NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

The Lightning crush the Islanders to open the Eastern Conference Final, Bobby Ryan wins the Masterton Trophy, plus updates on Sean Couturier, Mikael Granlund and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the New York Islanders 8-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each collected five points while Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk each had three points. Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy replied for the Islanders, who pulled goalie Thomas Greiss in the first period after he gave up three goals on nine shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning dominated the Islanders from the opening faceoff to the final whistle. Whatever the reason – lack of time to prepare following their Game 7 win over the Flyers on Saturday, the travel day between games – the Isles were flat in this contest. The Bolts aren’t expecting further lopsided wins in this series as their opponent is expected to put up a better effort in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan is this year’s winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. He took an extended leave of absence in November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Ryan returned in February and tallied a hat trick in his second game back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Ryan and best wishes in his ongoing recovery.

THE SCORE: The NHL recorded its seventh consecutive week of zero positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff participating in the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league and the NHLPA deserve praise for how they’ve pulled this off. None of the doom-and-gloom forecasts from some observers came to pass.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier played through a sprained MCL during Game 7 against the Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund intends to test this year’s unrestricted free agent market.










2020 NHL Awards – Vezina, Lady Byng and Masterton Finalists

2020 NHL Awards – Vezina, Lady Byng and Masterton Finalists

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2020

Lady Byng and Masterton Trophy finalists are announced,  Edmonton’s Rogers Place suffers some water damage, plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are this year’s finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded annually to the player who bests combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and ability.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is a finalist for the 2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This award typically goes to the most notable superstar with the lowest penalty minutes. MacKinnon had 12 PIMs this season, O’Reilly 10 and Matthews eight. However, this year’s selections stirred up some controversy.

Matthews got himself into trouble last year when he and a group of friends were accused of harassing a female security guard in Arizona. Meanwhile, some pundits were puzzled why Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (10 PIMs) was passed over as a finalist. It was also pointed out only three defensemen (Bill Quackenbush, Red Kelly, and Brian Campbell) have won the Lady Byng.

Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns, Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom, and Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johns returned to action after being sidelined nearly two years by post-traumatic headaches that at times left him confined to darkened rooms battling depression and suicidal thoughts.

Lindblom’s rookie season was derailed by Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He recently completed cancer treatments, including chemotherapy.

Ryan took a leave of absence last November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. He returned to action on Feb. 25 and scored a hat trick two days later.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

TSN: A storm in Edmonton caused some water damage to Rogers Place just two weeks before it becomes a host city for the Western Conference teams in the upcoming playoff tournament. Oilers Entertainment Group issued a statement expressing confidence the incident won’t hamper its hosting efforts. Most of the damage was reportedly limited to the Ford Hall terminus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time to break out the Shop-Vacs! Seriously, though, it doesn’t appear the arena, training facilities, or dressing rooms suffered any damage.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were declared unfit to participate in practice yesterday. Both had emerged from travel quarantine earlier in the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Do they have COVID-19 symptoms? Did they suffer injuries preparing to return to play? No one knows because the league won’t allow teams to reveal a sidelined player’s status due to “medical privacy”. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving shot down speculation suggesting winger Johnny Gaudreau’s skating with a smaller group of players was some sort of punishment over his conditioning. “Johnny Gaudreau has never looked better,” claimed Treliving. He added Gaudreau’s placement with the smaller group was due to circumstances arising from the need to be cautious as the players returned from a long layoff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t prevent some folks from theorizing Gaudreau’s fallen out of favor with the coaching staff or stoking rumors about the winger’s future in Calgary.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Taransenko isn’t concerned about living in a quarantine bubble in Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament. “I don’t need much to live. I just need a bed and food,” he told The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is more concerned about his club’s opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup than his future. The 37-year-old center is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could be playing his final games with the Wild.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre examines the strict pandemic protocols the Winnipeg Jets are following during Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan. Defenseman Luca Sbisa explained the players aren’t really allowed to go anywhere but the rink and their homes, though they do partake in simple errands such as grocery shopping. The Jets have their own Phase 3 policies as well as those issued in a 19-page document by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 3 is the crucial period if the playoff tournament under Phase 4 is to take place starting in two weeks. The Jets, and the other clubs involved, are taking significant steps to ensure the health and safety of the players. Time will tell, however, if those measures prove successful.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TORONTO SUN: Long-time Leafs TV reporter Paul Hendricks is stepping down to spend more time with his wife, who’s battling cancer. Hendricks was part of Leafs TV from its infancy in the mid-1990s.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hendricks and his wife during this difficult time.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Rocky Thompson is stepping down as head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves after three seasons behind their bench. He’s expected to coach the Vegas Golden Knights’ new AHL affiliate in Nevada next season.










NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)

NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2020

Bobby Ryan scores a hat trick in an emotion return with the Senators, Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik nets his first NHL hat trick and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bobby Ryan scored a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. It was Ryan’s second game since returning from the player assistance program for alcohol abuse. He was overcome with emotion as his teammates and Ottawa fans cheered after he scored his third goal. The loss left the Canucks with 74 points, four behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Bobby Ryan tallied a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well done, Bobby Ryan.

David Pastrnak scored his league-leading 46th goal as the Boston Bruins held off the Dallas Stars 4-3. The league-leading Bruins (92 points) widened their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning by seven points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his first NHL hat trick as his club netted five unanswered third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Lightning, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Kubalik leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 29 goals. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to down the Florida Panthers 5-3. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman, and Justin Holl each had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Leafs (76 points) moved four ahead of the Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Colton Parayko’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the New York Islanders 3-2. The Blues (86 points) widened their lead atop the Western Conference standings by five points over the Colorado Avalanche. With 78 points, the Islanders cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund scored the tying and winning goals in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Ryan Ellis collected three assists for the Predators (72 points), who hold the final Western wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets (72 points) got a 34-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to blank the Washington Capitals 3-0. Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. The Capitals (84 points) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Patrik Laine left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period. The Jets also played without defenseman Josh Morrissey and Sami Niku. Morrissey is expected back in the lineup on Saturday, but Niku could be sidelined for weeks.

The New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2, picking up their ninth straight road win. Ryan Strome scored two goals and Mika Zibanejad extended his goal streak to six games. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed the game with an injured ankle. The surging Rangers (74 points) have won nine of their last 10 and sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Matt Dumba scored twice as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1, handing Wings goalie Jimmy Howard his 20th straight defeat. Kevin Fiala had a three-point performance for the Wild (69 points), who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

Logan Couture scored in overtime as the San Jose Sharks edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights re-signed William Carrier to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $1.4 million.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson (shoulder injury) could be done for the season.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion hopes to make Mark Borowiecki a “Senators for life”. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2020

Jordan Eberle and Jared Spurgeon each tally hat tricks, the Jets acquire Cody Eakin from the Golden Knights, the Avalanche re-sign Pavel Francouz, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: On the night the New York Islanders honored John Tonelli, Jordan Eberle netted a hat trick to lead them to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Islanders (74 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Earlier in the day, the Isles placed Cal Clutterbuck on injured reserve, while the Red Wings claimed defenseman Cody Goloubef off waivers from the Ottawa Senators.

Jared Spurgeon’s natural hat trick gave the Minnesota Wild a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon netted a natural hat trick to beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three points for the Oilers. The Wild (65 points) sit three points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Goaltender Pavel Francouz celebrated his two-year, $4-million contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche by kicking out 26 shots to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. J.T. Compher scored the only goal as the Avs (77 points) move one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for second in the Central Division.

The St. Louis Blues (80 points) opened a three-point lead atop the Western Conference by beating the Stars 5-1, leaving the latter four points behind them. Blues defenseman Colton Parayko had a goal and two assists.

Mika Zibanejad scored and set up two others to lead the New York Rangers over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho tallied his 35th goal of the season. With 68 points, the Rangers sit five points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Hurricanes (72 points) are one point behind the Jackets.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat scored twice in a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 42 saves for the win. The Predators (68 points) sit two behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Blackhawks made defenseman Erik Gustafsson a late scratch, prompting speculation he could be moved before the upcoming Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Flames, they blew a 3-1 lead to drop a 4-3 decision to the Boston Bruins. Patrice Bergeron scored twice and David Pastrnak had two assists as the Bruins (90 points) won their fifth straight and widened their lead atop the overall standings by five points over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mikael Backlund scored two goals for the Flames.

HEADLINES

WINNIPEG SUN/LAS VEGAS SUN: The Winnipeg Jets acquired center Cody Eakin from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eakin is expected to center the Jets’ fourth line, providing an additional measure of experienced depth to their bottom-six forward lines. By shedding Eakin’s $3.85 million salary-cap hit, the Golden Knights freed up cap room for perhaps another deal before the upcoming trade deadline.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. If unclaimed by noon today, Bogosian will become an unrestricted free agent.

TSN: Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan opened up about his alcohol addiction and his ongoing treatment. He’s returning to the lineup after being out of action for three months participating in the NHL player assistance program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Ryan on his path forward.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand will be sidelined eight-to-ten weeks with a sprained and factured ankle.

The NHL Department of Player Safety fined Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen $5,000.00 for slashing and Senators forward Scott Sabourin over $1.881.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

TVA SPORTS: With Victor Mete and Xavier Ouellet sidelined by injuries, the Montreal Canadiens recalled defenseman Karl Alzner.