NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2021

The Canadiens tied their semifinal series with the Golden Knights, the Leafs re-sign Jason Spezza, the Blue Jackets made some organizational changes, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Carey Price made 29 saves as the Montreal Canadiens held off the Vegas Golden Knights for a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of their semifinal series. The Canadiens took a 3-0 lead on goals by Joel Armia, Tyler Toffoli and Paul Byron while Alex Pietrangelo tallied both Golden Knights goals. Habs defenseman Jeff Petry returned to the lineup for the first time since being sidelined by a hand injury in Game 3 of their second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Friday evening tied at a game apiece.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid effort by Montreal following their usual template of taking a lead and relying on Carey Price to help them maintain it. The Canadiens enjoyed a strong first period and got to Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with two first-period goals. Byron gave them breathing room with the eventual game-winner late in the second.

Price was outstanding after the first period as Vegas outshot the Habs 27-11, including robbing Alec Martinez of what looked like a certain goal in the second period. His teammates maintained their physical style, outhitting the Golden Knights 53-45. They also blocked more shots (26-18) and were strong in the faceoff circle, winning 58 percent of the draws.

Kevin Hodgson is the 2021 winner of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. He’s the executive director of HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society).

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Jason Spezza to a one-year, one-way contract worth the league-minimum $750K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good depth signing by the Leafs. The 38-year-old Spezza played well this season with 30 points plus five in the postseason skating mostly in a fourth-line role. He could’ve gotten more on the open market but wanted to stay in Toronto. Spezza indicated he would’ve taken less if he could. Having earned over $88 million in his career, he really doesn’t need the cash at this stage of his career.

Speaking of the Leafs, Martin Marincin’s NHL career appears to be over as he signed a contract with Czech club HC Ocelari Trinec. The 29-year-old defenseman spent most of this season on the Leafs’ taxi squad, appearing in just nine games. He played five seasons with the Leafs and two with the Edmonton Oilers before that, netting 34 points in 227 career games.

CBS SPORTS: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook underwent surgery on his right knee this week. He’s expected to be fully recovered for the start of next season in October.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets promoted former captain Rick Nash to director of player development and hired former Jackets players Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu as development coaches. Former minor-league goalie Brad Thiessen replaces Jim Corsi as their goaltending development coach.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have filed a motion to dismiss a former player’s lawsuit alleging he was sexually harassed by Bradley Aldrich, the club’s former video coach. 










Five Aging NHL Players Exceeding Expectations This Season

Five Aging NHL Players Exceeding Expectations This Season

 










Five Surprises so far from the NHL North Division

Five Surprises so far from the NHL North Division

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2021

Recaps of Thursday’s action, the league revises its COVID-19 protocols as more players are sidelined and more games are postponed, the 2021 Draft could be pushed back, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 709th career goal to move into seventh place on the all-time list but it wasn’t enough to prevent his Washington Capitals from dropping a 4-2 decision to the New York Rangers. Ryan Strome scored twice while goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves for his third straight victory. Ovechkin passed former Capital and Rangers Mike Gartner on the goal-scoring list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is now eight goals behind Phil Esposito (717) who sits sixth on the list.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Third-period goals by Roman Josi and Matt Duchene set the stage for Filip Forsberg’s overtime winner as the Nashville Predators rallied to edge the Florida Panthers 6-5. Forsberg had a five-point night with two goals and three assists while the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau netted a hat trick and collected two assists.

Patrik Laine scored his first goal with the Columbus Blue Jackets as they nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3. Jack Roslovic also tallied his first goal with the Jackets. Both players were recently acquired from the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets placed goalie Elvis Merzlikins on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Ottawa Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle had a goal and two assists as his club upset the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matt Murray made 36 saves as the Senators snapped a ten-game winless skid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators were the hungrier team in this contest. The Canadiens were playing their third game in four nights but they may also have been guilty of taking the struggling Senators too lightly.

Jason Spezza tallied his first hat trick since 2016 in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 7-3 victory over the floundering Vancouver Canucks. Auston Matthews scored twice to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games as the Leafs reclaimed first place in the North Division from the Canadiens. Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott left the game with a charley horse injury.

Two third-period goals by Alex DeBrincat lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Patrick Kane scored and added three assists for the Blackhawks while Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton each had two points for the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks blew a 3-1 lead but didn’t lose their composure and pulled off a big win. They also capitalized on the power play with three of their goals coming with the man advantage.

Antti Raanta kicked out 40 shots as the Arizona Coyotes held on to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes while Mike Hoffman tallied twice for the Blues.

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves for his franchise-record 153rd career victory backstopping his club over the Calgary Flames 4-1. Mason Appleton tallied twice and Mathieu Perreault had three assists for the Jets. Flames forward Sam Bennett was a healthy scratch, stoking speculation he could be traded soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more about Bennett in the Rumors section.

HEADLINES

TSN: The NHL has revised its COVID-19 protocols as the number of players on the protocol list grew to 40 while four teams have had games postponed in recent days. Glass panels have been removed from behind the team benches to allow for better airflow, players aren’t allowed at the arena until one hour and 45 minutes prior to game time (unless being treated for injuries) and all team meetings must be virtual. Players must also be seated six feet apart in the dressing rooms.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players aren’t happy about the restriction on their time at the arena and intend to fight it. The league, however, could be unwilling to bend given the sharp rise of late in COVID cases among players and coaches.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger has tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Jake McCabe became the fifth Sabre added to the NHL’s protocol list. The Sabres are among the clubs to have their games postponed.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche have had their games postponed until Feb. 11 after team captain Gabriel Landeskog was added to the COVID protocol list.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL is considering pushing back the 2021 Draft to 2022 and perhaps staging back-to-back drafts, one for this year’s class of prospects and the other for the 2022 class. Dreger believes the general managers support this as would the majority of draft-eligible prospects as they’re not playing right now. That decision, however, would have to involve the NHLPA as it is a CBA issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also been talk of perhaps pushing this year’s draft to December. It wouldn’t be surprising if the draft date is changed considering the effect the pandemic is having upon hockey at all levels. The teams can’t scout players who aren’t playing while the players haven’t had an opportunity to develop their skills and improve their draft stock.

TORONTO SUN: Popular Maple Leafs usher Vic Braknis passed away at age 81. He worked in that role for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for 29 years. He also spent 17 years in the same role with the Montreal Canadiens and worked for the Toronto Blue Jays during their World Series years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Braknis’ family, friends and MLSE.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2021

Game recaps plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, J.T. Miller, Erik Johnson, Jason Spezza and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel tallied the only goal in a shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their first win over the season by edging the Washington Capitals 4-3. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his first of the season, moving to within one career goal of tying Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

Three unanswered third-period goals by Eetu Luostarinen, Patric Hornqvist and Jonathan Huberdeau lifted the Florida Panthers to a 5-2 season-opening victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Huberdeau had a goal and two assists while teammate Keith Yandle tallied his 100th career goal in his 867th consecutive NHL game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade rumors dogged Yandle last week amidst speculation he could become a healthy scratch, snapping his Ironman streak. It remains to be seen how things unfold for the veteran blueliner and the Panthers.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine left practice yesterday with an apparent injury above his left hip. Head coach Paul Maurice shed little light on Laine’s status, adding he’ll see how the winger is doing on Monday. Laine is slated to travel with the team to Toronto.

AZCENTRAL: The Arizona Coyotes placed captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson on injured reserve. He’s slated to miss their next three games. Ekman-Larsson suffered a lower-body injury during Saturday’s 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks following a hit from Sharks’ winger Evander Kane.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller returns to the lineup after missing the club’s first three games in coronavirus quarantine as a high-risk contact of teammate Jordie Benn.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defensemen Erik Johnson and Bowen Byram will join their teammates after completing COVID-19 quarantine. Johnson missed all of training camp and the Avs’ first test games after testing positive for the coronavirus. Byram was in quarantine after traveling from Canada following the 2021 World Juniors in Edmonton.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed center Jason Spezza and goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers for the purpose of assigning them to their taxi squad. Spezza indicated he’ll retire immediately if claimed by another club. Dell, meanwhile, could be targeted by a club with goalie issues like the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll learn their fate by noon ET today.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed defenseman Mike Matheson on injured reserve retroactive to Friday with an undisclosed ailment. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Matheson was injured during Friday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo on injured reserve following a hit to the head suffered during Friday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Bortuzzo was struck by the shoulder of Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase is doubtful for Monday’s game against the New York Islanders. Kase suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils.

CBS SPORTS: The Calgary Flames signed forward Brett Ritchie to a one-year, two-way contract. He’d attended Flames’ training camp on a professional tryout offer.










Going For Something Old Nothing New To Maple Leafs

Going For Something Old Nothing New To Maple Leafs