NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2020

Stars of the week, Leafs re-sign Jake Muzzin, two Rangers injured in a car accident, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped an eight-game winless skid with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators. Nick Foligno scored two goals for the Jackets, while Connor Brown tallied twice for the Senators. Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins and center Riley Nash both left the game in the second period with injuries. No update was provided post-game on their status. With 76 points, the Jackets hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno scored twice in a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane was the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 23, 2020.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin and forward Pavel Buchnevich were injured in a car accident in Brooklyn on Sunday night. Shesterkin suffered a non-displaced rib fracture and well be re-evaluated in two weeks. Buchnevich was shaken up and is listed as day-to-day. The accident occurred when their vehicle struck another that was doing an illegal U-turn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully, neither player was seriously hurt. Losing Shesterkin could be a blow to the Rangers’ playoff hopes. His stellar goaltending since his call-up in early January was largely responsible for the Blueshirts’ recent surge in the standings.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau created a stir when he momentarily left the ice yesterday during practice, sparking speculation he might be getting traded. Turns out he was answering the call of nature. “I had to pee,” Gaudreau said.

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Jake Muzzin to a four-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.625 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lost in the hubbub of yesterday’s NHL trade deadline, this is a reasonable deal for the 31-year-old Muzzin. He’s a big, physical defenseman with good defensive skills averaging over 21 minutes per game. Given their blueline weaknesses, the Leafs couldn’t afford to lose their best defensive rearguard to free agency.

The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year extension worth $1.7 million per season.

The Nashville Predators re-upped winger Rocco Grimaldi to a two-year, $4-million contract extension.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes may be without injured goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, and defenseman Brett Pesce for an extended period. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said he wasn’t sure how long they could be sidelined.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Former NHL forward Scottie Upshall has announced his retirement. He spent 15 years in the NHL, scoring 138 goals and 285 points in 759 games with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues.

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 Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2019

An update on Connor McDavid, Jesse Puljujarvi signs with Finnish club, Mikko Rantanen trains with Norwegian team, Senators talk contract with Thomas Chabot, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said his recovery from a late-season knee injury is progressing well. “Just working hard to get to camp and focus on that. [This off-season] has been different, just focusing on that [rehab]. It’s taking a lot of time, but it’s been good.”

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said his recovery from a late-season knee injury is progressing well (Photo via NHL Images).

McDavid also said he recently had dinner with new Oilers coach Dave Tippett and claimed his initial reaction was excitement over the club hiring Ken Holland as general manager. However, he was disappointed to see his friend, Milan Lucic, traded to Calgary for James Neal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of Holland, he’s unconcerned over McDavid’s decision not to skate in this summer’s BioSteel camp. “McDavid is skating every day since early August with his rehab people,” he said. “I think he wants to stick to his rehab protocol.” Holland also indicated his captain’s recovery is progressing well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With training camp opening in just over two weeks, we’ll find out soon enough how long it’ll take McDavid to participate in training camp and get up to full speed for the season. The Oilers need him at his best to have a realistic shot at reaching the playoffs.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: cites a report out of Finland indicating Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi has signed a one-year contract with Finnish club Karpat Oulu. “The agreement includes an option for Puljujärvi to qualify for the NHL until December 1.” A restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights, Puljujarvi has requested a trade after struggling to reach expectations with the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could still shopo Puljujarvi but his low trade value right now means they won’t get anything worthwhile in return. Puljujarvi could also return to the Oilers before Dec. 1 but I think he’ll be spending this season in Finland. Holland won’t be pressured into trading him and seems content to let the struggling winger try to regain his form in his home country.

THE SCORE: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen “is skating with the Storhamar Dragons in Norway as he awaits a new NHL contract, the Norwegian team confirmed Monday.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike Puljujarvi’s situation in Edmonton, Rantanen isn’t demanding a trade or threatening to play the entire season overseas. This looks more like an insurance option for the young winger in case his contract talks drag into the start of training camp. The Avs remain hopeful of getting Rantanen under contract before then.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are working on a contract extension with Thomas Chabot. GM Pierre Dorion remains tightlipped over the status of the talks, though they’re ongoing and believed to be going well. The 22-year-old defenseman is in the final season of his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Sens want to lock up Chabot to a long-term deal. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $33 million invested in just nine players for 2020-21, giving them plenty of cap space to ink the blueliner to a hefty raise.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers RFAs Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny remain unsigned but GM Chuck Fletcher expects contract discussions to heat up as training camp approaches next month. Fletcher’s open to either a bridge deal or a long-term contract for one or both players.

The Flyers GM also said center Tyler Pitlick underwent surgery last week to repair a tendon in his left wrist. It’s hoped Pitlick will be ready for the start of the Flyers’ regular-season schedule on Oct. 4.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed forward Gabriel Bourque to a “one-year, two-way deal worth an annual average value of $700,000 in the NHL.”

THE SCORE: The Florida Panthers signed forward Denis Malgin to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a one-way deal worth $750K.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos “is completing treatments for testicular cancer, the team said Monday, and will not participate in the Canes’ 2019 training camp.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mattheos makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career soon.

The Iowa Wild signed NHL veteran Cody McLeod to an AHL contract.

THE ATHLETIC’s Sean Shapiro reports Scottie Upshall will attend Dallas Stars training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: Former NHL enforcer Donald Brashear will appear in a Quebec City courtroom on Sept.4 facing a charge of cocaine possession. He was arrested on June 5 “after allegedly breaking an apartment window and was found to have the drug in his possession.”

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues and the NHL unveiled the logo for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2018

Golden Knights re-sign Shea Theodore, Brian Gionta retires, Islanders sign Luca Sbisa, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights have re-signed defenseman Shea Theodore to a seven-year, $36.4-million contract.

Vegas Golden Knights re-signed Shea Theodore to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the assumption Theodore would get a short-term bridge deal. The annual average value of this deal is $5.2 million, which is a considerable raise over his entry-level contract.

The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent. He’s a skilled puck-moving blueliner with considerable upside who’s expected to develop into a reliable top-pairing rearguard. If he reaches his full potential this new contract could become a wise long-term investment by the Golden Knights. 

SPORTSNET: Forward Brian Gionta announced his retirement yesterday after 16 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins.

The 5’7″ winger debuted with the Devils in 2001-02 and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2003. Gionta went on to captain the Canadiens and Sabres. He had seven 20-plus goal campaigns, including a career-high 48 goals in 2005-06, finishing with 291 goals and 304 assists for 595 points in 1,026 career games. He has accepted a developmental coach role with the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Gionta in his future endeavors. 

THE SCORE: The New York Islanders signed free-agent defenseman Luca Sbisa to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sbisa was probably hoping for a more lucrative contract after playing a top-four role during the 2018 playoffs with the Vegas Golden Knights. If he pans out for the Isles this season he could earned a better contract with them. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers released center Mark Letestu from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline speculated Letestu could get a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers released forward Scottie Upshall from his PTO.

NBC SPORTS: The city of Seattle is one step closer toward an NHL expansion franchise after the city council “unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers introduced their new mascot “Gritty” yesterday, generating considerable reaction on social media.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Behold! Good ol’ fashioned nightmare fuel!



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, Auston Matthews, Justin Williams, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Patrice Bergeron and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA:  Erik Karlsson is staying mum on the subject of re-signing with the San Jose Sharks, who acquired him yesterday in a blockbuster trade with the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. “As of right now, that’s a private discussion, and that’s [not] something I’m going to elaborate on,” he said.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson remains hopeful of getting Karlsson re-signed. “Yes, it’s a long-term approach and we think Erik fits for us for now, and for a long time,” said Wilson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Karlsson will take a big bite out of the Sharks’ cap payroll. He could command well over $11 million per season on his next contract. Cap Friendly indicates the Sharks have over $53 million invested in 10 players for 2019-20, with Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi and Timo Meier also due for new contracts. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won’t be an alternate captain this season. Leafs coach Mike Babcock indicated John Tavares, Patrick Marleau and Morgan Rielly will be alternates. The club intends to open the season without naming a captain.

Auston Matthews won’t be an alternate captain with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Matthews fans might consider this a sign of disrespect by the Leafs but I doubt he’s very concerned about it. Matthews’ day will come.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday names Justin Williams as their new team captain. They also revealed forward Victor Rask is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his right hand to repair cuts to the fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand while slicing food in his kitchen.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes named defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as their new captain. He’s their first since Shane Doan retired in 2017 and the 16th in franchise history. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau could be sidelined for a lengthy period after suffering a suspected Achille’s heel injury during physical testing yesterday. The club intends to reveal more details today.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has been sidelined by back spasm. He’s expected to be back in time to play a couple of preseason contests before the regular season opens next month.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks and right wing Brock Boeser have decided to put off contract talks until the end of the season. Boeser is entering the final season of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent in July.

NEWSDAY: In an essay with The Athletic: New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner revealed he was diagnosed  earlier this year with bipolar disorder and also underwent treatment for alcohol and pill addiction. “It was extremely hard,” he said of his decision to go public. “The main reason I did it was, hopefully, I will help someone else, maybe someone in the league, maybe someone out there. It has been an emotional couple of days, but I feel good to have it out, ready to move forward and prepare for a fun season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was brave of Lehner to publicly reveal his condition. I have a family member who is also bipolar and struggled with alcohol abuse as a result of their condition so I understand what Lehner has gone through and the difficulty he faced in acknowledging his situation and seek help. I’m pleased to see that his condition was properly diagnosed and he’s receiving the necessary treatment.  Best wishes to Lehner going forward with his playing career and his life. 

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Islanders, they’re bringing forward Stephen Gionta to training camp on a professional tryout offer.

CALGARY SUN: With most of the Flames roster headed to China for two preseason games against the Boston Bruins, they have invited 10 players to training camp on professional tryout offers. They included goaltender Jeff Glass, defencemen Philip Samuelsson, Viktor Svedberg, Ryan Sproul, Duncan Siemens, Justin Falk and forwards Logan Shaw, Scott Sabourin, Justin Auger and Gilbert Brule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s doubtful any of these players will be signed by the Flames but their performances could entice other clubs. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2018

Updates on Wayne Simmonds, Niklas Kronwall, Scottie Upshall and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Having recovered from offseason pelvic surgery, Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds expects a strong bounce-back performance in 2018-19. He’s got additional motivation, as he’s heading into his contract year and will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. The Flyers could take a wait-and-see approach this season before deciding if they’ll re-sign him.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds will be motivated for a strong performance in 2018-19 (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds loves being a Flyer, the club wants to keep him and the Philadelphia fans love him. If he regains his physical 30-goal style in 2018-19, the Flyers will do all they can to keep him in the fold. A return to form will put Simmonds in line for a hefty raise over his current $3.975-million annual cap. 

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said the upcoming season could be his last in the NHL. The 37-year-old blueliner is feeling the effects of age and the physical toll of his 874 career NHL games, all spent in Detroit. Kronwall is in the final season of his seven-year contract and admits there’s been no extension talks thus far. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a significant resurgence in Kronwall’s performance, this season is likely his last. He carries a modified no-trade clause listing 10 clubs he can be traded to, but he doesn’t sound as though he’s keen on the thought of playing elsewhere. 

NBC SPORTS: New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner is facing a make-or-break campaign in 2018-19. He’s struggled to establish himself as a starter and is now on his third NHL club in five years. He signed a one-year contract with the Isles last month as an unrestricted free agent. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Scottie Upshall to a professional tryout offer. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins forward Anders Bjork is ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery. He’s expected to suit up in a rookie tournament early next month.