NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

Alex Ovechkin takes over third place on the all-time goal list, Connor McDavid, Chris Kreider, Roman Josi and Mitch Marner also reach scoring milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 767th career NHL goal as his club downed the New York Islanders 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anthony Mantha. Evgeny Kuznetsov collected two assists for the Capitals while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. With 76 points, the Capitals hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin surpassed Jaromir Jagr to move into sole possession of third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, becoming the top European goal scorer in NHL history. He now sits 34 goals behind Gordie Howe for second place.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two points and Evander Kane tallied twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 7-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Warren Foegele snapped a 5-5 tie while Leon Draisaitl, Duncan Keith and Kailer Yamamoto also collected two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Marc Staal scored two goals for the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 200th career multi-point game. It’s the most among all players since his debut in 2015-16.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider became the sixth active skater to score at least 20 power-play goals in a season as his club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Adam Fox had three points (including the winning goal in overtime) and Artemi Panarin collected three assists. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 81 points but hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. The Ducks (65 points) have dropped five straight and sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Roman Josi collected three assists, becoming the third place in franchise history to record 50 assists in a season. Josi also leads all defensemen in scoring this season with 69 points while his club moved into third place in the Central Division with 74 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goaltender Erik Kallgren turned in a 35-save shutout in his first NHL start to blank the Dallas Stars 4-0. Mitch Marner collected two assists to surpass the 40-assist mark for the sixth straight season. With 81 points, the Leafs are one back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The loss puts the Stars one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights (68 points) for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first of two games the Leafs will play without Auston Matthews as he serves his suspension for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight defeat as they fell 7-3 to the Winnipeg Jets, who’ve won four of their last five games. Kyle Connor led the way for the Jets with a goal and two assists while Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for the win. They now sit just two points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp missed this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Six weeks ago, the Golden Knights sat atop the Pacific Division with 57 points. The combination of injuries to team captain Mark Stone and starting goalie Robin Lehner has contributed to their decline since then. They’re in danger of dropping out of the playoff race.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and added an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3, snapping a 12-game losing skid against New Jersey. Canucks center J.T. Miller extended his points streak to 13 games with three assists as his club sits one point behind the Golden Knights. Devils forward Pavel Zacha is doubtful for his club’s game tonight against the Calgary Flames after suffering an upper-body injury in this contest.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first team to reach 90 points this season (91) by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his second straight shutout while Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist. Josh Manson logged over 18 minutes in his first game with the Avs since they acquired him from the Ducks on Monday.

Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano scored the game-tying and overtime goals to lift his club to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Panthers center Joe Thornton’s first game back in San Jose against his former club since his departure in 2020. The Panthers (88 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins (79 points) remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves in a losing cause.

A 36-save effort by Karel Vejmelka gave the Arizona Coyotes a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens for their sixth victory in their last seven contests. Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Cole Caufield tallied twice in eight seconds for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens held trade candidate Ben Chiarot out of this game while Josh Anderson missed this matchup with a lower-body injury. The Habs also indicated Ryan Poehling was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST/TWINCITIES.COM: The Colorado Avalanche made their second trade in as many days, shipping forward Tyson Jost to the Minnesota Wild for forward Nico Sturm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move adds more size to the Avalanche roster while also swapping Jost’s $2 million salary-cap hit through 2022-23 for the pending free agent Sturm’s more affordable $725K. Avs general manager Joe Sakic could be setting the table for a bigger move before the March 21 trade deadline.

As for the Wild, this deal is being seen as GM Bill Guerin’s attempt to inject some life into a roster that’s struggled over the past month. He believes Jost will have a better chance to showcase his skills with the Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin underwent season-ending hip surgery on Monday. He’s expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should put an end to the Braden Holtby trade rumors. The Stars won’t shop their backup while they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. He’s currently sidelined by a lower-body injury though he skated with his teammates during practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL defenseman Jean Potvin passed away last night at age 72. An 11-year NHL veteran, he spent two tenures totaling seven seasons with the New York Islanders, winning two Stanley Cups with brother Denis Potvin. He also served stints with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars. Potvin netted 287 points in 613 total games between 1970-71 and 1980-81.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game as the Penguins get their 10th straight win, Nathan MacKinnon has a five-point performance, Joe Thornton and Jakub Voracek reach milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game (two goals, one assist) as his Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to pick up their 10th straight win. Jake Guentzel also tallied twice while Kris Letang collected three assists. With 45 points, the Penguins have a comfortable hold on the first wild-card berth in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers (32 points) have lost three straight and sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Bruins, they failed to gain ground on the Penguins by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Matt Boldy scored what proved to be the game-winner in his NHL debut while teammate Kirill Kaprizov left the game in the second period following what Wild coach Dean Evason called a “predatory hit” by Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Minnesota (42 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but sits just five points out of first in the Conference. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 12 points in a 7-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, Landeskog tallied a hat trick and collected an assist while Rantanen has a goal and two helpers as the Avs (42 points) picked up their third straight win to move into third place in the Central Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up two assists in his first game since Oct. 16 to help his club defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning sits atop the overall standings with 51 points. The Flames (40 points) are third in the Pacific Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down the New York Rangers 5-1, spoiling the return of Rangers coach Gerard Gallant and winger Ryan Reaves to Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 46 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had two points on the night as the Predators sit one point behind the Golden Knights.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Stars’ first game in 16 days. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers while Joe Thornton played in his 1,700th NHL game. The Panthers (49 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference while the Stars (34 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes extended his career-high points streak to five games with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the win. Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th NHL game. With the win, the Devils (33 points) are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East.

The San Jose Sharks (37 points) moved within one point of a Western Conference wild-card spot by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist while goalie Adin Hill turned aside 37 shots.

A hat trick by Johan Larsson carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Boyd collected a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced forward Jay Beagle is out “long-term” with a lower-body injury and claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the latest players placed on the COVID protocol list.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have extended their break from all activities until Saturday due to COVID-19. Twenty-two of their players are currently on the COVID protocol list.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence in the latest step toward his eventual return with the club. The 34-year-old goaltender is working his way back from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be back with the Bruins by sometime next week.

TSN: Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz is out four to six weeks with a hand injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed winger Nick Ritchie on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ gamble on Ritchie failed to pay off. However, his other affordable offseason additions (Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf) are working out rather well for the Leafs.

CTV SASKATOON: The Winnipeg Jets are looking into the possibility of playing some of their home games in Saskatoon due to strict COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Manitoba.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2021

Connor McDavid and Troy Terry extend their points streak, Jacob Markstrom collects another shutout, the Panthers remain undefeated at home, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallied another highlight-reel goal to extend his season-opening points streak to 16 games in a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. McDavid and Kyle Turris also scored in the shootout while Stuart Skinner made 46 saves for the win. Nikolaj Ehlers scored in regulation for the Jets.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s goal was almost a carbon copy of the one he recently tallied against the New York Rangers, stickhandling his way through three defenders with his blazing speed to beat Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. With 30 points, McDavid sits three behind teammate Leon Draisaitl for first place in the NHL scoring race.

Troy Terry also extended his points streak with a goal but his Anaheim Ducks had their eight-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Seth Jarvis snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen stopped 31 shots.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom collected his league-leading fifth shutout of the season to douse the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Johnny Gaudreau and Andrew Mangiapane each tallied twice for the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s modern-day single-season shutout record is 15 held by the late Tony Esposito in 1969-70. Markstrom is already a third of the way toward reaching that record.

The Florida Panthers extended their season-opening home winning streak to 9-0-0 by dropping the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Spencer Knight kicked out 45 shots while Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair each had a goal and an assist. Panthers center Joe Thornton returned to the lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers (27 points) hold a one-point lead over the Hurricanes atop the NHL’s overall standings.

Shootout goals by Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning extended their points streak to nine games (7-0-2). Stamkos also had a goal and an assist in regulation play while Claude Giroux tallied twice for the Flyers. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced defenseman Ryan Ellis will be sidelined four-to-six weeks dealing with a lingering lower-body injury.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had his first four-point NHL game (one goal, three assists) as his club trounced the Dallas Stars 7-2. Mats Zuccarello, Victor Rask and Alex Goligoski each had a goal and two assists for the Wild.

Morgan Rielly scored twice and Jack Campbell made 27 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the New York Rangers 2-1. The Leafs have won five straight games and snapped the Rangers’ win streak at four.

A two-goal performance by Brandon Saad carried the St. Louis Blues to their first victory in five games with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Blues goalie Ville Husso got his second win in as many starts with a 27-save performance.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals from defenseman Zach Whitecloud in his return to the lineup from a broken hand to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Golden Knights blueliner Shea Theodore was scratched from this contest with an undisclosed injury. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin returned to the lineup after missing half of his previous game to a false positive COVID test. Teammate Moritz Seider left the game in the third period after taking a puck off his right knee.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner netted two goals to lead his team over the Arizona Coyotes 5-4. Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood made 42 saves. Earlier in the day, Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins underwent successful knee surgery. He’ll be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Montreal Canadiens 6-0 as Tristan Jarry made 24 saves for his first shutout of the season. Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the season while Teddy Blueger tallied twice and set up another. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens recalled winger Cole Caufield after his six-game stint with their AHL affiliate in Laval.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have just one win in their last 10 games. They’ve now reached the point where their “slow start” to the season can now be called a poor start, with no end to their misery in sight.

IN OTHER NEWS…

CANUCKS ARMY: The Vancouver Canucks placed Justin Bailey on waivers.

TSN: Winger Troy Brouwer announced his retirement after 14 NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers. He scored 181 goals and 363 points in 851 regular-season games and 16 goals and 35 points in 106 playoff contests, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. His last season was with the Blues in 2019-20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brouwer and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

The Flyers down the Bruins, the Blues defeat the Golden Knights plus the Jets brace for more COVID-19 cases, an update on the Oilers’ Mike Smith and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins 6-3. Atkinson scored twice, Couturier and Joel Farabee each had a goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 37 saves for the win. Boston made it interesting by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the second period on goals by Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand. Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson (NHL Images).

Jordan Binnington made 42 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the go-ahead goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev also tallied for the Blues while William Karlsson scored Vegas’ only goal.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly bracing for more positive COVID-19 tests after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive and went into self-isolation on Tuesday. The club didn’t comment on the report but is expected to provide an update on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli broke this story. He followed up on Twitter saying some tests that were initially positive have since been confirmed negative. Seravalli said it’s possible most of the roster will be cleared to play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks but the Jets are awaiting clarity on this changing situation.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, they assigned prospect forward Cole Perfetti to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mike Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He’ll be sidelined for at least one week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ playoff hopes rest on a healthy Smith unless backup Mikko Koskinen can step up in his absence, something he’s had difficulty doing in the past.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is looking forward to facing the Canadiens in Montreal tonight. It will be his first game against his former team since signing a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet in August. Kotkaniemi said he has no hard feelings and nothing but “real good memories” of his time with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how poorly the Canadiens have started the season, Kotkaniemi could rub more salt in the wound by scoring during a Hurricanes victory tonight.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, defenseman Joel Edmundson has taken a leave of absence to be with his father, who’s suffering from cancer. Edmundson has been sidelined thus far by an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s absence is part of the reason the Canadiens are 0-4-0 to start this season. He was a strong physical presence on their blueline last season, especially in the playoffs. Factor in the absence of starting goalie Carey Price (NHL player assistance program)and team captain Shea Weber (injuries) plus the departure of two-way center Phillip Danault (free agency) and it’s unsurprising the Canadiens look terrible thus far.

TSN: Florida Panthers forward Joe Thornton was fined $1,875.00 for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames placed forward Glenn Gawdin on waivers yesterday.

Former NHL forward Artem Anisimov signed a one-year contract with KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2021

The league will enforce stricter rules for cross-checking, the Olympic schedule is set, plus the latest on Ryan Johansen, Erik Johnson, Joe Thornton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The NHL intends to crack down on cross-checking this season. The focus will be on three specific areas of the rink: along the boards, in front of the net, and in open ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rule changes are drawing a mixed reaction from players. As always, I’m skeptical as to how tightly enforced these changes will be. I fear we’ll see the usual pattern develop whenever such changes regarding on-ice infractions are implemented: closely called early in the season before drifting back to the previous standard over the course of the schedule.

NHL.COM: The men’s hockey schedule for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has been released. It begins on Feb. 9 with Russia (also known as the “Russian Olympic Committee”) versus Switzerland, the Czech Republic facing off against Denmark and Sweden taking on Latvia.

Feb. 10 sees Canada squaring off against Germany, the United States against China, Finland going up against Slovakia, and Denmark taking on the “Russian Olympic Committee”.

The tournament ends on Feb. 19 with the medal games. The gold medal game begins at 11:10 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canada vs Germany features Edmonton Oilers teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl facing off against each other for the first time in Olympic hockey. That’s an early must-watch for me in this tournament.

The “Russian Olympic Committee” will hereafter be referred to as the “ROC” by me throughout the Olympics. The gold medal game starts after midnight my time, meaning my Keurig will be getting a workout that night.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton and Anton Lundell were absent from Florida Panthers training camp yesterday. Thornton was dealing with a minor sprain while Lundell missed his second straight day with an undisclosed ailment.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen is hoping for a big bounce-back year following two sub-par seasons.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson and goaltender Pavel Francouz are trying to put their lost seasons’ behind them. Injuries limited Johnson to just four games in 2020-21 while Francouz was sidelined the entire season.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider hopes to make his NHL debut this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A highly-touted prospect, Seider could be a Calder Memorial Trophy candidate if he cracks the lineup and plays well in 2021-22.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a high-ankle sprain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An unfortunate setback for Samberg, who was expected to become a regular on the Jets blueline this season.

Calgary Flames prospect forward Connor Zary is listed as week-to-week with a fractured ankle after blocking a shot in a rookie game earlier this week.

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Sami Niku to a one-year, two-way contract. Earlier this week, the 24-year-old Niku agreed to a mutual termination of his contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

THE ATHLETIC: The New Jersey Devils hope to convince their one unvaccinated player to change his mind and join their other 49 players in camp who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

THE SCORE: The Washington Capitals will be the first NHL club to feature ads on their jerseys starting in 2022-23 after agreeing to a multi-year deal with Caesars Sportsbook.