NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2020

The latest on plans to resume or cancel the 2019-20 season, an update on the Senators, plus the latest on Mitch Marner and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL has yet to set a firm deadline to announce the resumption or cancellation of the 2019-20 season. If the schedule is to resume, the league will need at least two weeks for players returning from Europe to be quarantined, followed by two-three weeks of training camp, potentially some exhibition games followed by some regular-season contests before starting the playoffs. One league governor suggested they should have an idea by late-May, while another though mid-June would be the earliest.

Still no deadline on when to resume or cancel the 2019-20 NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer the restrictions on crowd sizes, the slimmer the chances of finishing the regular season or staging the playoffs. Again, I don’t fault the league and the NHL Players Association for examining every option, but I’m not optimistic this season can be completed.

THE SCORE: The NHL yesterday extended the self-quarantine period for its players to April 30. It’s the third time the period has been extended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t be surprised if there’s another extension to May 15.

SPORTSNET: U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a conference call with the major-league sports commissioners today, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. They’re part of a committee of 200 business leaders advising the president on when to re-open the American economy.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club has made three proposals to Bettman on possible scenarios for resuming the draft lottery, the regular season, and the playoffs. The Senators hold three picks in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft, including what could be the second- and third-overall selections. Overall, the Senators hold 13 picks in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sens have three first-round picks, four in the second round, two in the third round, one in each of the fourth and fifth rounds, two in the sixth, and none in the seventh.

TSN: Dorion also said the five Senators players and the one staff member who contracted COVID-19 have recovered.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner is using his charitable organization to solicit for donors to organizations providing food, shelter and aid to front-line services.

NBC SPORTS: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise raised $1 million to assist those affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

WGR 550: The owners of the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits are issuing furloughs and layoffs. Executive pay is also being temporarily reduced.

TSN: Colby Cave’s family and the Edmonton Oilers have set up a memorial fund to support mental health initiatives and programs providing access to sports for underprivileged children. The fund will be headed by Cave’s wife, Emily. Cave passed away last week at age 25 following emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

NHLPA: Kris Versteeg announced his retirement as a professional player, which include 11 NHL seasons. He spent five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2015.

Versteeg also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, and Calgary Flames. In 643 career NHL games, he scored 149 goals, 209 assists, and 358 points. He also had 18 goals and 48 points in 93 playoff contests.

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










Where Are They Now? 2010 Chicago Blackhawks

Where Are They Now? 2010 Chicago Blackhawks

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2018

Latest on Alex Ovechkin, Erik Gudbranson, Jamie Oleksiak, Kris Versteeg and more in your NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya welcomed their first child – a boy – into the world yesterday. The child was named Sergei in honor of Ovechkin’s late brother.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is the father of a baby boy. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Ovechkins on the birth of their son. 

SPORTSNET’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reported Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson suffered no setback in his recovery from the shoulder surgery he underwent in March. He expects to be ready for the start of the season.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak recently spent four days in Ecuador helping to build homes as part of a charitable mission through ME to WE.

THE ATHLETIC: The Montreal Canadiens’ recent past and future came together on Friday as former Habs captain Saku Koivu and Jasperi Kotkaniemi (the third overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft) met in Finland. They were taking part in an all-star game involving the greatest Finnish players past and present. Kotkaniemi hopes to emulate Koivu, who gave the youngster advice about what to expect playing and living in Montreal.

SPORT-EXPRESS’ Igor Eronko recently reported former NHL forward Kris Versteeg is expected to sign a contract with Avangard of the KHL.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders general manager remains upbeat over the possibility his club’s new arena at Belmont Park could be completed earlier than expected. Construction is expected to being next spring. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Kurt Walker passed away Friday night following a brief illness. He was 64. Walker played for three seasons with the Leafs from 1975-76 to 1977-78. He spent the past decade helping players in need through his website “Dignity After Hockey.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Walker’s family, friends and former teammates. In January 2016, I did a profile of Walker and his organization’s efforts to assist former NHL players who’d fallen on hard time. Follow this link to check it out. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

Another update on Max Pacioretty,  the latest on Canucks d-man Ben Hutton and proposed PTO targets for the Devils in your NHL Rumor Mill.

PACIORETTY UPDATE

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton believes the recent Jeff Skinner trade between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes should lower expectations of a big return if the Montreal Canadiens move Max Pacioretty.

The Hurricanes shipped the 26-year-old Skinner, a three-time 30-goal scorer who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next July, to the Sabres last week in exchange for a prospect forward (Cliff Pu) and three draft picks, none of which were first-round selections. That could set the stage for an equally underwhelming return for Pacioretty, a 29-year-old left wing who’s also a former 30-goal scorer eligible next summer for UFA status.

The recent Jeff Skinner trade could affect the trade value of Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Canadiens seek a young scoring forward, preferably a center, in return for Pacioretty. They reportedly had a deal in place with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2018 NHL Draft but it apparently fell apart over lack of an agreement on a contract extension. Since then, there’s no indication Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is any closer to dealing Pacioretty, though he reportedly wants to do so before the start of 2018-19.

Still, Bergevin faces slightly better odds of finding a decent return for his captain. Pacioretty’s lack of no-trade protection gives the Canadiens GM more trade options than the Hurricanes had with Skinner, whose full no-movement clause significantly hampered where they could trade him. 

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports there is no truth to rumors Pacioretty would skip training camp next month until the Canadiens trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever dreamed up that rumor should give their head a shake. Pacioretty is entering his contract year and intends to seek a big raise next summer. Staging a holdout to force a trade not only wouldn’t make any sense but would also be out of character on his part. 

NO TAKERS FOR HUTTON

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent piece examining the stock of several Vancouver Canucks players, JD Burke believes no other player on the club needs a change of scenery more than defenseman Ben Hutton. It’s apparent the blueliner has fallen out of favor with coach Travis Green and his stock has declined.

Burke said the Canucks have tried trading Hutton for a while but can’t find any takers. He does point out Hutton’s performance wasn’t as bad as it seemed, noting he and Chris Tanev had solid shutdown numbers where paired together. He adds the Canucks did a better job controlling the puck in 5-on-5 situations with Hutton on the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like rival GMs aren’t impressed with Hutton’s shutdown and possession stats. Otherwise, the Canucks probably would’ve found a club willing to take him off their hands. 

TRYOUT OPTIONS FOR THE DEVILS

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan suggests right wings Kris Versteeg, Tommy Wingels and Nick Shore, defensemen Toby Enstrom, Brandon Davidson, Alexei Emelin and Jakub Jerabek, center Logan Shaw and left wings Daniel Winnik and Scott Hartnell as professional tryout offer (PTO) options for the New Jersey Devils. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils invite any of these guys to training camp. I daresay several of those players could also become PTO candidates with other clubs  The exception could be Hartnell, who’s reportedly contemplating retirement. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2017

Game recaps, stars of the month plus updates on Corey Crawford, Daniel Alfredsson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Tristan Jarry made 34 saves for his first NHL shutout while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. The supposedly rebuilding Sabres have only one win in their last 10 games and sit mired at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frustration is growing among Buffalo fans and pundits over the Sabres’ ongoing mediocrity. Only two months into this season, there’s calls for first-year head coach Phil Housley and general manager Jason Botterill to do something – anything – to shake up this moribund lineup. 

Joe Pavelski netted his 300th career NHL goal and Aaron Dell had a 39-save performance as the San Jose Sharks edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. 

Michael Grabner had a natural hat trick and Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 32 shots to lead the New York Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Kyle Connor scored twice while Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine each collected a goal and two assists to give the Winnipeg Jets a 7-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Tyler Toffoli potted two goals and Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as the Los Angeles Kings downed the St. Louis Blues 4-1, giving the Kings their fourth straight win.

Ryan Dzingel scored twice to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 6-5 victory over the New York Islanders to snap their seven-game losing skid. Isles forward Anders Lee also tallied two goals in a losing cause. 

Josh Anderson and Artemi Panarin each had a goal and two assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets overcame a 2-1 deficit to double up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. 

The New Jersey Devils snapped a six-game losing streak in Denver with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Brian Boyle tallied the game winner. 

Speaking of the Avalanche, center Nathan MacKinnon was named the NHL’s star of the month for November 2017. Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen was the second star while the third star was St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators icon Daniel Alfredsson will be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame. Former NHL players Rob Blake, Chris Chelios, and Jere Lehtinen will also be inducted. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Blackhawks struggle with consistency this season, Crawford was a steady presence between the pipes. They cannot afford to have him sidelined for a lengthy stretch. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson was placed on IR with a minor injury. He’s not expected to be out for long. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers also claimed forward Nathan Walker off waivers from the Washington Capitals. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild blueliner Jared Spurgeon is out at least two weeks with a groin sprain. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Kris Versteeg is listed as month-to-month with a hip injury. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

Will the Florida Panthers bring back Jaromir Jagr?

Latest trade, free agent & buyout updates and former Oiler Dave Semenko passes away. Details in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon seems reluctant to bring back free-agent right winger Jaromir Jagr, who took to Twitter yesterday claiming no team has contacted him to discuss a contract. Tallon said he’s had cordial talks with Jagr’s agent on a regular basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Panthers prefer bringing  the 45-year-old Jagr back on a one-year deal worth less than the $5.5 million bonus-laden deal he had for 2016-17. If other clubs aren’t calling the future Hall of Famer, it’s likely because of his age and possible asking price. He could be waiting a few days until teams that lose out on this summer’s top free agents come calling. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes traded goaltender Eddie Lack, defenseman Ryan Murphy and a seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defense prospect Keegan Kanzig and a sixth-round pick in 2019. The Hurricanes will also retain half of Lack’s $2.75 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes clear their logjam in goal and now have Scott Darling and Cam Ward as their goalie tandem for 2017-18, while the Flames pick up a seasoned backup for recently-acquired starter Mike Smith. The Hurricanes were expected to move a defenseman when they acquired Trevor van Riemsdyk last week from the Vegas Golden Knights. Murphy was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate last season. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Columbus Blue Jackets are buying out left wing Scott Hartnell. The Edmonton Oilers placed winger Benoit Pouliot on waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets now have over $62 million invested in 21 players for 2017-18. That’s plenty of room to re-sign restricted free agents Josh Anderson and Alexander Wennberg and still leave enough room for a significant UFA signing or perhaps a trade acquisition (Ilya Kolvachuk, maybe?).

The Oilers, meanwhile, now have over $56 million committed to 21 players. Looks like they’re clearing space for restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl’s new deal and for a whopping new contract for Connor McDavid that will kick in next July. 

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames re-signed winger Kris Versteeg to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers re-signed winger Jordan Weal to a two-year deal worth $1.75 million per season.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-upped backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Magnus Paajarvi to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K.

SPORTSNET: Several NHL agents are apparently squabbling among themselves over the NHLPA leadership’s handling of such issues as escrow, Olympic participation and World Cup of Hockey revenue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live to NHL Headquarters for reaction. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko passed away yesterday at age 59 following a brief battle with cancer. Semenko played 575 NHL games, most of those with the Oilers, and was part of two Stanley Cup championship teams in Edmonton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Semenko’s family, friends and former teammates. By all accounts, Semenko was a fine team player and a good man. Many of his former Oilers teammates were clearly shaken by his untimely passing.