NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2023

Recaps of Wednesday’s games include comeback wins by the Canucks and Oilers, plus the latest on the Sabres’ Tage Thompson, the Kings’ Pierre-Luc Dubois and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Quinn Hughes lifted the Vancouver Canucks over the New York Islanders 4-3. Hughes, Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Canucks overcome a 3-1 deficit to move into first overall in the Western Conference with 25 points (12-3-1) to sit one point back of the first overall Boston Bruins. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the slumping Islanders (5-6-4) as they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vegas Golden Knights have an identical record but the Canucks hold first place in the West with 11 regulation wins.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (NHL Images).

The Canucks are off to an impressive start to this season. A big reason is they’re getting strong performances thus far from Hughes, Boeser, Miller, Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko.

Hughes, Pettersson and Miller are tied for the league lead in points with 26, Boeser is tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor for the goal-scoring lead (13), Hughes is the overall assists leader (20) and Demko is among the goaltending leaders with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and two shutouts.

The Canucks got some bad news earlier in the day as they announced defenseman Carson Soucy will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a leg injury.

The Edmonton Oilers got a natural hat trick from Evander Kane as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Seattle Kraken 4-3 on an overtime goal by Kane. Evan Bouchard collected three assists for the 5-9-1 Oilers, who’ve won three straight games. Jared McCann tallied his seventh goal of the season for the Kraken as they slipped to 5-8-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken winger Jordan Eberle returned to action in this game after being sidelined for a week by a deep cut to one of his legs from a skate blade during practice.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar collected three assists while Valeri Nichushkin scored twice in an 8-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. Joel Kiviranta had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche as they improved to 10-5-0 on the season. Sam Carrick and Max Jones replied for the Ducks as they dropped to 9-7-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson missed this game against his former club as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers got a 31-save performance from Carter Hart to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Owen Tippett, Travis Konecny and Ryan Poehling scored for the Flyers (8-7-1) while Stefan Noesen replied for the 9-7-0 Hurricanes.


TSN: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson is expected to miss at least a month with an injured left wrist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres will look to Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens to step up and fill the void during Thompson’s absence.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Pierre-Luc Dubois is drawing criticism for his “uninvolved, hesitant” play this season. He was acquired from the Kings during an offseason trade with the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article points out that when Dubois is playing his best within the Kings’ well-defined system he’s difficult to stop. However, they haven’t seen enough of that version of the 25-year-old center thus far. He has four goals and eight points in 14 games.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes are shedding their losing reputation this season. They’re playing as a team, believe in themselves and play hard to the very end of every game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I said at the start of this season not to sleep on the Coyotes. They’ve got a rising star in Clayton Keller, a reliable offensive presence in a healthy Nick Schmaltz, a promising rookie in Logan Cooley, a confident goal scorer in Lawson Crouse, a solid playmaker in Matias Maccelli and a defense bolstered by the offseason addition of Sean Durzi. They could be in the playoff hunt throughout 2023-24.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Rasmus Kupari will be sidelined for four to six weeks with an injured shoulder.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed forward Emil Bemstrom on waivers.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2023

Tuesday’s action saw the Bruins regain first place in the overall standings while the Ducks set a league record for comeback wins. Check out the recaps plus the latest on the Devils’ Jack Hughes, the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins (12-1-2) took over first place (26 points) in the overall standings with a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists while Charlie McAvoy and Pavel Zacha each collected two assists. Victor Olofsson scored both goals for the Sabres (7-8-1), who also lost scoring center Tage Thompson for what could be a “significant” amount of time with an injured left wrist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Thompson comes at a time when the Sabres are struggling to gain some traction in the standings. They face a big challenge offsetting his absence if he’s sidelined for a long time.

Speaking of the Bruins, winger Jake DeBrusk has been having trouble finding the back of the net through the early going. Coming off a 27-goal performance last season, he’s managed just one goal in 14 games thus far.

Third-period goals by Radko Gudas and Adam Henrique lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Nashville Predators 3-2, setting an NHL single-season record with their sixth comeback third-period win through the first 15 games of the season. John Gibson stopped 29 shots for the Ducks as they improved to 9-6-0 on the season. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi scored for the Predators as they slipped to 5-10-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Predators placed forward Tommy Novak (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0. Netminder Charlie Lindgren turned in a 35-save shutout performance while Dylan Strome, Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn tallied for the Capitals (8-4-2). Logan Thompson turned aside 28 shots for the Golden Knights (12-3-1), who sit atop the Western Conference with 25 points but slipped to second in the overall standings following the Bruins win over the Sabres.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick to lead his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Crosby finished with four points while Erik Karlsson and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist for the 8-6-0 Penguins. Elvis Merzlikins made 36 saves for the Blue Jackets (4-8-4) as they sit last in the Eastern Conference with 12 points.

Winnipeg Jets wingers Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each tallied twice to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. Josh Morrissey collected four assists for the 8-5-2 Jets as Connor moved into a tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead in goals with 13. Timo Meier, John Marino and Dawson Mercer replied for the slumping Devils (7-6-1) as they’ve dropped their third straight contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils got some good news as sidelined center Jack Hughes could return to their lineup as early as Saturday when they host the Rangers. However, team captain Nico Hischier (head) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 27. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Rasmus Kupari left this game in the first period with a possible shoulder or arm injury.

An overtime goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Tyler Seguin tied the game late in the third period as he and Duchene each finished with a goal and an assist. Clayton Keller, Jason Zucker and Lawson Crouse scored for the 7-6-2 Coyotes while the Stars (11-3-1) won their fourth straight to sit atop the Central Division with 23 points.

The Calgary Flames got a 34-save performance from goaltender Jacob Markstrom in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nazem Kadri and Conor Zary scored for the Flames (5-8-2) while Gustav Lindstrom replied for the Canadiens, who dropped to 7-7-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle avoided a serious facial injury when he was accidentally clipped in the face by the skate of Flames center Elias Lindholm. Guhle went straight to the dressing room but returned to the game after getting treatment for a small cut to his mouth.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0. Jordan Kyrou scored two goals and Pavel Buchnevich collected two assists for the Blues (8-5-1), who’ve won three games in a row and five of their last six. It’s the third straight loss for the Lightning (6-6-4) and their second straight shutout loss.

The Florida Panthers picked up their fifth straight win with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Sam Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk each had two points for the 10-4-1 Panthers. Mike Hoffman, Tomas Hertl and Luke Kunin replied for the 2-13-1Sharks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with five points.


TSN: NHL general managers discuss cut-proof equipment and tweaking the rules for regular-season overtime during their annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday.

Interest in cut-resistant equipment came to the forefront of conversation following the death of former NHL player Adam Johnson after his neck was cut by a skate blade during an EIHL game in England on Oct. 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Johnson, British police have arrested EIHL player Matt Petgrave and charged him with manslaughter following a three-week investigation into the incident.

As for those tweaks to overtime, they could include a shot clock or preventing teams from continuously leaving the offensive zone to retain possession. NHL executive Colin Campbell said they haven’t considered a change to the format such as making the overtime period longer or eliminating the shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d ditch the shootout, have 3-on-3 20-minute overtime periods until there’s a winner and get rid of the “loser point”. What changes would you make? Let me know in the comments below.

TSN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The NHL department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on New York Islanders center Bo Horvat on Monday.

The Oilers also announced that forward Dylan Holloway could be out long-term after suffering a knee injury against the Islanders on Monday. They’ve also returned forward Raphael Lavoie to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart is ready to return to action after missing the last five games with a mid-body injury followed by a bout with food poisoning.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy is listed as week-to-week after suffering a leg injury during Sunday’s game against the Canadiens.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2023

Tage Thompson’s new contract already looks like a bargain for the Sabres, an update on the Coyotes’ future, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski recalled how much of the hockey world questioned the Sabres’ signing center Tage Thompson to a seven-year, $50 million contract extension last August following his 38-goal performance in 2021-22.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

A year later, the 25-year-old Thompson’s deal looks like a bargain after he tallied a team-leading, career-best 47 goals and 94 points last season. Starting this season, he’ll earn an average annual value of $7.142 million, which is lower than 87 other NHL players.

Among them are those who signed new contracts this year, including New Jersey’s Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt, Detroit’s Dylan Larkin, and the New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat. Each has a longer record of success but none possess the same upside as Thompson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was among those who questioned the Sabres signing Thompson to that contract. It certainly looks like a savvy move now. It will certainly be a steal for the Sabres if he maintains around the same level of production over the life of that deal.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently provided an update on the Arizona Coyotes’ search for a new arena. “They’re committed to finding a place in Arizona and making it work,” said Daly. “They continue to be optimistic about their ability to do so.”

Earlier this month, Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo submitted a letter of intent to purchase a parcel of land in northwest Mesa to potentially construct a new arena and entertainment district for the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will be playing at Arizona State University’s 4,600-seat Mullett Arena for the second straight year. They have a lease there through 2024-25.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov started Friday for CSKA Moscow in their KHL season opener. It’s an apparent violation of the IIHF ruling regarding the contract dispute that also involves the Flyers and the NHL, which stated that he could not play in Russia until Jan. 1, 2024.

The IIHF last month ruled that Fedotov’s contract with the Flyers, which was tolled forward after he spent a year of service with Russia’s military, was valid for this season. However, CSKA Moscow and the KHL dispute the ruling, claiming it “infringes on the constitutional right of a citizen of the Russian Federation to work.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Russia considered a pariah in the international athletic community due to their war with Ukraine, Fedotov’s situation could have consequences for NHL clubs with Russian draft prospects. It creates a potential precedent that could make it very difficult for those players to join their NHL clubs if their KHL teams decide they don’t want to let them go.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the KHL, league president Alexei Morozov said they approached the NHL about hosting interleague exhibition games. Those discussions failed to come to fruition. The last time KHL teams faced off with NHL clubs was in preseason action in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russia has been banned from international competition by the IIHF over its’ war with Ukraine, a ruling that the NHL abides by. It could also complicate the NHL’s plans to stage a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2025.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sam Bennett will throw out the first pitch on Florida Panthers night prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers-Miami Marlins game on Sept. 6. The Marlins are honoring the Panthers’ 30th anniversary season.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Brian Boucher will replace Keith Jones as TNT Network’s “between the benches” in-game NHL analyst. Jones departed the role earlier this year to become the Flyers’ president of hockey operations.

THE ATHLETIC: Long-time Pittsburgh Penguins color commentator Bob Errey will not be returning to that role this season on Penguins TV broadcasts on SportsNet Pittsburgh. He’s held that job since 1999-2000. Steve Mears, his broadcast partner since 2017, is expected to be replaced in the play-by-play role by Josh Getzoff.

Phil Bourque is expected to remain as an analyst while Colby Armstrong is expected to play a bigger role in Penguins broadcasts.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2023

Oilers Stars Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid reach scoring milestones, Matt Boldy nets his second hat trick of the month, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers nipped the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period. Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard each had a goal and an assist for the 42-23-9 Oilers as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 93 points. Barrett Hayton and Mattias Macelli each scored two goals while Lawson Crouse collected three assists for the 27-36-13 Coyotes.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl became the fourth-fastest active player to reach 300 career goals. Teammate Connor McDavid collected his career-best 80th assist of the season and is the first player to reach 140 points in a season since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96.

Minnesota Wild winger Matt Boldy collected his second hat trick of the month and his first natural one of his career in a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots as the Wild (43-22-9) hold a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Central Division with 95 points. Jaden Schwartz tallied for the Kraken as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 88 points.

The Colorado Avalanche remained one point back of the Wild by defeating the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Nathan MacKinnon and Bowen Byram each had a goal and an assist for the 44-23-6 Avalanche. Doug Grant replied for the 23-41-10 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks center Trevor Zegras left this game with a lower-body injury in the second period. The Ducks were already playing without Troy Terry as he was out of this contest for personal reasons.

New York Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri tallied twice and collected an assist in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots as the Islanders improved to 38-28-9 and hold a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 85 points. Erik Haula replied for the Devils (46-20-8) as they remain three points back of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division with 100 points.

The Ottawa Senators kept their playoff hopes alive while dealing a blow to the Florida Panthers with a 5-2 victory. Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Mads Sogaard turned aside 32 shots as the Senators (36-33-5) sit five points behind Pittsburgh with 77 points. Gustav Forsling scored both goals for the 36-31-7 Panthers as they remain three points behind the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers forward Sam Bennett missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury.

A shootout goal by Michael Pezzetta lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-3 upset of the Buffalo Sabres. Brendan Gallagher’s game-tying goal was also the 200th goal of his career for the 30-38-6 Canadiens. Rookie Lukas Rousek scored his first goal and collected his first assist in his first NHL game for the 35-31-7 Sabres, who set five points behind the Penguins for that final Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pezzetta delighted Canadiens fans by riding his stick “Tiger Williams style” to celebrate his game-winner. The Sabres played without Tage Thompson as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Ilya Lybushkin was the only Sabre who declined to take part in the club’s Pride Night warmups.


NHL.COM: The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t play on Monday night but both clubs clinched playoff berths. The Rangers secured their spot due to Monday’s losses by the Panthers and Sabres while the Leafs are in due to the Panthers’ loss.

Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson, Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki, and Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 26.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights set an NHL record following their win against the Edmonton Oilers by becoming the first team to win four straight games with four different goaltenders. Jiri Patera, Jonathan Quick, Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit gained those respective wins.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso and forward Robby Fabbri are sidelined by injuries for the rest of the season.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Nick Blankenburg and Erik Gudbranson and forward Mathieu Olivier are also done for the season due to injuries.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The front office changes continue for the Flyers as Dave Scott is stepping down as chairman of the club’s parent company (Comcast Spectacor) and governor of the franchise. Dan Hilferty will take over as Scott’s successor.

OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’ll leave it up to the Senators’ new owner where, and if, they’ll build a new arena for the franchise. He stressed that the club won’t be leaving Ottawa. “If this team is going to move, the only move that will be permitted is to downtown,” he said. Bettman doesn’t want to back the new owner into a corner regarding a new arena.

The Senators signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats which is as close to the downtown core. However, Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe last week said it wasn’t the only possible site for an arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman also said there are six ownership groups bidding for the Senators. The new owner could be announced by late April at the earliest.

SPORTSNET: Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov suggests Russia should withdraw from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in order to negotiate directly with the NHL for the release of its players to represent their country in international tournaments. The IIHF has suspended Russia over its ongoing war with Ukraine.

TSN: Speaking of international competition, Hockey Canada has deemed all players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior Team will be ineligible to participate in the 2023 World Hockey Championship until an investigation into an alleged group sexual assault is completed.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2023

The player assignments for Friday’s All-Star skills competition are revealed, Vladimir Tarasenko is uncertain of his future in St. Louis, Rasmus Dahlin replaces Tage Thompson in the All-Star Game and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: The league announced the player assignments for the All-Star skills competition at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida starting at 7 pm ET.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will be teaming up in the Breakaway Challenge. Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will also take part in this event.

Ovechkin will also be among those participating in the hardest shot challenge.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers will participate in the accuracy shooting competition. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov are among those who’ll take part in the fastest skater competition.

Former Vezina Trophy winners Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers are among eight goaltenders participating in the “Tendy Tandem” competition.

St, Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete list of skill events and competitors.

SPORTSNET: Vladimir Tarasenko acknowledged this season could be his last with the St. Louis Blues. The 31-year-old winger is in his 11th season with the Blues and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Tarasenko acknowledged that this weekend’s All-Star Game could be his last in a Blues sweater as a trade is possible following this week. He deferred any questions about his future in St. Louis to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Tarasenko’s a goner, if not following this weekend then at some point before the March 3 trade deadline.

He requested a trade in May 2021 because of his unhappiness over the quality of treatment he received for multiple shoulder injuries from the Blues’ medical staff. He reportedly never rescinded that request. He was also left exposed in the 2021 NHL expansion draft but was passed over by the Seattle Kraken.

Tarasenko remains a productive scoring winger when healthy. I can see a contender in need of experienced scoring depth pursuing him as a playoff rental.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin takes the place of teammate Tage Thompson in this weekend’s All-Star Game. Thompson suffered an upper-body injury during Wednesday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There is no indication about how long Thompson might be sidelined. The Sabres’ next practice is on Feb. 9.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Ilya Mikheyev underwent successful knee surgery and will soon begin his rehab process. He will be sidelined for the remainder of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: A poll of participants at this year’s All-Star Game revealed most of them favored extending the 3-on-3 overtime format from five minutes to 10 to reduce the number of games decided by a shootout. Of the 16 participants, 12 would like to see the overtime period expanded.

Fourteen of those 16 participants don’t favor expanding the playoff format to an NBA-style “play-in” format involving the 7-10 seeds in each conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those All-Stars seem in line with most fans and pundits about extending the overtime format. They also share NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s opinion that there is no need to expand the postseason format. It would be interesting to see the poll results if those questions were posed to the full membership of the NHL Players Association.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Senators could be about to enter its final stages. Interested groups are expected to make their formal bids before mid-February. If all goes as planned, the front-runner could be known as early as March.

It’s believed Hamilton businessman Michael Andlauer and Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel remain the front-runners. Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds will also be in the thick of the bidding.

Speaking of the Senators, they relieved Troy Mann of his duties as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Belleville. Assistant coach David Bell takes over the head-coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings sent winger Filip Zadina to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint after activating him from injured reserve. Zadina hasn’t played since Nov. 5 after blocking a shot during a game against the New York Islanders.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2023

The Bruins and Hurricanes head into the All-Star break on a winning note, the three stars and the top rookie for January are revealed, Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes a second back surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins ended a three-game winless skid by dropping the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Pavel Zacha scored twice and Linus Ullmark made 33 saves for the Bruins (39-7-5) as they sit atop the overall standings with 83 points. Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok replied for the 31-13-8 Leafs as they sat third overall with 70 points.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored for the sixth straight game in a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Brent Burns also scored to extend his points streak to seven games as the Hurricanes (34-9-8) picked up their seven straight win to sit second overall with 76 points. The Sabres slipped to 26-20-4 and remain one point back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres scoring leader Tage Thompson left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury. He’s slated to play in Saturday’s All-Star Game so it’ll be interesting to see if he still attends or ends up replaced. These were the final games before the All-Star break which begins today


New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes (NHL Images)

 NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn are the league’s three stars for the month of January 2023. Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was named the rookie of the month for January.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing successful back surgery on Tuesday. It’s the second time in nine months that the 30-year-old right winger has had back surgery, having missed 45 games last season. He didn’t miss a game this season until getting injured on Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have gone 1-5-2 since Stone was sidelined. His ongoing absence could send management into the trade market in search of help. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill update.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a left shoulder injury. It’s the same shoulder he has surgically repaired in November 2020 but he won’t have to go under the knife this time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports Nyquist is hoping to return before the end of this season. While the current injury hurts the winger’s trade value, Portzline suggests that it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be moved before the March 3 trade deadline. He points out the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired a sidelined Riley Nash two years ago, who ultimately played in two playoff games for the Leafs.

THE SCORE: New Jersey Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette was arrested early Wednesday morning in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart. He was charged with driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released on $500.00 bond. In a statement, the Devils indicated that they’re aware of the situation and were gathering additional information.

OTTAWA SUN’s Bruce Garrioch reports the expectation for Cam Talbot is the sidelined Senators goaltender will resume skating next week when the club reconvenes following the All-Star break.

SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL: NHL viewership on ESPN and TNT is down 22 percent heading into the All-Star break compared to the same time last year.

The main reason is both networks doubled the number of games they carried compared to last season. Bigger schedules tend to hurt average viewership.

TNT is also affected by local blackouts affecting big markets in Boston, Pittsburgh and New York whereas last season they had no blackouts. ESPN’s numbers were hurt by scheduling six games on Sunday up against the NFL whereas the network had no Sunday games at this point last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics seized on that ratings drop as an opportunity to rail against the issues they believe are hurting the game’s popularity. The Athletic’s Sean Gentille acknowledged that those issues are real and long-standing but aren’t applicable to the real reasons (noted above) behind those ratings decline. Gentille pointed out that those numbers could improve once ABC’s 20-game coverage during the remainder of the regular season is included in the final equation.

ESPN: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL Players Association’s executive board will meet this week in Florida to discuss the possible appointment of US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh as its new executive director. Walsh has emerged as the leading candidate to replace current PA director Donald Fehr, who is stepping down after 12 years.