NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2020

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup champions, Victor Hedman wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, plus the latest on the Flyers, Blackhawks, Golden Knights and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the Stanley Cup champions after blanking the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, winning the series four games to two. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 22-save shutout while Brayden Point and Blake Coleman were the goal scorers. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Lightning for a well-deserved championship run under quarantine conditions in Toronto and Edmonton. The Bolts just get better as the playoffs progressed, using their deep roster and solid defensive play to defeat their opponents They never suffered consecutive losses during this postseason. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov finished with 34 points to lead all playoff scorers while linemate Brayden Point was the goal-scoring leader with 14 goals.

Give the Stars credit for getting this far. They gave everything they had against a strong Lightning club in this series but seemed to run out of gas in Game 6.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Interim Stars coach Rick Bowness deflected questions during the post-game press conference over whether he’ll return as Dallas’ bench boss. However, he said he still has the passion to coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars owner Tom Gaglardi and general manager Jim Nill said Bowness earned the right to return as their full-time coach next season. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t. Bowness did a fine job guiding the Stars to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

SPORTSNET: For the ninth straight week, the NHL reported no positive COVID-19 tests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone involved in the NHL return-to-play plan deserves a big round of applause. Their collective goal was to stage a safe environment for a playoff tournament to crown a Stanley Cup champion. Mission accomplished.

TSN: NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr doesn’t expect to see all of next season played under playoff quarantine conditions. However, he suggested the possibility of a hybrid bubble to start next season.

Frank Seravalli reports the league and the PA will meet soon to begin discussions. One concept could be starting the season in four-to-six bubbles in various locations, preferably cities where fans can be allowed into the arenas. At least one bubble would be in Canada, given the current restrictions at the Canada-US border.

Seravalli said the plan could see teams start the season in hybrid bubbles and gradually progress toward teams hosting games in their home arenas and cities with limited capacity before hopefully ramping up to full capacity in time for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA won’t rush into anything. As they did with the return-to-play plan, they’ll take their time to evaluate all their options as they formulate a workable schedule for next season. They’ll also likely evaluate how the NFL and US college football handles their games with fans in the stands. As with the playoff tournament, player safety will be the priority.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Robert Hagg to a two-year, $3.2 million contract extension. Hagg, 25, was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. The Flyers also hired recently-retired forward Chris Stewart as a player development coach.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks traded forward Dylan Sikura to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Brandon Pirri.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumor Mill – September 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumor Mill – September 28, 2020

The latest on the Lightning and Stars in the NHL morning coffee headlines plus updates on Alex Pietrangelo and Braden Holtby and the latest Penguins and Senators speculation in the NHL rumor mill.

MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES

TSN: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said team captain Steven Stamkos will not return for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final. Stamkos returned to the Lightning lineup in Game 3 for the first time since February, scoring a goal but playing only five shifts in the first period.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there. Stamkos was in obvious discomfort following his final shift in Game 3. It’s believed he’s still dealing with an issue tied to the core muscle surgery he underwent in March.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars coach Rick Bowness yesterday said forwards Roope Hintz, Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, defenseman Stephen Johns and goaltender Ben Bishop remain unfit to play.

MLIVE.COM’s Ansar Khan reported Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman confirmed unrestricted free agent defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley won’t be re-signed.

THE SCORE: Forward Chris Stewart announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. He played 668 career games with the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia Flyers, finishing with 160 goals and 322 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Stewart in his future endeavors.

RUMOR MILL

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen cites multiple reports claiming the Golden Knights will aggressively pursue Alex Pietrangelo if the St. Louis Blues defenseman becomes an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9. The Blues are reportedly offering an eight-year deal worth $8-million annually but Pietrangelo is said to be seeking an annual average value of over $9 million.

The Golden Knights have limited salary-cap space but Schoen believes they would “perform the necessary salary-cap gymnastics” to fit in Pietrangelo’s new contract. He said team owner Bill Foley’s financial clout and dogged pursuit of the Stanley Cup makes the Golden Knights among the few clubs willing to spend to the $81.5 million salary cap.

Schoen said the Golden Knights aren’t expected to be active in free agency outside of Pietrangelo. However, he suggested several other blueline targets, such as Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo, Washington’s Brenden Dillon, Calgary’s Travis Hamonic and Carolina’s Sami Vatanen. If they seek depth elsewhere in the roster, New York Rangers winger Jesper Fast and Calgary’s Cam Talbot are among his proposed options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have $76.5 million tied up in 18 players, with goaltender Robin Lehner their most notable free agent. Those “gymnastics” to free up cap space for Pietrangelo could include trading away players under contract for next season, contract buyouts, or acquiring a player on permanent long-term injury reserve. The Golden Knights are also allowed to spend over the cap by 10 percent in the offseason but must become cap compliant when the regular season begins.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Tarik El-Bashir lists the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks among possible destinations for free-agent goalie Braden Holtby. He also included returning with the Washington Capitals if Holtby can’t find better offers in the free-agent market but acknowledged the math doesn’t appear to work there. El-Bashir reports the Capitals asked Holtby’s camp if there was interest in a one-year contract but there wasn’t.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames, Hurricanes, Oilers and Sharks all need a reliable starting goalie. The question is, how much are they willing to pay to get one via free agency. Holtby is coming off a five-year contract worth an annual average value of $6.1 million and likely unwilling to accept a similar or lesser cap hit on his next deal. The Flames, Oilers and Sharks have the most cap space but could be reluctant to invest too much in a goalie during the current economic situation.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Josh Yohe believes the Pittsburgh Penguins recent blueline addition of Mike Matheson could mean veteran Jack Johnson won’t be in the lineup and might not be back at all. With three left-side defensemen, Johnson will either have to play on the right side, become a healthy scratch or get traded. Yohe feels the Penguins will try to move Johnson to a team trying to reach the salary-cap floor, or perhaps package him in a deal involving goalie Matt Murray.

Regarding recent rumors tying the Penguins to Vancouver Canucks rearguard Chris Tanev, Yohe points out they lack the cap space to sign him now. He also said the front office is looking forward to seeing Kris Letang’s performance under his second stint playing for defense coach Todd Reirden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Johnson won’t be easy because of the steady deterioration of his play, but we cannot outright dismiss the possibility, slim as it may seem. He lacks no-trade protection and carries a reasonable cap hit ($3.25 million) through 2022-23. Those two years beyond next season, however, are a sticking point.

Perhaps a budget club would acquire him and buy him out if he’s part of Yohe’s suggested package deal. Cap Friendly indicates the cap hit would be $1.16 million for the next two seasons, rising to over $1.9 million in 2022-23, then falling to over $916K for the final three years.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects more changes for the Senators after they bought out winger Bobby Ryan’s contract last week. Approaching next week’s NHL draft with three first-round picks, GM Pierre Dorion is reportedly listening to all offers as he looks to bolster his roster.

Anders Nilsson’s concussion could push the Senators into the market for a goaltender. Garrioch claims Carolina’s Petr Mrazek or James Reimer, Toronto’s Frederik Andersen, Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray and Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper are available. He said they’re not seeking a long-term solution because they’ve got six goalies in their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes won’t move one of their goalies unless they pursue an upgrade. The same goes for the Leafs with Andersen. Murray is on the block and the Penguins could try to pry away one of the Sens’ first-round picks for him. A first-rounder could also be part of the asking price for Kuemper.










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 – July 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2019

The latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday avoided arbitration with J.T. Compher. The two sides agreed to a four-year, $14-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 million.

Colorado Avalanche re-sign J.T. Compher to a four-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Compher, 24, has developed into a reliable, versatile forward for the Avalanche. Last season, he became the first player since Joe Sakic to scored three shorthanded goals, three power-play goals, and three game-winners in the same season. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Police consider the death of Greg Johnson a likely suicide. The former NHL player died at his Michigan home last week at age 48. A gun and a single bullet was found near his body. Johnson suffered multiple concussions during his career but his wife said he displayed no signs of depression or other symptoms related to CTE. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an extra measure of tragedy to Johnson’s passing. My condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights granted the wish of teenage cancer survivor Doron Coldwell by making him a Golden Knight for a day. He received a team jersey and goaltending gear, received pointers from Marc-Andre Fleury, and skated with the players at the team’s practice facility. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of the Golden Knights, forward Ryan Reaves is getting into the brewing business. He received approval for a brewery license from the city council. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Chris Stewart to a professional tryout offer. A 10-year NHL veteran, Stewart spent last season playing for the Nottingham Panthers of the English Elite Ice Hockey League. 

NBCS CHICAGO’s Charlie Roumeliotis reports Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman remains hopeful of signing forward Brendan Perlini. 

TSN: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Ryan Spooner signed a one-year contract with Switzerland’s HC Lugano. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Joe Hicketts to a two-year contract. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2018

Latest on Jack Eichel, Coyotes re-sign Christian Dvorak and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports Jack Eichel is ready to lead a locker room of new faces following a summer of change for the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel believes the additions of veterans Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka will bring a good element to the club, while Jeff Skinner and Conor Sheary will improve the Sabres’ speed and skill. 

Center Jack Eichel could take on more of a leadership role with the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres played without a captain in 2017-18. Eichel could become the top candidate for the role this season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday announced they re-signed center Christian Dvorak to a six-year, $26.7-million contract extension. The annual average value is $4.45 million and takes effect in 2019-20. While the big raise and lengthy term for a player with only two years and 70 points on his NHL resume, Coyotes general manager John Chayka believes Dvorak will continue to improve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak put up decent numbers in his first two NHL campaigns, averaging 35 points per season. If the 22-year-old blossoms as a two-way center this deal will turn into a long-term bargain for the Coyotes. If he doesn’t, this contract will become fodder for Chayka’s critics.

UNITED STATES HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, former NHL player and coach Gordon “Red” Berenson and former NHL referee Paul Stewart are among the 2018 class of inductees into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. Natalie Darwitz and Leland “Hago” Harrington round out this year’s class. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to this year’s inductees. The ceremony will take place in Nashville on Dec. 12. 

TSN: Travis Yost explored salary-cap allocation among the 31 NHL teams for 2018-19. On average, each clubs allots “$42 million for forwards, $22 million for defencemen, $7 million for goaltenders, and about $9 million in unallocated cap space.”

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former NHL defenseman Enrico Ciccone will be a candidate for the Quebec Liberal Party in the next provincial election. In recent years, Ciccone was a sports columnist on radio and television. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid enjoyed a five-point performance in a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored four goals and collected an assist to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leon Draisaitl had a three-point night with a goal and two assists for the Oilers, who’ve now won five of their last seven games.

Three unanswered third-period goals gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 7-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Leafs forwards Auston Matthews and William Nylander each had two goals and an assist. Ducks winger Corey Perry set up all of his club’s goals.

The Leafs had a bit of a scare when goalie Frederik Andersen left the game in the second period after being accidentally struck in the mask by one of Perry’s skates. While Andersen didn’t return, Leafs coach Mike Babcock believes the netminder will be fine.

The Nashville Predators overcame a 4-2 deficit to edge the New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Predators while teammate Roman Josi tallied the game winner.

Tyler Seguin and Martin Hanzal scored to lift the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Florida Panthers goaltender Harri Sateri and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 4, 2018.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey suffered a concussion and defenseman Marc Staal a cervical strain as the result of unpenalized hits during Saturday’s game against Nashville. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault considers Staal as day-to-day. Predators forward Filip Forsberg received a three-game suspension for his hit on Vesey. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: It’s been a rough season back with the Blackhawks for struggling winger Brandon Saad, as he’s now been relegated to the fourth line. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Chris Stewart is trying to remain positive after being a healthy scratch in three of his last six games. With the Wild roster finally at full strength, there isn’t enough playing time to go around. 

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings traded minor-league defenseman Zac Leslie to the Vegas Golden Knights for future considerations.