NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2023
Recaps of Wednesday’s games, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom stepping away for health reasons, the latest on the Senators and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry had a hat trick and collected an assist in a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Rookie Leo Carlsson netted his third goal while Lukas Dostal made 35 saves for the 6-4-0 Ducks. Lawson Crouse tallied twice while rookie Logan Cooley netted his first career NHL goal as the Coyotes slipped to 4-4-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks netminder John Gibson missed this game with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Tage Thompson had a goal and two assists, rookie winger Brandon Biro tallied his first two NHL goals and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 38 shots as the Sabres improved to 5-5-0. Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson replied for the 4-5-1 Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart left the game with a mid-body injury in the first period after giving up two goals on five shots. Backup Samuel Ersson allowed two goals on nine shots. There was no postgame update on Hart’s condition.
Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger kicked out 43 shots to hold off the Calgary Flames 4-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss (2-7-1). Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist for the Stars as they improved to 6-1-0. Flames rookie Connor Zary scored in his first NHL game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars forward Radek Faksa missed this game with an upper-body injury.
The Flames’ ongoing slump continues to generate speculation about their pending free agents. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumors update.
The Colorado Avalanche rolled to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist while Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had two assists for the 7-2-0 Avalanche. Robert Thomas replied for the Blues as they dropped to 3-4-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche forwards Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar were healthy scratches for this contest.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nicklas Backstrom is stepping away from the team due to ongoing issues related to his hip. The 35-year-old Washington Capitals center underwent hip resurfacing in June 2022 and appeared in 39 games last season. He played just eight games this season with one assist. It remains uncertain if he’ll return to the team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is one of the greatest players in Capitals history. He’s their all-time assist leader (762) and sits second in games played (1,105) and in points with 1,033.
However, Backstrom’s on-ice career could be over. Players who’ve undergone this procedure such as Ed Jovanovski and Carl Hagelin struggled to return to form while Ryan Kesler never played again.
It also raises questions over how effective Patrick Kane will be once he returns to action. The 34-year-old free-agent winger continues to rehab from his resurfacing procedure and is expected to begin fielding offers from interested clubs later this month.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Michael Andlauer was not pleased with his club having to forfeit a first-round draft pick over the club’s role in the Evgenii Dadonov trade to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021 and the subsequent invalidated trade that would’ve sent Dadonov from the Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks in 2022.
During the press conference yesterday, Andlauer indicated that he was aware there was a grievance against the team during the due diligence process before purchasing the club this summer. “It was basically, from the seller’s standpoint, really a non-issue,” said Andlauer. “I don’t know if a first-rounder is a non-issue to you guys, but it is (an issue) to me.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andlauer said he received a 73-page report from the league that he acknowledged indicated the Senators’ actions at that time were “negligent in nature”, adding that the club deserved to be punished.
The problem, however, is the league waited until after Andlauer purchased the Senators before delivering its sentence. It gives the impression that they wanted to ensure that this didn’t jeopardize the sale or risk Andlauer reducing or withdrawing his $950 million bid.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Potential candidates to replace fired Senators GM Pierre Dorion include former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Carolina Hurricanes assistant GM Eric Tulsky. They could also consider promoting assistant GM Ryan Bowness or president of hockey ops (and current interim GM) Steve Staios could take over on a full-time basis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Senators star and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Spezza has also been suggested as a candidate.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of Andlauer, following the sale of his 10 percent stake in the Canadiens, the club’ new valuation is now at a league-record $2.5 billion.
NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak were the league’s three stars for October 2023 while Anaheim Ducks goalie Lukas Dostal was named rookie of the month.
TSN: Former NHL star Joe Thornton will join Flames assistant GM Brad Pascall in handling the management duties and the assembly of Canada’s roster for this year’s Spengler Cup tournament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a stepping stone for Thornton toward a new career in NHL management.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser has transitioned to working as a real estate agent. DeKeyser, 33, spent 10 seasons in the NHL (all with the Red Wings) before injuries cut short his playing career.