NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

The Norris Trophy & Selke Trophy finalists are revealed, the latest COVID-19 testing results, plus the latest on Max Domi, Charlie McAvoy, Ilya Samsonov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hedman is a former Norris winner (2018) and was a finalist last season. This is the first time as finalists for Carlson and Josi. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring, with Josi second and Hedman third.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top defensive forward as voted by the PHWA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could win the Selke for a record-setting fifth time. O’Reilly won the award last season while Couturier was a finalist in 2017-18.

LATEST NHL COVID-19 TESTING RESULTS

The NHL yesterday released the results of their COVID-19 testing from last week, indicating two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Both players are self-isolating and following CDC and Health Canada guidelines. The league administered 2,618 tests to over 800 players from July 13-17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a notable improvement over the previous numbers released by the league. At that rate, the league’s chances of staging its playoff tournament in Edmonton and Toronto look very good.

This week, however, will be the crucial period, as the players have been around each other more since Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan began on July 13.

PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Domi rejoined his teammates yesterday after taking a week to evaluate the risks to his health associated with COVID-19. He’s a type-1 diabetic and also suffers from celiac disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi will need some time to get up to speed with his teammates. Nevertheless, his return to the lineup should provide a boost to their forward lines entering their best-of-five qualifying-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner were missing from Bruins practice yesterday, joining wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase on the sidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy couldn’t elaborate as to why McAvoy and Wagner weren’t at practice due to league protocols. However, he seemed to hint at the reason behind their absence, noting that COVID-19 tests results are sometimes delayed or inconclusive. Pastrnak is out for precautionary reasons linked to possible secondary exposure to a person with the coronavirus. As per league rules, the Bruins say Kase remains unfit to participate. 

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is the sole member of the roster not to participate in Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of league protocols, we don’t know if Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19 or is nursing an injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist was among nine players returning to the ice yesterday after being held out of practice as a precaution for potential secondary exposure to COVID-19. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed practice again yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. He will serve that suspension during the opening two games of his club’s qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: released its broadcast schedule for the qualifying round and round-robin series commencing Aug. 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon reported hearing the NHL plans to put its World feed on a five-second delay to monitor the players’ language. Expect to hear plenty of bleeps given how salty their on-ice language tends to be and how clearly it will be heard without fan noise to drown it out.

Former NHL winger Alex Kovalev was named head coach of KHL team Kunlun Red Star.

Former NHL defenseman Jack McIlhargey passed away from cancer on Sunday at age 68. McIlhargey spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Hartford Whalers from 1974-75 to 1981-82, tallying 47 points and collecting 1,102 PIMs in 393 games. Following his playing career, he served within the Canucks system from 1984 until 2007 as a minor-league head coach and as a scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McIlhargey’s family, friends, and former teammates and associates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2020

Game recaps, Leafs acquire Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford from the Kings, plus the latest on Mark Giordano, Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Charlie McAvoy’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Sean Kuraly also scored for the Bruins (78 points), who picked up their fifth straight victory. They move one point ahead of the Washington Capitals into first place in the Eastern Conference and overall standings. Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks (58 points), who picked up a point to move within two of the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Chris Kreider scored and collected an assist in the New York Rangers 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored six seconds apart in the first period as the New York Rangers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists. Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs (63 points), who remains two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot and one back of the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division.

Following the game, the Leafs traded winger Trevor Moore, a third-round pick (originally from Columbus via Ottawa) in 2020, and a conditional third-rounder in 2021 to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Jack Campbell and winger Kyle Clifford. The Kings retain half of Clifford’s $1.6-million annual salary-cap hit. The 2020 third-rounder becomes a second-round pick if the Leafs re-sign Clifford, or Campbell wins six regular-season games and the Leafs reach the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had no choice. Starting goalie Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a neck injury, Michael Hutchinson isn’t getting the job done as the backup, and third-stringer Kasimir Kaskisuo has limited NHL experience. With the Leafs spinning their wheels and in danger of missing the playoffs, Dubas had to shore up his goalie depth.

Campbell’s stats (8-10-2, 2.85 GAA, .900 SP) are better than Hutchinson’s. He’s also signed through 2021-22 at an affordable $1.65-million AAV. Clifford, meanwhile, should bring some welcome grit and veteran leadership to the Leafs’ lineup. Moore, 24, is a Southern California native who can be an immediate fit with the rebuilding Kings’ checking lines.

If this deal doesn’t pan out, it’ll stoke ongoing criticism of Dubas’ inability to suitably address his club’s depth between the pipes. 

CALGARY SUN: No word yet regarding the status of defenseman Mark Giordano. The Flames captain underwent an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were reportedly in the market for a top-six forward. Their priority could shift if Giordano is out long-term. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bobby Ryan rejoins the Senators for the first time since entering the NHL’s Players’ Assistance program on Nov. 20. While medically cleared to resume skating, there’s no timetable when he’ll return to action. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha revealed he suffered a punctured lung after being slammed to the ice by Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin during an altercation on Dec. 21. He also came down with the flu that week. Mantha estimates he could return to the lineup between Feb. 10 – 15. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (laceration, left knee) and defenseman Sami Vatanen (lower-body bruise) will miss tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov is listed as day-to-day with a head injury from a high shot taken by Alex Ovechkin during practice on Tuesday. 










Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20

Midseason NHL Rookie Watch for 2019-20

 










Early NHL Rookie Stock Watch for 2019-20

Early NHL Rookie Stock Watch for 2019-20

 










Where Are They Now? Calder Trophy Winners Edition

Where Are They Now? Calder Trophy Winners Edition

Since 1933, the Calder Memorial Trophy has been annually awarded to the NHL’s top rookie player as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Over the years, a number of players honored to receive this award have gone on to stellar NHL careers. Many have their names enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Among today’s active NHL players, such notables as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews have taken home this trophy.

For many of the former winners, the Calder Trophy became the only major NHL award they would receive. Most still had fine playing careers but would fall short of Hall of Fame recognition.

Here’s a look at at several former Calder Winners since 1998, including the year they won the award and what they’re doing today.

Andrew Raycroft, goaltender (2003-04). Though Raycroft appeared in 21 games over three previous seasons with the Boston Bruins, it was his 57-game performance in ’03-’04 that was considered his actual rookie campaign. He sported a record of 29 wins, 18 losses and 9 overtime defeats, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

His rookie season was also Raycroft’s best as an NHL goalie. His performance declined as he bounced from the Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. He subsequently spent two seasons in Europe before retiring in 2014. Today, he’s a volunteer goaltending coach with the University of Connecticut men’s hockey team and has appeared as a studio hockey analyst for NESN.

Barrett Jackman, defenseman (2002-03). A solid defensive blueliner, Jackman narrowly beat out Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg and Columbus’ Rick Nash for the Calder.

Jackman spent all but one of his 14 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, finishing his career with the Nashville Predators in 2015-16. In 2017, he returned to the Blues as a development coach.

Former Calder Trophy winner Dany Heatley (Photo via NHL.com)

Dany Heatley, left wing (2001-02). A 26-goal, 67-point performance with the Atlanta Thrashers earned Heatley the Calder. His career was nearly derailed following a car crash in Sept. 2003 that killed teammate Dan Snyder. He pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and received three years probation as part of his plea deal.

Dealt to Ottawa in 2005, Heatley enjoyed his best NHL seasons with the Senators, including two straight 50-goal performances in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2009, his performance began to decline. Following three seasons with the Minnesota Wild and a brief stop with the Anaheim Ducks, he finished his pro career in Germany in 2015-16.

Heatley’s been out of the spotlight since then. In 2017, a Calgary court awarded him $6.5-million in damages after companies run by his former agent defrauded him of over $11 million in bad real estate investments.

Evgeni Nabokov, goaltender (2000-01). In his first full NHL season with the Sharks, Nabokov sported a record of 32 wins, 21 losses and 7 overtime defeats, with a 2.19 GAA, .915 SP and six shutouts.

Nabokov spent 10 seasons with the Sharks, establishing himself among the league’s best goalies. With the Sharks unable to re-sign him for salary-cap reasons, he spent the 2010-11 season in the KHL. He returned to the NHL in 2011-12, going on to play three seasons with the New York Islanders and one with the Tampa Bay Lightning before retiring in 2015.

Nabokov returned to the Sharks in the fall of 2015 as their goaltending development coach and special assignments scout. It’s a role he continues to fill today.

Scott Gomez, center/winger (1999-2000). The native of Anchorage, Alaska had a memorable NHL debut season, winning the Calder Trophy thanks to his 70-point performance. He was also part of the Devils’ Stanley Cup championship run in 2000.

Gomez enjoyed his best seasons during his initial seven-year tenure with the Devils, helping them win another Cup in 2003 and posting a career-high 84-points in 2005-06. He went on to spend two seasons with the New York Rangers and three with the Montreal Canadiens but never again enjoyed the level of success as he did earlier in his career.

From 2012-13 to 2015-16, Gomez played for the Sharks, Florida Panthers, Blues and Senators, including a one-season return with the Devils in 2014-15. Retiring in 2016, Gomez was hired as an assistant coach in 2017 by the New York Islanders, a role he still holds despite the recent changes among the club’s coaching staff.

Chris Drury, center (1998-99) A 20-goal, 44-point performance with the Colorado Avalanche garnered Drury rookie of the year honours. Following four seasons with the Avs (including a Stanley Cup championship in 2001), he was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2002. The following year, he was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres.

Drury’s three seasons with the Sabres were his best, co-captaining them to two straight seasons with 110-or-more points (2005-06 and 2006-07), including two Eastern Conference Finals appearances. He went on to sign with the New York Rangers in 2007 and had two solid performances in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Injuries, however, began to take their toll. In 2011, Drury accepted a contract buyout and announced his retirement.

In 2015, Drury joined the Rangers front office. Since 2016. he’s been an assistant general manager and was also named GM of their AHL affiliate in Hartford in 2017.

Sergei Samsonov, winger (1997-98). Teammate Joe Thornton was the Bruins’ highly touted rookie that season but it was Samsonov who took home rookie of the year honors with 22 goals and 47 points. From 1997-98 to 2005-06, the skilled left winger enjoyed his best seasons with the Bruins. Those years included back-to-back seasons with 70-or-more points in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

With the Bruins rebuilding in 2005-06, Samsonov was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers, tallying 15 points in 24 playoff games helping them reach the ’06 Stanley Cup Final. Over the next five seasons, he played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers before retiring in 2011.

In 2014, Samsonov rejoined to the Hurricanes in their scouting department. He’s now their director of forwards development.











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2017

Game recaps plus updates on Corey Perry, Auston Matthews, Alex Pietrangelo & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored a goal and set up three others to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-2 beatdown of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Matt Benning, Mark Letestu and Jesse Puljujarvi each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 32-save shutout performance backstopping the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up his 21st goal and 42nd point of the season, giving him the league lead in both categories. Earlier in the day, the Blues placed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (lower body) on injured reserve, though he’s expected to return to action next week. 

Sean Couturier potted the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. The Leafs were playing without center Auston Matthews (upper-body injury) for the second straight game, leaving some to wonder if he suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

Alex Stalock made 16 saves in relief of injured Devan Dubnyk as the Minnesota Wild edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in a shootout. Dubnyk left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. An update on his status is expected later today.

Taylor Hall scored twice as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-1, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. Hall also left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury and will be evaluated today.

Patrick Kane scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks nipped the Florida Panthers 3-2. Struggling Blackhawks forward Richard Panik was a healthy scratch from this game. After netting 22 goals last season, he went goalless in 21 straight games.

Cam Ward made 22 saves to pick up his 300th career victory as the Carolina Hurricanes ended their five-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Evgeny Kuznetsov collected three assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored his first goal in 15 games. Avalanche rookie center Alex Kerfoot missed the game with a leg injury and is listed as day-to-day. 

The Buffalo Sabres tallied three times in the second period and held on for a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, handing the latter their 12th loss in their last 13 games. Benoit Pouliot, Kyle Okposo and Evander Kane were the goalscorers for the Sabres.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: More bad news for the injury-ravaged Anaheim Ducks, as winger Corey Perry is listed as “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. This comes just as linemate Ryan Getzlaf returned to action following a five-week absence. 

THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson rejects talk of the Calgary Flames possibly relocating to Houston if unable to reach agreement with the city of Calgary over a new arena. He points out no one is saying the Flames can’t get a new arena in Calgary, noting the current dispute between the team and city is merely over how much public funding will go into the project.  Wilson also points out the Flames, and the league, would have difficulty justifying a move out of one of the top hockey markets in North America. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t fully dismiss the notion of relocation, but I agree with Wilson that such a tactic would be a difficult move for the Flames and the league. Unless the current ownership sells the franchise to an outside interest  – and according to co-owner Murray Edwards, the Flames aren’t for sale – the club should remain in Calgary. Ultimately, I think the team and the city will eventually hammer out a deal for a new venue within the next couple of years. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is in Russia meeting with KHL goalie and Caps prospect Ilya Samsonov in hopes of convincing him to play in North America next season. Samsonov is considered one of the best goalie prospects in the world and was selected by the Capitals in the 2015 NHL Draft. 

SPORTSNET: Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at the age of 49. His NHL career stretched from 1987 to 1999 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. He had 384 points in 637 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Zalapski’s family, friends and former teammates and associates.