NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2020

Jordan Eberle and Jared Spurgeon each tally hat tricks, the Jets acquire Cody Eakin from the Golden Knights, the Avalanche re-sign Pavel Francouz, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: On the night the New York Islanders honored John Tonelli, Jordan Eberle netted a hat trick to lead them to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Islanders (74 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Earlier in the day, the Isles placed Cal Clutterbuck on injured reserve, while the Red Wings claimed defenseman Cody Goloubef off waivers from the Ottawa Senators.

Jared Spurgeon’s natural hat trick gave the Minnesota Wild a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon netted a natural hat trick to beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three points for the Oilers. The Wild (65 points) sit three points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Goaltender Pavel Francouz celebrated his two-year, $4-million contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche by kicking out 26 shots to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. J.T. Compher scored the only goal as the Avs (77 points) move one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for second in the Central Division.

The St. Louis Blues (80 points) opened a three-point lead atop the Western Conference by beating the Stars 5-1, leaving the latter four points behind them. Blues defenseman Colton Parayko had a goal and two assists.

Mika Zibanejad scored and set up two others to lead the New York Rangers over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho tallied his 35th goal of the season. With 68 points, the Rangers sit five points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Hurricanes (72 points) are one point behind the Jackets.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat scored twice in a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 42 saves for the win. The Predators (68 points) sit two behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Blackhawks made defenseman Erik Gustafsson a late scratch, prompting speculation he could be moved before the upcoming Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Flames, they blew a 3-1 lead to drop a 4-3 decision to the Boston Bruins. Patrice Bergeron scored twice and David Pastrnak had two assists as the Bruins (90 points) won their fifth straight and widened their lead atop the overall standings by five points over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mikael Backlund scored two goals for the Flames.

HEADLINES

WINNIPEG SUN/LAS VEGAS SUN: The Winnipeg Jets acquired center Cody Eakin from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eakin is expected to center the Jets’ fourth line, providing an additional measure of experienced depth to their bottom-six forward lines. By shedding Eakin’s $3.85 million salary-cap hit, the Golden Knights freed up cap room for perhaps another deal before the upcoming trade deadline.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. If unclaimed by noon today, Bogosian will become an unrestricted free agent.

TSN: Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan opened up about his alcohol addiction and his ongoing treatment. He’s returning to the lineup after being out of action for three months participating in the NHL player assistance program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Ryan on his path forward.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand will be sidelined eight-to-ten weeks with a sprained and factured ankle.

The NHL Department of Player Safety fined Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen $5,000.00 for slashing and Senators forward Scott Sabourin over $1.881.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

TVA SPORTS: With Victor Mete and Xavier Ouellet sidelined by injuries, the Montreal Canadiens recalled defenseman Karl Alzner.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

Game recaps, Dougie Hamilton sidelined by a fractured fibula, Dave Backes on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club crushed the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Nikita Kucherov scored twice, Ondrej Palat collected three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his 10th straight win.

Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL hat trick carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Winnipeg Jets 7-1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. He has six points in three games since returning from core muscle surgery. Bryan Rust’s 20th goal of the season tied the game and forced the extra period.

Anaheim Ducks center Sam Steel’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. It was the Hurricanes’ first game since losing defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a fractured left fibula. Teammate Jaccob Slavin will replace Hamilton at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton’s injury leaves a gaping hole in the Hurricanes’ blue line. With 40 points in 47 games, he’s the Canes’ highest-scoring defenseman and was well on his way to a career year. I’ll have more on the Hurricanes in the Rumors section.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly nearing a contract extension with Zack Kassian. The 28-year-old winger is completing a three-year contract worth $1.95-million annually and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. It’s assumed the deal will be announced before the trade deadline on Feb. 24. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s a big-bodied forward with 20-goal potential who plays a physical style and is popular among his teammates. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a raise he receives. It could be a five-year deal worth $4 million annually.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson was fined $2,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety under the league’s rules regarding diving and embellishment.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed veteran winger David Backes on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes played infrequently this season due to his injury history and declining performance. His demotion will clear $1 million of his $6-million salary-cap hit from the Bruins’ books for the rest of the season. Backes could be bought out of the final season of his contract in June.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed defenseman Luke Schenn on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will return to the roster tonight after a 15-game absence in part because of an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: Some good-natured billboard trolling between Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers fans has raised over $50K for various charities.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets TSN analyst Kevin Sawyer will address criticism regarding comments he made two weeks ago about an apparent hazing incident involving Jared Spurgeon during the Minnesota Wild defenseman’s junior hockey days. “Favourite story of Jared Spurgeon,” Sawyer began. “He was a 15-year-old. Two months into the season we saran-wrapped him to a pillar in the arena, about six feet up in the air … he was tiny. He looked like he was 12.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

Patrick Kane has a four-point performance, Jack Eichel’s points streak comes to an end, the holiday roster freeze is now in effect, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored a goal and set up three others in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad left the game with an injured right ankle. Earlier in the day, the Hawks revealed defenseman Brent Seabrook remained in Chicago for medical evaluation. Meanwhile, the Jets reclaimed goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane led his club to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored twice and Travis Konecny collected three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. The Sabres played without captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched following an upper-body injury believed suffered during pre-game warmups. His 17-game points streak has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s absence highlights his value to the Sabres. He’s put this club on his back this season, determined not to miss the playoffs again. If he’s out for a lengthy period, it could spell doom to their postseason hopes.

Mathew Barzal scored in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck left the game to get stitches on his wrist after getting cut by a skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Isles activated Tom Kuhnhackl from injured reserve. The Bruins are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair’s 20th goal of the season was also the overtime winner as his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-4. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected three assists. The Predators overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

Minnesota Wild forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and two assists in an 8-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 3. Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Nick Schmaltz picked up three assists for the Coyotes, who lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an injured right leg.

Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks had blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads before Tanev’s heroics in the extra frame. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, who scratched Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson from this contest.

Three unanswered goals late in the third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was fined over $1,900.00 for boarding Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Max Domi. It was the Habs’ sixth win in their last eight contests. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the Flames.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tyler Seguin had two points, including the game-winning goal, while teammates Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg also picked up two points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson left the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed defenseman Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on injured reserve.

IN OTHER NEWS…

The NHL holiday trade freeze is now in effect until 12:01 am ET on Saturday, Dec. 28.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc could miss the club’s weekend games with an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Stefan Noesen off waivers yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long-time hockey reporter Kevin Allen’s 34-year tenure with USA Today has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s one of the best hockey scribes in the business. Here’s hoping he’s not out of the game for long.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

John Carlson leads the Capitals over the Kings, Evander Kane and Ryan Johansen fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman scored twice, including his 100th career NHL goal, in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Carlson has 42 points in 30 games this season. The Capitals have won five straight games.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson tallied his 100th career NHL goal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Face Off Hockey Show host Scotty Wazz points out Carlson is on pace to become the first defenseman since Ray Bourque (1993-94) to exceed 90 points in a season. He’s currently on track for 115 points.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a five-game losing streak by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Tyler Ennis led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists. The Senators held Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet while Leon Draisaitl was limited to an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not easy to contain McDavid and Draisaitl. Any team that can have a chance of beating the Oilers.

Tristan Jarry had a 28-save shutout performance backstopping the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson (illness) joined Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz on the sidelines. The Penguins are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Avs. During the game, Avs center and former Leaf Nazem Kadri was honored with a video tribute by the Leafs and a nice ovation from Toronto fans.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas on Tuesday.

TSN: Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen also received a $5,000.00 fine for elbowing Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is expected to miss two weeks with an upper-body injury. Captain Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will be sidelined at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl (finger) is on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Nick Shore off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: A Minnesota judge ruled former NHL player Mark Pavelich is mentally ill and dangerous, ordering him committed to a secure treatment facility. Another hearing is scheduled in February to determine if he’ll be committed for an indefinite period.

Pavelich, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” US Olympic team, faced criminal charges for beating a friend with a metal pole following a fishing trip. His family is convinced he’s suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy related to repeated concussions during his NHL career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHLPA decision to re-open CBA extended to Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov receives a three-game suspension, Wild re-sign Jared Spurgeon, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The NHL Players Association intends to use a provision in the NHL collective bargaining agreement to extend its deadline to re-open the CBA to Monday, Sept, 16. The provision allows the deadline to be advanced to the next business day if the decision date falls on a Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the PA decides to re-open the CBA, it will expire in one year if the two sides fail to reach agreement on a CBA extension. Optimists will consider this one-day extension as potentially good news, providing the PA and the league an extra day to work out a deal. Whatever decision the players make, Ottawa Senators PA representative Dylan DeMelo claims they will be united behind it.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received a three-game suspension by the NHL after testing positive for cocaine this spring while representing Russia at the 2019 World Championships. Kuznetsov won’t appeal the suspension.

The NHL suspends Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov for three games after testing positive for cocaine earlier this year (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: it’s a slap on the wrist for Kuznetsov but also a warning shot across his bow. A repeat offense will lead to a lengthier suspension.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday re-signed defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a seven-year, $53-million contract extension. The annual average value is $7.575 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bill Guerin’s first significant signing since taking over as the Wild’s general manager is being widely applauded. Despite his 5’9″, 167-pound frame, Spurgeon is a key part of the Wild defense corps. The 29-year-old logs big minutes and plays well at both ends of the rink.

With the rising salary cap driving up players salaries, this deal for Spurgeon is already a bargain for the Wild. He would’ve received much more in next summer’s free-agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: Winger Patrik Laine will train with SC Bern in Switzerland as his contract impasse continues with the Jets. Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Ken Wiebe reports Andrew Copp is dealing with a minor injury while Sami Niku and Kristian Vesalainen “were a bit stiff after they were in a fender bender on Friday.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Center Kevin Hayes denied a rumor from back in June claiming he would sign with the Flyers only if they overpaid him. “Someone made up something and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said. In June, he signed a seven-year, $50-million contract.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues to rehab from off-season shoulder surgery.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens blueliners Noah Juulsen (head) and Karl Alzner (groin injury) are listed as day-to-day.

CBC: A U.S. casino is suing Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk “for more than $900,000, saying he tried and failed to pay them with bank drafts over a winter weekend in 2017.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Annnnnd the Melnyk Circus continues in Ottawa. Step right up, folks, and let’s see what mischief the Senators cantankerous owner can ensnare himself into this season.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2019

A look at this season’s top-10 trade candidates in the NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, and New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops Matt Larkin’s list of this season’s top trade candidates.

Larkin dismissed recent attempts by Sabres general manager Jason Botterill to downplay the Ristolainen trade speculation. He pointed out Botterill loading up with right-side blueliners, Ristolainen’s apparent exasperation with the Sabres, and the club’s need for help at forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve suggested for weeks that the Sabres’ recent acquisitions of Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju set the stage for a Ristolainen trade. Botterill, however, will wait for the right offer. It could happen before training camp, early in the season or at the trade deadline but it should happen at some point this season.

After struggling with the Oilers, Larkin believes Puljujarvi needs a fresh start elsewhere. It’s difficult to see him returning to the Oilers. His low trade value, however, could make it tough for GM Ken Holland to find a suitable deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins observed, Puljujarvi has more value to the Oilers than he does in the trade market. The young winger lacks leverage as he doesn’t have a job lined up in Europe yet. He’s pressing to be traded but Holland can stand firm until he gets a suitable trade offer.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider remains a trade candidate this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider could be shopped if the Rangers aren’t playoff-bound by the trade deadline. The Rangers insist he’ll be joining them in training camp. Larkin points out they have limited salary-cap space and restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. He wonders if that could make Kreider a cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For months, Kreider was the subject of trade speculation. Most of it had to do with his UFA status next summer and the Rangers’ cap space. It seems, however, they want to see how things unfold with him in the lineup this season.

Lemieux and DeAngelo could end up accepting the Rangers’ qualifying offers (over $1.7 million combined), meaning the Blueshirts won’t have to shed that much to become cap compliant.

The pending UFA statuses of Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman could turn them into rental players by the trade deadline. If the Panthers are in playoff contention, Hoffman could be retained as an own rental for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau ($3.1-million annual average value) should be an affordable re-signing for the Senators. But as Larkin points out, they’re in full rebuild mode and could peddle Pageau to the highest bidder. The veteran center could also decide he’s had enough of the Melnyk circus and move on.

Hoffman’s future will depend upon his role with the Panthers and what he seeks on his next contract. He was their leading goal-scorer (36) last season and finished third with 70 points. A similar performance could make him invaluable to the Panthers, especially if they’re in playoff contention.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is also slated for UFA status next summer. If a new deal can’t be reached, Larkin wonders if the Hurricanes will risk losing him for nothing. Meanwhile, Winnipeg Jets center Jack Roslovic has expressed frustration over his bottom-six role. A restricted free agent next summer, he hasn’t asked for a trade. Larkin suggests he could be used to acquire a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for over a year but remains with the Canes. I’d like to think they could re-sign him but team owner Tom Dundon is something of a wild card. He could become a factor in determining Faulk’s future in Carolina.

Jets management doesn’t seem keen to part with the promising Roslovic. But as Larkin notes, their depth at forward shows how difficult it’s been for Roslovic to crack the top-six. The cost of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor won’t give the Jets much wiggle room to take on a salaried defenseman unless they ship out a comparable salary. Roslovic (894k AAV) won’t address that issue.

Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and Detroit Red Wings rearguard Mike Green round out Larkin’s list. All are pending UFAs on rebuilding/retooling teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another performance by the Kings like last season and they could entertain offers for Toffoli at the deadline.

Spurgeon expressed interest in re-signing with the Wild before their recent management change. That’ll depend upon where new GM Bill Guerin wants to take this team after he’s had time to evaluate their performance this season.

Wings GM Steve Yzerman will likely try to get something for Green by the trade deadline.