NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2019

Stars of the week, more stories of abusive behavior by former coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Jack Eichel and Johan Larsson each had three points while Conor Sheary scored two goals. The Devils have dropped five of their last seven games.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch tallied two first-period goals as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Malcolm Subban made 29 saves for the win. Following the game, the Golden Knights announced they’d sent a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Washington Capitals for forward Chandler Stephenson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Capitals had to free up some salary to make room for sidelined winger Carl Hagelin’s imminent return. Stephenson should provide a bit of a boost to the Golden Knight’s penalty kill.

The New York Islanders beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, leaving the latter winless in their last 10 contests. Jordan Eberle tallied twice for the Islanders.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen turned in a 38-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. The Blues are unbeaten (8-0-2) in their last ten games. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane’s 15-game points streak has come to an end. 

Derek Grant scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 34 saves (15 in the final period) as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.


Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon leads the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich, and San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1.

SPORTSNET: Hall of Famer Chris Chelios revealed former NHL coach Mike Babcock was ” a tough guy to play for” if you were a veteran player. He said Babcock told him his role during his sixth season with the Wings was to “babysit” blueliner Brett Lebda. He claims Babcock told him, ‘If you don’t like it, you can go see Kenny Holland — I’m sure he’ll trade you.”

Chelios also said Babcock attempted to scratch him from the 2009 Winter Classic. He claims the coach was disrespectful toward Mike Modano, making Modano a healthy scratch late in the 2010-11 season, thus preventing him from playing his 1,500th career game.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Chelios also said Babcock “verbally assaulted” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen during Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs against the Nashville Predators, causing the latter to have a nervous breakdown. Franzen confirmed the encounter, saying “I get shivers when I think about it. … It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.” He went on to call Babcock a “terrible person” and “a bully who was always attacking people.”

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Chelios claimed the players informed Red Wings GM  Ken Holland of the incident and he came into the room, make a speech and defended Babcock. Holland, who’s now the GM of the Edmonton Oilers,  said no player came forward to complain about Babcock’s behavior. Holland said he’s spoken to Chelios about the incident and the blueliner admitted it didn’t take place following the Nashville game. He said he was in the room when Holland told the players to come and see him if they had a problem with Babcock.

“The situation Chelios described had nothing to do with Franzen,” Holland said. “They were separate situations. That happened after a game in San Jose when someone had said something on a telecast about there being unrest in the locker room. I told players they could come to me if they had anything to say. No one did.”

THE SCORE: The Chicago Blackhawks announced they will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford after former NHL player Sean Avery claimed Crawford kicked him during a game while both were with the Los Angeles Kings.

Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo posted a transcript of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel talking about Crawford’s troubling behavior during a Spittin Chiclets podcast last year. Sopel claimed Crawford kicked and choked him and attacked players personally.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock’s firing opened the floodgates of stories from former players of his abusive behavior and those of Crawford and now-former Calgary Flames bench boss Bill Peters. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of these tales. 

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Colin Wilson (lower body) will undergo surgery and is expected to be out long term.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks have granted goaltender Jacob Markstrom a leave of absence to attend his father’s memorial service.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki foiled a robbery attempt in Vancouver. He clotheslined a thief off his bicycle, wrestled him to the ground, and retrieved the backpack the man had stolen from a car.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens placed goaltender Keith Kinkaid on waivers and recalled goalie Cayden Primeau and forward Matthew Peca. They also announced defenseman Victor Mete will be sidelined for two weeks with an injured ankle.


NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2019

Updates on Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: cites a recent report by The Athletic’s James Mirtle claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs offered Mitch Marcher between $9 million to roughly $11 million per season depending on the term. The club discussed three, six and seven-year deals with the Marner camp, who are reportedly uninterested in a maximum eight-year deal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are said to have offered Mitch Marner between $9 and $11 million per season (Photo via NHL Images).

It’s believed Marner’s reps sought a deal comparable to teammate Auston Matthews’ five-year contract ($11.6 million annual average value). Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas recently said there was nothing new to report regarding negotiations with Marner but remained confident and optimistic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The breakdowns for each contract was probably $11 million per season for seven years, somewhere around $10 million AAV for six years, and $9 million annually for three. My guess is the Marner camp will keep pushing for five years at close to $11 million AAV.


NHL.COM: Jone Lane wondered if the Boston Bruins can get restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo re-signed before training camp opens next month. He cited Bruins president Cam Neely recently telling NBC Sports the club has to plan and prepare for the possibility both might not report to camp on opening day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $7.2 million in salary-cap space. Unless they can get both blueliners to accept affordable short-term bridge deals, management could be forced to a salaried player to make room for their new contracts. Defenseman Kevan Miller and forwards David Backes and Charlie Coyle have surfaced in the rumor mill as possible trade candidates.


NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: In a recent mailbag segment, J.J. Regan was asked how the Capitals intend to become salary-cap compliant before the start of the season. They currently sit over $1.3 million about the $81.5-million cap. He doesn’t rule out trading defenseman Christian Djoos ($1.25 million) but doubts they’ll go that route because they’ll get next to nothing in return. Regan instead thinks they’ll demote Chandler Stephenson ($1.05 million), as his salary for next season “comes just under the maximum cap relief cutoff for players in the AHL.”

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sean Shapiro believes the Dallas Stars are still waiting for the best offer for defenseman Julius Honka. He thinks a fourth-round pick is a realistic return. However, clubs that could have interest in Honka might prefer to wait and see if they can pick him up off the waiver wire in October.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2019

An update on Phil Kessel plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE SCORE: Phil Kessel is hoping to bring more than scoring to the Arizona Coyotes. He’s also hoping to take on a leadership role with the club.  “I haven’t really got to have that in my career. I think it’s going to be great. I’m going to do whatever I can to help these guys win and help them improve. (If) the young guys have questions or anything they want to talk about, I’m there to talk about it. Try to get our team better and them better.”

Phil Kessel hopes to take on a leadership role with the Arizona Coyotes (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During Kessel’s latter years with the Toronto Maple Leafs he was expected to become more of a leader. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out well. By his own admission, he’s a quiet person and not a “rah-rah guy.”

Kessel’s critics will scoff but he could be an effective leader with the rebuilding Coyotes. He’s now 31 and more mature than he was during his Leafs days. He’s also got more playoff seasoning and now in a market where the spotlight is considerably less harsh compared to his previous NHL stops.

NBC SPORTS: The New York Rangers avoided arbitration with Pavel Buchnevich, re-siging the winger to a two-year, $6.5 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.25 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers are above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $4.1 million, with restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Something’s gotta give via trade or contract buyout. I’ll have more in today’s rumor update. 

NBC WASHINGTON: The Capitals avoided arbitration with forward Chandler Stephenson, inking him to a one-year, $1.05-million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals sit $1.3 million over the cap. They’ll also have to shed salary before the start of the season, though their options will be easier than those facing the Rangers. More on that in the rumors section. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Dominic Turgeon to a one-year contract. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded a conditional sixth-round pick in 2021 to the Edmonton Oilers for prospect defenseman John Marino. 

The Vancouver Canucks extended their affiliation with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. 

SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues are donating equipment to the Hockey Hall of Fame celebrating their first Stanley Cup championship. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2018

Latest on Noah Hanifin, Tobias Enstrom, David Desharnais and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Calgary Flames defenseman and restricted free agent Noah Hanifin said he’s “super close” to signing a long-term deal with his new club, perhaps as long as five years. The Flames acquired Hanifin during the 2018 NHL Draft weekend in a multi-player trade with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Defenseman Noah Hanifin is reportedly close to a new contract with the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanifin is coming off an entry-level contract. If he’s shooting for a five-year deal, my guess is he’ll get in the neighborhood of $5.25 million per season. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Former Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom is returning home to Sweden, signing a contract with Modo. Enstrom, 33, spent 11 seasons in the NHL, starting with the Atlanta Thrashers and moving with the club to Winnipeg in 2011. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson got an extra day with the Stanley Cup and used that opportunity to take the trophy to Humboldt, Saskatchewan. The town’s junior team, the Broncos, was involved in a bus crash in April that killed 16 people, including 10 players. 

“I just wanted to do what I could and help out as much as I could,” Stephenson told reporters Friday. “There’s a lot of talk about it just kind of going in the playoffs that if we were to win the Cup, that this is something that I wanted to do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A touching gesture by Stephenson, which will hopefully help that still-grieving community heal.

CBS SPORTS: Former NHL forward David Desharnais has changed KHL teams, signing with Avangard Omsk. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings apparently will no longer use “Hockeytown” in its center ice logo. The Wing had copyrighted “Hockeytown” in the 1990s as the club went on a 25-year playoff streak that included four Stanley Cup championships. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Hockeytown” era was among the most impressive in NHL history but that time has now passed. The Wings are no longer the dominant franchise they once were. Maybe if they return to those lofty heights in the future, “Hockeytown” will return. 

NBC SPORTS: Arizona has become one of the fastest-growing hockey markets among states with NHL franchises in them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one reason why NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t want to give up on that market. If the Coyotes can finallly get their act together and ice a consistently competitive team, they could build interest in the sport even more. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2018

Game recaps, Mike Fisher returns to the Predators plus updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs rookies Travis Dermott and Justin Holl each scored their first NHL goals as their club blanked the New York Islanders 5-0. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made 28 saves for the shutout. Islanders left Andrew Ladd returned to the lineup after missing nine games with an upper-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s two straight losses for the Islanders (55 points), who failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings. They remain one point out of a wild-card spot. 

Justin Abdelkader’s shootout goal lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

Justin Abdelkader’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout gave the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their fourth consecutive loss. The Wings snapped a five-game home losing skid. 

The Washington Capitals overcame a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals to down the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson scored twice within a 47-second span in the second period. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Mike Fisher has come out of retirement and will rejoin the Nashville Predators roster. He intends to sign a contract with the club before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Fisher retired last August but was encouraged to return by his family, former teammates and members of the Predators coaching and management staffs. The date of his return has yet to be determined. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Preds will likely start Fisher on the fourth line and take it from there. He was an effective two-way center in his prime but was hampered by injury in his final seasons and tallied just four points during the Preds’ run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. I doubt this will alter any plans by Nashville general manager David Poile to add a scoring forward before the trade deadline. 

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury and won’t play in tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon’s injury doesn’t appear too serious at this point. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to just how long MacKinnon could be sidelined. The longer he’s out, the greater the impact upon the Avs’ playoff hopes. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for boarding Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo during the Devils’ 3-1 win on Tuesday. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary (lower-body injury) is questionable for Friday’s game against the Washington Capitals. 

TWINCITIES.COM: With Jaromir Jagr’s departure earlier this week to the Czech Republic, Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cullen, 41, is now the oldest active player in the NHL. 

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired minor-league goaltender Eddie Pasquale from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for future considerations. 

TORONTO STAR: On the 25th anniversary of Gary Bettman becoming NHL commissioner, Kevin McGran “looks at the many faces, controversies and accomplishments of hockey’s top guy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Bettman has justifiably earned his share of criticism over the years, but there’s no question he’s also had a positive effect upon the NHL. His legacy will be felt for decades.