NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

Patrice Bergeron and Brock Nelson each have four-goal performances, the aftermath of the Jack Eichel trade and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron had a natural hat trick (all on the power play) on his way to a four-goal performance as the Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Brad Marchand collected four assists for the Bruins (5-3-0). Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin missed this game for personal reasons as his club’s record fell to 4-5-2.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron, 36, became the second-oldest player behind Johnny Bucyk to score four goals in a game. Bucyk was 38 when he had his final four-goal game back in 1974.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson also tallied four goals as his club whipped the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Anthony Beauvillier had three assists and Zach Parise had two for the Isles (4-2-2) while the hapless Habs fall to 3-9-0. Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin (day-to-day) missed the game with a head injury.

Jordan Eberle tallied the first hat trick in Seattle Kraken history in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (4-6-1) while the Sabres 5-4-1 dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken aren’t going to enjoy an inaugural season like the Vegas Golden Knights did but they’re off to a respectable start. They’re certainly not an easy two points.

The Florida Panthers extended their points streak to 10 games by nipping the Washington 5-4 on an overtime goal by Eetu Luostarinen. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers (9-0-1), who blew 2-0 and 4-1 leads as the Capitals (5-1-4) battled back to force the extra frame. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had three points, including his 740th career goal to put him one behind Brett Hull for fourth on the all-time goal-scoring list.

John Tavares’ game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for William Nylander’s overtime winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-1) rallied to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Pat Maroon scored for the Lightning (5-3-2). The Leafs have won four straight. Tavares took exception to an illegal hit to the head by Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on Mitch Marner, immediately coming to his teammate’s defense. Sergachev received a two-minute penalty. 

The Vegas Golden Knights improved their record to 5-5-0 by dropping the Ottawa Senators 5-1. Robin Lehner made 38 saves for the win and Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators as their record slips to 3-6-1.

An overtime goal by Kris Letang lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-2) over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Tristan Jarry picked up the win with a 36-save effort. The Penguins played without head coach Mike Sullivan as he entered the COVID protocol. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers (5-2-2).

Jamie Benn scored in overtime as the Dallas Stars (4-4-2) broke a four-game skid to snuff out the Calgary Flames 4-3. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen picked up three assists. The Flames (6-1-3) extended their points streak to nine games.

The St. Louis Blues extended their record to 7-1-1 with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues while Joel Hofer had a 23-save performance to win his NHL debut. The Sharks slip to 6-4-0.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: In an interview with Elliotte Friedman, Jack Eichel thanked Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams for trading him to a team where he can under disc replacement surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, as well as providing him an opportunity to continue his playing career elsewhere. The Sabres traded the 25-year-old center on Thursday to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Eichel admitted he initially requested a trade following the 2019-20 season after the Sabres failed to qualify for the playoff bubble. He felt the club was heading toward another rebuild but he didn’t want to be a part of that. The 25-year-old center expressed regret over the club’s inability to improve during his tenure. “I really wish that we had won more for the fans because I felt they really deserved it,” he said.

Eichel also spoke about the impasse with the Sabres over his preferred choice of treatment for his injury. The club preferred a spinal fusion over disc replacement because the latter had never been done on an NHL player before. He understood the Sabres’ rights within the CBA giving them the final say but felt it was his body and thus his decision. He hopes to undergo the surgery next week.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon expects Eichel will be sidelined three-to-five months recovering from the disc replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans have criticized Eichel for not doing more to make the Sabres a better club during his tenure but I think that’s an unfair assessment. He led all Sabres with 355 points in 375 games during his tenure, averaging 0.95 points per game.

The fault lies with the Sabres front office. Three general managers failed to surround Eichel with a strong supporting cast while four different head coaches led to constantly changing systems that hurt some players’ development.

TSN: The New York Islanders traded the rights to defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the Sabres in exchange for future considerations. The move enables the Sabres to remain above the $60.2 million salary-cap minimum after trading Eichel yesterday. Boychuk is on permanent LTIR due to a career-ending eye injury and carries an cap hit of $6 million for this season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed goaltender Scott Wedgewood off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.

TSN: The executive board of the NHL Players Association voted to approve an independent investigation into the union’s handling of sexual assault allegations by Kyle Beach in 2010 against former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich. Beach said he informed the PA of the details of the allegations and blamed Donald Fehr, the union’s executive director, for turning his back on him.

NHL.COM: Marian Gaborik officially announced his retirement from the NHL after 17 seasons. He scored the first goal in Minnesota Wild history and went on to tally 407 goals and 815 points in 1,035 career games with the Wild, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators. He also netted 58 points in 84 career playoff games. He helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Gaborik throughout his career and ultimately brought his playing days to a close. When healthy, he was a talented scorer, tallying 30-plus goals seven times, including three seasons with 40-or-more goals. Best wishes to Gaborik and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2021

Sweden names its first three players to its 2022 Olympic men’s hockey team, more potential trouble for Evander Kane, plus the latest on Robin Lehner, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog are the first names submitted to be part of Sweden’s men’s ice hockey team at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Participating countries were asked to declare their three players last month.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canada’s three were recently revealed as Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. We’ll likely learn more about the other nations’ early three players in the coming days or weeks.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: A report by A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports claims an investigation is underway of San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane over allegations he violated the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols by using a fake vaccination card. In the United States, those who buy a fake vaccination card face six months in jail and a $750K fine.

This news comes following recent reports claiming Kane was being investigated for violating the league’s COVID protocols. The winger was recently cleared of allegations by his estranged wife, Anna, claiming he bet on NHL games. However, they’re also investigating claims of spousal abuse made by Anna.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m assuming this latest report is tied to the earlier one about the league looking into the possibility Kane violated the COVID protocols. If he did use a fake vaccination card, that could become justification for the Sharks to terminate his contract.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner said he’s encouraged about bringing change in hockey following conversations he had with the league and the NHL Players Association. The league reached out to Lehner for an interview after he alleged many teams were giving prescription drugs to players without a doctor’s consent.

This weekend was a cry for help from this league, the league that I love, that has given me so much,” said Lehner. He added the motivation for his recent comments on social media was to protect younger players. Lehner also said he’s encouraged about future discussions on the subject.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the old saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Lehner also received support from former NHL enforcer Tom Sestito, who claimed he was given and used “insane” amounts of the painkiller Toradol and Ambien, which is used to treat insomnia. Sestito said it took a year for him to sleep normally again after he stopped using Ambien. He also credited the Pittsburgh Penguins’ medical staff for helping to wean him off Torodol after he joined the club.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi still hasn’t suited up for a preseason game. The club is being cautious in his return to action after he underwent season-ending back surgery in April. It’s uncertain if he’ll see any preseason games before the season opens next week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz left last night’s preseason game against the Golden Knights with what appeared to be a lower-body injury. He missed all of last season with an injured hip but head coach Jared Bednar said it’s not related to his previous hip problems.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Logan Stanley is listed as day-to-day following a lower-body injury suffered in Sunday’s preseason contest with the Vancouver Canucks.

ESPN.COM: Los Angeles Kings prospect center Quinton Byfield injured his left leg during last name’s exhibition game with the Arizona Coyotes. Linesman Ryan Gibbons was stretchered from the ice following an accidental collision with Coyotes center Liam O’Brien following the national anthem. His condition is unknown.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan suffered a laceration to his forehead after being struck by a puck during last night’s preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres. He received several stitches and returned to his duties.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk could be sidelined at least two weeks following an ankle injury suffered during practice yesterday.

TSN: The Coyotes signed Alex Galchenyuk to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Galchenyuk’s second stint with the Coyotes, having played for them in 2018-19 when he was traded to Arizona by the Montreal Canadiens for Max Domi.

NBC SPORTS: Several prospects are earning positive reviews for their preseason performance thus far. Among them are the Washington Capitals’ Hendrix Lapierre, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Seth Jarvis, and the Ottawa Senators’ Shane Pinto.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2021

The Canadiens force Game 7 against the Leafs, David Pastrnak leads the Bruins to a Game 1 victory over the Islanders, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of their first-round series before 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The seventh and deciding game of this series goes Monday night in Toronto.

Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (NHL Images).

Power-play goals by Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the first half of the third before Jason Spezza and TJ Brodie tied it for the Leafs. Habs goalie Carey Price made 41 saves for the win, including 13 in overtime.

Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game in the third period with an apparent groin injury. Canadiens blueliner Jon Merrill missed his game with an undisclosed injury and could be sidelined 1-2 weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of elimination after Game 4, Montreal has stormed back to set up a winner-take-all match on Monday night. For the second straight game, the Canadiens took a multi-goal lead, the Leafs rallied to tie it, but the Habs get the win on goals by their young forwards.

I expected the Leafs to put forth a better effort in this game after they came out flat in Game 5. Instead, they were worse in Game 6, with only the goaltending of Jack Campbell (especially in the first period when he made 15 saves) preventing a lopsided Montreal victory.

The series momentum has shifted in the Canadiens’ favor, leaving the Leafs reeling as they face the ghosts of recent Game 7 failures. As someone noted on Twitter last night, even if the Leafs win this series, it doesn’t bode well for their Stanley Cup chances when they needed seven games to beat the worst team to qualify in this year’s playoffs.

If the Canadiens pull off this upset, it would be arguably the greatest series comeback in franchise history.

David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their second-round series. David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who lost winger Craig Smith with a lower-body injury. Jordan Eberle had two assists for the Isles. Game 2 is Monday night in Boston. The game was played before some 17,000 fans at Boston’s TD Garden as pandemic restrictions ease in Massachusetts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More fans being allowed back into NHL arenas in recent weeks brings a feeling of normalcy that was missing for most of the regular season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Mike Sullivan will return as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins next season. There were questions about Sullivan’s future following the Penguins’ first-round exit against the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins haven’t formally announced Sullivan’s return. Friedman, however, is among the best-connected insiders in the league. I daresay he’s heard from a reliable team source (President of hockey ops Brian Burke, perhaps?) regarding Sullivan’s status.

CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin injured the AC joint in his left shoulder during Game 7 of his club’s series with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s not expected to require surgery and should be ready for training camp in September.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Brian Daccord, the Coyotes special assistant to the general manager and director of goaltending operations, reportedly resigned from the team.