NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

The Panthers retire Roberto Luongo’s number, David Pastrnak moves closer to 50 goals, updates on the playoff race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: On the night the Florida Panthers retired Roberto Luongo’s No. 1, they also gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad each had two points for the Panthers (76 points), who moved within three of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Panthers as they struggle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Leafs have done the Panthers a favor with their sputtering play of late, but the Panthers must start capitalizing if they hope to overtake the Leafs and clinch a postseason berth.

Vincent Trocheck’s first goal since joining the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The goal came with some controversy as Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov clanged the puck off the crossbar with what appeared to be a high stick, enabling Trocheck to bury the rebound. However, the NHL situation room upheld the goal, claiming Svechnikov’s stick was below his shoulders when he made contact with the puck. The Islanders (79 points) cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Hurricanes (77 points) sit two points behind the Isles and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Oilers (82 points), who moved into a first-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (82 points) hold the edge over Vegas based on goals scored and ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to action for the first time since Feb. 16. Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The New York Rangers failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling 6-4 to the New Jersey Devils. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice for the Devils as Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. It was Shesterkin’s first game since suffering a rib injury in a car accident on Feb. 23. The Rangers (76 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 48th goal in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Shorthanded goals by Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev just over a minute apart powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 48th goal of the season. The Bruins four-game winning streak came to an end, but they remain atop the overall standings with 98 points. The Lightning (91 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division.

Nic Dowd scored two goals and collected an assist as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Capitals (89 points) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division, but hold the edge due to ROW and goals scored. The Penguins (84 points) remain in third in the Metro.

The red-hot Flyers, meanwhile, picked up their ninth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Claude Giroux netted two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves.

Jusse Saros turned in a 37-save shutout and Ryan Ellis scored the only goal as the Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0. With 76 points, the Predators hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference over the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) based on goals scored (211) and holding a game in hand. The Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 upset of the Minnesota Wild, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. The Wild (75 points) sit one point behind the Predators and Jets.

The Ottawa Senators edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Chris Tierney. The Senators have won four of their last five games.


THE SCORE: The NHL is recommending teams close its dressing rooms to reporters to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Only a couple of teams have done so, but it could become more widespread in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players probably won’t mind getting a break from having to provide the same stock answers to the same question from reporters. Nevertheless, the league appears serious in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into NHL dressing rooms. Its effects are already being felt through the hockey world, as the IIHF has canceled the 2020 Women’s World Championships.

SPORTSNET: The Rangers have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager Jeff Gorton and assistant GM Chris Drury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to recover in time for training camp in September.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injuries) could be sidelined for weeks. He’s already missed five games after crashing heavily into the boards in a Feb. 25 game against the Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi suffered a splenic injury in a recent game with the Habs’ AHL affiliate. He returned to Montreal for evaluation yesterday and there’s no timetable for his recovery.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2018

Latest on Sebastian Aho, Ryan Spooner, the Canucks’ hockey operations department and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes and Sebastian Aho has open contract extension talks. The 21-year-old forward is in the final season of his three-year entry-level contract. While he didn’t reveal details, Aho said he’s hopeful of signing a long-term deal.

Carolina Hurricanes talking contract extension with Sebastian Aho (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following a solid 24-goal, 49-point NHL debut in 2016-17, Aho led the Hurricanes last season with 29 goals and 65 points. Should he reach or exceed those numbers in 2018-19, he could earn something akin to the five-year, $6.1-million deal recently signed by Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin. 

OTTAWA SUN: New York Rangers forward and Ottawa-area native Ryan Spooner recently participated in a ride-along with local police. He expressed interest in joining the police force when his playing career is over. Spooner earned praise and support from the Ottawa police and the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to “George” for the link. Thumbs up to Spooner for supporting law enforcement in his hometown. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid, Nashville’s Jusse Saros and Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer as five backups who could play their way into starting jobs with their respective teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mrazek is the understudy for Scott Darling, who stumbled badly during his first season as an NHL starter. The others are backing up aging or injury-prone veterans. At least one of them should end up taking over a starter’s job this season. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Following the recent departure of Trevor Linden as Canucks president of hockey operations, general manager Jim Benning said not to expect any further changes in the hockey ops department. 

TORONTO SUN: John Bartlett has replaced Paul Romanuk as the Maple Leafs’ new TV play-by-play man on Sportsnet. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will have a new a high-definition videoboard installed at Gila River Arena.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2018

Latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday re-signed center Adam Henrique to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.825 million. The new deal begins in 2019-20.

The Anaheim Ducks re-signed center Adam Henrique to a five-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the 28-year-old Henrique’s new deal also contains a modified no-trade clause. He’s in the final season of a six-year, $24-million contract. Anaheim acquired Henrique in a Nov. 30, 2017 trade with the New Jersey Devils. Because he re-signed with the Ducks, the Devils will get their third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. He had a solid season with the Ducks, tallying 20 goals and 36 points in 57 games.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided arbitration with forward Elias Lindholm by inking him to a six-year worth an annual salary-cap hit of $4.85 million. They also re-signed goaltender Jon Gillies to a two-year contract worth $750K, with the first year being a two-way deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes as part of that multiplayer swap during the 2018 NHL Draft. He’s getting quite a nice pay bump, having earned $2.7-million annually on his previous contract. It’s expected he’ll fill a top-six role with the Flames.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed backup goaltender Jusse Saros to a three-year, $4.5-million contract and forward Ryan Hartman to a one-year, $875K deal. 

NEWSDAY: Young forward Josh Ho-Sang has a clean slate with the new management and coaching staff of the New York Islanders. Entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract, the 22-year-old Ho-Sang will be expected to compete for a top-six role with the Islanders in training camp. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season could be Ho-Sang’s last opportunity to make a positive impression with the Islanders. If he fails to earn a full-time roster spot they could attempt to trade him before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline or not qualify his rights next June. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2017

Game recaps plus updates on Devan Dubnyk, Ryan Callahan, Matt Beleskey and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Facing his former team for the first time, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jon Merrill tallied the game winner in the third period. 

Alex Chiasson scored twice and Alex Ovechkin tallied his 22nd goal of the season as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. Patrice Bergeron had two goals in a losing effort for the Bruins, who placed struggling winger Matt Beleskey on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Beleskey’s play (no points in 14 games) and his $3.8 million annual salary-cap hit through 2019-20 makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed by another NHL club. If demoted as expected later today, the Bruins will get $1.025 million in prorated cap relief. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their sixth straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for his league-leading 23rd win of the season while league scoring leader Nikita Kucherov picked up his 22nd goal and 44th point. Lightning winger Ryan Callahan left the game in the third period with an injured right arm and could be sidelined for an extended period.

Oliver Bjorkstrand collected a career-high three assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 6-4 win over the New York Islanders. The Jackets blew a 3-0 lead but surged ahead on goals by Seth Jones and Nick Foligno. Josh Bailey potted a hat trick for the Isles. 

Juuse Saros turned in a 46-save shutout performance backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Kyle Turris and Mattias Ekholm each had two points in this contest. 

The Minnesota Wild extended their winning streak to four games with a 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tyler Ennis and Mikael Granlund were the goal scorers while Alex Stalock got a measure of revenge over this former team by turning aside 28 shots for the shutout. Stalock was subbing for starter Devan Dubnyk, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a good start for Stalock, who will be expected to carry the goaltending duties until Dubnyk’s return, which might not be until perhaps the end of December. 

Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz each collected a goal and an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. Corey Crawford made 27 saves for his 15th win of the season. 

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. 

Tomas Plekanec scored in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens squeezed past the New Jersey Devils 2-1. It was Plekanec’s first goal in 18 games. Earlier in the day, the Devils made a minor trade by shipping forward Ryan Kujawinski to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Michael Latta.

Joonas Donskoi’s goal late in the third period lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Donskoi, Timo Meier and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist against the Flames. 

Kevin Roy scored twice and John Gibson made 29 saves to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. 

The Philadelphia Flyers collected their fifth straight win by edging the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Travis Sanheim and Valtteri Filppula were the goalscorers for the Flyers. 

OTTAWA SUN: After 15 NHL seasons, all of them spent with the Senators, rugged winger Chris Neil announced his retirement yesterday. In 1,026 games, Neil collected 112 goals and 138 assists for 250 points, along with 2,522 PIMs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Neil and his family in their future endeavors. 

TSN: NHL Alumni Association executive director Glenn Healy met yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss improving the medical benefits for retired players. The NHL Players Association was not scheduled to attend the meeting.