NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel celebrates his game-winning goal against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Penguins win Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final plus updates on Olympic participation, salary cap info & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel late third-period goal snapped a 3-3 tie and proved the game winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Nashville Predators 5-3 to take a 1-0 series lead in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Nick Bonino scored twice and Sidney Crosby collected two assists for the Penguins, who failed to register a shot on goal in the second period. They were largely outplayed by the Predators, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the third.

The Predators had a game-opening goal by P.K. Subban overturned by a controversial offside challenge in the first period, followed by playing shorthanded by two players when Jame Neal took an undisciplined cross-checking penalty during a delayed interference call on teammate Calle Jarnkrok.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The final score flattered the Penguins, who were largely outplayed for most of this game by the Predators. They’ll need a better effort in Game 2 or this series will head to Nashville tied at a game apiece.

SPORTNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave his annual state of the NHL press conference prior to the start of Game 1 of the Cup Final. Among the notable points was his adamant insistence the league will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He also raised the possibility of a league-wide policy banning players under NHL contracts from taking part in those Games.

Bettman also believes video reviews on offsides and goaltender interference are working as intended. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the salary cap for 2017-18 could be between $73 – $77 million, depending on if the NHLPA uses its five percent inflator clause. The league also announced Tampa Bay will host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There remains speculation suggesting quiet discussions exist regarding Olympic participation between the league, the NHLPA and the IIHF. However,  I believe Bettman’s serious when he says the league won’t take part in the Pyeongchang Games. I also believe a showdown is coming between the league and several players, such as Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who still wish to represent their countries in those games.

As for the salary cap, the PA has annually used its inflator clause to ensure the highest possible cap ceiling to help free agents get the best possible deals. Grumbling persists among the players regarding escrow payments so it’ll be interesting to see if they approve the use of that clause again this year. 

TSN: Erik Karlsson wasn’t the only member of the Ottawa Senators playing through injury during their recent playoff run. Cody Ceci (broken finger), Craig Anderson (back), Zack Smith (ribs), Viktor Stalberg (abdominal), Alex Burrows and Mark Borowiecki (high ankle sprains), Dion Phaneuf and Ryan Dzingel (wrist), Derick Brassard (shoulder) and Mark Stone (leg) were also hampered or sidelined. 

Senators GM Pierre Dorion revealed his intention to protect Anderson in the upcoming expansion draft. 

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player John Scott said his critical comments toward P.K. Subban in a recent documentary about the flamboyant defenseman were made over two years ago, before he met Subban at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game. Scott claims he’s now friends with the blueliner and said his remarks weren’t in context with anything Subban is doing now. “He’s such a cool guy,” said Scott. “I like the guy and consider him a friend. To have that come out now is a shame.”

Russian sportswriter Slava Malamud reports SKA St. Petersburg claims Ilya Kovalchuk has changed his mind about playing in the NHL next season because he wants to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Malamud also wonders if the New Jersey Devils couldn’t find any takers for Kovalchuk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk’s NHL rights are held by the Devils and there’s speculation they were considering a sign-and-trade scenario. Hopefully we’ll learn more about his status in the coming days. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: After receiving three years probation and a $10,000 fine for attempting to sell oxycodone, former NHL star Kevin Stevens is trying to put his life back together. He’s battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, losing his millions and his marriage along the way. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Stevens can overcome his addictions and get his life back on track. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2017

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins & Nashville Predators opens tonight.

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final begins tonight. Get the latest on the Penguins & Predators in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is trying not to dwell on the possibility this could be his last playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of the expansion draft, it’s widely assumed the Penguins could ask Fleury to waive his no-movement clause to allow them to protect Matt Murray. They could also attempt to trade him or buy out the remaining two seasons of his contract prior to the June 17 deadline for submitting lists of protected players to the league. 

TSN: Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist (lower-body injury) will be a game-day decision for Game 1 of the Cup Final. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Hornqvist and James Neal were traded for each other three years ago. The deal benefited the Penguins and Predators as both became invaluable contributors. 

Predators captain Mike Fisher (undisclosed injury) has been medically cleared to play in Game 1. Forward Craig Smith (lower-body) could also be ready to play tonight. 

SPORTSNET: Former NHL enforcer and 2016 NHL All-Star Game MVP John Scott had harsh words for the Predators’ P.K. Subban in a video documentary about the flamboyant defenseman. “I don’t like him. I think on the ice, he’s a piece of garbage,” Scott said. He claims Subban is perceived as a hot shot who thinks he’s better than everyone else. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Steve Dangle noted in his reaction to this yesterday, there has to be more context to this quote as it seems out of place. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2016

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom celebrates his overtime goal against the Boston Bruins with his teammates.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom celebrates his overtime goal against the Boston Bruins with his teammates.

Game recaps, injury updates, board of governors agenda and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals blew a three-goal lead but Nicklas Backstrom’s overtime goal gave them a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins. Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. 

Third-period goals by Corey Perry and Nick Ritchie set the stage for Ondrej Kase’s overtime winner as the Anaheim Ducks rallied to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5. 

Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves and Eric Staal tallied the game winner as the Minnesota Wild edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. The Leafs were a winner off the ice, as an arbitrator ruled in their favor in the Jared Cowen buyout case. The Leafs had bought out Cowen in June but the blueliner and his agent contested the move, claiming he was still suffering from injuries sustained during last season. 

Chris Kelly’s late goal was the winner as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nearly two weeks after collapsing on the ice before an AHL game, Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham is starting to return to his old self. While Cunningham remains hospitalized and the cause of his condition is still unreported, he’s now conscious, alert and even cracking jokes with his teammates. The Roadrunners are the farm team of the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cunningham’s future as a pro hockey player remains uncertain, but thankfully he’s out of his coma and appears to be on the road to recovery. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais are sidelined six-to-eight weeks by knee injuries. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs were already thin at center before these injuries. Losing these two, especially leading scorer Galchenyuk, will be difficult to overcome. 

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Rick Nash will be sidelined one week by a groin injury. Jimmy Vesey (arm injury) is day-to-day while Matt Puempel (concussion) was placed on injured reserve.

VANCOUVER SUN:  Canucks defenseman Philip Larsen suffered a concussion from the hit he received on Tuesday from New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall. However, he was alert and cleared to travel back to Vancouver. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toew donated $1 million to Winnipeg’s Dakota Community Centre. 

ESPN.COM:  Enforcer John Scott, who was voted by the fans into last season’s NHL All-Star Game, announced his retirement. The league has since passed a rule that forbids injured or demoted players from participating in the All-Star Game. Scott was toiling in the minors when he was voted into the ASG. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In 286 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens, Scott collected 11 points and 544 PIMs. 

SPORTSNET: The salary cap, concussion spotters, goalie equipment and the Olympics will be some of the topics up for discussion during the NHL Board of Governors meetings today and Friday.

LAS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW:  US patent office has denied the Vegas Golden Knights’ trademark application ” because of a “likelihood of confusion” with the registered mark of The College of Saint Rose. The Albany, New York, school also uses the Golden Knights nickname.” The team is preparing its response. 

TSN:  NHL suspensions are down 75 percent this season compared to the same point over the past three seasons. 

The NHL is close to finalizing a partnership with Apple that could see the company’s IPads and other technology being used on team benches.