NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2021

Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, recaps of Tuesday’s games, the latest on Artemi Panarin, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines


The Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Kirk Muller. Assistant coach Dominique Ducharme has become interim head coach while Alex Burrows has joined the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After bursting from the gate with a 7-1-2 record the Canadiens were 2-6-2 and in danger of falling out of playoff contention in the North Division. General manager Marc Bergevin was busy in the offseason improving the roster. A coaching change was the next step. It’ll be interesting to see how the Habs respond to this move. 

Ducharme spent eight seasons coaching in the QMJHL, guiding the Halifax Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup in 2013. He was also a two-time bench boss of Canada’s World Junior team, coaching them to a gold medal in 2018. He joined the Habs’ coaching staff as an assistant later that year.  Following his NHL career, Burrows joined the Canadiens’ farm team in Laval as an assistant coach. 


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark made 41 saves in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, handing the latter their third straight loss. Buffalo winger Sam Reinhart collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced defenseman William Borgen will be sidelined up to two months following surgery on Tuesday to repair a broken right forearm.

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their third straight win by edging the Washington Capitals 3-2. Kasperi Kapanen tallied the winner in overtime as he and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist. It was a costly win for the Penguins as Jason Zucker and Kris Letang left the game with injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker’s injury looked serious as he had to be helped off the ice after crashing awkwardly into the boards. An update on both players could be made later today.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Patrick Kane scored his 398th career goal and collected three assists as the Chicago Blackhawks nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-5. Alex DeBrincat tallied the game-winner in a shootout while Carl Soderberg had three points for the Hawks. Patrik Laine and Oliver Bjorkstrand each scored twice for the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is playing his way into the Hart Memorial Trophy conversation. He’s the engine driving a Blackhawks team that wasn’t expected to be a playoff contender this season. They’re third in the Discover Central Division with 24 points, two behind the first-place Florida Panthers.

Shootout goals by Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris gave the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, handing the latter their sixth loss in their last eight games. Brady Tkachuk tallied twice for the Senators, including the game-tying goal after the Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead. Shea Weber tallied twice for the Habs. Senators center Derek Stepan left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher wasn’t happy after his apparent game-winning goal in the dying seconds of regulation was overturned by what he considered a questionable goaltender interference call. Regardless of the validity of Gallagher’s complaint, the Canadiens once again struggled against the worst team in the league. The loss led to today’s firing of Claude Julien as head coach. 

Pekka Rinne had a 24-save shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist as both goals came in the third period.

The Edmonton Oilers scored four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Dominik Kahun tallied twice and Leon Draisaitl collected three assists for the Oilers. Canucks center Elias Pettersson had a goal and an assist.


NEW YORK POST: Four of Artemi Panarin’s former KHL teammates dispute their former coach’s claim the New York Rangers winger assaulted a young woman in Riga, Latvia in 2011. The allegation by former Vityaz coach Andrei Nazarov forced Panarin to take a leave of absence from the Rangers. Nazarov, a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has publicly criticized Panarin in the past for his outspoken views of the Putin regime.

Larry Brooks reports there’s been no corroboration thus far of Nazarov’s account. Sources say the NHL hasn’t opened an independent investigation and has no intention of doing so due to the lack of credible evidence. There’s no timeline for Panarin’s absence. A source refuted a report the winger sought and was granted two weeks. He remains at his Connecticut home.

Brooks cites a source claiming Nazarov didn’t have a good relationship with Panarin when the winger played for him. Another suggested Nazarov was trying to curry favor with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation in hope of being rewarded with a coaching job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some have wondered why Panarin needs to take time away from the Rangers after claiming Nazarov’s accusation is baseless. He still has family in Russia and is apparently concerned about the effect of this story on them.

Nazarov reportedly claimed Panarin was detained by local police officials and there were a criminal case and trial. That should be easily verified by local records but nothing has been produced thus far to back up that claim.

SPORTSNET: Henrik Lundqvist is back on the ice less than two months after undergoing open-heart surgery. He was in full gear taking shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if this means a return to action for Lundqvist is in the near future. Nevertheless, it’s great to see him back on the ice again as he continues his recovery.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers captain Claude Giroux returned to practice yesterday for the first time after testing positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. The Flyers will evaluate him in practice today to determine if he’ll face the Rangers tonight. Teammates Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Justin Braun remain on the COVID protocol list.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen has been sidelined indefinitely by a concussion. He suffered the injury during last Friday’s game against the Blackhawks.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson suffered a season-ending knee injury during Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings. It could also end his tenure with the Blues as he’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

NHL.COM: The league released another update to its schedule to account for games previously postponed by COVID-19 protocols and recent winter storms in Texas.

NHL Most Important Players: Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Most Important Players: Carolina Hurricanes


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers re-sign Koskinen, Hurricanes re-up Teravainen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 


NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1, giving head coach Peter Laviolette his 600th career NHL victory. Pekka Rinne made 35 saves, Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist, and Victor Arvidsson tallied his 10th goal of the month. 

Los Angeles Kings goaltender picked up his 302nd career victory in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images).

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 33 saves for his 302nd career victory in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Quick moved past Mike Richter into fourth place for American-born goalies on the all-time wins list. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli scored a goal and added an assist. 

Mikko Koivu tallied his 200th career goal and Eric Staal had a two-point night as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Following the game, the Golden Knights traded little-used defenseman Brad Hunt and a sixth-round pick in 2019 to the Wild in exchange for the Wild’s fifth-rounder.

The Florida Panthers picked up their third straight win by beating the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Frank Vatrano had a goal and four assists while Aleksander Barkov collected three assists. The Sharks were playing without defenseman Erik Karlsson as he deals with an undisclosed injury. Karlsson will also miss the Sharks next game as well. 


New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 20. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed winger Teuvo Teravainen to a five-year, $27-million contract extension. The annual average value is $5.4 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teravainen, 24, has steadily developed into a reliable offensive forward for the Hurricanes. He enjoyed a career-best performance (23 goals, 64 points) last season and could exceed those totals (10 goals, 39 points in 48 games) this season.

Skating alongside center Sebastian Aho, Tervainen sits second among Hurricanes scorers in assists (29), points (39) and power-play points (12). He’s earned this raise as he’s become one of the Hurricanes’ core players. It’s a reasonable contract for a young player whose best seasons could still be ahead of him. 

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers re-signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a three-year, $13.5-million contract extension. The annual salary-cap hit is $4.5 million. In 27 games, the 30-year-old Koskinen has a record of 14-10-1, with a 2.78 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and three shutouts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Oilers fans are upset over this move and calling for general manager Peter Chiarelli to be fired. Despite Koskinen’s stats, he has been inconsistent at times this season. Nevertheless, he’s outperformed former starter Cam Talbot, whose days in Edmonton are likely numbered now. Koskinen’s contract isn’t outrageous and could provide some affordable stability between the pipes for the Oilers, though I also expect they could be in the market for a promising young netminder this summer. 

TSN.CA: The Oilers also placed forwards Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These moves could free up some salary-cap space for perhaps an upcoming addition via trade. We’ll see…

TORONTO SUN: Jake Gardiner (back spasms) could return to the Maple Leafs blueline for Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goalie Craig Anderson is fed up with players crashing the crease and is calling on the league to crack down. Anderson recently returned to action after missing 11 games with a concussion. 

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired NHL Hall-of-Famer Martin St. Louis as a special teams consultant.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former NHL player and coach George “Red” Sullivan passed away Saturday at his home in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 89.  Sullivan played for the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers from 1949-50 to 1960-61, tallying 107 goals and 346 points in 556 games. He coached the Rangers for four seasons (1962-63 to 1965-66), was the first coach in Pittsburgh Penguins history (1967-68 to 1968-69) and was the Washington Capitals’ bench boss as a midseason replacement in 1974-75.

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

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2019

Game recaps, Devils re-sign coach John Hynes, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov became the second player in Tampa Bay Lightning history to record seven consecutive multi-point games as he led his club to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Kucherov (one goal, three assists) joined Vincent Lecavalier, who holds the club record with eight straight multi-point contests. The Lightning also extended their points streak (15-0-1) to 16 games.

Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov continues to roll offensively in 2019. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov is on an incredible roll right now. With 69 points, he has a seven-point lead in the NHL scoring race and is on pace for a career-high 138 points. 

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price returned to action with a 33-save shutout performance in a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Price had missed the last three games with a lower-body injury. Canucks rookie star Elias Pettersson left the game with an apparent right leg injury after getting tangled up with Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, were playing without winger Andrew Shaw after placing him on injured reserve with a neck injury. Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed recently acquired goalie Mike McKenna on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Utica. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news for Pettersson is he was walking under his own power following the game, suggesting his injury might not be serious. An update on his status could be made later today. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, marking the third win in the last five games for the struggling Blues. St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin became just the second player in NHL history to begin his NHL career with 14 consecutive 30-goal seasons. Hall-of-Famer Mike Gartner holds the record with 15 seasons. 

The Minnesota Wild overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on a goal by Zach Parise. Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs while teammate William Nylander potted his first goal of the season. 

Boston Bruins forwards Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk each scored twice to lead their club to a 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames, giving the Bruins their third straight win. 

New York Islanders rookie Devon Toews’ first NHL goal was a memorable one, netting the winner in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Mathew Barzal also scored twice for the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devon Toews is not related to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. 

Playing without sidelined captain Jack Eichel (day-to-day, upper-body injury), the Buffalo Sabres held off the Florida Panthers 4-3. Jeff Skinner led the way for the Sabres with two goals. 

Winger Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and set up another as the Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 5-3 win over the floundering Philadelphia Flyers. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed head coach John Hynes to a multi-year contract extension. General manager Ray Shero cited Hynes’ leadership in rebuilding the club’s culture and development. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby surprised a New York Rangers fan who chirped him throughout his club’s 7-2 loss to the Penguins with an autographed stick and a message, “Good chirps. Take it easy on me next time!”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  According to one fan sitting nearby, one of the chips was, “Sid, when Gatorade was looking for a spokesman, they wanted someone tough and they considered you but signed Justin Bieber instead.” Now, that is pro-level chirping worthy of an autographed stick.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after a hit from New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood on Wednesday. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz was placed on injured reserve and is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the injury, Schmaltz had 14 points in 17 games since joining the Coyotes in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks.

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks prospect Max Comtois was the target of cyberbullying after failing to score on a penalty shot during Canada’s 2-1 tournament-ending loss to Finland in the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois has received an outpouring of support for the class and dignity he’s shown in the face of those disgusting comments left on his Instagram account, some of which were bigoted slurs calling for the youngster to die. Those few morons were not true hockey fans. They’re sad, pathetic losers who hide behind a keyboard to make themselves feel tough.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2017

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Johnny Gaudreau extended his points streak to 10 games with a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames burned the Washington Capitals 4-1. The red-hot Flames have won seven of their last nine games.

Ryan Johansen got his 300th career NHL point and was among six Nashville Predators to collect two points in their 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The Preds have now won seven of their last eight contests. Mathieu Perreault scored twice for the Jets.

Clayton Keller and Max Domi each had two points to give the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Coyotes, who snapped the Leafs six-game winning streak, have won three games in a row, all on the road against eastern Canadian teams

John Moore scored in overtime as the New Jersey Devils edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3. The Wild had rallied back to force the extra frame on two goals by Mikael Granlund. The Wild welcomed back Charlie Coyle, who missed 16 games with a fractured right fibula. They also placed winger Zach Parise on long-term injured reserve.

Antoine Vermette’s shootout goal was the game winner as the Anaheim Ducks nipped the San Jose Sharks 3-2, giving goalie Reto Berra his first victory since Dec. 1, 2015.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Jackets fourth consecutive win and the Sabres sixth straight loss.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 19.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Dallas Stars defenseman Marc Methot underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is sidelined four-to-six weeks. Center Martin Hanzal will miss the next three games with a hand injury and goalie Kari Lehtonen is out due to personal reasons.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester returns to the lineup tonight for the first time this season. He fractured his ankle back in September.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed right wing Anton Rodin on unconditional waivers yesterday as the two sides mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Angela Price, wife of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, took to social media to dispel rumors she was planning to divorce her husband and wanted to leave Montreal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That nasty bit of unfounded gossip was among the recent spate of conspiracy theories over why it’s taken Price so long to return to action from a supposedly minor lower-body injury.  



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2017

Game recaps, Hockey Hall of Fame inductions, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Teuvo Teravainen tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Jordan Staal collected four assists to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Sebastian Aho scored his first goal of the season and added two assists.

Mark Jankowski scored twice and set up another as the Calgary Flames beat the St. Louis Blues 7-4. It was a costly win for the Flames, as starting goaltender Mike Smith left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. More details could be revealed today.

Former players Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Danielle Goyette, former Canadian college coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs were officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Retired sportswriter Cam Cole received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award.

THE TENNESSEAN: Having signed an eight-year, $64-million contract last summer, Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen is struggling to score this season. To date, he has only eight assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Johansen still feels the lingering effects from the left-leg injury that knocked him out of last spring’s playoffs. I expect he’ll soon regain his offensive form. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin underwent possible season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months.

BOSTON HERALD: Sidelined Bruins Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork won’t be joining their club on their West Coast road trip.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knight defenseman Luca Sbisa (lower-body injury) will miss his club’s next two games.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators activated winger Bobby Ryan and defenseman Mark Borowiecki from injured reserve.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader (fractured cheekbone) will return to the lineup on Wednesday wearing a “football helmet-style facemask”.

ESPN.COM: In a press conference yesterday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman field questions about Olympic participation, the World Cup of Hockey, expansion and a potential work stoppage when the current collective bargaining agreement expires.

Bettman notes the IOC president said if the NHL doesn’t participate in the Pyeonchang Games, they cannot go to Beijing. The league would like to stage a World Cup of Hockey every four years.

Bettman isn’t ruling out further expansion “under the right circumstances” but said they’re not considering any potential candidates. “I don’t like work stoppages, but you do what you’ve got to do,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like we can forget about seeing the NHL participate in the Beijing Olympics in 2022. So get used to more World Cup of Hockey tournaments. Expansion is coming to take the league to 32 teams. It’s just a question of where and when. My guess is Seattle in five years time if they ever get their arena issue sorted out.

As for Bettman’s comment that he doesn’t like work stoppages, all three on his watch occurred because he and the owners locked out the players as a hardball tactic to bring the NHLPA to heel. It failed in 1995, succeeded in 2005 and resulted in a draw in 2013. The biggest losers, of course, were the fans, who had to endure three pissing contests that did nothing to improve labor relations between the two sides. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: AltaCorp Capital Inc. founder and CEO George Gosbee, who was instrumental in efforts to keep the Coyotes in Arizona back in 2013, passed away at age 48.