NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.










Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2019

The Hurricanes ship Calvin de Haan to the Blackhawks in a four-player trade, the Flyers re-sign Travis Sanheim and ship Ryan Hartman to Dallas, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/NEWSOBSERVER.COM: last night reported the Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela to the Chicago Blackhawks for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.

Carolina Hurricanes trade defenseman Calvin de Haan to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Having recently acquired Olli Maatta, the Blackhawks continue shoring up their defense corps with veteran players. de Haan brings a measure of “stay-at-home” defensive ability to a blueline that was missing that element this season.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, move out a third-pairing rearguard who was earning $4.55 million annually for three more years. Taking back Forsberg provides additional goaltending depth that might be needed soon. The Athletic’s Craig Custance believes Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney intends to test the unrestricted free agent market on Monday. 

COURIER-POST ONLINE: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Travis Sanheim to a two-year contract worth $3.25 million per season. They also traded winger Ryan Hartman to the Dallas Stars in exchange for winger Tyler Pitlick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim gets a cost-effective short-term bridge contract. Hartman was a restricted free agent who no longer fit into the Flyers’ plans. Pitlick has a year remaining on his contract worth $1 million. The Flyers now have around $17 million in salary-cap space for 2019-20. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Brad Hunt to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins will reportedly re-sign defenseman Steven Kampfer to a two-year contract extension.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Robert Thomas underwent surgery to repair a tendon in his left wrist.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2018

Panthers name Aleksander Barkov as captain, Oilers re-sign Darnell Nurse, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers yesterday named Aleksander Barkov as their new team captain. The 23-year-old center becomes the 10th (and youngster) captain in franchise history.

Florida Panthers name Aleksander Barkov as their new captain. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good choice by the Panthers. Despite being hampered by injuries in his five NHL seasons, Barkov has matured into the Panthers’ top forward. In 2017-18, he set career highs in assist (51) and points (78) and was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.

Barkov’s work ethic and lead-by-example style earned praise from his teammates and coaches. With the Panthers poised to become legitimate playoff contender, he’s the right guy to lead them. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers yesterday re-signed defenseman Darnell Nurse to a two-year bridge contract worth $6.4 million. The annual average value is $3.2 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dollars, not term, was the reason behind the contract standoff. Nurse’s representatives valued him at over $4 million annually while the Oilers put it at under $3.5 million.

With the Winnipeg Jets inking Josh Morrissey to a two-year, $6.3-million bridge deal, the market value was set. Should Nurse continue to develop as projected, he’ll be in line for a substantial raise on his next contract. 

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens forward Nicolas Deslauriers was taken to hospital as a precaution and for further testing after leaving the second period of last night’s preseason game against the New Jersey Devils with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens rallied in the third period with three unanswered goals to defeat the Devils 3-1.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim will be sidelined one week with an upper-body injury.

USA TODAY: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has taken a leave of absence following the death of his father on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Sullivan, his family and the Penguins’ organization. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday names Peter MacTavish as their new assistant general manager. He had been working as a recruiter and agent for CAA Hockey. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets names Jarred Boll as an assistant development coach while Fedor Tyutin joins their scouting staff. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2018

Latest on Mike Hoffman, Jack Johnson and Robin Lehner in your NHL rumor mill. 

The Philadelphia Flyers inquired about Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman before the trade deadline. (Photo via NHL Images)

FLYERS INQUIRED ABOUT HOFFMAN

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports sources say the Philadelphia Flyers “kicked the tires” on Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman. However, the Senators’ asking price of defenseman Travis Sanheim and a first-round draft pick proved too expensive for the Flyers. Boruk feels Hoffman, who’s under contract through 2019-20 “at a very reasonable cap hit of just over $5 million a season”, would be “an ideal fit” with the Flyers.

With center Valtteri Filppula an unrestricted free agent this summer and the possibility of Jori Lehtera could be bought out, Boruk suggests the Flyers could have the salary-cap flexibility to add a veteran forward this summer if they wish. If the Sens insist on Sanheim as a return, perhaps the Flyers will have to add a third team to get a deal done. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman will likely attract considerable interest in this summer’s trade market. Rumors this season linked him to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. It wouldn’t be surprising if Flyers general manager Ron Hextall revisits his interest in Hoffman leading up to the draft weekend (June 22-23) in Dallas. 

JOHNSON OPEN TO STAYING IN COLUMBUS

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Steve Gorten recently reported defenseman Jack Johnson is open to the notion of re-signing with the Blue Jackets. Earlier in the season, Johnson had requested a trade in hopes of improving his value in this summer’s free-agent market. He’s since garnered more playing time on the Jackets’ second defense pairing. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he’d entertain trading Johnson before the deadline if he got an offer that made sense for the Jackets. The deadline passed with Johnson still a member of the Blue Jackets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jackets management and the Johnson camp still have a good relationship. There have been on-again, off-again discussions regarding a contract extension. I can see Johnson testing the market on July 1 and circling back to the Jackets if he fails to find a suitable offer. 

LEHNER DENIES REQUESTING A TRADE

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner recently rebuked a report by a local blogger claiming he’d requested a trade leading up to Monday’s deadline. “A local blogger who does not cover the Sabres, or professional sports for that matter, suddenly emerged with an unsourced tweet that Lehner had “made it known” to management he wanted to be traded prior to the deadline,” wrote Harrington. Lehner called the story “fake news”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s future with the Sabres remains uncertain. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $4-million contract. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agency.