NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2021

The Islanders advance to the semifinals, the Norris Trophy finalists are announced, plus the latest on Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 6-2 victory over the Boston Bruins to end their series in six games. Brock Nelson scored two second-period goals to snap a 1-1 tie while Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves for the win. Brad Marchand tallied both Bruins goals. The Isles face the Tampa Bay Lighting for the second straight year in the third round.

New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were the better team in this series. They took control of this game in the second on those goals by Nelson with Kyle Palmieri making it 4-1 in the final minutes of the frame.

The Bruins were without sidelined defensemen Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller. Goaltender Tuukka Rask acknowledged he was hampered by a nagging injury, raising questions over coach Bruce Cassidy’s decision to play him in this crucial game.

Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele still doesn’t believe he deserved a four-game suspension for charging Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans during their second-round series. “I thought I was going to be tried to be shut down by (Canadiens center) Phillip Danault,” said Scheifele. “Instead it was the Department of Player Safety that shut me down.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele shut himself down. He let his frustration get the better of him. Rather than accept the Game 1 loss and put the focus on rallying back in Game 2, he made a reckless hit that took himself out of the series. It contributed to the Jets getting swept from the second round by the Canadiens. Scheifele’s suspension is his fault. The sooner he accepts it the better.

Speaking of Evans, he resumed off-ice training yesterday after suffering a concussion from Scheifele’s hit that sidelined him for the rest of the second-round series. There’s no timeline for his return to play but Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said he could return at some point in the semifinals. Defenseman Jeff Petry could also return for the semis after injuring his right hand in Game 3 against the Jets.

SPORTSNET: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers claims he felt 100 percent during the playoffs but revealed he suffered a posterior labrum tear in his shoulder and a first-rib cartilage fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries affected Ehlers’ play as he managed just three points in six games. He enjoyed perhaps the best performance of his career during the regular season, tallying 46 points in 47 games.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin hired Ray Shero as senior advisor. Shero is the former general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks hired former Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw as an assistant coach. He’s expected to help the Canucks improve their porous defense.

THE SCORE: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban will serve as an ESPN in-studio NHL analyst for the remainder of the playoffs. The company is also reportedly hiring NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, as well as A.J. Mleczko Griswold and Ryan Callahan. Turner Sports, meanwhile, is bringing about NBC/Sportsnet analyst Anson Carter.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action, Dylan Larkin and Jakob Silfverberg are done for the season, P.K. Subban confirms COVID-19 diagnosis, Joe Thornton fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames kept their fading playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Sean Monahan scored the winning goal and collected two assists as the Flames (43 points) sit six points behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the Scotia North Division. Flames winger Josh Leivo missed the game after landing on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list while Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin was sidelined by an illness unrelated to COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if Leivo has the coronavirus or if this was a false positive. The rest of the Flames and their staff tested negative. They must sweep the next two games against Montreal to have a realistic chance of staying in the postseason chase.

Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick and goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 36 saves in his NHL debut as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Boston Bruins 6-4. Boston captain Patrice Bergeron missed the game with a suspected lower-body injury. The Bruins hold fourth place in the MassMutual East Division with 60 points.

The New York Rangers gained some ground on Boston with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist to give the Rangers 54 points, putting them six back of the Bruins.

A two-goal performance by rookie Kirill Kaprizov carried the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Cam Talbot kicked out 40 shots for the win as the Wild (63 points) move within three points of the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. The Kings (40 points) remain five points behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov leads all NHL rookies with 21 goals and 40 points. He’s played a key role in the Wild’s solid performance and is the favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy this season.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. The Predators sit in fourth place in the Discover Central Division with 54 points, sitting four up on the Dallas Stars and five ahead of the Blackhawks.

HEADLINES

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury. He’s currently their leading scorer with 23 points in 44 games.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg underwent season-ending hip surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months. He could miss the start of training camp in September.

TSN: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban took to social media Friday to confirm he’s dealing with COVID-19. He said the coronavirus “hit me pretty hard” but expects to be “back in the mix soon.” He thanked his supporters for their well-wishes, telling them to take care of themselves.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He could miss today’s game against the New York Islanders.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness is hopeful Tyler Seguin will make a return to play next week after being sidelined since the fall by hip surgery. However, he maintained he won’t rush the center’s decision to return.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton was fined $3,017.24 by the NHL department of player safety for interfering with Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault on Thursday.

TSN: Leafs defenseman Zach Bogosian is out for four weeks with an injured shoulder.

YAHOO! SPORTS: WWE executive Nick Khan said it’s his company’s belief that the partnership between NBC and the NHL could end following this season. The remarks came in response to a question over whether the shuttering of NBCSN might create scheduling conflicts between WWE and the NHL on USA Network.

The NHL’s contract with NBC expires at the end of this season. ESPN has a new deal in place with the league for most of its US broadcast coverage. There’s speculation Disney, ESPN’s parent company, is in the process of working out a deal for the entire NHL slate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk of the NHL making a deal with NBC or another media company like Fox Sports or Turner Sports to split its coverage with ESPN. That could no longer be the case if Khan’s remarks are anything to go by.










What Next For The New Jersey Devils?

What Next For The New Jersey Devils?

 










Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2021

The latest on the Leafs, Bruins and Devils plus an update on Pavel Buchnevich in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE LEAFS TRADE ANDERSEN?

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski reports there’s talk the Maple Leafs should shop Frederik Andersen before the upcoming trade deadline despite his history of regular-season success. He’s battling a lower-body injury and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Backup Jack Campbell has put up better numbers in limited action this season but has also had his injury woes this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Zwolinski speculates Andersen could be in a backup role in the coming spate of games to work with goaltending coach Steve Briere. After that, he feels Andersen should return to the starter’s role or be dealt before the April 12 deadline. “There’s no sense keeping a $5 million-a-year goalie in the backup role for long.” However, he acknowledged the risk that Andersen could help another team make a long playoff run.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby doesn’t see Andersen going anywhere. The Leafs lack an experienced third option within their system as witnessed by Michael Hutchinson’s inconsistent play. The 14-day quarantine for players acquired from American clubs leaves little time to break in a new acquisition, there’s limited salary-cap space and management is focused on a top-six forward and blueline depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen’s critics don’t care about those points raised by Hornby, they just want him gone. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, however, probably doesn’t share that view for exactly the reasons espoused by Hornby. Besides, it’ll take a fair bit of creativity and salary-cap gymnastics to ship out Andersen, bring in a suitable replacement and still pursue a top-six winger and perhaps a defenseman.

If the Leafs were to attempt to trade Andersen there might not be much of a market for his services. Many contenders have limited salary-cap space and more pressing issues elsewhere on their roster.

NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes recently reported sources claiming interest in heating up in Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier (though he’s currently sidelined) and San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk. Those options could be more palatable to teams seeking goaltending depth for the playoffs.

WHAT WILL THE BRUINS DO AT THE DEADLINE?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty was asked what the Bruins will do to address their anemic secondary scoring and injury-battered blueline. He cautions against giving up too much for a short-term fix for a club that might not be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender this season.

Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm would be a great fit on the Bruins’ defense but he won’t move the needle offensively. He doesn’t consider Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall a pure goal scorer. Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell might be a better option but Haggerty is leery of taking him on, pointing to the Ducks’ offensive woes and low position in the standings. Other trade targets could be Detroit’s Bobby Ryan, Anthony Mantha or Marc Staal or New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri or Dmitry Kulikov.

Jimmy Murphy recently reported multiple sources claiming the Bruins are scouting Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard. GM Don Sweeney is also continuing to monitor the situation with Ekholm and St. Louis Blues rearguard Vince Dunn. The Predators and Blues recently scouted the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney is being lambasted daily by his critics as Boston clings to the final playoff spot in the MassMutual East Division. Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have $5.9 million in trade deadline cap space. However, their lack of sufficient tradeable assets makes it difficult to outbid other clubs in the trade market.

Haggerty made a great point that it might not be worthwhile wasting futures on short-term fixes on a club whose Stanley Cup window may be closed. That’s something Sweeney must carefully consider. Sacrificing the future for immediate returns that might not advance their Stanley Cup hopes will only cost them down the road, especially when they have aging core players like Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand.

WILL THE DEVILS MOVE PALMIERI OR SUBBAN?

NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross wonders if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will target Kyle Palmieri before the trade deadline. The New Jersey Devils’ winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Lamoriello is in the market to replace sidelined captain Anders Lee, who suffered a season-ending knee injury. Gross believes Palmieri would be a good fit as he plays the type of hard-edge game Isles coach Barry Trotz prefers. He’s also tallied at least 24 goals in each of his full five seasons with the Devils.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW (via FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW): Jimmy Murphy reports Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is surfacing more frequently in trade rumors. He has a year remaining on his contract with a $9 million salary-cap hit but there’s a sense Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald would be willing to pick up a good portion of it. Subban has improved his defensive play while still logging big minutes and can still contribute to the power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri has expressed an interest in re-signing with the Devils and the two sides are said to have engaged in preliminary discussions. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald could consider moving the veteran winger if the cost of re-signing him proves too expensive. His current cap hit is $4.65 million and he could seek a substantial pay raise.

Murphy also pointed out Subban’s contract could be difficult to move right now even if the Devils picked up half his cap hit. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t be moved in the offseason but a trade-deadline deal seems remote.

UPDATE ON BUCHNEVICH

NEW YORK POST: A week after suggesting the Rangers face an important decision on whether to re-sign or move Pavel Buchnevich at the trade deadline, Larry Brooks believes the answer is re-signing the winger. He points out Buchnevich has become a productive top-six winger and a complete player with a strong work ethic at both ends of the ice, suggesting the Blueshirts re-sign him to a four- or five-year deal worth $5.5 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buchnevich is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility. It’ll be interesting to see what he and the Rangers eventually agree to.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 21, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 21, 2021

Analysis of the Canadian NHL teams before the trade deadline plus the latest on P.K. Subban, Conor Garland and Marcus Sorensen in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON THE CANADIAN NHL TEAMS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks have decided to hold off on becoming sellers now that they’ve climbed back into the Scotia North Division playoff race. They want to see how things play out and as a result has slowed things down in the trade market. The Columbus Blue Jackets are another club holding off after battling back into the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers aren’t buying into the Canucks’ recent improvement and believe they should remain sellers at the deadline. Still, management can’t be faulted for wanting to see if they can make a serious run for a postseason berth. If they falter over the next two weeks it won’t hurt their status as sellers, especially among other Canadian teams as none of their players would have to undergo quarantine if traded within Canada.

Chris Johnston believed it could be a quiet trade deadline for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. GM Ken Holland may be reluctant to trade draft picks this year plus they have limited cap space. The Flames, meanwhile, would like to add some forward depth but may have made their big move by bringing back Darryl Sutter as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Holland does make a move it’ll likely be a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. Given that constraint, he could find it difficult bringing in a player who significantly improves the Oilers’ depth. The Flames, meanwhile, are reportedly seeking a right-shot right-winger. They might have to consider an affordable rental like Detroit’s Bobby Ryan.

Johnston considers the Winnipeg Jets the wild card among Canadian teams heading toward the trade deadline. They’ve already acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois and are looking for a defenseman but they must consider if they want to put that player through a 14-day quarantine as Dubois had to endure before joining their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff hasn’t ruled out taking another swing in the trade market. The Jets have been linked to Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm and Columbus’ David Savard.

The Athletic’s Murat Ates believes Cheveldayoff won’t wait until deadline day to make his move because they’re using long-term injury reserve space on Bryan Little. That $2.8 million in cap relief doesn’t prorate and won’t increase as the season goes on.

Friedman believes the amount of interest in the Ottawa Senators’ pending UFAs will determine how busy they are at the deadline. While Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has hinted he might not be busy in the trade market because of salary-cap constraints, Friedman points out he’s been unafraid to make big moves and not everyone is convinced he won’t do anything.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The notable Senators UFAs include defensemen Braydon Coburn, Erik Gudbranson and Mike Reilly.

What will Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas do at the 2021 Trade Deadline? (NHL.com)

Friedman pointed out Bergevin has tradeable assets. He has 11 picks in rounds two through five of this year’s draft. Players like Tomas Tatar, Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron, Joel Armia and Victor Mete have surfaced in trade speculation. If Bergevin or his fellow Canadian GMs make a move for a player on an American club it’ll likely happen within the next 10 days. The 14-day quarantine means a player acquired at the April 12 deadline won’t be available until April 27.

While Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is seeking a forward, Johnston doesn’t rule out the possibility he’ll acquire a defenseman. He acknowledged the Leafs have limited cap-space resources and he’s heard them linked to a couple of blueliners. Friedman notes there were questions if the Leafs will do anything in goal given how things are going with starter Frederik Andersen. However, he thinks they’ll stick with what they’ve got.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s tricky enough for the Leafs to add a forward. It could get more complicated trying to also bring in a defenseman or a goaltender. Given their cap constraints, it appears they can only suitably address one need unless Dubas and his capologist have a trick or two up their sleeves.

Blueliners believed to be available include Ekholm, Savard, Anaheim’s Josh Manson (currently sidelined), Buffalo’s Brandon Montour and Colin Miller, and Arizona’s Alex Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson (who has a full no-movement clause).

As for goaltenders, rental options include Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier (currently sidelined), San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk and Arizona’s Antti Raanta. If Dubas feels the need to bring in a long-term replacement for Andersen (who’s a UFA this summer) I don’t see him addressing that need until the offseason.

SUBBAN, GARLAND AND SORENSEN AVAILABLE?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks points out P.K. Subban is having a pretty good season with the New Jersey Devils. Subban has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $9 million. Brooks suggests he’d be a good option for clubs seeking a right-side defenseman if the Devils agreed to pick up half of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move could take place in the offseason if at all. Subban’s stock tumbled over the last couple of years. He’ll need another solid effort with the Devils to convince clubs he’d be worth pursuing. Besides, the Devils could be content to let him play out the final year of his contract and evaluate his value as a rental player next season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports teams have shown an interest in Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland. He doesn’t believe it’s a move the Coyotes want to do but perhaps they’d consider it for the right price if it allows them to restock.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On one hand, it makes no sense for the offensively anemic Coyotes to trade their leading scorer. On the other, we don’t know what first-year GM Bill Armstrong has in store for his club so we can’t dismiss trading Garland at the deadline unless Armstrong shoots it down.

Chris Johnston reports San Jose Sharks forward Marcus Sorensen has drawn some interest from Canadian teams. He’s a UFA this summer with an affordable $1.5 million cap hit this season. Johnston believes he’ll be moved at the trade deadline.