NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2023

The Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho achieves a franchise first in his club’s win over the Canadiens, a milestone game for Flyers coach John Tortorella, the latest injury updates, the Capitals finally sign Ethan Bear, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho collected four assists and Andrei Svechnikov tallied a hat trick in a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Brent Burns set up three goals and Jesper Fast scored twice as the Hurricanes improved to 19-13-4 to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 42 points. Mitchell Stephens, Mike Matheson and Josh Anderson scored for the Canadiens as they slipped to 15-14-5.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aho became the first player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to collect four points in consecutive games and the first player in the NHL to do so since Jeremy Roenick on Nov. 25-26, 1999.

A three-goal second period powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Joel Farabee had a goal and an assist while Samuel Ersson made 18 saves before leaving the game early in the third period with an undisclosed injury. The Flyers improved to 19-11-4 and hold second place in the Metro Division with 42 points. Teddy Blueger scored for the 23-10-3 Canucks as they remain in first place in the Western Conference with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone game for Flyers head coach John Tortorella as he moved into 10th place on the all-time wins list for NHL coaches with 723. The Flyers have the same number of points as the Hurricanes but sit ahead of them with two games in hand.

The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a four-game losing skid by holding off the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 3-2. Logan Thompson stopped 32 shots while Jack Eichel, Michael Amadio and William Karlsson scored for the Golden Knights (22-10-5) move into a tie with the Vancouver Canucks with 49 points. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist while Trevor Moore also scored for the Kings (20-8-4) as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks still hold first in the West with one more victory as well as a game in hand.

A four-goal first period and 25 saves by goaltender Stuart Skinner gave the Edmonton Oilers a 5-0 shutout over the San Jose Sharks. Zach Hyman tallied his 20th of the season as the Oilers improved to 16-15-1. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 17 of 18 shots in relief of Magnus Chrona for the 9-24-3 Sharks.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is out with an undisclosed leg injury on a week-to-week basis.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano returns to action on Friday against the Blue Jackets after missing a month with a broken finger.

CBS SPORTS: Nashville Predators blueliner Tyson Barrie is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

THE SCORE: The Washington Capitals officially signed Ethan Bear on Thursday to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.0625 million. The 26-year-old defenseman is returning to action following offseason shoulder surgery.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres placed center Tage Thompson on their non-roster list as he is dealing with a personal issue.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils sent goaltender Akira Schmid to their AHL affiliate in Utica after recalling Nico Daws. They’re hoping Schmid can regain his rhythm after struggling this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Detroit Red Wings goalie Michael Hutchison and Sabres forward Tyson Jost hit the waiver wire on Thursday.

Nikolai Khabibulin is returning to action as the 50-year-old goaltender signed a one-year deal with the KHL’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. His last professional game was on Nov. 16, 2013, with the Chicago Blackhawks.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL defenseman Cody Franson has been hired as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Iowa Wild.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: A lawsuit alleges the Kraken violated the Seattle Metropolitans trademark with their Winter Classic jerseys.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2023

An update on the speculation linking Canucks winger Conor Garland to the Predators, pondering the possibility of a contract extension for Devils goalie Akira Schmid, and the latest on the Sharks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Michael Gallagher weighed in on a Saturday report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman linking the Predators to Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland.

Friedman said the Predators were among a handful of teams (including the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets) said to be interested in Garland. The Canucks gave permission last week to the 27-year-old winger’s agent to speak with other clubs regarding a trade.

Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland (NHL Images).

Gallagher points out that Garland’s agent Judd Moldaver also represents Predators captain Roman Josi. Friedman also said that the Canucks would want a defenseman in return, prompting Gallagher to suggest that Tyson Barrie, Alex Carrier, Dante Fabbro and Jeremy Lauzon are four NHL-level options who could help the Canucks immediately.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have a pressing need for depth in right-side, right-shot defensemen. Barrie, Carrier and Fabbro could address that issue for them. However, moving one of them could leave the Predators thin on the right side of their blueline unless they’ve got a suitable replacement they can promote from the minors.

Friedman also indicated that the Canucks want to free up between $1 million and $2 million in a Garland trade in order to gain some cap flexibility this season. Barrie’s $4.5 million cap hit it too close to Garland’s $4.95 million. Carrier and Fabbro would be better financial options for the Canucks as they’re each earning $2.5 million on one-year contracts.


NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating on Monday whether New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is working on a contract extension for Akira Schmid. The 23-year-old goaltender is in the final season of his entry-level contract.

NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky reported Schmid’s agent Allain Roy said contract talks have not started yet. Nichols also got the same story when he spoke with Roy

Nichols acknowledged that things could change quickly. He also suggested that a new contract for Schmid could put an end to the recent talk of Fitzgerald monitoring the goalie trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald doesn’t have to rush into signing Schmid, whose rights belong to the Devils after this season. He could be evaluating the young goalie’s performance over the course of this season before initiating those discussions.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently listed 10 questions the San Jose Sharks must answer after their season opener. Among them was who GM Mike Grier might move before the March 8 trade deadline.

Stephens noted the Sharks have eight players eligible to become unrestricted free agents next July. They include forwards Alexander Barabanov, Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman and Kevin Labanc as well as goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen. He believes they could factor into future trade discussions if they perform well this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair and Barabonov would draw the most interest and the best returns for the Sharks. Both indicated their interest in re-signing with the Sharks but they could have more value as trade chips this season.

Hoffman is a one-dimensional 33-year-old scoring forward whose production has been in decline over the last three seasons. Labanc, 27, has struggled since reaching a career-best 56 points in 2018-19 and was a healthy scratch in their first two games of this season.

Once considered a future starting goalie, the 27-year-old Kahkonen has had difficulty filling that role with the Sharks and the Minnesota Wild before them.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2023

The Devils eliminate the Rangers, the Flames fire head coach Darryl Sutter and the Panthers limit ticket sales for fans of the Maple Leafs. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils blanked the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Akira Schmid turned in a 31-save shutout while Michael McLeod, Tomas Tatar, Erik Haula and Jesper Bratt scored for the Devils, who advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They’ll face off with the Carolina Hurricanes with Game 1 starting Wednesday.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big step forward for the Devils emerging from years of rebuilding. Schmid was their MVP in this series, taking over in Game 3 with his club down 2-0 in the series and winning four of five games. His goaltending inspired his teammates as their overall play improved over the course of this series.

Credit also goes to head coach Lindy Ruff, whose gamble on Schmid paid off handsomely for the Devils. Haula, Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier were among the Devils who stepped up as this series went on.

Devils winger Timo Meier left the game in the third period following a thundering hit by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. He left the game but return to the Devils’ bench late in the third. Ruff had no update on Meier following the game but felt that Trouba made contact with the winger’s head. No penalty was called on the play.

For the Rangers, this is a major letdown after their run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They loaded up for a run at the Stanley Cup by acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane but they tallied four goals between them in seven games.

They’re not solely to blame for this defeat. The only Rangers who played well consistently in this series were goalie Igor Shesterkin and winger Chris Kreider.

Mika Zibanejad was limited to one goal and four points while Artemi Panarin had just two assists. The Kid Line of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere wasn’t as effective as they were in last year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, the blueline struggled to contain the speedy Devils forwards.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames yesterday announced they fired head coach Darryl Sutter. The move came two weeks after Brad Treliving stepped down as general manager. Treliving’s replacement has yet to be named but whoever takes over that role will choose the Flames’ next head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must still honor Sutter’s two-year contract extension worth a reported $8 million. They evidently felt it was worthwhile eating that deal considering how the club struggled this season amid reports of growing unhappiness among the players over Sutter’s coaching style.

Winger Jonathan Huberdeau admitted he and Sutter “really didn’t click” and there were rumors that Sutter was clashing with center Nazem Kadri. Centers Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund hinted they might depart as free agents next summer though Lindholm seemed to suggest he would see what direction the club took in the coming months.

Speaking of the Flames, Oliver Kylington will return to the club next season. The 25-year-old defenseman missed the entirety of this season for personal reasons.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are limiting tickets being sold on their website for the first two home games of their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs to those with a billing address in the United States. Team president Matthew Caldwell called it “an access thing so our fans can get tickets.” He said they will eventually allow tickets to be sold to Toronto fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Panthers want to ensure their fans aren’t outnumbered by fanatical Leafs supporters. However, there will be plenty of “snowbirds” who live in Florida that are Leafs fans. They will likely make their presence felt at those games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: According to ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark played through a “debilitating and painful injury that limited his mobility and technique.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why Ullmark (the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as this season’s top goalie) at times didn’t seem like himself in the first-round series against the Panthers. It calls into question the coaching staff’s decision to allow him to play through that injury rather than give more starts to a healthy Jeremy Swayman.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek said he suffered a broken leg while blocking a shot during an Apr. 6 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He attempted to play in Game 3 of the Wild’s first-round series with the Dallas Stars but left after one shift. He had surgery on his fibula shortly following that game.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed winger Hudson Fasching to a two-year, one-way contract worth $775K annually.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Capitals signed top prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko to a three-year entry-level contract after he and his KHL club Avangard Omsk mutually agreed to terminate his deal. The 19-year-old forward was chosen 20th overall by the Capitals in the 2022 NHL Draft

THE SCORE: Rapper Snoop Dogg is part of a bid fronted by Los Angeles entrepreneur Neko Sparks interested in purchasing the Ottawa Senators. He’s the latest celebrity connected to a bid for the Senators, joining actor Ryan Reynolds.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 28, 2023

The Golden Knights eliminate the Jets, the Lightning stay alive against the Leafs while the Devils are on the verge of eliminating the Rangers. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are the first team to advance to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series. Mark Stone had a goal and two assists, Chandler Stephenson scored two goals and former Jets backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit made 29 saves for the win. The Golden Knights await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings series.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved series win for the Golden Knights, especially over the last two games after defeating the Jets with an overtime victory in Game 3. Vegas forward Phil Kessel was scratched to make room for returning winger William Carrier. It’s the first game Kessel’s missed since 2009 but doesn’t affect his NHL Ironman record as that involves consecutive regular-season games.

Jets head coach Rick Bowness was furious with his club’s performance in this series and during the season. He vented his displeasure during a short press conference following the game, criticizing his players for a lack of pushback and pride. “I’m so disappointed and disgusted right now,” said Bowness.

Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers made his series debut in this contest after being sidelined since Apr. 11 with an upper-body injury but was held scoreless.

Changes could be coming for the Jets roster this summer. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

The Tampa Bay Lightning stayed alive in their series with the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-2 win in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots, Anthony Cirelli and Michael Eyssimont each had a goal and an assist and Nick Paul scored the game-winner for the Lightning. Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews tallied for the Maple Leafs, who hold a 3-2 lead in the series as it returns to Tampa Bay for Game 6 on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyssimont replaced Tanner Jeannot, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

Leafs fans can be forgiven if a feeling of dread is creeping in right now. After all, their club was in a similar position two years ago against the Montreal Canadiens but went on to lose that series in seven games. I still believe the Leafs will win this one but if they lose Game 6 they could be in big trouble given their recent history.

The Lightning lacks the depth that carried them to three straight Stanley Cup Finals but they served up a reminder in this contest that they still have enough talent and heart to battle back. They’re not going to go quietly and they don’t want to be eliminated on home ice. Game 6 should be a dandy.

New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Akira Schmid turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 5 of their first-round series. Erik Haula netted two goals and an assist while Dawson Mercer had a goal and an assist as the Devils hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up in New York on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are in trouble as the Devils have seized the momentum by overcoming an 0-2 series deficit to find themselves on the verge of advancing to the second round.

They’ve done it by effectively neutralizing the Rangers’ star-studded offense, especially their power play. Schmid has played a big role in that since taking over as the Devils’ starter in Game 3, allowing just two goals on 82 shots to pick up three straight wins.


THE DENVER POST: A Seattle police department report revealed a woman was found so intoxicated in Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin’s hotel room on Saturday that a team doctor called an ambulance to take her to a hospital.

Nichushkin didn’t play Game 3 of the Avs’ first-round series with the Seattle Kraken later that day and hasn’t been with the team since the incident. A club spokesman declined to comment on whether Nichushkin’s absence to connected to the incident but said the winger is currently not with the team.

The Avalanche previously said Nichushkin was away from the club for “personal reasons.” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said his ongoing absence isn’t disciplinary and not related to legal issues, adding the team has been in contact with him. Bednar offered no timeline as to when Nichushkin might return to the lineup.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson said there is no criminal investigation stemming from this incident. A Denver Police Department lieutenant who travels with the Avalanche told Seattle police that there were “no reports of any criminal interactions.”

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is confident he’ll break out of his four-game scoring slump against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 tonight in Minnesota. The Stars lead the series 3-2.

TSN: There’s a chance that Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen could make his debut in this postseason tonight against the New York Islanders. He’d been sidelined from the first five games due to illness and an undisclosed injury. The Hurricanes hold a 3-2 series lead over the Islanders and could wrap things up with a win tonight.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins center David Krejci traveled with his team to Florida and hasn’t been ruled out of playing in Game 6 against the Panthers tonight. The Bruins hold a 3-2 series lead.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings forward Blake Lizotte could be ready to return to the lineup for Game 6 of their first-round series with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He’s been sidelined since Game 2 with a lower-body injury.