NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2021

Recaps of Saturday’s action, the Avalanche acquire goalie Jonas Johansson from the Sabres, plus the latest on Connor McDavid, Sean Couturier and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid became the first player to reach 60 points this season as his Edmonton Oilers overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers (42 points), moving them into a tie with the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Scotia North Division. He’s also tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead in goals with 21.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is making a convincing case for the Hart Memorial Trophy this season.

Jack Campbell returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs net and turned in a 30-save shutout to douse the Calgary Flames 2-0. Campbell had been sidelined three weeks with a lower-body injury. Jason Spezza and Zach Hyman scored for the Leafs, who end a three-game losing skid and remain atop the North Division with 42 points with two games in hand over the second-place Oilers. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen was unavailable to back up Campbell because of a lower-body injury, forcing an emergency recall of Michael Hutchinson.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for his 11th straight victory as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Victor Hedman had three assists while Steven Stamkos tallied a goal and picked up an assist. The Lightning (46 points) have the league’s best record and sit atop the Discover Central Division. The Blackhawks (33 points) find themselves tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for fourth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After exceeding expectations through the first two months the Blackhawks appear to be crashing back to earth. They’ve dropped four straight games and seven of nine contests in March.

Panthers’ goaltender Chris Driedger made 21 saves to shut out the Nashville Predators 2-0. Anthony Duclair had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (44 points), who sit two behind the first-place Lightning in the Central Division.

Sidney Crosby collected two assists and Bryan Rust tallied the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New Jersey Devils 3-1. The Penguins played without Branden Tanev as he was a late scratch with an upper-body injury. With 39 points, the Penguins hold a three-point lead over the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

A 31-save shutout by Philipp Grubauer carried the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-0 blanking of the Minnesota Wild. Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists while Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two helpers as the Avalanche (40 points) sit three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Earlier in the day, the Avalanche acquired goaltender Jonas Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs also recalled Adam Werner from their AHL affiliate. The Athletic’s Peter Baugh doesn’t believe the Johansson acquisition resolved the Avalanche’s need for a reliable backup for Grubauer. “The moves feel like a stopgap, not a solution,” he said, pointing out neither Johansson nor Werner has a save percentage better than .900 or more than 15 games of NHL experience.

Mika Zibanejad tallied the game-winner as the New York Rangers upset the Washington Capitals 3-1. Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Rangers confirmed Kris Knoblauch will remain acting head coach for at least two more games as head coach David Quinn remains on the COVID-19 protocol list. They also announced defenseman Jack Johnson will be sidelined for the remainder of the season recovering from core-muscle surgery. Meanwhile, the Capitals (44 points) remain atop the Eastern Division.

A four-goal first period carried the New York Islanders over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Casey Cizikas scored twice while defenseman Thomas Hickey picked up two assists in his first game with the Isles in nearly two years after his career was nearly derailed by injuries. Flyers center Sean Couturier was a late scratch with a lower-body injury. The Isles (44 points) have the same amount of points as Washington but sit second in the East as the Capitals hold a game in hand. The Flyers, meanwhile, remain in fifth place with 33 points.

Shootout goals by Patrik Laine and Oliver Bjorkstand gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Seth Jones tied the game for the Jackets with 29 seconds left in regulation while Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 35 shots for the win. The Jackets are tied with the fourth-place Blackhawks in the Central while the Hurricanes (43 points) are two points back of the second-place Panthers.

The Dallas Stars shut out the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on a 21-save effort by Anton Khudobin. Tanner Kero, Andrej Sekera and Ty Dellandrea were the goal scorers. With 27 points, the Stars move to within five points of the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks for fourth in the Central.

Tomas Tatar tallied the shootout winner as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Vancouver Canucks 5-4, snapping a nine-game losing skid for the Habs in extra time. Tatar also had a goal and an assist in regulation for Montreal. The Canadiens played without Tyler Toffoli, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The win gives the fourth-place Habs (37 points) a two-point lead over the Canucks in the North Division.

Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron each had a goal and three assists to give the St. Louis Blues a 5-2 decision over the San Jose Sharks. Jordan Kyrou scored twice and picked up an assist for the Blues (37 points), who are tied with the Wild in the West Division but remain in fourth place because the Wild have two games in hand. Earlier in the day, they announced forward Oskar Sundqvist is done for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

A hat trick by Derick Brassard carried the Arizona Coyotes over the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Jakob Chychrun had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

Alex Ovechkin reaches another goal-scoring milestone, the Leafs set a team scoring record, the Oilers re-sign Zack Kassian, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 693rd career goal, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club falling 5-4 to the Nashville Predators. The Capitals capitalized on three Predators’ blunders to take a 4-3 lead into the third period, but goals by Ryan Johansen and Yannick Weber sealed the deal for the Preds. Ovechkin moved past Steve Yzerman for ninth on the all-time goals list, one goal behind Mark Messier.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is ninth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list (Photo via NHL Images).

Fists were flying as the Calgary Flames picked up a 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the latest round of the Battle of Alberta. Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk squared off for the second time in as many games, while the most surprising bout featured Calgary center Sean Monahan and Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Andrew Mangiapane scored twice in regulation for the Flames while Monahan potted the only shootout goal. Speaking of Kassian, he signed a four-year, $12.8-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics will claim his new deal is too much for too long. It’s actually right around where a winger of his skills would be. The $3.2 million salary-cap hit isn’t that bad, nor is a four-year deal for a 29-year-old physical forward with decent offensive ability.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Dallas Stars 5-3, setting a club record with four-or-more goals (discounting shootouts) in eight straight road games. Auston Matthews and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. Alexander Radulov tallied twice for the Stars, who learned earlier in the day that winger Roope Hintz is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Quinn Hughes and Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks picked up their fourth straight win by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Canucks (62 points) maintain a three-point lead over the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Steven Stamkos led the way with two goals and an assist. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s ironman streak ended at 460 games as he sat out this contest with an undisclosed injury.

Adam Henrique scored twice to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, who are 1-5-1 in their last seven contests.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will miss three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

Game recaps, the Penguins re-sign Marcus Pettersson, Hall-of-Famer Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: David Perron scored in regulation and the deciding goal in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues edged the Calgary Flames 5-4. Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Sanford each had two points. Blues forward Sammy Blais returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 19, but winger Oskar Sundqvist left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Sean Monahan scored twice for the Flames.

David Perron’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

Three goals in the third period lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis and Mike Reilly each had a goal and an assist. Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. Sabres captain Jack Eichel tallied his career-best 29th goal of the season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.025 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in 2018, the 23-year-old Pettersson has established himself among the Penguins’ top-four defensemen. Should he continue to improve, this contract will be a most economical signing by Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford.

Pettersson’s contract means the Penguins have over $62.7 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Their notable remaining free agents include goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, defenseman Justin Schultz, and forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Dominik Kahun and Jared McCann.

TSN: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ed Belfour was arrested on Tuesday morning in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on mischief and intoxication charges.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Belfour’s third brush with the law related to alcohol-fueled incidents. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in October 2000 and was charged with disorderly intoxication in April 2007.

WINNIPEG SUN: True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre, announced they’ll be implementing a plan to reduce prices on popular concession items such as beer, soda, bottled water, pizza, and popcorn. Over $9 million in venue improvements have been planned for this summer. Ticket prices will rise by 2.1 percent for 2020-21, the lowest increase in six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bloom seems to be off the rose a little for the Jets in Winnipeg. Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press pointed out the club’s eight-year sellout streak ended in October. There have been several games announced as sellouts where there were empty seats.

McIntyre also indicated ticket-sharing partnerships have fallen apart due to rising costs and lack of interest, while the waiting list for tickets has shrunk. He acknowledged part of the problem is the Jets are on pace for their worst home record since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights hired Steve Spott as an assistant coach.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2019

The latest on Mikko Rantanen, the Jets re-sign Neal Pionk, the Blues re-up Oskar Sundqvist, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Don’t expect anyone to sign away Mikko Rantanen from the Colorado Avalanche with an offer sheet. With the Avs carrying plenty of salary-cap space, the 21-year-old right-winger is poised to become the club’s highest-paid player. He could earn between $8 – $10 million annually on his next contract.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen will soon receive a big pay raise (Photo via NHL Images).

Rantanen’s next deal won’t upset linemate Nathan MacKinnon, who currently carries the club’s biggest contract. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said it’s a different landscape compared to when MacKinnon signed his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rantanen’s earned the big raise he’ll get on his next contract. The way MacKinnon’s played over the last two seasons, he’ll eclipse Rantanen’s salary when he’s ready for his next contract in 2023, either from the Avs or another club via the unrestricted free agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Neal Pionk, re-signing him to a two-year, $6-million contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $3 million. The Jets acquired Pionk last month as part of the return from the New York Rangers in the Jacob Trouba trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have around $19.8 million in salary-cap space with RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Andrew Copp to re-sign. Copp had his arbitration hearing yesterday in Toronto and a decision is expected by Tuesday.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues avoided arbitration with winger Oskar Sundqvist, re-signing him to a four-year, $11-million contract. The annual average value is $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big raise for Sundqvist, who earned $700K on his previous contract. His two-way style played a key role in the Blues rise from the bottom of the standings to the Stanley Cup last season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Six years after leaving Western Michigan University to join the Red Wings, defenseman Danny DeKeyser recently earned his general studies diploma. “It was a real good feeling,” said DeKeyser of walking across the stage. “I felt like I had accomplished something.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to DeKeyser for completing his studies.

WGR550.COM: The Buffalo Sabres and Evan Rodrigues are about $1.15 million apart on a new contract. “Rodrigues is asking for a deal that will pay him $2.65 million per-year, while the Sabres are hoping to get him under contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million.” Rodrigues’ arbitration hearing is slated for Tuesday in Toronto.

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights top oddsmakers 2019-20 point projections.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2019

Updates on the Blues and Bruins plus latest on Patrick Sharp, Martin Erat, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist receives one-game suspension (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Oskar Sundqvist received a one-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The incident occurred during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.  Sundqvist will miss Game 3 tomorrow night in St. Louis. 

BOSTON HERALD: Grzelcyk is listed as day-to-day and is in concussion protocol. He didn’t travel with the Bruins but they haven’t ruled him out for Game 3. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp is rapidly rising among the ranks of NBC Sports’ NHL analysts. 

RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS: Former NHL winger Martin Erat has officially retired. He spent 13 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Arizona Coyotes from 2001-02 to 2014-15. Erat spent the past three seasons in the Czech Extraliga. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Erat spent over 10 seasons with the Predators and enjoyed his best seasons in Nashville. However, he’ll be remembered for being traded to the Capitals in 2013 for then-promising prospect Filip Forsberg. Erat lasted only two more seasons in the NHL while Forsberg went on to become a big star with the Predators. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a one-year, $850K contract.