NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2021

Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews, Connor McDavid, Matthew Tkachuk, Nikolaj Ehlers and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: in an exclusive interview with Mark Lazerus, Jonathan Toews acknowledged he’s probably a COVID “long hauler” given the tell-tale signs of a bout with the coronavirus in February 2020 before the pandemic became widespread. Combined with the cumulative effect of his long NHL career, it led to the symptoms of a mysterious illness that cost him a year, including the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Toews’ doctors initially believed his condition was due to chronic immune response syndrome. Feeling rejuvenated, he intends on returning to action this season. He also said he doesn’t want his story to overshadow the lawsuits by two former players against the Blackhawks alleging the club’s inaction to address their allegations of sexual assault by the team’s former video coach a decade ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews might not be the only NHL player who contracted COVID-19 well before the league shut down the remainder of the regular season in March 2020. Many of them may have been asymptomatic.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s focus this season is on becoming a more complete player. He believes the key to helping his club go deeper in the playoffs is improving his play without the puck and in his own zone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Working on the defensive aspects of his game may help McDavid improve his all-around game, but he still needs a good supporting cast for his Oilers to become a serious Stanley Cup contender. While the roster has improved they still have a ways to go no matter how much their captain’s game evolves.

THE SCORE: Matthew Tkachuk is entering 2021-22 determined to help the Calgary Flames stage a long postseason run. The Flames reached the playoffs in three of his five seasons in Calgary but failed to advance beyond the first round.

NBC BOSTON: An emotional funeral and procession were held on Monday for former Bruin Jimmy Hayes in his hometown of Dorchester, Massachusetts yesterday. Hayes died suddenly last week at age 31. His brother, Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes, recalled Jimmy bringing a cancer-stricken youngster to the Bruins locker room, giving the child one of his best memories before he succumbed to the disease.

NHL.COM: Denmark defeated Norway 2-0 to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics thanks to an insurance goal by Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons collected an assist to help Latvia qualify for the Beijing Games in a 2-1 win over France in Group E qualification action on Sunday.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed winger Eeli Tolvanen to a three-year, $4.35 million contract.

Former NHLer Matt Calvert has joined the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings as a development coach. Injuries forced Calvert to announce his retirement earlier this year after 11 seasons.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed Dylan Guenther to a three-year entry-level contract. He was the ninth overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

PHILLY.COM:The Philadelphia Flyers will name a new inductee into their Hall of Fame for the first time in five years.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2019

The latest on Nicklas Backstrom, Craig Anderson and Lias Andersson in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE WASHINGTON POST: Samantha Pell reports a source claims contract term, not money, is a sticking point in negotiations between Capitals management and Nicklas Backstrom. The center is meeting directly with general manager Brian MacLellan to discuss a new deal.

Contract term is a sticking point in negotiations between NIcklas Backstrom nd the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Backstrom would prefer a five-year contract to avoid another negotiation soon. The Capitals prefer a three-year deal, extending Backstrom through the season when he turns 35.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is 32 and in the final season of a 10-year, $67-million contract. With 27 points in 29 games, he’s on pace for 68 points in 74 games this season.

While still productive, Backstrom’s at a point in his career when his performance will eventually decline. Perhaps the two sides agree to a four-year deal if Backstrom accepts an annual cap hit of $6 million per season.


OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren speculates the Florida Panthers could become a trade destination for Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. The netminder’s Florida home is just 15 minutes from the Panthers arena. He also spent parts of three seasons with them earlier in his career.

Warren indicates the Panthers are using prospect Chris Driedger is serving as a backup for Sergei Bobrovsky. He acknowledges their limited salary-cap space could be a stumbling block. They have around 900K available while Anderson carries a $4.5-million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could be in the market for an experienced, reliable backup for Bobrovsky. Unless they shed significant salary, they’ll probably prefer a more affordable, younger option than Anderson.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks chastised Lias Andersson for his recent trade request and departure from the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford. The 21-year-old winger has been suspended by the Rangers. Brooks believes Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has been trying to trade Andersson since the winger’s demotion in November. He points out the youngster’s trade value wasn’t helped by his poor performance in Hartford.

Brooks doubts there’s much of a market for a forward who lacks speed, explosiveness and isn’t creative with the puck. He wondered if the Nashville Predators would be willing to discussion swapping Andersson for Eeli Tolvanen, a once highly touted Preds prospect who’s also struggling to crack the NHL.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell doubts the Edmonton Oilers will take a chance on Andersson. He feels the Oilers are looking to increase their speed and pace, especially at the center position. The Rangers could seek a draft pick in return, but Mitchell thinks the Oilers will want to keep the rest of their 2020 draft stock.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors were suggesting the Oilers swap Jesse Puljujarvi for Andersson before Puljujarvi’s Dec. 1 signing deadline. The issues raised by Brooks and Mitchell could explain why that didn’t come to pass. As for an Andersson-for-Tolvanen swap with the Predators, that’s probably not high on Nashville GM David Poile’s priority list. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2019

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Russell, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Dustin Byfuglien understands the club suspended him for not reporting to training camp was “absolutely procedural” and he was fully aware of it. The club made the move to protect their roster and salary-cap flexibility while Byfuglien’s on his leave of absence pondering his future.

Dustin Byfuglien was aware the Winnipeg Jets would suspend him and the reasons why (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes the theory that this move would drive a wedge between Byfuglien and the Jets.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Kris Russell has been cleared to participate in training camp after spending the last two weeks in concussion protocol. He was injured following an accidental collision with a teammate during a pre-camp skate.

TSN: The Dallas Stars released Scottie Upshall from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Upshall reportedly had a good training camp but the Stars are tight on contracts. Perhaps he’ll land with another club seeking forward depth before the start of the season.

CALGARY SUN: Tobias Rieder is looking for a fresh start with the Flames. He’s currently on a professional tryout offer.

THE SCORE: Former NHL defenseman Eric Gryba has announced his retirement after 289 games over seven seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, and New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gryba in his future endeavors.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators demoted Eeli Tolvanen to their AHL affiliate yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tolvanen was considered among the Predators’ top prospects, but the 20-year-old winger has had difficulty cracking their roster.


NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2019

Latest on Mitch Marner, Artemi Panarin, Jonathan Quick, Sergei Bobrovsky, Wayne Simmonds, Brent Seabrook, and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TSN: cites a report in the Toronto Star in which agent Darren Ferris, who represents Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, claims the club has so far made low-ball contract offers to his client. “Nobody else is taking a discount. And now you’re asking (Marner) to take one again? It’s nonsense,” Ferris said, per the Toronto Star report. “Mitch already did them a favor on the entry-level deal.”

Leafs low-balling Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Marner camp indicated their client won’t discuss a new contract during the season. They were likely waiting to see what Auston Matthews got. Considering how much the Leafs have ponied up for Matthews (five years, $58.15-million) and William Nylander (six-year, $45-million), there’s no way Marner, the Leafs’ leading scorer (63 points in 52 games) is taking a “hometown discount”. Figure it’ll cost them around $11 million annually to keep him in the fold. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s plenty of interest in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin but those clubs indicate they haven’t received permission to speak with him about a contract extension. Panarin is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has told the Blue Jackets he’s not interested in talking contract during the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe one of the clubs on Panarin’s rumored wish list might take a chance if they feel they have a good shot at re-signing him after a trade. He’s been linked to the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers. 


TSN: Darren Dreger reports trade talks regarding the Los Angeles Kings have cooled of late. While calls have been made about Quick, who has four years remaining on his contract, Dreger feels if he gets traded it’ll happen at the draft than the trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick lacks no-trade protection on his contract so he can be traded anywhere without his permission. If the Kings go that route, however, they’ll likely try to move him somewhere he’d prefer to go. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers are believed to have reached out to the Columbus Blue Jackets regarding goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky but the asking price is currently too high to get into trade discussions. The Panthers could circle back closer to deadline day but if the price hasn’t dropped they’ll wait until July 1 to pursue Bobrovsky via free agency. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Philadelphia Flyers’ recent surge in the standings likely won’t prevent them from trading winger Wayne Simmonds if they get the right offer before the trade deadline. Simmonds is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a source said the Chicago Blackhawks had a conversation about six weeks ago with defenseman Brent Seabrook and his agent regarding his future. With the Blackhawks suddenly back in the playoff picture that may have changed. “What is true is the Blackhawks have checked the market to see what opportunities might be out there, they currently do not have permission to trade him, and Seabrook loves Chicago. If somewhere in all of that, something I said was in error, that is totally my fault.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook denied Friedman’s Saturday report saying he was approached about waiving his no-movement clause. 


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan has been informed he’s now the club’s 13th forward. He has one year remaining on his contract with a $5.8-million annual salary-cap hit and a 15-team trade list. He wants to stay in Tampa Bay and hasn’t been approached about a trade but Smith feels this season could be his last with the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Callahan’s long injury history, his cap hit, and his modified no-trade clause are significant stumbling blocks in attempts to trade him. The Bolts might have to consider buying him out in June.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion said goaltender Craig Anderson won’t be moved before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Anderson has one year remaining on his contract. 


WGR 550:  Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres winger Jason Pominville is not looking to be traded. Pominville was responded to a report over the weekend by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the veteran forward might be available. “I know I can help this team and be a part of the solution, but it was probably said because I wasn’t playing, then all of a sudden you start making rumors and throwing stuff out there and that’s probably what the case was.”


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is looking at some forward depth, pointing out that he recently scouted the Anaheim Ducks in Winnipeg and Toronto. Bergevin isn’t willing to part with future assets. He might also have checked out Dallas’ Brett Ritchie. 

Winger Mike Hoffman could another Florida Panther to be traded. 

Los Angeles Kings winger Carl Hagelin could be a good fit as a rental player with the Buffalo Sabres. 

The Calgary Flames are among the teams that have checked out New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello. Friedman also believes it’ll take a lot to pry winger Chris Kreider away from the Rangers. 

The Nashville Predators are being asked about their willingness to part with promising winger Eeli Tolvanen. With Austin Watson currently sidelined indefinitely, they could be in the market for two forwards. 

Friedman can see the Detroit Red Wings trading goaltender Jimmy Howard at the trade deadline and then signing him as a free agent this summer. They could also just as easily keep him. They’re also attempting to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Nick Jensen. 

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple reported the New York Islanders could have interest in New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle. 

The Dallas Stars could have room to add a player if Martin Hanzal is declared out for the rest of the season. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week, plus updates on Auston Matthews, Kris Letang, Torey Krug, Cory Schneider and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm scored 55 seconds apart in the third period as the Calgary Flames defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. It was the Leafs’ first game this season without Auston Matthews, who is sidelined for four weeks with an injured left shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time for John Tavares to show everyone why the Leafs invested $77 million in acquiring his services. One also wonders how much Matthews absence might affect the Leafs contract impasse with William Nylander. 

A two-goal performance by rookie Elias Pettersson powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. (Photo via NHL Images)

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Petterson scored twice and goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 37 saves in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. However, it was a costly win for the injury-ravaged Canucks as forward Brandon Sutter suffered a separated shoulder and could be sidelined four-to-six weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was Petterson’s second game following a concussion that sidelined him for two weeks. Looks like he’s not suffering any lingering after-effects. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, and Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 28, 2018.

The NHL announced a multi-year deal with MGM Resorts as the league’s first official sports-betting partnership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL couldn’t avoid the lure of sports-betting dollars forever. Color me unsurprised that they paired up with MGM. As per the league’s press release, “MGM is a part-owner of T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights. In addition, MGM Grand in Las Vegas was the host venue for the 2015 NHL Awards.”

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang could miss tonight’s game against the New York Islanders with a nagging lower-body injury.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (ankle injury) could make his season debut tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils activated goaltender Cory Schneider (hip) off injured reserve. He spent three games last week in the AHL on a conditioning stint. He’s not expected to start in tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for charging Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin.

CBS SPORTS: Senators forward Zack Smith underwent surgery Monday to repair facial injuries. No word as to how long he’ll be sidelined.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings have decided not to return forward Michael Rasmussen to his junior team, meaning he’s officially in the first year of his three-year entry-level contract. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will retain center Jesperi Kotkaniemi rather than return him to his Finnish club. Like Rasmussen, this move will burn off the first year of Kotkaniemi’s entry-level deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be surprised. Both youngsters have played well enough to earn full-time roster spots with their respective NHL clubs. 

Speaking of the Canadiens, minor-league defenseman Gustav Olofsson underwent shoulder surgery and will be sidelined for six months. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen said he probably won’t use the option in his contract to return to the KHL this season. It appears he prefers staying with the Predators’ AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. “Probably not going to do it,” Tolvanen told the Tennessean via phone on Monday morning. “So much closer to Nashville here.”


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2018

Bob Cole returning for 50th and final season on Hockey Night in Canada, Carolina Hurricanes resurrect the Whalers jersey for two games plus the latest injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Long-time Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole will return for his 50th and final season in 2018-19. The 85-year-old will call 10 game during the first half of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For millions of Canadians, Cole was the voice of Hockey Night in Canada for decades. He ranks with Foster Hewitt, Danny Gallivan and Dan Kelly among the greatest play-by-play men in the show’s history. Check out this link and this link and this link for some of his greatest calls. 

NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will wear throwback Hartford Whalers jerseys for two games this season against the Boston Bruins. The first game will be December 23 and the second on March 5.

The Carolina Hurricanes will play two games this season wearing the Hartford Whalers jersey. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A classy move by the Hurricanes to honor their past. The Whalers jersey is among the most iconic in NHL history. Here’s hoping they also blast some Brass Bonanza during the home game.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders winger Andrew Ladd is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and remains questionable for the club’s season opener next week. General manager Lou Lamoriello said he currently doesn’t plan to place Ladd on injured reserve or long-term injured reserve.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was suspended for the club’s remaining two preseason games and the opening game of the regular season for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. As I noted yesterday, Bortuzzo had been fined twice by the league in the last two years.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are hoping recently demoted forward Eeli Tolvanen will remain with their AHL affiliate. He has a clause in his contract allowing him to return to his KHL team (Jokerit) after 10 games with the Milwaukee Admirals. If he returns to the KHL, he’ll be ineligible to return to the NHL for the remainder of the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tolvanen is a highly-touted Predators prospect who was expected to crack their roster this season. They’re obviously hoping some time in the minors will better acquaint him to the North American game. 

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Antoine Roussel (concussion) will miss the start of the season,. 

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Daniel Sprong is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Travis Boyd is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Brandon Davidson to a one-year, $650K contract. 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed forward Mark Letestu to a one-year, two-way contract. He was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.