NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2019

St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars heading to Game 7, Ken Holland to accept Oilers GM job, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars will require Game 7 to settle their second-round series. Third-period goals by Jaden Schwartz and Sammy Blais 33 seconds apart gave the Blues a 4-1 victory in Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.

An injury to Ben Bishop overshadowed the St. Louis Blues Game 6 victory over his Dallas Stars. (Photo via NHL Images)

Schwartz’s goal came with some controversy as Stars goaltender Ben Bishop was injured beforehand on a shot from Blues defenseman Colton Parayko. Bishop left the game following Blais’ goal and underwent x-rays on his left collarbone. According to Stars coach Jim Montgomery, Bishop was fine and he’s expected to start Game 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues were the better club in this one, especially their special teams. They went one-for-three on the power-play and killed off four penalties.

Bishop’s injury had some fans wondering why the play was immediately whistled down. NHL rule 8.1 indicates that can only happen when the injured player’s team gains control of the puck or if the on-ice officials believe the player’s injury is serious to merit an immediate stoppage of play. However, that raises questions over how officials determine the seriousness of an injury. 

TSN: Detroit Red Wings senior VP (and former general manager) Ken Holland has reportedly accepted the position of Edmonton Oilers GM. The club is expected to officially announce Holland’s hiring later this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how quickly this story percolated over the weekend we shouldn’t be surprised over this. The Oilers are believed to have offered Holland total autonomy over all hockey decisions plus a five-year contract worth $5 million annually.

The reaction to this news was mixed among hockey fans on Twitter. Some point to the Red Wings’ many years of success during Holland’s 22-year tenure as their GM, including three Stanley Cup championships. Critics believe he inherited a strong core from his predecessors and noted the club’s decline over the past decade.

THE ATHLETIC: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski is getting closer to returning from the head injury suffered during the opening round against the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s still coping with concussion symptoms.  Pavelski also doesn’t believe the major penalty assessed to Golden Knights center Cody Eakin for his injury was merited. He doesn’t feel the cross-check was malicious and that he got twisted up as he fell to the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should the Sharks advance to the Western Conference Finals, it sounds like Pavelski could return to action for that series. 

SPORTSNET: After Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry chided Carolina Hurricanes fans as “front-runners” on Saturday, the club released t-shirts with “Bunch of front-running jerks” on the front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Cherry’s getting a cut of the action here, he should just stop grumbling about the Hurricanes’  regular-season postgame victory celebrations and trying to shame their newfound followers as fair-weather fans. His comments are having the opposite reaction of what he intended. The Canes are dunking on him and laughing all the way to the bank. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2017

Vancouver Canucks sign center Bo Horvat to a six-year deal.

 Canucks re-sign Bo Horvat, plus updates on Semyon Varlamov, Marcus Foligno & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday signed center Bo Horvat to a six-year, $33 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual cap hit is $5.5 million. In actual salary, Horvat will earn $6.5 million in 2017-18, $7 million in 2018-19, over $5.7 million in 2019-20 and 2021-22, $3.5 million in 2020-21 and over $4.4 million in 2022-23. The 22-year-old was the Canucks’ leading scorer last season, tallying 20 goals and 52 points.The deal leaves the Canucks with a projected $1.9 million in salary-cap space.

Horvat’s production steadily improved over the last three seasons, but critics point out his output declined over the second half of 2016-17. Still, he’s at the stage in his NHL career where his best seasons are ahead of him over the tenure of this new contract. Given this deal, Horvat’s bound to get more playing time higher up on the Canucks’ forward depth chart. Should his stats continue to rise, this will be considered a worthwhile deal for the rebuilding Canucks. 

NBC SPORTS: Speaking of the Canucks, winger Brendan Gaunce (shoulder surgery) isn’t expected to be available until early November. Meanwhile, the Canucks invited free agent forward Scottie Upshall to training camp on a tryout offer

THE DENVER POST: Six months following his second hip surgery, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s “cat-like quickness” has apparently returned. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy Varlamov returning to top form will certainly improve the Avalanche’s performance this season. Given their limited blueline depth, they’ll need him at his best. 

THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild restricted free agent forward Marcus Foligno remains confident he’ll be re-signed before training camp opens next week. Foligno joined the Wild during a four-player trade with the Buffalo Sabres in June. 

CSN PHILLY: Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz is out indefinitely following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek examines how the NHL salary cap created a secondary trade market for injured players and expensive contracts. 

NEWSDAY: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has ruled out the possibility of the New York Islanders returning to the refurbished Nassau Coliseum. 

TSN: Bettman, as well as deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello have been subpoenaed to testify in former NHL player Mike Peluso’s upcoming workers’ compensation trial in November. 

LA PRESSE: Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien will remain with the organization as a scout. He was fired in February and replaced by Claude Julien. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2017

Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist (left) high sticks Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face.

Game recaps, Nyquist faces disciplinary hearing, Setoguchi on waivers & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild’s 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings was overshadowed by Red Wings’ forward Gustav Nyquist high-sticking Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face. Fortunately for Spurgeon, he wasn’t seriously injured and returned to the game.

Following the game, Nyquist was offered an in-person hearing with the NHL department of player safety, which could result in a suspension of six games or more. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist’s intent may not have been to hit Spurgeon in the face, and he appeared immediately regretful of his actions, but it was certainly a retaliatory move that went awry on his his part. He is not considered a dirty player and has never been suspended before. His worst infraction was a $2,000.00 fine for embellishment/diving in 2015. I expect he’ll miss some playing time for this incident. 

Tuukka Rask turned in a 25-save shutout performance backstopping the Boston Bruins to a 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It’s the Bruins third straight victory, while the Habs have dropped six of their last seven games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Jack Capuano, Ken Hitchcock and Claude Julien losing their head-coaching jobs over the last four weeks, the focus now shifts toward Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien, who’s starting to feel the heat in Montreal as the struggling Canadiens enter their bye week.

Brent Burns scored twice as the San Jose Sharks snapped a four-game losing streak by downing the New Jersey Devils 4-1. 

Burns now has 59 points, putting him only two behind league leader Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. He has a shot at becoming the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1975 to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer.

Roman Josi scored twice as the Nashville Predators overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Dallas Stars 5-3. 

Anders Lee scored two third-period goals to give the New York Islanders a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the ninth win in 12 games for the surging Islanders, putting them only one point out of a wild-card berth. 

Michael Chaput scored two goals as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno took exception to a Hockey Night in Canada report on Saturday claiming the players held a meeting with head coach John Tortorella. It was reported they asked Tortorella to be more constructive with his criticism as they try to play their way out of an 8-9-1 funk. Foligno claims the story was blown out of proportion. “We talked about a lot of things in the meeting. Meetings happen all the time, and I’m not sure why this one was turned into something way more than what it was,” said Foligno.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings placed winger Devin Setoguchi on waivers. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks forward Jordin Tootoo is relishing his six years of sobriety following years of alcohol abuse that threatened to derail his hockey career. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: A public visitation for Mike Ilitch, the late owner of the Detroit Red Wings, will be held on Wednesday at Fox Theater in Detroit. Ilitch passed away on Friday at age 87. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2017

Winnipeg Jets rookie Patrik Laine (right) is rocked by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe.

Game recaps, Patrik Laine and T.J. Oshie sidelined & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3, but their victory was overshadowed by Jets rookie star Patrik Laine being knocked out of the game by a clean open-ice hit from Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are expected to provide an update later today on Laine’s condition, but he may have suffered a concussion. Jets coach Paul Maurice said he had no issue with the hit. This could be a significant setback for the Jets if Laine, their leading scorer, is sidelined for a lengthy period of time. 

Michael Grabner netted the game-winner late in the third period as the New York Rangers overcame a 4-1 deficit to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4, handing the latter their second straight loss following their 16-game winning streak. Grabner and teammate Adam Clendening each scored twice for the Blueshirts. 

Playing with seven regulars out of the lineup didn’t prevent the Montreal Canadiens from beating the Toronto Maples for the 13th straight time, downing the Leafs 5-3. It was the 400th career NHL victory for Habs coach Michel Therrien. Alex Radulov, Shea Weber and Jeff Petry all collected two points for the Canadiens, while Leafs winger Mitch Marner had three assists. 

Braden Holtby made 30 saves, T.J. Oshie scored the only goal and Nicklas Backstrom collected his 500th career NHL assist as the Washington Capitals nipped the Ottawa Senators 1-0. Oshie later left the game with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated on Sunday. 

Joe Pavelski scored twice, including his 600th career NHL point, as the San Jose Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Before the game, the Sharks honored the California Golden Seals, the first NHL team to play in the Bay Area. 

Tanner Pearson’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Jeff Carter had a goal and two assists for the Kings, while teammates Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin each collected two points. Mikko Koivu also had a two-point performance for the Wild. 

Brad Marchand scored twice and Tuukka Rask turned in a 25-save shutout effort as the Boston Bruins blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0. 

Paul Stastny scored twice, including the winning goal, to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. 

Four second-period goals lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 win over the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves in his return from a lower-body injury, snapping his club’s five-game winless streak. 

Mark Letestu’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. It was the first time Devils winger Taylor Hall faced his former team but he was held scoreless. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed center Jacob Josefson (illness) on injured reserve

Chad Johnson turned in a 28-save effort to backstop the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

Louis Domingue made 27 saves while Anthony Duclair and Radim Vrbata scored in a shootout as the Arizona Coyotes snapped a nine-game losing skid with a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. 

NBC SPORTS:  The Nashville Predators placed winger James Neal on injured reserve. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2016

Andrew Ladd celebrates his first goal with the New York Islanders in their 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Andrew Ladd celebrates his first goal with the New York Islanders in their 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd lifted the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the free-falling Vancouver Canucks, who dropped their ninth straight game. 

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask turned in a 32-save performance backstopping his club to a 4-0 blanking of the Buffalo Sabres. 

Reilly Smith scored the game winner as the Florida Panthers downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. The Lightning were without center Valtteri Filppula, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes are the NHL’s Three Stars for the week ending November 6. 

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones will miss the next three weeks with a hairline fracture in his foot. 

The Detroit Red Wings placed left wing Thomas Vanek on long-term injury reserve and called up forward Tyler Bertuzzi. 

THE SCORE: The Los Angeles Kings active goaltender Jeff Zatkoff off injured reserve.

CALGARY SUN: Flames president Brian Burke blames his club’s top players, including Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, for their 5-8-1 record. “I’m not one for calling players out or naming names but our top guys are not playing up to their level — it’s that simple.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke’s not wrong, Gaudreau and Monahan have not played up to expectations early in this season. While Gaudreau missing training camp due to his contract negotiations could be considered a factor, he also played for Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey, so it’s not as though he didn’t see any quality playing time before the start of the season. 

SPORTSNET: Despite the Montreal Canadiens trending downward in shots-against and the penalty kill, coach Michel Therrien claims he’s unconcerned by those trends. While acknowledging those areas need improvement, he points to the club’s 10-1-1 record. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if those issues persist in the coming weeks. Superstar goaltender Carey Price can offset those issues, but only for so long. At some point, they’ll start costing the Habs games. 

PHILLY.COM: Flyers goalies Steve Mason and MIchal Neuvirth are struggling between the pipes, allowing the second-worst combined goals-against average (3.69) in the league. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why is goaltending a persistent problem for the Flyers? Perhaps they need to do a better job of drafting and developing quality netminders. They did have a good one years ago (Sergei Bobrovsky), but traded him to Columbus. Trying to find them from other teams isn’t a strategy that’s working well for them in the long term. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Shoddy goaltending and inconsistent defense are to blame for the Carolina Hurricanes’ poor start. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The NHL’s Las Vegas expansion franchise will reveal it’s name and logo on November 22. 

Roy to Montreal Speculation Begins

Roy to Montreal Speculation Begins

Could Patrick Roy one day become coach of the Montreal Canadiens?

Could Patrick Roy one day become coach of the Montreal Canadiens?

 Hours after Patrick Roy resigned as the Colorado Avalanche’s head coach, speculation emerged linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE:  Stu Cowan reports Patrick Roy’s resignation yesterday as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche could turn up the heat on Montreal Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien, who’s come under increasing criticism from fans and pundits after the Habs missed the playoffs last season. Cowan speculates a poor start by the Canadiens in the upcoming season could put Therrien on a short leash.

Team owner Geoff Molson’s made it clear a French-speaking coach is a very important factor for the club. Cowan doubts, however, GM Marc Bergevin is in a rush to replace Therrien, who is signed through 2021-22. With the club having dealt away a larger-than-life personality this summer in defenseman P.K. Subban, Cowan doesn’t see Bergevin and Molson being in any hurry to bring in another.  

SI.COM: Allan Muir suggests Therrien “better hope Carey Price stays healthy, and that the Canadiens get off to a great start. If not, St. Patrick’s Day could come early to Montreal.”

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector also notes some will say Roy could be Therrien’s replacement if the Canadiens struggle this fall. Roy’s desire to have control over player personnel issues, however, could make him radioactive for Habs GM Bergevin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy won the Jack Adams Trophy in 2014 as NHL coach of the year for guiding the Avalanche to their first playoff berth since 2010. But let’s be honest here, the real reason the Avs made the playoffs was largely due to goaltender Semyon Varlamov having a career season.

At the time Roy’s critics pointed out the Avs were among the league’s worst puck-possession clubs that season and gave up the sixth-most shots-against per game. Over the next two seasons, the Avs worsening puck-possession and shots-against numbers were significant reasons why they missed the playoffs. During most of Therrien’s current tenure, the Habs had their own issues in those categories. Hiring Roy probably won’t improve those stats.

Sure, it’s tempting to link Roy to the Canadiens if they struggle this coming season under Therrien, who’s come under a considerable amount of justified criticism for his handling of the roster. Given the dire dearth of real NHL news at this time of year, talk of replacing Therrien with Roy will help fill a few days.

However, if Therrien is replaced at some point, I doubt they’ll take on Roy. His outspoken style, big personality and desire for control beyond the bench would create a toxic relationship with Bergevin and Molson. By trading away Subban this summer, they made it very clear that they don’t like outsized personalities on their team. If a coaching change becomes necessary, I think they’ll pass on Roy.

The same applies if Molson decides to shake up the front office. Yes, Roy has years of management experience from his days running the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, and he had a hand in front-office decisions with the Avalanche. However, his brash, outspoken style would clash with Molson’s quiet methods of doing business.