NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2021

The Penguins move into first place in the East, Mika Zibanejad helps the Rangers keep their playoff hopes alive, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored the only goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Boston Bruins 1-0. Tristan Jarry kicked out 30 shots for the shutout as the Penguins took over first place in the MassMutual East Division with 67 points, one up on the Washington Capitals. The Bruins, meanwhile, are in fourth place with 60 points.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Mika Zibanejad carried the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Kaapo Kakko scored twice and Adam Fox collected three assists as the Rangers sit four points back of the Bruins in fifth place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are hanging in there in the East but the Bruins have two games in hand.

Victor Hedman’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brayden Point collected three assists and Ondrej Palat had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (66 points), who move within one point of the second-place Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division. Eric Robinson scored twice for the Jackets.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on a shootout goal by Kevin Hayes. Claude Giroux scored twice in the third period to tie the game. The Flyers played without defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere as he’s sidelined 7-10 days with a sprained knee. The Devils are winless (0-9-1) in their last 10 games.

NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle moved into second place on the NHL’s Ironman list after playing his 915th career game on Saturday. Doug Jarvis is the leader with 964 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yandle has 7 more regular-season games remaining this season. After that, he’ll need 43 games next season to break Jarvis’ record.

NESN: David Backes spoke about retirement being a probability. The 36-year-old Anaheim Ducks winger’s contract expires at the end of this season. He’s in the midst of his 15th season, with four points in 14 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes was a strong two-way forward in his prime with seven 40-plus point seasons on his resume. The first 10 years of his career were his best, all with the St. Louis Blues. Age and injuries, however, caught up with Backes in recent years.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Riley Stillman to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $1.35 million. He was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers earlier this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stillman, 23, is a physical defenseman who struggled to crack the Panthers’ blueline. The Blackhawks, however, are impressed enough with his play thus far to make an affordable investment in his future. His new contract won’t break the bank for the Hawks, who have $73.4 million invested in 19 players for 2021-22 (stick tap to Cap Friendly). They’ll get cap relief if needed with Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million) on permanent long-term injury reserve.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Artem Anisimov was nearly pressed into service as an emergency goaltender during their game on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks after Anton Forsberg and Matt Murray were sidelined by injuries. Marcus Hogberg finished the game for the Senators.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former Canadien Gilles Lupien has been given only five months to live in his battle with intestinal cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Lupien and his family. He spent five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers from 1977-78 to 1981-82, winning two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. He became a player agent, representing such notables as Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford and Sean Couturier.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2020

Players are returning to their respective teams as negotiations continue between the NHL and NHLPA on a format for the 2020-21 season. Check out the latest in the morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Joe Thornton reportedly departed Switzerland yesterday on his way to joining the Maple Leafs. The 41-year-old center played with HC Davos in preparation for a shortened 2020-21 NHL season.

Joe Thornton has left Switzerland to join the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton is among a number of players reportedly returning to their NHL club over the last week or two. His return to North America is seen as another indication the NHL is making progress in its plans toward starting this season in mid-January. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin is looking forward to returning to the ice with his teammates for the first time since the pandemic derailed the 2019-20 regular season. Larkin found it tough mentally dealing with the uncertainty over when this season would begin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are among the seven clubs that missed the playoffs last season. Those teams are expected to begin training camp on Dec. 31, four days before the other 24 clubs.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks’ proposal for a 14-day group quarantine of their players returning from Europe and the United States has apparently been rejected by local health officials. “Everything I’m hearing is that they didn’t accept the group cohort quarantine,” said general manager Jim Benning.

The Canucks presented a training-camp style plan where those players would practice as a group at Rogers Arena with a professional athlete exemption, traveling only to and from the arena and their homes.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA announced Monday they are making progress toward a 56-game schedule for this season. He indicates the majority of players are returning to their teams, especially those in Canada whose players must quarantine for 14 days before joining their teammates.

The focus remains playing in all 31 arenas but Plan B is playing in hub cities. An agreement on a format will have to reached by the end of this week to meet the timeline to open training camps in two weeks’ time.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports the NHL Players Association’s 31-member executive committee could vote as early as Wednesday on a wide-ranging plan for the ’20-’21 season. The NHL Board of Governors would vote on Thursday.

An industry source tells McGran the two sides are working “around the clock on transitional rules and return-to-play protocols, and working to firm up agreements for logistical issues.” Another source tells McGran he doesn’t see any issue that could derail negotiations. “It’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take. I don’t see any reason not to play a season.”

Issues still to be sorted out include the timing for the 2021 NHL Draft and the expansion draft, new dates for free agency if the 2021 playoffs stretch into July, and rules governing cross-border trades.

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks reports players are being told to expect training camp to begin shortly after New Year’s Day. Teams have been told to expect the season to begin between Jan. 13 and 16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: COVID-19 is a pretty good reason not to play but the team owners and the players want this season to take place. With the NFL season ongoing, the NBA opening their season on Dec. 22 and MLB spring training slated to begin on Feb. 27, the NHL doesn’t want to disappear from the sports calendar. The owners want to salvage whatever revenue they can while the players need to get paid.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are expected to hire Cory Stillman as an assistant coach. A two-time Stanley Cup champion during his 16-year NHL playing career, Stillman has worked at the front-office level with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.










Where Are They Now? 2006 Carolina Hurricanes

Where Are They Now? 2006 Carolina Hurricanes