NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2022

Connor McDavid reaches 100 points again, Leon Draisaitl and Chris Kreider make the race for the Richard Trophy interesting, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 100th point of the season and Leon Draisaitl tallied his 49th goal of the campaign as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Both players also scored in the shootout for the Oilers. Alexander Edler and Carl Grundstrom each had two points for the Kings (82 points), who hold a one-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Andrew Copp lifted the New York Rangers over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Chris Kreider’s game-tying goal was his 46th of the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (93 points) as they sit three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson made 22 saves for his first NHL shutout to blank the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Shea Theodore, Michael Amadio and Jonathan Marchessault were the goal scorers as the Golden Knights (78 points) regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, sitting one point up on the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken became the fourth team officially eliminated from playoff contention, joining the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

Blake Wheeler potted the deciding goal in the shootout in the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Connor Hellebuyck got the win with a 35-save performance while Zemgus Girgensons scored twice for the Sabres. The Jets have won seven of their last 10 games and sit two points behind the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without leading scorer Kyle Connor and defenseman Nate Schmidt after both entered COVID protocol yesterday.

The St. Louis Blues regained third place in the Central Division by holding off the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who sit three points behind the second-place Minnesota Wild with 83 points. With 73 points, the Canucks are five points behind the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second straight loss for the Canucks, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Earlier in the day, they also learned forward Nils Hoglander may be done for the season after suffering a groin injury during practice on March 16.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 39 saves and Jan Jenik scored two goals in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. It was a costly win for the Coyotes as leading scorer Clayton Keller was stretchered from the game in the third period after falling awkwardly into the boards. Keller was transported to a hospital for further examination.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN: Anthony LeBlanc, the Senators president of business operations, confirmed the club had held talks with Quebec City, but only about entering a joint bid to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A report in La Presse yesterday claimed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had spoken to the Quebec government about the Senators playing five of its home games in Quebec City next season. LeBlanc said the possibility of playing neutral site games there was floated but never really discussed. “The idea that we (Senators) are going to be playing in Quebec City is very disingenuous,” said LeBlanc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks seem to be jumping to conclusions by taking this story as an indication the Senators could be relocated to Quebec City. Coming two days after the death of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, the La Presse report stirred unease for a fan base that is, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren, insecure over the franchise’s future in Ottawa.

Part of that is uncertainty over what Melnyk’s successors intend to do with the Senators. However, Bettman recently indicated an ownership structure is in place and he anticipated the franchise will continue operating as it has. Part of it could also be tied to the late Melnyk’s attempts to build a new arena in downtown Ottawa.

If the Melnyk family decides to sell the Senators, the priority will be to find a buyer who will keep the team in its current location. Any sale of the franchise has to be approved by the NHL board of governors.

NHL.COM: The NHL department of player safety fined Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall $5,000.00 for roughing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin on Tuesday. Nashville Predators forward Tanner Jeannot was fined $2,000.00 for kneeing Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk on Tuesday.

CBS SPORTS: The Maple Leafs placed winger Ondrej Kase on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined by a concussion since March 19.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Jake Virtanen will go to trial starting on July 18 for sexual assault charges.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.

Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.

The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.

Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.

Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association met Thursday to discuss plans for staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2024.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has elected for a jury trial in his sexual assault case. He is currently playing for KHL team Spartak Moscow.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2022

Drew Doughty, Quinton Byfield and Aleksander Barkov celebrate milestones, Oilers sign Evander Kane, an update on the Coyotes search for a temporary home, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty collected an assist in his 1,000th game while teammate Quinton Byfield tallied his first NHL goal in a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Adrian Kempe tallied the winner as the Kings held off the Isles late in the third period. The Kings sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 50 points.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty, 32, has spent his entire 14-season NHL career with the Kings, winning two Stanley Cups and the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in 2015-16. He has 22 points in 25 games this season. Byfield, meanwhile, was the second-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old center appeared in six games last season and four this season.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov scored his 200th career goal and 500th career point to lead his club over the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Sam Bennett scored twice and Spencer Knight made 24 saves for the win as the Panthers regained first place in the overall standings with 65 points. The Golden Knights sit on top of the Pacific Division with 53 points.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored twice, including a lacrosse-style goal as his club held off the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Troy Terry had a goal and two assists as the Ducks moved to within one point of the Golden Knights in the Pacific.

J.T. Miller had a hat trick and collected an assist to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Brock Boeser had a goal and two assists while goalie Spencer Martin made 33 saves for his first NHL win. With 43 points, the Canucks moved two points ahead of the slumping Jets and sit three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Tampa Bay Lightning downed the New Jersey Devils 3-2 to remain two points behind the Panthers in the overall standings. Anthony Cirelli snapped a 2-2 tie and Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 31 shots for the Lightning. Jesper Bratt collected assists on both Devils’ goals.

A shootout goal by Andrei Svechnikov lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Nino Niederreiter tied the game for the Hurricanes in the third period. They’re tied with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins with 60 points but sit first in the Metropolitan Division. Senators center Josh Norris left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are already without leading scorer Drake Batherson for perhaps the remainder of the season with a high-ankle sprain. They also signed defenseman Nick Holden yesterday to a one-year, $1.3 million contract extension.

The Seattle Kraken picked up their first overtime win in franchise history by nipping the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Jared McCann tied the game in the third period for the Kraken, setting the stage for Adam Larsson’s winning goal. Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner scored twice and picked up an assist to lead his club to a 5-3 upset of the New York Rangers. Sean Kuraly also scored twice for the Jackets while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 33 shots for the win. Artemi Panarin scored and picked up two assists for the Rangers while teammate Adam Fox is listed as day-to-day after leaving the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso made 28 saves backstopping his club over the Calgary Flames 5-1. Husso is 6-0-0 in January while Brandon Saad scored two goals and picked up an assist. The Blues (57 points) sit one point behind the second-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

Connor McDavid scored in a shootout to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. McDavid also scored in regulation while Predators winger Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist. With 44 points, the Oilers are two back of the Flames.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The Oilers signed Evander Kane to a one-year contract after the NHL said its investigation into whether the winger breached COVID-19 protocols produced insufficient evidence to conclude he knowingly violated those protocols. Terms were not revealed but Elliotte Friedman reported it was worth $750K in base salary with a $625K signing bonus plus a no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers general manager Ken Holland seems to believe adding a goal scorer carrying tons of personal baggage will help this struggling club overcome its shaky goaltending. It smacks of desperation by a GM who failed to suitably address his issues in the crease last summer and is now grasping at straws to save his season.

THE SCORE: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was diagnosed with a broken nose following his collision with Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall on Wednesday. A clearer timeline for his recovery remains to be determined.

TRIBLIVE.COM: cites a report by Daily Faceoff indicating Pittsburgh Penguins forward Drew O’Connor is dealing with a collapsed lung suffered during the club’s recent road trip. Neither the Penguins or O’Connor’s agent is confirming the report.

CBJ PUBLIC RELATIONS: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier is expected to miss four weeks after fracturing a finger during Wednesday’s game against the Flames.

GOPHNX.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly in advanced discussions with Arizona State University to use the school’s new multi-purpose arena as their temporary home for the next three seasons while they await approval and construction of a new arena in Tempe. The facility seats just 5,000 people. The Coyotes lease at the Gila River Arena has been terminated at the end of this season by the city of Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is being done with the NHL’s blessing. The league is determined to maintain a franchise in the lucrative Arizona market.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers will be retiring Henrik Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a ceremony before tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will retire Sergei Zubov’s No 56 before tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to both players for their upcoming honours. Lundqvist was one of the greatest players in the Rangers’ long history while Zubov was a key player in the Stars rise to NHL dominance in the late-90s and early-2000s.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been charged with sexual assault by Vancouver police stemming from a 2017 allegation. He’s currently playing in the KHL but is expected to make his first provincial court appearance on Feb. 10.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

The Avalanche thump the Kraken after signing coach Jared Bednar to a contract extension, the Canucks get a much-needed win, plus the latest injury and COVID updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Seattle Kraken 7-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Andre Burakovsky also tallied two goals for the Avalanche as they collected their fourth straight victory.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

The Avalanche also announced head coach Jared Bednar inked a two-year contract extension. He’s two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley’s team record for most wins (193) as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumor suggesting Bednar was on the hot seat following the Avs second-round elimination from the 2021 playoffs and their shaky start to this season. They’re climbing back up the Western Conference standings, sitting just outside of a wild-card berth.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 37 shots as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a five-game losing skid. Conor Garland scored what became the winning goal in the second period. The Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in the third period to make it interesting.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He will be monitored by the club’s medical staff and follow the protocols by the NHL and public health officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another hit for the reeling Canadiens in what’s becoming a season from hell for the Stanley Cup finalist.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will be sidelined until early-to-mid December with a broken finger and blueliner Slater Koekkoek will miss three to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the status of injured goaltender Mike Smith has relapsed from day-to-day to week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Nurse will be a big blow to the Oilers’ defense corp. Smith’s status will put more pressure on netminders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone in his right hand.

OTTAWA SUN: After five days without a positive COVID-19 test, the Senators are ready to emerge from quarantine and resume skating on Saturday. Their last three games were postponed as a result of a COVID outbreak but they’re scheduled to face off against the Avalanche in Denver on Monday. Eight of the 10 players who contracted the coronavirus will return to the ice today after completing their 10-day quarantine.

THE PROVINCE: The police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been handed over to crown prosecutors. The police will be waiting to hear if there will be charge approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: Quebec premier Francois Legault will be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the coming months with regards to bringing an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. The league has no plans for further expansion and there’s no indication an existing franchise will be relocated.

The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg a decade ago happened very quickly as the league had to find a new home for the Thrashers after their dysfunctional ownership couldn’t find investors willing to keep the club in Atlanta. Perhaps a similar situation takes place with another franchise but Quebec City hockey fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

TSN: Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes on Jan. 15. It won’t adversely affect the NHL or NBA as the percentage of unvaccinated players in both leagues is negligible.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2021

Elvis Merzlikins talks about his offseason and his plans for the coming season, the Senators re-sign GM Pierre Dorion plus updates on Charlie McAvoy, Gustav Nyquist, Jake Virtanen and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: In an interview with Aaron Portzline, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins spoke about the tragic death of teammate and close friend Matiss Kivlinieks and the birth of his son Knox Matiss Merzlikins during the offseason. Kivlinieks’ loss has given Merzlkins motivation to win the Vezina Trophy.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (NHL Images).

I don’t want to make any promise, but I can tell you, Aaron…my plan is to win a Vezina Trophy. I’m gonna win a f*****g Vezina for him.”

Merzlikins credits Kivlinieks with saving the life of his family when his late friend was struck in the chest by a fireworks mortar on July 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins will be jockeying for the starter’s job with Joonas Korpisalo. He said he and Korpisalo have a good relationship and understood the duo could split the playing time this season. A Vezina-worthy performance by Merzlikins, however, will ensure he gets the bulk of the starts and could help the Blue Jackets rebound from a lousy performance last season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed general manager Pierre Dorion to a three-year contract extension through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion has done a good job handling the Senators’ rebuild. He drafted young core talent such as Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson and acquired Josh Norris. Promising prospects such as Jake Sanderson, Tyler Boucher, Shane Pinto and Jacob Bernard-Docker are also in their pipeline.

The Senators showed real signs of improvement last season. They’ll attempt to build on that with those youngsters playing key roles.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and his agent aren’t concerned over the lack of contract extension talks. “I’m just really excited for the year, just worrying about this summer, being in the best spot to be ready for camp,” said McAvoy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McAvoy is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. Both sides are probably willing to wait and see how this season pans out before engaging in serious contract discussions. Given how much defensemen such as Colorado’s Cale Makar, Chicago’s Seth Jones, and Edmonton’s Darnell got this summer, I daresay McAvoy’s next contract will average over $9 million per season.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist is looking forward to the coming season after missing the entire 2020-21 campaign recovering from shoulder surgery.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen signed a one-year contract with KHL club Spartak Moscow. The Canucks released the 25-year-old forward this summer following an allegation of sexual misconduct against the former first-round pick.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks hired John MacLean as an assistant coach. He replaces Rocky Thompson, who stepped down last week due to medical reasons preventing him from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

THE ATHLETIC: The Seattle Kraken signed defenseman Dennis Cholowski to a one-year, two-way contract worth $900K at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Simon Gagne, Paul Holmgren, Bob Kelly, Lou Nolan, Mark Recchi and Rick Tocchet are the six finalists for inductions into the Flyers Hall of Fame. A voting committee will make the final selection and the induction ceremony will be held during a game this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2021

Check out the latest on Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Mark Giordano and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tracey Myers reports the Boston Bruins have discussed a contract extension with Patrice Bergeron. The 36-year-old Bruins captain has one year remaining on his current deal with an annual cap hit of $6.875 million.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s eight-year contract turned into a long-term bargain for the Bruins. He won two of his four Selke Trophies during the term of that deal and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. Despite his age, Bergeron remains among the best two-way centers in the league. He won’t get another long-term deal but I expect he’ll sign a short-term extension for perhaps $6 million annually.

Speaking of the Bruins, general manager Don Sweeney said there’s a possibility for David Krejci to return. The 35-year-old center recently announced he intends to finish his playing career in his native Czech Republic “We’ll see if somewhere down the road Krejci opens the door back up,” said Sweeney. He indicated it would be a family decision and there’s no timeline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci could return to the Bruins this season if he signs before the trade deadline. According to Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy, he’d have to sign before Dec. 15 to avoid passing through waivers. 

TSN: Salim Valji reports Mark Giordano is adjusting to his new team after being selected by the Seattle Kraken in last month’s expansion draft. The former Flames defenseman said he’s turned the page on his time in Calgary and looks forward to taking on a leadership role with the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How well things go for Giordano with the Kraken will determine how long he plays in Seattle. The 37-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall has full confidence in his goaltenders heading into next season, especially in Tristan Jarry. He expects the 26-year-old Jarry will bounce back from last season’s inconsistent performance in his first campaign as the Penguins’ full-time starter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was plenty of speculation the Penguins would pursue a more reliable starter via trade or free agency this summer. Perhaps they would’ve if not for salary-cap constraints. A recent change in goalie coaches could help Jarry regain his form. If he struggles again, however, Hextall could end up shopping for help before the trade deadline.

CITYNEWS 1130: Player agent Kevin Epp released a statement on behalf of client Jake Virtanen questioning why the complainant who accused the former Vancouver Canucks winger of sexual assault chose to file a civil lawsuit over criminal charges.

Epp said the way the accusation unfolded was “unusual and troubling.” He added Virtanen learned of the accusation via anonymous social media postings, claiming it led to a negative impact upon his client’s career and family.

Kyla Lee, a criminal lawyer at Acumen Law Corporation, said it’s not unusual for a person claiming to be a victim of sexual assault to file a civil suit without contacting the police. She cites the long process of a criminal charge often boils down to a “he said she said” situation making the pursuit of criminal charges challenging. There’s also the perception allegations won’t be taken seriously which prevents victims from reporting the sexual assault to police.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers signed Brendan Perlini to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. Perlini last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Detroit Red Wings.