NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

The latest on Tuukka Rask, Mika Zibanejad, and Jack Eichel, plus the latest signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opened up about his decision to leave the 2020 playoff bubble in August to attend to a family emergency.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

He based the decision on a phone call from his family indicating his young daughter was ill and an ambulance was called. “So obviously at that point, my mind is spinning and I’m like, ‘I need to get out of here’”, said Rask, adding he had no regrets about returning home.

Rask also said his preference is to stay with the Bruins beyond this season. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July and was the subject of offseason trade rumors. The 33-year-old goalie appeared open to talking contract during the season. “If they don’t, we’ll just wait it out and see what happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask caught flak from some Bruins fans upset over his decision to leave the club but he had the full support of the club, including his teammates. In my opinion, he did the right thing by putting his family first as any decent parent would.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad missed his third straight day of practice but the club remains optimistic he’ll be ready in time for their season-opener against the New York Islanders on Jan. 14. Zibanejad, 27, has been sidelined for undisclosed reasons.

WGR550: Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson joined their Buffalo Sabres teammates on the ice yesterday after each was recently sidelined by upper-body injuries. Meanwhile, Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons’ season is over before it began, undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring injury. His recovery period is expected to last six months.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension yesterday. The annual average value is $5.4 million.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked forward Luke Kunin to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. The AAV is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on both signings here.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw admitted he considered retirement during his 14-month recovery from post-concussion symptoms. Shaw says he’s now fully recovered and excited about resuming his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw’s gritty style of play contributed to his injuries. It’ll be interesting to see if he changes his game.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes received approval from the City of Glendale allowing 25 percent capacity (3,450 fans) during their six home games in January.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are also allowed 25 percent capacity (around 5,000 fans) at the BB&T Center to start the upcoming season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are permitted to allow 23 percent capacity (3,900 to 4,000 fans) at the Amelie Arena to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Lightning reached an agreement with the Panthers to share their AHL affiliate (Syracuse Crunch) for the 2020-21 season. The Panthers affiliate (Charlotte Checkers) opted out of playing this season because of the pandemic.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2019

Hurricanes to match the Canadiens offer sheet to Sebastian Aho, Darryl Sutter joining the Ducks coaching staff, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said his club intends to match the five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet Sebastian Aho signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Dundon called the offer a “waste of time”, shrugging off paying out over $21 million in signing bonuses over the next 12 months as “no big deal.”

Dundon insinuated Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was manipulated by Aho’s agent Gerry Johansson. He also dismissed talk that Aho wanted to leave the Hurricanes. “I have not heard Sebastian say that. If he said that it would be different but he didn’t. So the fact that an agent said it means that there’s no credibility to it.”

The Hurricanes have until July 8 to match the offer. General manager Don Waddell indicated that would come “in the time frame allotted by the CBA.”

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Johansson denied manipulating or misleading Bergevin into making that offer sheet to his client. “I do not think I’m so smart and Marc Bergevin is a very bright man.”

The Carolina Hurricanes intend to match the offer sheet Sebastian Aho signed with the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Bergevin is drawing criticism from fans and pundits for not being more aggressive in his offer. The Canadiens offer was a calculated gamble that failed. However, it leaves them no worse off than before they signed Aho. 

Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens still have over $11 million in salary-cap room and 12 picks in next year’s draft, including two-second rounders and four fourth rounders. Perhaps their “Plan B” is targetting teams with limited cap space looking to shed salary.

Dundon and Waddell are putting a positive spin on this situation. But if reports are true they were playing hardball with the Aho camp prior to July 1, they’re the reason the 21-year-old center became a tempting target for an offer sheet.

It was rumored the Canes offered eight-years between $6 to $7.5 million per season. They must now pay Aho over $8.4 million annually for three fewer years, making him eligible for UFA status at 26. Dundon might brush off paying over $21 million in signing bonuses but I’ll wager that wasn’t part of his original plan. 

ANAHEIM CALLING: Former Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter is joining the Anaheim Ducks’ coaching staff. Meanwhile, CBS Sports reports the Ducks signed goaltender Anthony Stolarz to a two-year, $1.5-million contract. 

AZCENTRAL.COM/THE ATHLETIC: The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Lawson Crouse to a three-year contract worth an annual average salary of $1.53 million. Meanwhile, assistant coach Scott Allen won’t be returning with the club. 

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman C.J. Smith to a two-year, $1.4-million contract. 

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $975K contract. 

TSN: The NHL alleges in a recent court filing they are not to blame for the injuries and health problems of former player Steve Montador. He was “posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death in 2015.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers trade Cam Talbot to Flyers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nino Niederreiter scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. The victory moves the surging Hurricanes (66 points) within one point of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

The Edmonton Oilers traded goalie Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images).

Following the game, the Oilers traded goaltender Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for goaltender Anthony Stolarz. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers and Flyers were discussing this deal since Thursday. The move clears Talbot’s $4.16-million annual average value from the Oilers’ salary-cap payroll to make room for defenseman Andrej Sekera, who’s returning to action after missing most of this season to injury.

The Flyers get an opportunity to see if Talbot, who’s friends with Carter Hart, can make a good backup and mentor for the young rookie netminder. If he works out, the Flyers will probably re-sign him to provide additional stability between the pipes. 

The Buffalo Sabres failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings, falling 6-2 to the New York Rangers. Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice and set up another for the Rangers. The Sabres (63 points) remain four points out of a wild-card berth. 

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider picked up his first win since Dec. 27, 2017, in a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Nico Hischier tallied the winner in overtime as the Devils overcame a three-goal deficit. The Wild (60 points) are clinging to the final Western Conference playoff spot, sitting one point up on the Vancouver Caucks. 

Jaroslav Halak turned in a 30-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed Brian Gibbons on waivers

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz has been activated off injured reserve and could play this afternoon against the Calgary Flames. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner has suffered a minor injury and won’t travel with the club for today’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have called up defenseman Luke Schenn from their AHL affiliate in Utica. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Joe Morrow is sidelined two-to-three weeks with a lower-body injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2019

Game recaps, Wild re-sign Stalock, Hurricanes re-up Martinook, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Kyle Connor scored twice in regulation and tallied the shootout winner as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron also scored two goals while linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak collected three points each. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor led his club to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images).

Conor Sheary’s third-period goal gave the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner tallied his 31st goal of the season. 

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 38 saves to shut out the New York Rangers 1-0. Oskar Lindblom netted the only goal as the Flyers picked up their fifth straight win. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-upped winger Jordan Martinook to a two-year, $4-million deal. 

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed backup goaltender Alex Stalock to a three-year, $2.355-million contract. The annual average value is $785K. 

NJ.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard won’t receive supplemental discipline for his elbowing penalty on Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen, opening a gash on Vatanen’s forward. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NHL and admitted into stage two of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program for his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse.

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled Mark Letestu, who’s spent the season in the minors. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens players Gerry Plamondon passed away Saturday at age 95. Plamondon was the last surviving member of the Canadiens’ 1946 Stanley Cup championship roster. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates, Sabres suspend Berglund, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:  Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each scored twice and linemate Nathan MacKinnon had a four-point game as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 6-4. Rantanen’s personal point streak has reached 14 games. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There seems no stopping the Avalanche’s top line. Rantanen (56 points) and MacKinnon (52 points) sit one-two in the NHL scoring race while MacKinnon and Landeskog (21 goals apiece) sit among the league’s leading goal scorers. 

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov’s first career hat trick powered his club to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

Aleksander Barkov’s first career hat trick, including the game-winner in overtime, lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs, who overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force the extra frame. The Leafs have dropped four of their last five games, including two overtime defeats.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal in his last three games to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Ovechkin now has a league-leading 29 goals. Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice in a losing cause. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced forward Patrik Berglund was suspended indefinitely for failing to report to the teams. It’s unknown when or if he’ll return and the reason behind the suspension is unclear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berglund joined the Sabres this summer from St. Louis as part of the deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Blues. He has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.85 million. Berglund spent most of this season on the checking lines and was a healthy scratch for a couple of games. It remains to be seen if he’ll return to the club later this season or if we’ll find out the reason behind his suspension. 

The Calgary Flames picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by downing the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in a fight-filled contest. Matthew Tkachuk tallied the winner in the third period. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. An update on his status is expected later today.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a two-goal lead but Phil Kessel’s overtime tally gave them a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 38 saves in his first start since Nov. 17. Penguins winger Tanner Pearson commemorated his first game against his former club with a goal. Earlier in the day, the Penguins revealed defenseman Kris Letang (left-leg injury) is listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news on Letang comes as a relief for the Penguins, as there were fears his injury would sideline him for a lengthy period. With Justin Schultz out of the lineup until March, they cannot afford to lose their best defenseman. 

Four unanswered third-period goals gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators and head coach Claude Julien his 600th career NHL victory. Habs captain Shea Weber potted the game-winning goal after Artturi Lehkonen’s goal was overturned on a questionable diving call.

A three-goal first period enabled the Vancouver Canucks to cruise to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Canucks winger Brock Boeser had a goal and an assist. Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss is stoking speculation over head coach Dave Hakstol’s future with the struggling club.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal scored the only goal in a shootout to give his club a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Barzal also had a goal and an assist in regulation play. Red Wings winger Thomas Vanek had a three-point night, including the game-tying goal.

Daniel Sprong scored twice to give the Anaheim Ducks a 2-1 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling to crack the Pittsburgh Penguins roster, Sprong seems rejuvenated with the Ducks, netting three goals in five games. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Jusse Saros kicked out 33 shots in regulation and overtime and Ryan Johansen potted the game-winner in a shootout to defeat the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom will miss six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair an injured finger. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.375 million. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slight pay bump from the $1.15-million AAV of his current contract. This should also put to rest any speculation suggesting he could be a trade candidate. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Erik Haula underwent knee surgery last month and is unlikely to return this season. 

THE SCORE: A fan at the United Center got into a scrap with Chicago Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk following the club’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Police were notified and the team is looking into the incident. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tommy Hawk gave a good account of himself in this slobber knocker. You know the Blackhawks season is going poorly when a fan starts taking out his frustrations on the mascot. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2018

Updates on Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews plus the latest notable contract signings in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was name Best Male Athlete at the 2018 ESPYs. (Photo via NHL Images)

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete during the 2018 ESPYs on Wednesday. He’s the first NHL player to win the award. Ovechkin led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history this spring, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is renowned for his physical two-way game, but he’s hoping to return to the more offensive style of his early-20s, when he was more of a skill player.

Now 30, Toews said he hopes to recapture “that energy, that motivation, that excitement and that mindset of a young player that just takes nothing for granted, that you had in your younger days.”

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks avoided salary arbitration with forward Chris Tierney yesterday, signing him to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of over $2.93 million.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed goaltender Anthony Stolarz to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $761K at the NHL level.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers re-signed forward Josh Currie to a two-year contract. The 25-year-old Charlottetown native spent the past three seasons with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Cap Friendly indicates the deal is worth an annual average value of $675K at the NHL level. 

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders announced the hiring of former Hamilton Bulldogs head coach John Gruden as an assistant coach.