NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2018

Saturday’s games saw an unusually high number of injuries. It’s no April Fool’s, it’s your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake DeBrusk scored twice and David Krejci collected three assists to lead the Boston Bruins (109 points) to  a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter a potentially lethal blow to their playoff hopes. With the loss, the Panthers (86 points) sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with five games left. The Bruins regained first place in the Eastern Conference but lost defenseman Brandon Carlo (ankle) and center Riley Nash (head) to injuries. They also learned winger Rick Nash, who’s been sidelined with a suspected concussion since March 17, is making progress toward returning to action.

The Devils, meanwhile, extended their lead over the Panthers by nipping the New York Islanders 4-3. Taylor Hall scored twice for New Jersey. Before the game, the Devils honored longtime broadcaster Stan Fischler, who is retiring at the end of this season to spend more time with his family.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (96 points) clinched a playoff berth for the 12th consecutive season by beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. The Penguins sit three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh winger Phil Kessel left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. An update on his status could be made today.

The Vegas Golden Knights (107 points) clinched a playoff berth and the Pacific Division title by defeating the San Jose Sharks 3-2. William Karlsson snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period with his 42nd goal of the season. Before the game, the Golden Knights raised a banner in memory of the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. The team also announced it is retiring No. 58.

Second period goals by Josh Morrissey, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Copp powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jets also welcomed back defenseman Jacob Trouba, who missed the last two weeks with a concussion. Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott left the game in the first period after taking a shot off his left foot.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel collected five assists in a 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

 Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel collected five assists and teammate Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick to lead their club to a 7-4 upset of the Nashville Predators. Sabres defenseman Viktor Antipin was stretchered from the game in the second period after being hit from behind by Predators winger Scott Hartnell, who received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Predators rookie Eeli Tovanen was held pointless in his NHL debut.

Alex Edler scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks squeaked past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. The Jackets forced the extra frame with three goals in the final four minutes of the third period. The loss spoiled a strong game for Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin (four assists) and Seth Jones (one goal, three assists). Columbus sits in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

The Dallas Stars (88 points) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild to move within four points of the St. Louis Blues for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It was a costly loss for the Wild as defenseman Ryan Suter left the game late in the second period with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

Antti Raanta turned in a 34-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes blanked the Blues 6-0. Max Domi and Dylan Strome each collected three assists.

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves backstopping the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard made 31 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season as his club blanked the Ottawa Senators 2-0.

The Calgary Flames snapped a seven-game losing skid by edging the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche received bad news yesterday, as goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body injury) will miss the remainder of the regular-season while defenseman Erik Johnson is out at least six weeks with a fractured patella.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their starting goaltender and top defenseman could be a serious blow for the Avalanche’s playoff hopes. They were able to cope with their absences to injuries earlier in the season and must do the same again if they’re to keep their postseason chances alive. They’re tied with the St. Louis Blues (92 points) but the Blues have the advantage with one more victory. Both clubs have four games remaining. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is on the verge of setting the NHL record for shooting futility. He’s managed just one goal on 183 shots on goal in 79 games this season. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

 











Possible NHL Salary Cap Recapture Candidates

Possible NHL Salary Cap Recapture Candidates

If Henrik Zetterberg retires in two years, the Detroit Red Wings could face salary-cap recapture penalties.

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s recently expressed doubt that he would still be playing when his contract expires in 2020-21. If he officially retires before then, the Wings would be tagged with a salary-cap recapture penalty.

On Jan. 28, 2009, the Red Wings signed Zetterberg to a heavily front loaded 12-year contract in order to garner a lower annual salary-cap hit. Such contracts were a notable loophole in the NHL collective bargaining agreement of the time.

Under the current collective CBA, however, salary-cap recapture penalties were imposed against the teams who signed players to those lengthy, front loaded deals. The later a player retires, the more expensive the cap-recapture penalties. 

We’ve already seen the effects of salary-cap recapture. In 2015, the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of center Mike Richards, which was due to expire in 2020. They were tagged $1.32 million annually for the remaining tenure.

Zetterberg, who turns 37 in October, said he probably only has a couple of seasons left in him, meaning 2018-19 would be his last. Unless the Red Wings are able to place him on long-term injured reserve or find some other creative loophole in the CBA, they’ll be on the hook for $5.5 million annually in salary-cap recapture penalties for the remaining two years of his contract. 

The Wings won’t be able to avoid it by shipping Zetterberg to another NHL team. Because he’s now into the latter half of his contract, Detroit will incur the full recapture penalties.

Zetterberg is among a handful of notable active players still on contracts signed under the previous CBA that evade the eight-year maximum of the current agreement.

While with the Nashville Predators in 2012, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber signed a 14-year contract offer sheet in 2012 with the Philadelphia Flyers. The deal, which expires at the end of 2025-26, was matched by the Predators.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith inked a 13-year contract that began in 2010-11 and expires after 2022-23.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year deal began in 2008-09 and runs through 2020-21.

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed identical 13-year contracts with the Minnesota Wild in 2012. Their deals both expire at the end of 2024-25.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby re-signed a 12-year deal commencing 2013-14 that expires at the end of 2024-25.

Marian Hossa joined the Chicago Blackhawks on a 12-year contract beginning in 2009-10. The final season is 2020-21.

While with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo re-signed a 12-year deal commencing in 2010-11 and runing through 2021-22.

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen re-signed an 11-year deal beginning in 2009-10 that stretches through 2019-20.

While a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2010, Los Angeles Kings forward Carter signed an 11-year contract extension beginning in 2011-12 and running through 2021-22. In June 2011, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and in February 2012 was acquired by the Kings.

Soon after being traded in June 2012 from the Pittsburgh Penguins, center Jordan Staal signed a 10-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. It expires at the end of 2022-23.

In 2010, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom re-signed a 10-year contract with the Capitals that expires at the end of 2019-20.

Following the LA Kings first Stanley Cup championship in 2012, goaltender Jonathan Quick re-signed a 10-year extension commencing in 2013-14. It will expire following the 2022-23 campaign.

If these players retire before the expiration of their current contracts, the teams that signed them will be subject to salary-cap recapture penalties.

Most of those clubs, however, will likely avoid that fate. Carter (32 years old), Quick and Ovechkin (both 31), Backstrom (29) and Staal (28) seem unlikely to retire before their current deals expire within the next six years.

Franzen’s playing career was ended by concussions but he hasn’t officially retired. The Wings annually place him on long-term injury reserve to get salary-cap relief at the start of each season. Unless they trade Franzen’s contract, they’ll continue putting him on LTIR until it expires in 2020.

Hossa will miss the upcoming season due to a skin condition exacerbated by his equipment. The Blackhawks will place him on LTIR. If it persists and forces the end of his career, they’ll keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of his deal.

The contracts of Weber, Keith, Parise, Suter, Crosby and Luongo, however, could become problematic for the teams that signed them.

Weber, 32, will be 40 when his current deal expires. Assuming he retires within the final three years, the Predators could see cap-recapture penalties ranging from over $8 million annually to $24 million.

Luongo is now 38. As James Mirtle noted in 2014, his cap-recapture penalties could get really ugly for the Canucks if he retires within two years of his contract end date, ranging from over $4.2 million to $8.5 million. The Panthers will also be penalized, but at most they’ll get tagged with $1.4 million annually if he retires next year and $1.28 million if retirement is in 2019. In 2020, it would be only $73K and nothing in the final year of his deal. 

Parise (33) and Suter (32) still have eight seasons remaining on their respective deals. If one of them retires in 2020, the cap recapture is over $3.9 million for each of the remaining years. If one or both retire in 2021, it jumps to over $5 million annually. 

While both could continue playing beyond 2021, it’s not a certainty they’ll reach 2025, when their contracts expire. If they retire with two years left on their deals, the cap recapture penalties will be over $6 million annually.

Like Parise and Suter, Crosby’s contract also expires in 2025. As he just turned 30, his chances of completing his contract are better than his two counterparts in Minnesota. However, if he packed it in with three years left on his contract, the Penguins could be on the hook for over $5 million per season.

The 34-year-old Keith has six seasons remaining and will be pushing 40 when it expires in 2023. If he retires before the final season of his contract, the Blackhawks would be penalized $4 million

Given the conditioning of today’s NHL players, most on this list could keep playing throughout the remainder of their respective contracts. Some could join Franzen and Hossa on LTIR.

Still, some could face the possibility of an early retirement, perhaps becoming costly to their current team’s cap payroll.

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2017

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane is showered by hats after scoring his third goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game recaps, post-trade deadline news, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrick Kane’s hat trick powered the Chicago Blackhawks to their fifth straight victory by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. 

Victor Hedman scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and two assists.

ESPN.COM: The 2017 NHL trade deadline was the slowest since 2013. Only 18 deals involving 33 players were made before yesterday’s 3 pm ET deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on yesterday’s deadline and the players who weren’t moved later this morning in my rumors section. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: A mysterious injury to winger Patrick Sharp prevented the Dallas Stars from trading him before yesterday’s deadline. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

PHILLY.COM:  The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $5 million contract extension. They also re-signed center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year extension Wednesday paying him $1.45 million per season. Meanwhile, Flyers forward Michael Raffl will be sidelined 6-8 weeks with a left knee injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Neuvirth signing casts doubt on the future of Steve Mason with the Flyers. He’s an unrestricted free agent and probably won’t be re-signed. Once the June expansion draft has passed, I expect the Flyers could be among the suitors for LA Kings’ pending UFA goalie Ben Bishop. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers forward Jesper Fast will miss two-three weeks with an upper-body injury. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes recalled winger Anthony Duclair from their AHL affiliate. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban was honored yesterday with Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross for his dedication to community service with his charity work in Montreal. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights made their final installment payment on their expansion fee and are now officially part of the NHL. 












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2017



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2017

Edmonton Oilers celebrate one of their goals in their 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

Game recaps, Blackhawks & Kings swing a minor deal, an update on Jack Capuano & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Jordan Eberle scored twice and set up two others while goalie Laurent Brossoit made 38 saves for his first NHL win as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Calgary Flames 7-3, sweeping their season series with their Alberta rival for the first time in history. 

A three-goal third-period outburst in less than two minutes from Erik Haula, Ryan Suter and Jason Zucker powered the Minnesota Wild to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks, who also lost starting goalie John Gibson in the first period to an upper-body injury. No word yet as to how serious Gibson’s injury could be. Suter, meanwhile, had a three-point performance on his 32nd birthday.

The red-hot Washington Capitals extended their points streak to 13 games as Jay Beagle’s overtime goal gave them a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. During the game, the Stars’ game operations crew poked fun at the Trump Administration by announcing on the Jumbotron that their attendance for this game was 1.5 million. 

Ondrej Pavelec made 34 saves, including a team record 25 in the second period, backstopping the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Blues’ recent struggles has one St. Louis pundit speculating they could become sellers at the March 1 trade deadline if they keep losing ground in the standings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending and depth at center are their two significant roster weaknesses. I believe general manager Doug Armstrong might soon become a buyer to address those issues and keep his club in playoff contention

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals as the New York Islanders doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2, giving the Isles their third second straight win since replacing Jack Capuano as coach with Doug Weight. Speaking of Capuano, Newsday reports sources claim at least one team has asked the Isles’ permission to speak with him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on which club has interest in Capuano. Newsday notes only the Florida Panthers and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are without permanent head coaches. Maybe it’s the Boston Bruins, as bench boss Claude Julien is rumored to be on the hot seat. 

Scott Hartnell scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Cody Franson scored the game-tying goal and Zach Bogosian tallied in overtime as the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing Habs goalie Carey Price his fifth loss in his last six starts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it’s any consolation for Canadiens fans, Price has played better in his last two or three games.

Bobby Ryan and Tom Pyatt scored in a shootout as the Ottawa Senators edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. 

David Schlemko’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks their fourth straight win as they nipped the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 3-2. 

Christian Fischer scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut as the Arizona Coyotes snapped a four-game losing streak by holding on for a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Miles Wood scored twice and Keith Kinkaid turned aside 34 shots to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Michael Latta from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling. Both players are expected to remain in the minors. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2016

Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau hoping to reduce Ryan Suter's ice time.

Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau hopes to reduce Ryan Suter’s ice time.

 Updates on Ryan Suter, Cody Ceci and more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines. 

SIRIUS XM NHL (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau aims to reduce the ice time of defenseman Ryan Suter. Noting the depth of his defense corps, Boudreau said he doesn’t believe it’s necessary for the 31-year-old Suter to skate nearly 29 minutes per game. He prefers reducing Suter’s ice time to between 23-25 minutes per game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boudreau’s predecessors certainly over-relied on Suter. It makes sense to shift some of the burden off him over the course of a long season. That will ensure he’s not burned out when the playoffs begin. 

OTTAWA SUN:  Senators general manager Pierre Dorion remains confident of getting restricted free agent defenseman Cody Ceci under contract by the time the season opens in October. Dorion said he’s been in constant contact with Ceci’s agent and expects to get a deal done in the near future. It’s believed the two sides are discussing a short-term deal as the Senators want to evaluate Ceci’s development.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci is also coming off an entry-level contract and has no leverage other than to stage a holdout. That doesn’t appear likely in this case. I won’t be surprised if Ceci agrees to a new two-year deal worth around $3.2 million annually before training camp opens in September. 

MIAMI HERALD: Former Florida Panthers defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson have gotten over their surprise at being traded earlier in the offseason and look forward to skating with their new clubs. Kulikov was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres during the 2016 NHL Draft weekend in June, while Gudbranson was shipped to the Vancouver Canucks in late-May. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Sven Baertschi and his girlfriend were “locked up” by the B.C. SPCA on Friday as part of a charity event to raise funds for animals in need. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  Former NHL star Jeremy Roenick is offering to help pop star Justin Bieber improve his hockey skills.