Penguins GM in January.