NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2022
The Rangers down the Blues, the Stars get a big win over the Kings, Senators owner pledges support for Ukraine, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Three unanswered third-period goals by Patrik Nemeth, Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin rallied the New York Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Kreider’s goal was his 35th of the season and his league-leading 18th on the power play while teammates Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each collected three points. The Rangers (73 points) sit one point back of the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron each had two points for the Blues, who remain in second place in the Central Division with 70 points.
Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov tallied the winning goal in his 500th career NHL game as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Jason Robertson and Ryan Suter also scored for the Stars, who are 3-0-1 in their last four games to hold the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 63 points, holding a game in hand over the Edmonton Oilers. The Kings got two goals from Arthur Kaliyev and remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 65 points.
The Seattle Kraken snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 4-3 upset of the Nashville Predators. Colin Blackwell broke a 3-3 tie with the only goal in the third period. Nashville captain Roman Josi collected two assists (including his 500th career point) while Matt Duchene scored twice. The Predators (64 points) sit one point ahead of the Stars in the first Western wild-card spot.
Speaking of teams snapping long losing streaks, the Buffalo Sabres ended their six-game skid by upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1, breaking the latter’s three-game win streak. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres while Toronto goaltender Petr Mrazek gave up five goals on 31 shots. With 74 points, the Leafs remain one back of the second-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs were flatter than pancakes playing in front of a full house in their home arena for the first time since December against an opponent they should’ve easily defeated. That’s not going to soothe jittery Leafs fans concerned over their club’s shaky goaltending, inconsistent defense, and a second line whose center (John Tavares) is mired in a long goal-scoring slump.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk published an open letter yesterday saying he’ll try to support Ukraine in the unprovoked war with Russia. Melnyk has strong ties to the country as his parents were both born in Ukraine. Among the means he’ll use to pledge support is directing some of the funds from the Senators Community Fund 50/50 draws to charitable causes to help Ukraine. The team will also work with the Ukrainian community in Ottawa to facilitate charitable donations to that country.
ESPN.COM: NHL player agent Dan Milstein said his Russian clients are experiencing “disturbing levels” of harassment and believes draft-eligible players are already being discriminated against because of their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Among his clients is Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who’s among the few Russian players to speak out publicly against the invasion. However, he’s received derogatory messages to his Instagram account for speaking out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This war could affect Russian players eligible for this year’s NHL draft if it is still going on when the event is held in July or if Russia has taken control of Ukraine by that point.
Teams could be reluctant to select Russian players if there’s concern about a backlash for doing so from their fans. Those players could also find it difficult to leave Russia if the strict travel restrictions that are part of the tough sanctions imposed by North American and European countries remain in place. It’s also possible the Russian government could prevent those players from leaving the country.
Russian players already under NHL contracts beyond this season will still keep their jobs as the league isn’t expected to ban them from playing. However, those slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer could encounter difficulty finding new contracts with NHL clubs.
Milstein also tweeted yesterday the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) was expected yesterday to ban Russian and Belarussian players from its 2022 import draft. While the CHL announced it was canceling the 2022 Canada-Russia series, no decision has been reached yet regarding the date and format of this year’s import draft.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin will be sidelined for an extended period with an injury to his left eye.
ESPN.COM: An injury to James Reimer prompted the San Jose Sharks to acquire goaltender Alex Stalock from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for future considerations. Backup Adin Hill has also been sidelined but is expected to return to the Sharks’ lineup soon.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens traded minor-league goaltender Michael McNiven to the Calgary Flames for future considerations.
TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re expected to return to full capacity at the Bell Centre on March 12 as pandemic restrictions are eased through Quebec.