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 He reportedly never rescinded that request.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.

GAME RECAPS

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

HEADLINES

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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

Hat-trick performances by the Sabres’ Tage Thompson and the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk while Auston Matthews sets a Leafs franchise record. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson tallied in overtime for his third hat trick of the season in a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals. Thompson finished the night with four points while Alex Tuch had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who improve to 19-15-2. Alex Ovechkin tallied twice for the 21-13-6 Capitals.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thompson has 30 goals on the season and sits three back of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the goal-scoring lead. The Sabres, meanwhile, have won seven of their last 10 games. With 40 points, they’re six back of the New York Islanders for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Before the game, the Sabres entered Capital One Center in Washington wearing t-shirts that read, “Love for 3” to honor Buffalo Bill safety Damar Hamlin, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing during Monday’s NFL game against the Bengals. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams released a statement in support of Hamlin and the Bills’ organization.

Matthew Tkachuk tallied his first hat trick with the Florida Panthers as they downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Eric Staal also scored twice for the Panthers (17-18-4) while Clayton Keller had two points for the 13-18-5 Coyotes, who’ve lost 10 straight road games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews collected two points to become the fastest player in franchise history to reach 500 points (445 games) but his club fell 6-5 to the St. Louis Blues. Brayden Schenn tallied the winner in the shootout while Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues, who improved to 18-17-3. Michael Bunting scored twice and William Nylander had a three-point performance for the 23-8-7 Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Bunting, the Leafs have reportedly opened preliminary talks about a contract extension for the winger, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their fourth straight victory by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Former Blackhawk Brandon Hagel had a goal and an assist in the third period against his former club as the Lightning rose to 24-11-1 on the season. Seth Jones replied for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 8-25-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane left this game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition is expected on Wednesday.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Artemi Panarin, K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil gave the New York Rangers a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping the latter’s 11-game win streak. Paul Stastny collected two assists for Carolina (25-7-6) while the Rangers improved to 21-12-6. With 56 points, the Hurricanes remain six back of the league-leading Boston Bruins.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped 28 shots to backstop his club over the Dallas Stars by a score of 3-2. Adrian Kempe snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Kings (22-13-6) reach the 50-point plateau, sitting four points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Roope Hintz collected two assists for the 23-10-6 Stars as their four-game win streak came to an end. With 52 points, they’re two back of the Golden Knights for first overall in the Western Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 33-save performance from Connor Hellebuyck in a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Sam Gagner tallied the tie-breaker in the third period as the Jets improved to 24-13-1 and sit three points behind the first-place Stars in the Central Division. The Flames’ record fell to 18-14-7 on the season.

Four straight second-period goals carried the Seattle Kraken over the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (20-12-4) as they sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 44 points, one up on the Flames and two ahead of the Oilers. Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 33rd goal of the season for the Oilers (20-17-2) as they dropped their fifth straight home game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leon Draisaitl returned to the Oilers lineup after being sidelined for two games with what was believed to be a core muscle strain.

A three-point night by Mathew Barzal carried the New York Islanders to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Isles, who improved to 22-15-2 and hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks as they dropped to 16-18-3.

Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg turned in a 22-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Tim Stutzle and Claude Giroux each had two points for the Senators (18-17-3) while the Blue Jackets slide to 11-23-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, a source told the Ottawa Sun that it could take until March to determine who the club’s new owner will be. Even then, the paperwork to complete the sale might not be done until June.

The Nashville Predators downed the Montreal Canadiens 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss and leaving them with just one win in their last 10 games. Nino Niederreiter had three assists for the 16-14-6 Predators. Cole Caufield netted his 22nd goal of the season for the 15-20-3 Canadiens.

IN OTHER NEWS…

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed winger Jakub Vrana on waivers yesterday. The move comes as the club attempts to create roster space for sidelined players such as Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina slated to return soon to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana missed most of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and is currently with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

A rival club interested in bolstering their scoring could pluck Vrana off waivers today by the noon ET deadline. He’s under contract through next season but also carries a $5.25 million annual average value. Given the high number of teams that Cap Friendly indicates have less than that in cap space, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets plucked off the waiver wire later today.

The Red Wings are carrying three goaltenders. However, they decided against putting Alex Nedeljkovic or the well-traveled Magnus Hellberg on waivers for the purpose of sending one of them to the minors for the time being.

LAS VEGAS SUN’s Danny Webster took to Twitter yesterday to report the Golden Knights have taken center Jack Eichel off injured reserve.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers activated promising winger Bobby Brink off injured reserve and have sent him to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins have recalled goalie Dustin Tokarski from the AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They’ve also placed defenseman Kris Letang on their non-roster list as he’s joined his family in Montreal following the recent death of his father.










The 2022-23 NHL Season Could Be The Highest Scoring Since The Early ’90s

The 2022-23 NHL Season Could Be The Highest Scoring Since The Early ’90s

NHL scoring has steadily increased in recent years.

In 2015-16, the 2.71 goals average was the lowest since 2003-04 (2.57), which was the final season of the “Dead Puck Era”. It has since risen by each season, reaching 3.14 in 2021-22. The last time it was that high was 1995-96.

That season saw eight players, including Hall-of-Famers Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic and Paul Kariya, reach or exceed the 50-goal plateau. Two of them (Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr) scored over 60 goals.

Twelve players, including Lemieux, Jagr, Sakic, Kariya and Hall-of-Fame stars like Peter Forsberg, Eric Lindros, Ron Francis, Teemu Selanne, Sergei Fedorov and Wayne Gretzky, reached or exceeded 100 points.

2021-22 saw four players reach 50 goals, with Auston Matthews becoming the first player in 10 years to score 60 goals. Eight players, including Matthews, Edmonton Oilers’ superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, netted 100-plus points.

Those stats may pale somewhat to the output of the class of 1995-96. Nevertheless, they were a part of a trend that began in 2018-19 when two players reached 50 goals and six netted 100 points. That was a big jump over 2017-18 when there were no 50 goal scorers and just three players got to 100 points.

The increase in scoring is continuing this season with the goals average at 3.19, which would be the highest since 1993-94’s average of 3.24.

That season saw nine players tally 50-or-more goals, including Hall-of-Famers such as Pavel Bure (60), Brett Hull (57), Fedorov (56), Dave Andreychuk (53), Brendan Shanahan (52), Mike Modano and Cam Neely (50 each).

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Eight others exceeded 100 points, including Gretzky winning the last scoring title (130 points) in his storied career, followed by fellow Hall-of-Fame players like Fedorov (120), Adam Oates (112), Doug Gilmour (111), Bure and Mark Recchi (107 each) and Shanahan with 102.

As of Dec. 10, 2022, this season’s top-nine goal scorers include the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid with 25, the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson (23), Buffalo Sabres’ Tage Thompson (21), Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat (20), Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak and the Oiler’s Leon Draisaitl (19 each), with the Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov, the Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander and the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby all sitting with 17 goals.

By my rough estimate, at their current rate of production, they could all reach or exceed 50 goals by season’s end, with McDavid and Robertson potentially reaching 70 goals apiece and Thompson and Horvat netting 60 each.

Fifteen players had 35 or more points. Fourteen of them could hit 100-plus points by the end of this campaign. I’ve excluded the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon, who has 34 points in 23 games but is sidelined for four weeks with an upper-body injury, which will likely keep him out of range for 100 points.

McDavid is the league leader with 54 points, putting him on pace to exceed 155 points. Draisaitl (46 points), Robertson (42 points) and Thompson (41 points) could reach 120 points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov has 39 points, Crosby has 38, Pastrnak, the Florida Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk and the San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson each have 37.

The Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner has 35 points. Kaprizov, along with the Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, and the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin each have 34.

Again, by my rough estimates, they could reach or exceed 100 points.

Bear in mind that scoring tends to decline over the course of the season as games become more meaningful for playoff contenders and defenses tend to tighten up. Still, these numbers suggest we could see at least five players reach the 50-goal plateau and perhaps 10 topping 100 points.

What’s behind this rise in scoring? As I recently observed in my NHL Puck Drops column in The Guardian (PEI), a combination of factors appears to be at play here.

A growing number of players are faster, younger and more highly skilled. There are more puck-moving defensemen compared to recent years. Because of the growing number of younger stars, as Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella recently observed, there are also more defensive mistakes being made.

Teams have improved their play with the man advantage to generate more scoring chances. Players are also driving more to the net and getting more goals with deflections and tip-ins. The quality of goaltending also seems to be on the decline as today’s scorers appear to have figured out how to beat the butterfly style favored by goalies since the early-1990s.

The growing rise in scoring could concern those fans who fear a return to the wide-open style of the 1980s when the quality of defensive play was rather poor. I don’t think that’s going to happen because there remains an emphasis on two-way skills in today’s league.

What we could be seeing is a more entertaining style of game with more offensive chances. At the same time, we should still see skillful defensive play that doesn’t rely on uncalled obstruction that dominated the Dead Puck Era of the league 1990s and early 2000s.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2022

The Sabres’ Tage Thompson has a five-goal game, Oilers captain Connor McDavid is already halfway to 100 points this season, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reaches another scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson scored five goals as his club crushed the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-4. Thompson tied an NHL record with four goals in the first period and tied a franchise record for the most goals in one game. Alex Tuch had four points while Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens each had three points as the Sabres improved to 12-13-1. Patrik Laine and Gustav Nyquist each tallied twice for the Blue Jackets as they fell to 8-15-2.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thompson’s six points on the night vaulted him into fourth place among this season’s top-10 scorers with 40 points. Dahlin, meanwhile, sits second among defensemen with 32 points. The Sabres currently lead the league in goals-per-game average (4.00) but their 3.69 goals-against per game is the fifth-highest. They’ll rise higher in the standings if they can improve the latter without sacrificing the former.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid became the player this season to reach the 50-point plateau in an 8-2 thrashing of the Arizona Coyotes. McDavid had two goals and two assists while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and collected an assist for the 15-12-0 Oilers. Christian Fletcher collected two assists for the Coyotes (7-13-4) as they’re winless in their last six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi was held scoreless in this game. On Tuesday, the 24-year-old winger told a Finnish journalist that he’s not sure that he can be a scorer at the NHL level. “Twenty games in and I have one goal. It’s sad,” said Puljujarvi. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do things differently. Right now, I just don’t have the answer.”

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin now sits 99 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s career record of 894 after tallying two empty-netters in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin had 795 career goals while his Capitals improved their record to 12-12-4. Kevin Hayes replied for Philadelphia (9-13-15). Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk returned to the lineup after missing the last 20 games with a broken index finger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Travis Konecny took issue with how Ovechkin scored his second empty-netter and the two jostled along the boards. Following the game, Konecny explained that he thought the Capitals winger was deking the puck and putting it on his backhand. “Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought,” he said. Ovechkin shrugged off the incident. “They have character. They’re a good bunch of guys,” he said, chalking up Konecny’s actions to frustration over the Flyers’ loss.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin collected three assists to reach 600 career points as his club downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and collected an assist while Igor Shesterkin stopped 25 shots for the Rangers (13-10-5). Jonathan Marchessault replied for the Golden Knights (19-8-1), who remain on top of the Western Conference with 39 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo remains sidelined as he’s dealing with an illness in his family. There is no timetable for his return.

The Boston Bruins got a 23-save shutout from Linus Ullmark to blank the Colorado Avalanche 4-0. Taylor Hall scored twice as the Bruins (21-3-1) regained first place in the overall standings with the New Jersey Devils. Both clubs have 43 points but the Bruins hold a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins played well and deserved this win but I think this game (and the one the two clubs played on Dec. 3) would’ve been more closely contested if the Avalanche roster wasn’t depleted by injuries. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen, Bo Byram and Evan Rodrigues are among the notables missing from their lineup for this contest.

The Calgary Flames improved their record to 13-10-3 with a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Tyler Toffoli scored twice while Elias Lindholm and Rasman Andersson each had three points. Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov scored for the seventh straight game while extending his points streak to 13 games. The Wild are 13-10-2 on the season.

An overtime goal by Elias Pettersson lifted the Vancouver Canucks over the San Jose Sharks by a score of 6-5. Dakota Joshua tallied twice for the Canucks as they reach .500 for the first time this season with a record of 12-12-3. Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture each collected two points for the 8-16-5 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have won three straight games in overtime with Pettersson scoring the game-winner in two of those contests. With 27 points, they’re two points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

HEADLINES

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has missed the last six games battling pneumonia. He’s expected to return to action on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings.

TSN: The Seattle Kraken will release center Shane Wright to play for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championship in Halifax and Moncton.

LA KINGS INSIDER: The Kings will loan defenseman Brandt Clarke to Canada’s WJC squad.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins prospect Sam Poulin is taking a leave of absence from the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for personal reasons.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have assigned defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the AHL affiliate in Chicago on a conditioning stint.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite suggests deflections and tip-in are partly responsible for the rise in scoring and the decline in save percentage. The league’s 6.4 goals-per-game average is the highest since 1994 while the league save percentage (.904) is the lowest since 2006.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waite pointed out that teams are driving to the net more and generating more traffic in front of goaltenders. However, I believe that’s just one factor contributing to the rise in goal scoring.

Players are faster and better skilled now. Smaller, quicker forwards and puck-moving defensemen are thriving. Flyers head coach John Tortorella recently pointed out that there’s an increase in young players and that’s resulting in more defensive mistakes.

The overall caliber of goaltending also seems to be in a decline, though it could also be attributable to players being more creative now with their shots and passing. Most goalies favor the “butterfly style” to take away the bottom of the net. In recent years, however, we’ve seen players shooting higher on goaltenders more often and also attempting more shots from difficult angles.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2022

The Sabres’ Tage Thompson has a six-point night, the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale could be sidelined for the season, plus updates on Charlie McAvoy, T.J. Oshie, Jake Oettinger and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson tallied a hat trick and collected three assists to lead his club to an 8-3 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Jeff Skinner collected three points, including his 300th career NHL goal, as the Sabres improved their record to 6-3-0. Dylan Larkin, David Perron and Olli Maatta replied for the Wings, whose record drops to 4-3-2.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE After tallying just three points in his first seven games of the season, Thompson now has nine points in his last two contests.

Shootout goals by Brent Burns and Andrei Svechnikov lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Svechnikov also scored the tying goal that sent the game into overtime and the shootout frame as the Hurricanes move to a 6-2-1 record while the Capitals drop to 5-4-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 785th career NHL goal.

The Los Angeles Kings improved to 6-5-0 by dropping the St. Louis Blues 5-1. Carl Grundstrom scored twice, Kevin Fiala had three assists and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the win. The Blues have lost five straight and fall to 3-5-0.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt and Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are the league’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 30, 2022.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Bad news for the Anaheim Ducks as they announced Jamie Drysdale will require surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 20-year-old defenseman could miss the remainder of the season as his recovery period is four-to-six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Drysdale as he was hoping to build upon his 32-point rookie performance last season. It’s also a big loss to the blueline of the rebuilding Ducks, who’ve stumbled from the gate this season with a 2-6-1 record.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Some good news for Charlie McAvoy as he’s resumed practice with his Bruins teammates. The 24-year-old defenseman is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and wasn’t expected to return to action until December 1. He’s ahead of schedule but isn’t going to play during their upcoming three-game road trip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McAvoy could return by mid-November at the latest if he performs well in practice over the next week or two. He will provide a significant boost to their blueline, which has performed well in his absence. It will also force management to find a way to shed salary to make room within their salary cap payroll for his arrival.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is out indefinitely while defenseman John Carlson is day-to-day as both players are sidelined by lower-body injuries.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger will have his lower-body injury re-evaluated in a week’s time. The club cannot recall Anton Khudobin due to salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars addressed this by signing Matt Murray to a one-year entry-level contract. Murray, 24, played 11 games with their AHL affiliate, five of those this season. He is not to be confused with sidelined Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars rookie center Wyatt Johnston will be staying with the club for the season. The 19-year-old played his ninth game of the season on Saturday, raising questions as to whether the Stars would return him to his junior club before his 10th game for contract reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the first season of Johnston’s entry-level contract goes into effect when he plays his 10th game. Had the Stars returned him to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, his ELC would’ve slid to next season.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins center Jeff Carter has been sidelined by a lower-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forwards Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman suffered upper-body injuries during Sunday’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights netminder Laurent Brossoit has been sent to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint. This is the next step in his return to the Golden Knights lineup as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.