NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2022

The hockey world honors the late Guy Lafleur, the Oilers clinch a playoff berth, Kirill Kaprizov establishes another Wild milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

HOCKEY WORLD HONORS LAFLEUR

NHL.COM/MONTREAL GAZETTE/THE ATHLETIC/TVA SPORTS: The hockey world was in mourning yesterday following the announcement that Montreal Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur had passed away at age 70 following a long battle with lung cancer.

The hockey world honors the late Guy Lafleur (NHL.com).

Tributes poured in from around the league from current and former stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Patrick Roy and Martin St. Louis, former teammates such as Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Yvon Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire and Chris Nilan and former Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman.

Lafleur was also remembered by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec premier Francois Legault and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Teams, executives and coaches from around the league sent their condolences, including Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. Sakic was Lafleur’s teammate during the latter’s two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques while Sutter played against him in the early-1980s.

The Quebec Remparts, Lafleur’s former junior team, honored his memory prior to last night’s game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wrote my tribute to Lafleur yesterday after seeing news of his passing. I noted his five Stanley Cups as well as his individual honors, statistical achievements, and what he meant to the Canadiens and their fans.

Put simply, he was the greatest player on hockey’s greatest team in the 1970s. A hero to Canadiens fans and admired by non-Habs supporters, Lafleur was worshipped in his home province of Quebec. He was a superstar whose electrifying style lifted fans from their seats and is fondly remembered to this day. He was also a Hall-of-Famer who always had time for his fans long after his retirement from the game. Rest in peace, Flower, you’ll never be forgotten.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff berth with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Evander Kane had a hat trick and chipped in an assist while Connor McDavid had three helpers and Mike Smith made 34 saves. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice for the Avalanche. The Oilers have won eight of their last 10 games and hold second place in the Pacific Division with 98 points. The Avalanche had lost three straight and remain in second place in the overall standings with 116 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have won 23 of their last 34 games since Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach. The addition of Kane in late January is another contributing factor to their turnaround in the second half of the season. He had 20 goals and 36 points in 39 games with the Oilers. A potential concern, however, was the departure of defenseman Darnell Nurse in the second period of this game with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated today.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov became the first player in franchise history to reach 100 points in a season as he helped his club defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-3. Kaprizov scored a goal and picked up three assists while Joel Eriksson Ek tallied twice for Minnesota. The Wild hold a two-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division with 107 points. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored to extend his career-opening points streak to five games.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves for the shutout while Conor Sheary and John Carlson were the goal-scorers. The Capitals have won seven of their last nine games. They’re tied with the Boston Bruins with 99 points but the latter holds the first wild-card berth with a game in hand.

A shootout goal by Tim Stutzle gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brady Tkachuk also scored for the Senators while Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic notched his 20th of the season for the first time in his career.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will visit the White House on Monday as President Joe Biden honors the club for their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup championships.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer dismissed a report by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan citing sources claiming goaltender Robin Lehner was about to undergo season-ending knee surgery. Lehner missed Friday’s practice as a maintenance day, according to DeBoer, who also said he expected the netminder at practice on Saturday and to be dressed for Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time this season that DeBoer has dismissed a report claiming Lehner could undergo season-ending surgery. The previous one occurred in February alleging he’d suffered a serious shoulder injury. Multiple reports claim he’s battling a nagging injury which would account for his inconsistent play this season. There’s been no confirmation of this by Lehner or the club.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forwards Andrew Copp (lower body) and Filip Chytil (upper body) are listed as day-to-day and won’t play against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford were both fined by the NHL department of player safety for their actions against the Lightning during their 8-1 loss on Thursday. Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for charging Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev while Clifford was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Corey Perry.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: ESPN NHL analyst Kevin Weekes is considered a strong candidate for the Sharks’ general manager position. The club is conducting a search to replace Doug Wilson, who recently stepped down as GM for health reasons.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes fans should expect to pay high prices to attend the club’s home games at the 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University. The highest price per ticket for full season-ticket holders works out to $300.00 per game (before separate ticket fees) while half-season tickets work out to $445.00 per game. The cheapest seats for season-ticket holders is $89 per game while the cheapest half-season price is $110.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s just the ticket prices. It doesn’t take into account the price for concessions, souvenirs and parking. It seems to me those tickets will be mostly sold to local businesses, shutting out the average fan and leading to a lot of empty seats in that small arena.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2022

The Hurricanes widen their lead in the Eastern Conference standings, Joe Pavelski reaches a career milestone, more front-office changes for the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes (81 points) opened a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning atop the Eastern Conference by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. The Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit on two goals by Jordan Staal, setting the stage for Andrei Svechnikov’s overtime winner. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who are four points behind the Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed defenseman Mike Matheson on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 24. He’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Lightning, Victor Hedman collected three assists in a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had two assists while Brian Elliott picked up the win with 22 saves. The Bolts hold a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 32 shots to backstop the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each had a goal and an assist, with the latter tallying his 36th goal of the season to sit third in the NHL goal-scoring race. The Rangers (75 points) are two points behind the second-place Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

A hat trick by Jason Robertson (including the winning goal in overtime) carried the Dallas Stars over the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Stars forward Joe Pavelski picked up an assist to earn his 900th career point while goaltender Braden Holtby made 39 saves for the win. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers also had an assist as he returned to the lineup following a 19-game absence with a knee injury. The Stars (65 points) moved one point ahead of the Nashville Predators into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference while the Jets (58 points) are six points behind the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Jets over the next couple of weeks. They could become sellers by the March 21 trade deadline if they don’t gain ground in the Western Conference wild-card race. The Stars, meanwhile, are less likely to be sellers if they can maintain their hold on a playoff berth.

Viktor Arvidsson completed his hat trick with an overtime goal as the Los Angeles Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 67 points.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Michael Amadio had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Anaheim Ducks 5-4, moving into third place in the Pacific Division with 66 points. Nicolas Roy also tallied twice for the Golden Knights. With 61 points, the Ducks are three back of the Predators.

Jeff Skinner scored two goals as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Minnesota Wild 5-4 to hand the latter their seventh loss in their last nine games. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild while linemate Mats Zuccarello missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Minnesota is third in the Central Division with 67 points.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced yesterday that vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley and assistant GM of pro evaluation Ryan Stewart have left the team. The pair were part of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup wins in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds will play in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Vancouver Canucks

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The injury bug has bitten the Canadiens again as goaltender Andrew Hammond was placed on injured reserve. Cayden Primeau has been recalled from Laval.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Top Russian prospects such as Danila Yurov and Alexander Perevalov could see their stock plummet in this year’s NHL draft due to their country’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent international sanctions and bans implemented upon Russian hockey as a result.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2021

The Canucks get their first win following their coaching change, the Flyers lose again despite their shakeup behind the bench, plus the stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks picked up their first win under new head coach Bruce Boudreau by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Thatcher Demko made 31 saves for the shutout, Brock Boeser tallied his first goal in 14 games and J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist. The Canucks hired Boudreau on Sunday after firing Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy Canucks fans serenaded Boudreau with “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of “Whoomp, There It Is.”

The Philadelphia Flyers replaced bench boss Alain Vigneault with Mike Yeo yesterday morning but they still fell 7-5 to the Colorado Avalanche to extend their winless skid to nine games (0-7-2). Avs rookie goalie Justus Annunen made 27 saves for his first NHL win, Mikko Rantanen and Erik Johnson each had two points and Cale Makar went end-to-end to score his 11th goal of the season. Claude Giroux scored twice for the Flyers.

Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 13 games (two goals, one assist) as the Pittsburgh Penguins trounced the Seattle Kraken 6-1. Jeff Carter also scored twice and Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists. Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer got the hook after giving up three goals on four shots in the first period.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored twice and set up another to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. The Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight victory while the Coyotes dropped their third straight. Coyotes winger Loui Eriksson played his 1,000th career NHL game.

John Carlson netted the winner in overtime as the Washington Capitals nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 to move into first place in the overall standings with 38 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin collected two assists while Ducks forwards Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano each had two points. The Capitals played without Garnet Hathaway as he joined Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the COVID protocol list.

The Ottawa Senators picked up their third straight victory by downing the New Jersey Devils 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Josh Norris netted the winner in a shootout while Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson each had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 5.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Neal Pionk was suspended for two games for kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Meanwhile, Leafs center Jason Spezza has an in-person hearing today via Zoom for attempting to knee Pionk in retaliation for the latter’s hit on Sandin. Spezza’s teammate Wayne Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for crosschecking Jets forward Jansen Harkins.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop begins a conditioning assignment with the club’s AHL affiliate Texas on Thursday. It will be his first game since the 2020 playoffs. He missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery in October 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This brings Bishop one step closer to rejoining the Stars lineup. They’re already carrying three goalies in Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger. They could end up sending the waiver-exempt Oettinger to the minors and trade Holtby or Khudobin to make room for Bishop in their crease and their salary-cap payroll.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price isn’t expected to return to the lineup before Christmas. Defenseman Joel Edmundson suffered another setback in his recovery from a back injury but won’t require surgery. The already injury-depleted Habs got more bad news as Tyler Toffoli is expected to miss some time with an upper-body injury while Jeff Petry (upper body) and Joel Armia (undisclosed) aren’t expected to play in tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price has been skating on his own for a couple of weeks but he’s yet to begin workouts with full equipment. Don’t expect to see him until sometime in 2022.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruin Tuukka Rask served as an emergency backup for the club in yesterday’s practice with goalie Linus Ullmark among several players sidelined by a non-COVID illness. An unrestricted free agent, Rask continues to work out at the Bruins’ practice facility as he works toward returning to NHL action in January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also an opportunity for the Bruins to get an early look at Rask’s conditioning and performance. It’s expected they will sign him once he’s cleared for game action next month.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Robert Thomas has been sidelined by a lower-body injury that could keep him out of tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2021

Canucks closing in on new contracts for Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, the Leafs sign Sheldon Keefe to a contract extension, plus the latest on Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Vrana, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported yesterday evening the Vancouver Canucks appear to be closing in on new contracts for restricted free agents Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson. It’s believed Hughes could receive a six-year contract while Pettersson would get a three-year deal.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Satiar Shah reports Hughes’ could earn an annual average value of $7.75 million. The Athletic’s Rick Dhaliwal hears Pettersson could get a $7.7 million AAV. That would be a combined $15.45 million annually against the Canucks cap.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canuck have $13.7 million in projected cap space but they would be allowed to exceed the $81.5 million cap by $3.5 million by placing sidelined winger Micheal Ferland on long-term injury reserve. They could also get $3 million in cap relief if defenseman Travis Hamonic opts out of playing this season by today’s deadline.

No surprise if Hughes and Pettersson get those annual average values on their new contracts. Hughes is their top defenseman while Pettersson is their first-line center. They’re going to be paid as such. They’re also young players who’ve yet to reach their full potential. If you think their new contracts are expensive, wait until you see how much they get once those contracts expire.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs yesterday confirmed they’ve signed head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs management still has confidence in Keefe to guide this club to a Stanley Cup despite not having won a playoff round during his short tenure behind their bench. This extension should quell speculation that Keefe could lose his job if the Leafs fall short again. Of course, that could depend on whether there’s a front-office purge next spring if this club makes another early postseason exit.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, winger Wayne Simmonds spoke out yesterday against racism in the game after HK Kremenchuk’s Andrei Deniskin received a mild suspension by the Ukrainian Hockey League for the racial taunting of HC Donbass defenseman Jalen Smereck during a recent UHL game. Smereck, an African-American, has taken leave from Donbass, which has called for stiffer punishment for Deniskin.

Simmonds has also encountered racial taunts throughout his playing career. “I’ve faced a lot of these things myself, and I don’t even know if I’d want my kids playing hockey to be quite honest.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hockey, at every level, is supposed to be for everyone. There should be no place for racism in the sport regardless of where it’s played.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana is expected to miss the next four months following shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a blow to the Wings’ offense. Acquired at last season’s trade deadline, Vrana had an immediate positive effect. He was expected to play a major role for the rebuilding Wings this season as they attempt to take the next step toward playoff contention.

THE ATHLETIC: Zac Rinaldo’s anti-vaccination stance likely means his tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets is over before it began. Sources say he will not play a game for the Jackets or their AHL affiliate this season. The club placed him on waivers yesterday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Bell Centre in Montreal is expected to return to full capacity when the 2021-22 season opens next month as the Quebec government lifts some of its COVID-19 restrictions.

ESPN.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are the only NHL club to relax its game-day dress code for players this season. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators have plans to allow their players to wear team-issued tracksuits to games this season.

Several clubs have done away with the tie requirement though suits must still be worn. The Seattle Kraken has adopted a business casual policy.

The NHLPA has been pushing behind the scenes for a league-wide change. The PA believes it will help players build their individual brands and grow the game.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2021

Connor McDavid wins both MVP awards as the remainder of the major individual player awards are announced, the First and Second Team All-Stars revealed, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player and the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHLPA membership. It’s the second time he’s won the Hart and the third time he’s taken home the Lindsay Award.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid became just the second player in NHL history to receive 100 percent of the first-place votes for the Hart. The last player to do so was Wayne Gretzky in 1981-82.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top blueliner. He’s the first Ranger to do so since Brian Leetch in 1996-97.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury took home his first Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder. He’s the first goalie in Golden Knights history to win the Vezina.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. He’s the first player in Wild history to win this award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all the winners for their well-deserved honors during an unusual season.

The NHL’s First All-Star Team for 2020-21 includes Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, defensemen Adam Fox of the Rangers and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche, Oilers center Connor McDavid, Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitch Marner and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand.

The Second All-Star Team features Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, defensemen Victor Hedman of the Lightning and Dougie Hamilton of the Carolina Hurricanes, Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau.

The NHL’s All-Rookie Team for 2020-21 features Hurricanes netminder Alex Nedeljkovic, defensemen K’Andre Miller of the Rangers and Ty Smith of the New Jersey Devils, and forwards Kirill Kaprizov of the Wild, Josh Norris of the Ottawa Senators and Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens are asking the Quebec government to allow 50 percent capacity (10,500 fans) for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday.

NHL.COM: Lightning winger Alex Killorn is questionable for Game 2 tonight after leaving Game 1 in the third period with a suspected leg injury.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres have named Don Granato as their head coach, signing him to a three-year contract. Granato took over on an interim basis midway through this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres showed obvious improvement after Granato replaced Ralph Krueger. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to his coaching over the course of a full 82-game schedule. This club’s constant changes behind the bench in recent years have contributed to their ongoing mediocrity.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers have hired former NHL player Tuomo Ruutu as an assistant coach. Ruutu spent the past two seasons with the New York Rangers and was their assistant director of player development last season.

THE ATHLETIC: The Columbus Blue Jackets will hire Sylvain Lefebvre as an assistant coach. He’s spent the past nine seasons coaching in the AHL.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have reportedly done extensive vetting of Ottawa 67s head coach Andre Tourigny. They’re seeking a new bench boss after parting ways with Rick Tocchet last month.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed winger Wayne Simmonds to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $900K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A two-year deal seems a little long for a player who didn’t have as big an impact as hoped when he joined the Leafs this season. Part of the reason was a broken wrist he suffered in February. If Simmonds doesn’t work out they can bury the full value of his contract in the minors.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed goaltender Jonas Johansson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche backup Pavel Francouz is under contract for next season with a $2 million cap hit. He missed the entire season with to a lower-body injury that required surgery in April. Francouz is expected to be healthy for next season but Johansson will be insurance should he become sidelined again.

TORONTO STAR: TSN’s Ray Ferraro and Sportsnet’s Cassie Campbell-Pascall have joined ESPN’s NHL broadcasting team. Both will continue at their current networks while doing their new ESPN gigs.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have officially announced their AHL affiliation deal with Abbotsford, BC. The new deal is for five years with options for renewal that could run as long as 20 years.

PORTLAND PRESS-HERALD: The Maine Mariners are expected to announce today that they will become the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s games, stars of the week, additional Sabres, Devils and Wild game postponed by COVID-19 protocols, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz picked up his 850th career win as his club blanked the New York Rangers 2-0. Trotz moves past Ken Hitchcock into third on the list of all-time career victories by NHL coaches. Semyon Varlamov picked up the shutout with a 30-save performance while Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin were the goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Trotz on his milestone. He’s 81 victories behind Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville, who’s second with 931. Scotty Bowman is the all-time leader with 1,244 wins.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Jack Roslovic’s third-period goal, but it was Patrik Laine’s benching that garnered headlines. The Jackets winger didn’t play in the final 26:19 of the game. Head coach John Tortorella said the benching wasn’t about one play but was “part of the process of understanding our team concept, how we do things here, the discipline of being a pro.” Laine had no shots and had a plus-minus of minus-1 during his 11:14 of ice time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Welcome to playing under Tortorella, Patrik Laine. Torts’ critics will suggest this might force the recently-acquired winger to reconsider re-signing with the Jackets as a restricted free agent this summer. However, Laine will adjust and adapt to his new coach and his system. As long as he’s getting first-line minutes and scoring opportunities, he’ll do whatever Tortorella wants him to do on the ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews extended his goal streak to eight games and collected his 300th career point by scoring the game-winner in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves for the win.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith made 27 saves in his season debut in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Leon Draisaitl (two points) and Connor McDavid (one point) extended their points streaks to 10 games. Smith was activated off long-term injury reserve earlier this week.

The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their win streak to five games by beating the Nashville Predators 4-1. Anthony Cirelli scored twice for the Lightning. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Ryan Johansen (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s listed as week-to-week.

Clayton Keller’s game-tying goal in the final second of regulation set the stage for Christian Dvorak’s shootout winner as the Arizona Coyotes nipped the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper kicked out 40 shots in regulation and overtime. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected an assist.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 7.

The NHL also postponed additional games for the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild because of COVID-19. A decision on when these teams can resume practice and their game schedule will be made in the coming days.

The number of Wild players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list grew to 11 with the additions of Victor Rask and Carson Soucy on Monday. Wild general manager Bill Guerin confirmed one staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus.

NJ.COM: The Devils have a league-leading 19 players on the protocol list as Connor Carrick, Nico Hischier and Sami Vatanen were added on Monday.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Yerdon reports Rasmus Dahlin joined the Sabres’ list, raising their number to nine players. Two linesmen who worked the Sabres-Devils game when the outbreak is believed to have taken place have also entered protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The growing number of sidelined players and game postponements is raising concerns over the league’s handling of its COVID-19 protocols and of the effects upon the schedule.

The league remains intent on maintaining its 56-game schedule and making up those postponed games. However, some critics are calling for a league-wide postponement until the COVID curve is flattened or reduced but that’s unlikely to happen. Some suggest the schedule could be shortened in order to meet the May 9 completion of the regular season while others believe that the end date could be pushed forward toward late May or early June.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman expressed concern for Brent Seabrook. The 35-year-old defenseman remains sidelined by a back injury and there’s no timetable for his return. The Blackhawks also announced defenseman Adam Boqvist has come off the COVID-19 protocol list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman indicated Seabrook’s back injury occurred prior to training camp. It appears to be the result of several injuries he played through and underwent surgery for last season.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs confirmed winger Wayne Simmonds suffered a broken wrist during Saturday’s game against the Canucks and will be sidelined for at least six weeks.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals got some good news as Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ilya Samsonov and Justin Schultz returned to practice on Monday. Kuznetsov and Samsonov were taken off the COVID protocol list. Schultz was recovering from a facial injury suffered on Jan. 28.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin returned to practice yesterday following a one-game team disciplinary suspension for being late for practice on Saturday. Khudobin downplayed the incident, saying he had a good conversation with head coach Rick Bowness and accepted his punishment.