NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2020

The Masterton Trophy nominees are revealed, updates on the league’s return-to-play plan, and the latest on John Tavares, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) yesterday released the 2019-20 nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Miller, G
Arizona Coyotes: Conor Garland, F
Boston Bruins: Kevan Miller, D
Buffalo Sabres: Curtis Lazar, F
Calgary Flames: Mark Giordano, D
Carolina Hurricanes: James Reimer, G
Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford, G
Colorado Avalanche: Ryan Graves, D
Columbus Blue Jackets: Nathan Gerbe, F
Dallas Stars: Stephen Johns, D
Detroit Red Wings: Robby Fabbri, F
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid, F
Florida Panthers: Noel Acciari, F 
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick, G
Minnesota Wild: Alex Stalock, G
Montreal Canadiens: Shea Weber, D
Nashville Predators: Jarred Tinordi, D
New Jersey Devils: Travis Zajac, F
New York Islanders: Thomas Hickey, D
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, G
Ottawa Senators: Bobby Ryan, F 
Philadelphia Flyers: Oskar Lindblom, F
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin, F
San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton, F
St. Louis Blues: Jay Bouwmeester, D
Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Killorn, F
Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman, F
Vancouver Canucks: Jacob Markstrom, G
Vegas Golden Knights: Shea Theodore, D
Washington Capitals: Michal Kempny, D
Winnipeg Jets: Mark Letestu, F

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is among this year’s nominees for the Masterton Trophy (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the nominees. The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be announced at the 2020 NHL Awards following this season at a date to be announced.

LATEST ON THE RETURN-TO-PLAY PLAN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL and NHL Players Association will continue discussions in the coming weeks regarding the protocols, details, testing, and more for staging Phase 3 and 4 of the league’s return-to-play plan. Phase 3 is the training camp portion and Phase 4 the 24-team playoff tournament. The PA executive board representing the 31 teams is expected to vote on one big package rather than separate votes for each phase.

Darren Dreger reports the players are awaiting the specifics for Phase 3, including details on the two hub cities, restrictions, family matters, and more. The league and the PA acknowledge nothing will be perfect and some sacrifices will have to be made to get the sport back on its feet.

Regarding the collective bargaining agreement, LeBrun said those involved are holding out hope for an extension before play resumes. A lot of work still has to be done. Escrow and the salary cap are important issues for the players. Dreger noted they’re also interested in returning to the Olympics as early as 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the league and the PA will get the details for the return-to-play plan sorted out by no later than early July. Whether either Phase takes place without a hitch is another issue. A second wave of COVID-19 could derail those plans.

Most fans will be thrilled if a CBA extension beyond 2022 can be hammered out before play resumes. Nevertheless, the priority is completing this season and crowning a Stanley Cup champion. The CBA takes a backseat to that right now.

REUTERS: Canada and the United States are expected to extend their border ban on non-essential travel to late July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the government of Canada provides exemptions for NHL players and staff, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver will be out of the running as one of the two host cities for the 24-team tournament. Other Canadian teams participating in the playoff tournament could emulate the Calgary Flames’ plans to stage training camps next month in the United States.

TORONTO SUN: John Tavares, Ilya Mikheyev, Jack Muzzin, and Jack Campbell were among the Maple Leafs taking part in small-group workouts yesterday at the Leafs’ training facility. Mitch Marner and Cody Ceci are expected to join them soon.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber intends to continue training at his off-season home in Kelowna, BC until a full training camp is on the horizon.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings center Jeff Carter underwent successful surgery last week to repair a core muscle injury. He’s expected to fully recover before the start of next season.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils put their search for a new head coach on pause for the time being. They reportedly spoke with 8-10 coaches and narrowed the list to four, including current interim bench boss Alain Nasreddine.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut signed a two-year contract with KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk. It appears to have an NHL opt-out clause but the details remain sketchy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pilut, 24, is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. Perhaps he’s trying to garner a measure of leverage in negotiations with the Sabres.

THE SCORE: Former NHL player Brandon Bochenski was elected mayor of Grand Forks, North Dakota yesterday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2020

Another update on the possibility of staging neutral-site games, plus the latest on John Tavares, Danny DeKeyser and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is considering games at neutral sites without fans if the season resumes later this year. “I’d say it’s one possibility, for sure, and it’s something that has been considered and something that has been discussed,” said Daly. “It’s not our preferred result or outcome.”

Daly indicated it would be difficult for team facilities to open in 25 of the league’s 31 markets because of local coronavirus directives. He acknowledged government and health authorities control the timetable for a possible resumption of the schedule, but felt the league still has some time to work with. Asked about staging neutral site games in Europe, Daly didn’t rule it out but considered that option unrealistic.

ESPN.COM: Daly said cities and venues across North America have reached out to the league pitching themselves as neutral site locations. He admitted the league is compiling a comprehensive list, but it isn’t completed or narrowed down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding suitable neutral-site locations is one thing. The logistics of staging those games in those areas is another.

Suitable accommodation, meals, and transportation for the players, as well as the staff of the respective teams and arenas, plus the security and broadcasting crews, must be provided, as well as stringent COVID-19 testing. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it could put a tremendous strain on local resources that could prove unmanageable.

John Tavares was among several Toronto Maple Leafs donating money to help two Toronto-area hospitals (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Led by John Tavares, several members of the Toronto Maple Leafs donated an undisclosed amount of money to support front-line workers at two Toronto-area hospitals.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser hopes to get his NHL career back on track after missing all but eight games this season with a herniated disc.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sidelined Flyers Philippe Myers and Nate Thompson have been cleared to resume playing whenever the league schedule resume. Winger James van Riemsdyk is expected to be cleared within one-to-two weeks.

Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) continues to work out but hasn’t been cleared yet. Samuel Morin is expected to return from knee surgery in time for the 2020-21 season.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed defenseman Kurtis McDermid to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $875k.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have furloughed half of their staff through June 30. The club will cover 100 percent of their health benefits during that period.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Kings coach Tom Webster died of brain cancer at age 71. As a player, he spent parts of five NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, and California Golden Seals, as well as six productive seasons with the WHA’s New England Whalers from 1972-73 to 1977-78.

Webster went on to become head coach of the New York Rangers in 1986-87 and the Kings from 1989-90 to 1991-92. He also served as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers, and Carolina Hurricanes, and as an amateur scout with the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Webster’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the goal-scoring leaderboard, the Leafs rebound from an embarrassing defeat on Saturday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season and the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ovechkin now has 701 career goals, sitting seven behind Mark Gartner for seventh place among the all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (84 points) opened a two-point lead over the Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Jets (70 points) are tied with the Nashville Predators, but the Preds hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with three games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

The Predators, meanwhile got third-period goals by Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson to down the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

After an embarrassing loss to an emergency backup goalie on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs rebounded with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leafs captain John Tavares scored twice while Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning (85 points) failed to gain ground on the Bruins, while the Leafs (74 points) hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Hoffman’s third-period goal proved the game-winner as the Florida Panthers squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic, while the Coyotes (70 points) sit just outside the Western playoff picture.

Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund each scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames over the Boston Bruins 5-2. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask saw his personal points streak end at 20 games. The Bruins remain atop the league’s overall standings with 90 points, while the Flames (72 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks edged the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli. With 74 points, the Canucks move into second place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights.

An overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad lifted the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders 4-3. The Isles hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 77 points. The surging Rangers (72 points) have won four straight and eight of their last 10 games, sitting four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Mikko Koivu tallied twice for the Wild, who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The slumping Jackets have just one victory in their last 10 contests.

The Philadephia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory and their seventh in his last 10, doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Kevin Hayes had a three-point performance, including two goals. The Flyers (79 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight victory with a four-goal third period to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Zach Sanford tallied twice for the Blues (84 points), who sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. With the win, the Stars (80 points) move one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division. The Hurricanes (74 points) sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Sonny Milano scored twice (including the game-winner) in his debut with the Anaheim Ducks in a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. New Oilers Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (74 points) sit third in the Pacific Division. Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm left the game in the second period after suffering an upper-body injury crashing into the corner boards. Before the game, the Oilers announced winger Kailer Yamamoto would miss two-to-three weeks with a sprained ankle.

Cory Schneider made 27 saves for his first win of the season as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Devils center Pavel Zacha collected two assists.










Best of the Decade: Top 5 NHL Goal Scorers

Best of the Decade: Top 5 NHL Goal Scorers

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2019

Game recaps, Dustin Byfuglien undergoes ankle surgery, John Tavares could soon return to action, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 7-6 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Brayden Point each collected three points. Devils winger Kyle Palmieri tallied a hat trick while teammate Jesper Bratt scored two goals. Earlier in the day, the Lightning recalled Luke Schenn, Cory Conacher, and Alexander Volkov. 

Brock Boeser’s hat trick powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win over the LA Kings (Photo via NHL Images).

Brock Boeser’s hat trick powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson had a goal and three assists for the Canucks, who went four-for-six on the power play. Jeff Carter tallied twice for the Kings.

Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists and James Neal tallied his 11th goal of the season.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth win in the last five games by edging the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Alex Pietrangelo snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello netted his first goal of the season.

Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Carey Price made 33 saves to lead the Montreal Canadiens over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1.

HEADLINES

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery last week in Minnesota and is expected to be sidelined until sometime in January. Byfuglien has been suspended by the Jets for salary-cap reasons as he was on a leave of absence mulling his future. It appears the Jets were unaware he had opted for surgery but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expressed his full support. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien’s surgery raised questions over why he didn’t undergo the precedure during training camp last month. Whatever the reason, his ongoing absence leaves a significant void on the blueline that the Jets have struggled to fill. The uncertainty over his future also make it difficult for Cheveldayoff to look for help via trade or free agency. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks blueliners Josh Manson will be sidelined five-to-ten weeks with a sprained knee.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (broken finger) could return to action as soon as Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour (broken hand) could return to the lineup by this weekend. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach will remain with the Blackhawks this season. He was the third-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. 

TORONTO SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory has died at age 83. In his 10 seasons as GM, the Leafs drafted such notables as Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald. He went on to become the NHL’s director of Central Scouting, executive director of hockey operations, senior vice-president of hockey operations and supervision, and chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gregory was also among the first general managers to discover European talent, the most notable being Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming. Other standouts drafted by Gregory include Rick Kehoe, Ian Turnbull, Tiger Williams, Mike Palmateer, Doug Jarvis, Randy Carlyle, and Joel Quenneville. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and associates. 










Multiple Reasons to Blame for Maple Leafs Slow Start

Multiple Reasons to Blame for Maple Leafs Slow Start