NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

The Norris Trophy & Selke Trophy finalists are revealed, the latest COVID-19 testing results, plus the latest on Max Domi, Charlie McAvoy, Ilya Samsonov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hedman is a former Norris winner (2018) and was a finalist last season. This is the first time as finalists for Carlson and Josi. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring, with Josi second and Hedman third.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top defensive forward as voted by the PHWA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could win the Selke for a record-setting fifth time. O’Reilly won the award last season while Couturier was a finalist in 2017-18.

LATEST NHL COVID-19 TESTING RESULTS

The NHL yesterday released the results of their COVID-19 testing from last week, indicating two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Both players are self-isolating and following CDC and Health Canada guidelines. The league administered 2,618 tests to over 800 players from July 13-17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a notable improvement over the previous numbers released by the league. At that rate, the league’s chances of staging its playoff tournament in Edmonton and Toronto look very good.

This week, however, will be the crucial period, as the players have been around each other more since Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan began on July 13.

PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Domi rejoined his teammates yesterday after taking a week to evaluate the risks to his health associated with COVID-19. He’s a type-1 diabetic and also suffers from celiac disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi will need some time to get up to speed with his teammates. Nevertheless, his return to the lineup should provide a boost to their forward lines entering their best-of-five qualifying-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner were missing from Bruins practice yesterday, joining wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase on the sidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy couldn’t elaborate as to why McAvoy and Wagner weren’t at practice due to league protocols. However, he seemed to hint at the reason behind their absence, noting that COVID-19 tests results are sometimes delayed or inconclusive. Pastrnak is out for precautionary reasons linked to possible secondary exposure to a person with the coronavirus. As per league rules, the Bruins say Kase remains unfit to participate. 

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is the sole member of the roster not to participate in Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of league protocols, we don’t know if Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19 or is nursing an injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist was among nine players returning to the ice yesterday after being held out of practice as a precaution for potential secondary exposure to COVID-19. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed practice again yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. He will serve that suspension during the opening two games of his club’s qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: released its broadcast schedule for the qualifying round and round-robin series commencing Aug. 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon reported hearing the NHL plans to put its World feed on a five-second delay to monitor the players’ language. Expect to hear plenty of bleeps given how salty their on-ice language tends to be and how clearly it will be heard without fan noise to drown it out.

Former NHL winger Alex Kovalev was named head coach of KHL team Kunlun Red Star.

Former NHL defenseman Jack McIlhargey passed away from cancer on Sunday at age 68. McIlhargey spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Hartford Whalers from 1974-75 to 1981-82, tallying 47 points and collecting 1,102 PIMs in 393 games. Following his playing career, he served within the Canucks system from 1984 until 2007 as a minor-league head coach and as a scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McIlhargey’s family, friends, and former teammates and associates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2019

The Bruins down the slumping Maple Leafs, the Canadiens upset the Capitals, an update on TJ Brodie and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Two third-period goals by Brad Marchand lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins snapped a four-game winless streak while extending the Leafs’ to four games. Charlie Coyle picked up two points for the Bruins. Leafs forward Trevor Moore left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury. Earlier in the day, the Leafs revealed center Alexander Kerfoot is sidelined indefinitely following surgery to repair dental fractures suffered during a Nov. 5 game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored twice in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

Tomas Tatar scored and set up three others as the Montreal Canadiens upset the league-leading Washington Capitals 5-2, snapping the latter’s 13-game points streak. Phillip Danault had a three-point performance for the Habs, who are 7-1-1 in their last nine contests (25 points). They sit three points behind the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 38 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman tallied for the Devils. The Penguins are winless in two games without captain Sidney Crosby, who’s sidelined for six weeks recovering from sports-hernia surgery.

Zach Werenski scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the St. Louis Blues 3-2. It’s the Jackets second win in their last nine contests.

The Ottawa Senators picked up their fourth win in five games by nipping the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Tyler Ennis and Filip Chlapik tallied for the Senators as they ended the Flyers point streak at seven games.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving said tests to determine TJ Brodie’s collapse during practice on Thursday returned negative. The defenseman was treated and released from the hospital and is resting at home with his family. He’ll be meeting with a neurology team and will undergo examinations by specialists. The team doctor suspects Brodie’s collapse may have been caused by a syncopal (fainting) episode. There’s no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m relieved that Brodie appears to be okay. Hopefully, whatever caused him to collapse will be a minor, treatable issue.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings defenseman Patrik Nemeth could be sidelined three weeks following an infection after blocking a shot in a recent game. Blueliner Filip Hronek is expected to miss today’s game against the San Jose Sharks following a bruise from a shot block during Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Kings.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes removed forward Jordan Martinook from injured reserve.

THE SCORE: Sportsnet is considering new formats to replace Coach’s Corner during the first intermissions of its Saturday night broadcasts. Don Cherry, the long-time star of that segment, was fired earlier this week over comments aimed at immigrants leading up to Remembrance Day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean was considering leaving Hockey Night in Canada. MacLean denied the rumor.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2019

Game recaps, the Blues are honored at the White House, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Morgan Rielly assisted on all of the Toronto Maple Leafs goals as they doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews and John Tavares also tallied for the Leafs. Wild winger Kevin Fiala was a healthy scratch.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly collected four assists in a 4-2 win over the MInnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their third straight victory by downing the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. J.T Miller tallied two power-play goals while Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Alex Edler each had three-point performances. Earlier in the day, the Wings assigned Evgeny Svechnikov to the minors and activated Frans Nielsen and Trevor Daley from injured reserve.

Four straight goals powered the Nashville Predators to a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Kyle Turris and Ryan Ellias each had a goal and an assist. Predators winger Filip Forsberg left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury while teammate Roman Josi dropped the gloves with Vegas’ Mark Stone. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed forward Daniel Carr on waivers.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning as they scored three unanswered goals.

Darcy Kuemper made 38 saves backstopping the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Christian Dvorak scored twice and Nick Schmaltz collected three points.

Calgary Flames winger Michael Frolik scored in his 800th career game as his club defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Earlier in the day, the Flyers signed forward Chris Stewart to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750K. Stewart spent last season playing for the Nottingham Panthers in the British Elite Ice Hockey League.

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek had a 31-save shutout performance in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas were the goal scorers.

HEADLINES

STLTODAY.COM: The 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues were honored yesterday at the White House by President Donald Trump. 

NEW YORK POST: Contract issues and being supplanted by Artemi Panarin from the New York Rangers’ top line could account for winger Chris Kreider’s slow start. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Jared McCann is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres updated the status of winger Conor Sheary (upper-body injury) from week-to-week to day-to-day as he returned to practice yesterday. Assistant coach Don Granato, meanwhile, is doing much better as he recovers from pneumonia. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Veteran reporter Rick Dhaliwal was among several cuts yesterday at Sportsnet 650. Dhaliwal is well-connected in the NHL world. 

CBC.CA: Former NHL forward Danny Grant passed away Monday at age 73.  He spent 12 seasons in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings, and Los Angeles Kings. Career highlights include winning a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1968 and six seasons with 29-or-more goals, including a 50-goal performance with the Wings in 1974-75. The Fredericton native went on to become a college and Junior A coach and was a member of the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Grant’s family, friends, and former teammates. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2019

An update on NHL CBA negotiations, the latest on Justin Williams, Ben Lovejoy retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL is expected to announce it will decline its Sept. 1 option to reopen the current collective bargaining agreement “within the next day or two.” Dreger claims the decision will be based on “progressive discussions” with the NHL Players Association.

Will the NHL and NHLPA pass up on their early-out CBA options?

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports the NHLPA executive board plus other players are expected to meet in Chicago next Wednesday for an update on the discussions. The PA can reopen the CBA on Sept. 15. The two sides have had numerous meeting throughout the summer but LeBrun declined to speculate over where this all leads.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having covered the last two NHL lockouts, these latest reports give me cause for cautious optimism. The run-up to the last two work stoppages saw both sides snipe at each other in the media. Indeed, the coverage in the summers of 2004 and 2012 was filled with daily CBA reports and analysis even though most NHL insiders were on vacation.

We haven’t seen that this time around. Reports have been few and far between, as both sides kept mum other than to say talks were ongoing and positive. If the league doesn’t take the early out, the pressure falls on the PA to do the same. It’ll be interesting to see what they do. I’m guessing they’ll also pass on the early out.

If both sides decline to reopen the current CBA, they’re either close to a new deal or kicking the can down the road to when the current agreement expires in three years.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Ben Lovejoy yesterday announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. He played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Stars, winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lovejoy in his future endeavors. TSN’s Rick Westhead points out the blueliner became the first active player to pledge his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston. No other active player followed his lead. “I am a believer in science,” said Lovejoy. “I want to do anything I can to help.”

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour has an idea over whether Justin Williams is leaning toward returning or retirement. However, he’s not saying which direction it’ll be.

THE ATHLETIC: Financial pressures led to Sportsnet cutting NHL analysts Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons recently reported John Shannon is also out but there’s been no official statement. Nevertheless, Sportsnet’s hockey coverage will have a significantly different look this season.

CAP FRIENDLY: released a list of notable dates on the NHL’s 2018-19 schedule. The Christmas holiday trade freeze (all times Eastern) begins at 11:59 PM on Dec. 19 and ends at 12:01 am on Dec. 28. The league’s holiday break runs from Dec. 24 to 26. The NHL trade deadline is 3 pm on Feb. 24. The regular season ends on Apr. 4.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2019

Cam Ward retires with the Hurricanes, the Islanders re-sign Anthony Beauvillier, plus the latest on Zach Werenski, Andrei Markov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Cam Ward yesterday signed a one-day contract with the Carolina Hurricanes and officially announced his retirement.

The 35-year-old goaltender spent all but one of his 14 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes, backstopping them to the Stanley Cup in 2006 and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  “He holds franchise records for career regular-season games (668), wins (318) winning percentage (.557), shutouts (27) and saves (17,261).”

Goaltender Cam Ward retires after 14 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ward was the Hurricanes’ franchise goalie for most of his tenure in Carolina. From 2006-07 to 2011-12 he won 30-or-more games five times.

Unfortunately, he spent the bulk of his time playing on some bad Hurricanes clubs. Mounting injuries also affected his performance as his career went on. Had he been healthier and played on better teams throughout his career, perhaps he would’ve received more serious consideration as a Vezina Trophy candidate

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders signed forward Anthony Beauvillier to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but Cap Friendly reports the contract is worth $4.2 million with an annual average value of $2.1 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beauvillier is coming off an entry-level contract. After netting 21 goals and 36 points in 71 games in 2017-18, his production slid last season to 18 goals and 28 points in 82 contests last season. The versatile forward also saw a drop in his penalty-killing time. That decline likely accounts for the modest raise. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane called out racism in hockey after a fan told him to “stick to basketball” in a recent Instagram comment. Kane claims another fan shouts a similar remark during a playoff game in Colorado last spring. 

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen expressed concern over the possibility Zach Werenski’s contract negotiations could carry over into training camp. “When it goes to training camp time, it takes away from that preparation. It takes away from the team. That’s what I’m concerned about.”

TSN: Andrei Markov has hired player agent Allan Walsh as he eyes a return to the NHL. The 40-year-old defenseman played his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens but spent the past two seasons in the KHL. Markov would prefer returning to the Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Habs share his interest in a reunion. I’ll have more on Markov in the Rumors section. 

WGR550.COM: A neck injury will sidelined Buffalo Sabres defenseman Matt Hunwick for the entire 2019-20 season. He will be placed on long-term injury reserve.

TORONTO SUN: Hockey analysts Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean are leaving Sportsnet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t always agree with Kypreos and MacLean but they are well-connected and respected within the broadcasting community. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them landing with other networks in Canada or the United States. 

BARRIE TODAY: Former Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Meger passed away at age 90. Meger won a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1953. His NHL career was cut short by a head injury after just five seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Meger family and friends.