NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2020

The Golden Knights and Flyers are the top seeds in their respective conferences, plus the latest on Victor Hedman, Zach Werenski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RECAP OF SATURDAY’S ROUND-ROBIN GAMES

Vegas Golden Knight winger Alex Tuch (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights and Philadelphia Flyers are the top seeds in their respective conferences following their round-robin games Saturday.

Alex Tuch’s overtime goal lifted the Golden Knights over the Colorado Avalanche 4-3, giving them a perfect record (3-0-0) in round-robin play. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Robin Lehner made 32 saves for Vegas, who face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 

 

 

Two first-period goals by Nicolas Aube-Kubel carried the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Joel Farabee had a goal and an assist while Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere each collected two assists. The Flyers were 3-0-0 in round-robin action and face the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Lightning lost more than a chance to clinch the top seed in the conference. Defenseman Victor Hedman left the game in the first period after appearing to roll his right ankle and was visibly frustrated, slamming his stick repeatedly as he headed to the dressing room.    

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to the severity of Hedman’s injury or how long he could be sidelined. Meanwhile, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the entire round-robin tournament dealing with what’s described as a minor ailment.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET’s Chris Johnston reports the Colorado Avalanche will face the Arizona Coyotes in opening round play.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER Craig Morgan reports the winner of today’s round-robin game between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars will meet the Calgary Flames while the loser’s opening round opponent will be the Vancouver Canucks.

TSN: The Lightning faces the winner of tonight’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some interesting matchups are emerging for the first round, especially for the Lightning. On the one hand, we could have a rematch of last year’s opening-round series with the Blue Jackets. On the other hand, a potential run-and-gun tilt with the Leafs.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The status of Blue Jackets defensemen Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray remains unclear heading into tonight’s decisive Game 5 against the Maple Leafs. Werenski suffered an upper-body injury during Game 4 on Friday while Murray missed that contest for undisclosed reasons. TSN reports Werenski underwent an MRI on Saturday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

Recaps of the final day of exhibition games, including updates on Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, John Carlson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: First-period goals by Boone Jenner, Zach Werenski, and Gustav Nyquist powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Nyquist finished with two points while teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand collected two assists.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask gave up three goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Jaroslav Halak. Teammate Brad Marchand left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury following a hit on Werenski. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will provide an update today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins appeared rusty in this contest, but they’ll have plenty of time to sharpen their play during the seeding round-robin before the opening round of the playoffs. The Jackets, meanwhile, showed how much better they can be when they have a mostly healthy roster, something they didn’t have for long stretches in the regular season.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Reilly Smith scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury went the distance with a 22-save performance to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Tuch’s highlight-reel goal put the game out of reach. Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz left the game in the second period following a heavy check from Vegas winger Ryan Reaves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaves’ arm made contact with Schmaltz’s head during that hit. No word yet if the league’s department of player discipline will be looking at this. It’s interesting that Robin Lehner didn’t split the goalie duties with Fleury. Perhaps he’ll get the start in the Golden Knights’ first game in the round-robin on Monday. 

Viktor Arvidsson scored twice while Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne combined for a 26-save shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Stars center Tyler Seguin was scratched from the lineup (unfit to play), while forward Andrew Cogliano left the game in the second period favoring his left leg following a collision with Predators defenseman Yannick Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin is expected to be ready for the round-robin starting Aug. 3 against the Golden Knights. No update was provided on Cogliano’s status.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman John Carlson didn’t practice yesterday after missing the final half of the third period of Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Carlson crashed awkwardly into the boards and was removed from the game as a precautionary measure. Head coach Todd Reirden expects the blueliner will return to practice on Saturday.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson took part in special teams’ practice yesterday. He’s still recovering from a knee injury suffered during the regular season. Johnsson isn’t expected in the lineup when the Leafs face off against the Blues Jackets on Sunday in Game 1 of their qualifying-round series.

THE AHL.COM: American Hockey League president and CEO Scott Howson announced a revised start date of Dec. 4 for their 2020-21 season. Details of their full schedule have yet to be determined.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

Potential revenue streams for playing in empty arenas, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Connor Hellebuyck and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL could make between $400 million and $500 million USD through various media deals and sponsorships if the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were staged in empty arenas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, folks, is why the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are examining every option to safely resume this season during the summer. Last month, the league reportedly informed the PA of potential losses up to $1.1 billion if the entire season was scrapped. If it’s at all possible to cut those losses in half, they’ll look into it.

ESPN.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the three Avs players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. The trio adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will face off against Wayne Gretzky in an NHL 20 game broadcast live on the Capitals’ Twitch channel on April 22, with the proceeds going toward COVID-19 relief benefits.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of virtual hockey, Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is among several NHL players to team up with professional esports gamers to hold a 14-day live streaming virtual hockey marathon called Hockey2Help to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts. Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad are among the participants.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is considered the front-runner to win the 2020 Vezina Trophy, but he’d rather have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it,” he said.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a four-year, $13.1-million contract extension. Scandella, 30, appeared in just 11 games with the Blues after being acquired in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Scandella’s small body of work with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong was impressed enough to pay the veteran blueliner $3.275 million annually over the next four seasons. The 30-year-old rearguard took a pay cut from his current $4 million AAV but he obviously felt it was worthwhile sticking with the defending Stanley Cup champion. Given the uncertainty over the effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and this summer’s free-agent market, it was probably a wise decision.

The problem, however, is the Blues now have over $78.5 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with captain Alex Pietrangelo slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Either Armstrong intends to let Pietrangelo depart, or he’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade and/or buyout to free up sufficient cap payroll to keep his captain in the fold.

TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has announced his retirement as a professional player. He spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Canadiens, tallying 119 goals and 453 assists for 572 points, as well as 32 points in 89 playoff contests. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Markov sits sixth among the Canadiens’ all-time leaders in games played. He’s also tied with Guy Lapointe for second in all-time points among Habs defensemen and sits second among their blueliners in all-time assists.

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










NHL Rumor Mill – April 2, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 2, 2020

The latest on the Golden Knights and Flames, plus some speculation over how the players and teams could cope with revenue losses in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WILL THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS DO WITH LEHNER?

THE ATHLETIC: What to do with Robin Lehner was among Jesse Granger’s five pressing questions for the Vegas Golden Knights. They acquired the 28-year-old goaltender from the Chicago Blackhawks at the February trade deadline. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status at season’s end.

Does Robin Lehner have a future with the Vegas Golden Knights? (Photo via NHL Images)

Granger wonders if the front office views Lehner as a rental or a long-term future in net. If Lehner outperforms starter Marc-Andre Fleury during the 2020 playoffs, it raises the possibility of re-signing him and shopping Fleury, who has two seasons remaining on his contract at $7 million annually.

Lehner will likely depart via free agency, leaving the Golden Knights with an aging Fleury and no real backup plan for next season. They could explore cheaper backup options via free agency or promote Oscar Dansk or Garret Sparks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Lehner were to backstop the Golden Knights into the Stanley Cup Final, moving Fleury could become a serious possibility. After being spurned by the Blackhawks and the New York Islanders over the past year, Lehner will seek the stability of a lucrative long-term deal. He can justifiably claim he’s earned it since turning his life and career around two years ago.

Fleury’s situation is complicated by his age (35) and his 10-team no-trade clause. Even if the Golden Knights wanted to move him, they might not find many takers unless the Golden Knights pick up part of his salary.

FLAMES COULD FACE AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN GOAL

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently examined the Calgary Flames’ goaltending depth. Where their goalie prospects slot next season will depend on whether or not they re-sign Cam Talbot. The 32-year-old netminder is due to become a UFA after this season.

Talbot’s return seems likely following his return to form this season while David Rittich struggled during the second half. However, his bounce-back season could also entice him to test the free-agent market.

“Will it be status quo, or will the Flames use some of their cap space to chase a significant free agent like Robin Lehner or Jacob Markstrom?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Talbot walks, the Flames will at least want a reliable backup for Rittich for next season. If they’ve lost confidence in Rittich as a starter, they could pursue a UFA like Lehner or Markstrom.

HOW WILL THE NHL AND NHLPA ADDRESS THIS SEASON’S LOST REVENUE?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported estimates of up to $220 million in lost revenue if the NHL resumes the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule, including an extra four percent of escrow claw-backs from players’ salaries. If the season and playoffs are canceled, the losses are estimated at $1.1 billion and 35 percent escrow.

The teams and players agree to defer money could be one way to address the issue. “For example, a player with a five-year contract at a $5-million AAV would still have that term and cap hit, but could agree to hold some of the payments,” writes Friedman. “Teams would get a break on cash flow, and players could save until escrow was lowered. Don’t know if it will happen, but spitballing never hurts.”

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun cited an anonymous player agent suggesting the NHL and NHLPA should merge the two realities of dealing with lost revenue from this season and their collective bargaining negotiations into a longer-term agreement.

The agent envisions a six-year CBA that sets the salary-cap maximum at $81.5 million with a fixed escrow of 10 percent. “It may take 2-3 seasons for that money to be returned to the owners, consider it a deferred payment,” said the agent. “As a trade-off, perhaps the players agree to receive the AAV of a contract going forward (until the owners are made whole) to avoid front-loaded cash over cap issues.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is merely speculation by Friedman and LeBrun, but it’s undoubtedly based on what they’re hearing from sources within the league and the NHLPA. I believe both sides understand the need for short- and long-term stability coming out of the pandemic season.

The last thing they need is a return to the contentious labor relationship of the past. There’s a real opportunity here for long-term NHL labor peace. Here’s hoping the two sides make the most of it.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau, Oilers winger Zack Kassian receives a seven-game suspension, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rallied the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The loss leaves the Jets (63 points) one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Jason Zucker scored his first two goals as a Pittsburgh Penguin in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

Jason Zucker tallied his first two goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected three assists for the Penguins (76 points), who sit three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. The slumping Canadiens (61 points) remain seven points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

The New York Rangers picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves. The Jackets (71 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth while the Rangers are seven points behind them.

Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 69 points, the Hurricanes sit two points behind the Blue Jackets.

HEADLINES

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday fired head coach Bruce Boudreau, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant coach Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers questioned why this move was made when the Wild have won six of their last 10 games and sit just three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. General manager Bill Guerin believes the club could benefit from a different voice behind the bench. Considering Guerin also traded winger Jason Zucker earlier this week to Pittsburgh, it appears he’s trying to motivate his club over the remainder of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to his move.

TSN: The NHL department of player safety handed Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian a seven-game suspension for kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics wonder why he didn’t receive a harsher punishment. Perhaps the fact Cernak wasn’t injured explains the league’s rationale behind the decision. Regardless, I believe Kassian’s skating on thin ice. He’s a repeat offender, having been previously suspended seven times by the league, including a two-game suspension last month for roughing Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. One more suspendable offense after this one could lead to a punishment harsher than the 20-game one he received in 2010.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed in his chest to monitor and control his heartbeat. The Blues will provide another update on his condition next week. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident during a game on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and had to be revived with a defibrillator.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon said there’s nothing in the CBA that prevents Bouwmeester from returning to action with a pacemaker. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that he will.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson requires surgery on his right knee and could be sidelined for eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That timeline means Johnsson won’t return until the playoffs. The Leafs can place him on long-term injury reserve and use the cap savings ($3.4 million) to add a replacement before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Because there’s no salary cap in the postseason, the Leafs wouldn’t have to shed salary when Johnsson returns to the lineup.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have yet to provide an update on the status of winger Alex Tuch, who injured his left leg against the Blues on Thursday.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks announced winger Micheal Ferland suffered concussion-like symptoms during an AHL rehab game last night. His last game with the Canucks was Dec. 10.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on waivers. Bogosian has only appeared in 19 games since returning from hip surgery in November.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki suffered a high-ankle injury on Thursday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2019

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continue their points streak, the three stars of the week, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins blew a 3-0 lead but rallied to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4. Brad Marchand led the way with two goals and three assists while David Pastrnak collected a goal and an assist. Marchand is on a 13-game points streak while Pastrnak has points in 12 straight games. The Bruins move to 8-0-2 in their last 10 contests.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand’s five-point performance led the Boston Bruins to a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak (29 points) and Marchand (28 points) sit one-two atop the NHL scoring leader board.

Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy left the game in the third period after striking his head against a goalpost. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy believes McAvoy suffered a cut. Penguins blueliner Kris Letang (undisclosed injury) also departed in the third period.

Derek Stepan overtime goal lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 26 shots for the Coyotes. Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers, who picked up a point to remain atop the Western Conference standings.

A five-goal outburst by the Nashville Predators powered them to a 6-1 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Duchene tallied twice while Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had a goal and an assist. The floundering Red Wings are 1-10-1 in their last dozen games.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice as the Ottawa Senators thumped the New York Rangers 6-2. Former Ranger Vladislav Namestnikov picked up a goal and an assist while Anders Nilsson made 32 saves for the win. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko had a two-point performance.

HEADLINES

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson, Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana, and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending November 3, 2019.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier is dealing with a shoulder strain, limiting his ability to take faceoffs.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Motte will be sidelined four weeks with a lower-body injury. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks recalled defenseman Radim Simek from his conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.