A look at the Central Division, Tyler Seguin believes the Stars are “all-in” for the coming season, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck believes the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche are on the rise in the Central Division. He also believes the Nashville Predators and the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues remain strong. It remains to be seen how the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks perform following their offseason move. The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, are expected to struggle.
SPORTSDAY: Speaking of the Stars, Tyler Seguin believes they’re all-in in 2019-20 following the additions of Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, and Andrej Sekera.
Tyler Seguin is pleased with the Dallas Stars’ off-season acquisitions (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelski will certainly improve the Stars’ scoring depth. The jury’s out on an aging Corey Perry, who missed most of last season to a knee injury. If Sekera can rebound from the injuries that sidelined him for most of the past two seasons, he should be an effective addition to their blueline.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Thanks for friend and former Bruins teammate Cam Neely, Geoff Courtnall is celebrating nearly a decade of sobriety and wants to help others. Courtnall spent 17 seasons in the NHL with five teams – five with the Bruins – from 1983-84 to 1999-2000.
YARDBARKER: Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. Voynov is under a one-year suspension by the NHL “as additional punishment from his domestic abuse incident back in 2014”. While that suspension was cut in half in May, the Kings have no intention of bringing him back and no other NHL club is interested in his rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov is toxic in the NHL. No club wants the bad publicity they’ll get from signing him.
Updates on the Stanley Cup Finalists, Islanders re-sign Brock Nelson, Oilers reportedly to hire Dave Tippett as head coach, and the Senators hire D.J. Smith as head coach. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Over 16,000 fans turned out for a Bruins intra-scrimmage game last night at Boston’s TD Garden. Bruins winger Brad Marchand left the game after jamming his left hand in a collision with Connor Clifton but returned to finish the contest.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Vince Dunn has resumed skating after missing the last three games of the Western Conference Final. Dunn was sidelined after taking a puck to the face during Game 3. He’s believed to be dealing with concussion symptoms. There’s no timetable for his return.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed center Brock Nelson to a six-year, $36-million contract. Nelson was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s completing a one-year, $4.25-million deal.
New York Islanders re-sign center Brock Nelson (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a considerable pay raise for Nelson, who’s coming off a career-high 53-point performance. Cap Friendly indicates the deal ($6 million annual average value) comes with a full no-trade clause in the first two years and a modified no-trade for the remaining term.
Such is the market value for a second-line center under a constantly rising salary cap. I anticipated Nelson would get at most $5.5 million on a five-year contract.
Newsday’s Arthur Staple anticipated Islanders captain Anders Lee can expect a deal (from the Isles or someone else) worth $7 million annually.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports Dave Tippett is the new head coach of the Oilers. The hiring could be formally announced as early as today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tippett has 14 seasons of NHL head-coaching experience under his belt. However, there’s some concern over whether he can coach the new up-tempo style prevalent around the league. If he can’t, there won’t be much change in the Oilers’ fortunes.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators introduced D.J. Smith as their new head coach. Smith was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this hire by the Senators. Smith spent four seasons with the Leafs. Before that, he spent three seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. In 2014-15, he guided the Generals to the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup. He has lots of experience with young players, which should prove invaluable for the rebuilding Senators.
Speaking of the Leafs, they hired former Florida Panthers assistant coach Paul McFarland as Smith’s replacement.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Two members of the San Jose Sharks dealt with multiple injuries during the playoffs. Captain Joe Pavelski suffered a head injury in the opening round. He also aggravated a knee injury in Game 5 of the Conference Final and had surgery on his left hand. Tomas Hertl suffered a head injury in Game 5 of the Final and broke his left pinkie finger in the opening round.
Erik Karlsson confirmed he reaggravated a lower-body injury and hopes to avoid off-season surgery. Joe Thornton suffered a groin injury in the conference final.
Thornton also said he hasn’t reached a decision yet on his future. If he does return for one more season, he said it’ll only be with the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Thornton has another year left in him. I also expect the Sharks will re-sign captain Pavelski. I don’t believe they can afford to re-sign Karlsson.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin will be fine after being struck in the groin by a shot during a game against Canada in the IIHF World Championships. Larkin missed the remaining games for Team USA, who were eliminated yesterday by Russia.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Mike Modano as an executive advisor to Craig Leipold, the club owner.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings cut ties with defenseman Slava Voynov after his season-long suspension was cut in half by an independent arbitrator. Voynov pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor corporal injury to his spouse in 2015. He was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and spent two months in jail before returning to Russia. The conviction was expunged last summer, but the league levied a one-year suspension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov can sign with an NHL club after 41 games this coming season. Given the reason behind his suspension, I doubt any NHL team will risk the public backlash.
SPORTSNET: Jacques Martin will be staying with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach. He was interviewed by the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators for their head-coaching positions.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year deal worth $700K per season.
ESPN.COM: On a non-NHL note, the National Women’s Hockey League “is increasing salaries, offering a 50-50 split of sponsor-related revenues and improved benefits in an agreement reached with its players’ association.”
Blue Jackets rally to defeat Lightning, Islanders down Penguins in overtime, and Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen’s record-setting performance highlight the opening night of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets scored four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to overcome a 3-0 deficit to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Seth Jones tallied the game-winner while Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist. Game 2 goes Friday night in Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was all Lightning as they rolled to a 3-0 lead and appeared poised to run the Blue Jackets out of the building. Credit the Jackets for not rolling over as they turned things around in the second with a much better effort, forcing the Bolts into costly turnovers and defensive breakdowns, especially on Anderson’s game-tying shorthanded goal and David Savard’s Orr-like tally that preceded it. The Bolts were also their own worst enemies, doing a poor job protecting their lead and failing to play with the same level of intensity that they showed in the opening period.
A breathtaking rush by Mathew Barzal set the stage for Josh Bailey’s overtime goal to give the New York Islanders a 4-3 Game 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Barzal dipsy-doodled his way into a prime scoring chance with a backhander that clanged off the right post and right to Bailey who cashed in on the rebound. Isles goalie Robin Lehner made 41 saves and Jordan Eberle scored his first career playoff goal. Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. The two clubs clash again in Game 2 on Friday.
Dallas Stars rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen had a record-setting performance in his club’s 3-2 victory in Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a great individual effort by Barzal in overtime. Looks like he handled the heat of his first career playoff game just fine.
Dallas Stars rookie Miro Heiskanen made history by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series. The 19-year-old became the youngest defenseman in franchise history to score a playoff goal and the third teenage blueliner in league history to have a multi-goal playoff game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No nerves for Heiskanen in his postseason debut, playing like a poised veteran in this one. The Predators did themselves no favors with their special-team play, going oh-for-four with the man advantage and giving up a power-play goal.
Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each collected two points to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory in Game 1 of their series with the Vegas Golden Knights. Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl each had a goal and an assist while captain Joe Pavelski scored the opening goal of the game with his face. He left the game but returned in the second period wearing a full-face visor. The two clubs meet again for Game 2 on Friday.
Third-period goals by David Perron and Tyler Bozak enabled the St. Louis Blues to nip the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a physical opening game to their series. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 24 saves for his first career NHL playoff victory. Patrik Laine tallied the sole Jets goal. Game 2 goes Friday night in Winnipeg.
Earlier in the day, Binnington had to address controversial tweets he made in 2013 and 2014 regarding women in burkhas and cab drivers who speak different languages. “I was a teenager and that’s what life’s about. You live and learn and you grow as a human so, you know, I’m just here to play a couple hockey games,” he said. League deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement that didn’t condone Binnington’s tweets but added there wasn’t any basis to address five-year-old tweets from a player who wasn’t part of the league at the time.
TSN: Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen will return to action in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’d been sidelined since March 21 with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch for Game 1 tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
SPORTSNET: The NHL Player Association has filed an appeal on behalf of former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov over his suspension for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs.
The Devils win the 2019 Draft Lottery, Slava Voynov suspended for 2019-20, plus the latest on Victor Hedman, Zach Parise, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero is all smiles after his club won the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery (Photo via NHL.com).
NHL.COM: For the second time in three years, the New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the top selection. They also won in 2017 and selected center Nico Hischier.
The New York Rangers will pick second and the Chicago Blackhawks third. The Colorado Avalanche, who held the Ottawa Senators pick, slipped to fourth in the draft order (Follow the link for the complete listing).
TSN: Fun fact: Ever since the Edmonton Oilers won the 2010 lottery and selected Taylor Hall, his teams have won the lottery five times.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The NHL suspended former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov for the entire 2019-20 season and the 2020 playoffs for “unacceptable off-ice conduct”. Voynov pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporal spousal abuse in 2015.
The NHL Players Association is reviewing the ruling. League commissioner Gary Bettman said Voynov will be eligible to return to the NHL in 2020-21, assuming good behavior on his part.
THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (upper-body injury) will return to action tonight in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is expected to center their third line while Boone Jenner centers the fourth. The Jackets also recalled defenseman Adam Clendening.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild confirmed head coach Bruce Boudreau will return behind the bench next season. Boudreau has one year remaining on his contract. The club also revealed left wing Zach Parise played with a broken right foot over the final month of the season.
THE TENNESSEAN: PETA is attempting to discourage Nashville Predators fans from tossing catfish on the ice during the Predators’ playoff home games.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Long-time Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange will miss the start of the playoffs because of an adverse reaction to pneumonia medication.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get well soon, Mike!
Marc Bergevin confirme qu’Antti Niemi ne sera pas de retour avec l’équipe la saison prochaine.
Marc Bergevin confirms that Antti Niemi will not be back with the team next season.#GoHabsGo
Game recaps, three stars and the top rookie for October revealed, and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Patrick Laine’s hat trick in his native Finland powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at the NHL 2018 Global Series at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. Panthers center and fellow Finn Aleksander Barkov picked up an assist. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves. Earlier in the day, the Panthers activated Roberto Luongo (knee) from injured reserve and it’s expected he could return to action next week.
Patrick Laine’s hat trick carried the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers in Helsinki. (Photo via NHL Images)
Anton Khudobin made 30 saves as the Dallas Stars held on for a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stars forward Tyler Seguin collected two assists.
Thomas Greiss made 29 saves, including a well-timed poke-check on Sidney Crosby in overtime, to give the New York Islanders a 3-2 shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, sweeping their home-and-home series. Josh Bailey tallied the only goal in the shootout.
Montreal Canadiens rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored his first two NHL goals in his club’s 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals. The Habs final two goals set a record for the fastest in league history (two seconds). Brendan Gallagher also scored twice for the Canadiens. Capitals forwards Alexander Ovechkin and Lars Eller also each tallied two goals.
Craig Anderson kicked out 46 shots as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Sabres winger Jason Pominville skated in his 1,000th career NHL game.
The Detroit Red Wings picked up their third straight victory by edging the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Justin Abdelkader and Trevor Daley each scored shorthanded goals in the third period to give the Wings the win. Speaking of the Wings, former captain Henrik Zetterberg revealed “a degenerating disc eventually caused a nerve problem and a malfunction of a muscle that controls the movement of the ankle” led to his retirement.
In his first game since returning from an undisclosed injury, Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside 42 shots in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Oskar Sundqvist tallied his first two goals of the season as the St. Louis Blues downed the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-3.
The Calgary Flames overcame a 4-1 deficit with five third-period goals to beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-5. Mark Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk each had three-point performances for the Flames.
Mikko Koskinen made 40 saves for his first NHL shutout as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Drake Caggiula scored twice for the Oilers.
Shootout goals by Mats Zuccarello and Mika Zibanejad gave the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the free-falling Anaheim Ducks, who’ve won just twice in their last 10 games.
The Philadelphia Flyers won their second consecutive game for the first time this season by dropping the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Like the Ducks, the Kings have just two victories in their last 10 contests.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 44 saves, including 25 in the third period, to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane are the NHL’s three stars for October 2018. Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson was named rookie of the month for October.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward David Backes is expected to make his return from a concussion Saturday against the Predators. The Bruins also demoted forward Ryan Donato to their AHL affiliate in Providence.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: An unidentified woman has filed a lawsuit against San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane alleging he reneged on a promise to pay for her abortion. Kane and his lawyer deny the allegation and intend to fight it in court.
SPORTSNET: Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is applying for reinstatement. He’s been suspended since 2015 after pleading guilty on misdemeanor domestic abuse charges and spending nearly two months in jail. The Kings terminated his contract but his NHL rights still belong to them. Voynov’s conviction was dismissed by a judge in July.
CBS SPORTS: The Caroline Hurricanes have sent Phil Dio Giuseppe to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators have returned rookie Alex Formenton to the OHL’s London Knights.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL plans on playing more games in Europe to expand its footprint on the continent.
Latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Corey Crawford, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: After recovering from offseason surgery on his left shoulder, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko hopes to be ready when training camp opens next week.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks president John McDonagh is confident, but not certain, goaltender Corey Crawford will be taking part in training camp next week.
Chicago Blackhawks remain hopeful goaltender Corey Crawford will attend training camp next week. (Photo via NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford missed most of last season to a suspected concussion. His absence contributed to the Blackhawks missing the playoffs last season so it’s understandable why there’s concern over his current status.
NHL.COM’s Mike Zeisberger reports center Tyler Seguin said contract negotiations with the Dallas Stars have picked up since last week. He remains hopeful of getting an extension in place before the season opens next month.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers left wing Milan Lucic hopes to overcome last season’s poor performance and prove he’s still an effective top-six forward. Lucic managed just 10 goals and 34 points in 82 games last season, including just one goal in his final 46 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Lucic doesn’t regain his scoring touch the Oilers will have a very expensive checking-line winger on their hands. As per Cap Friendly, he’s entering the third season of his seven-year, $42-million contract.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights general manager George McPhee claims supplements provided by the team to Nate Schmidt weren’t responsible for the defenseman’s 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s PED policy. Schmidt said he only used what was provided to him by the club, suggesting cross-contamination may be been responsible for his testing positive for a trace amount of a banned substance. McPhee claimed his team’s supplements are all league-approved but continues to stand by the defenseman.
USA TODAY: The NHL has begun “a formal investigation into former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov 2015 domestic-abuse conviction to determine whether he should be allowed to return to the NHL”. Earlier this summer, Voynov was granted a dismissal of his conviction by a Los Angeles Superior Court.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the league grants Voynov’s reinstatement, teams could pass on signing him over concerns of a negative reaction by fans and media.
THE TENNESSEAN: The NHL will announce its punishment for Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson by Sept. 13. In July, Watson pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor assault for reportedly hitting his girlfriend outside a gas station in June. He was placed on three months probation, “26 weeks of batterer intervention and an inpatient program for alcohol and drugs.”
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Eric Comrie to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level.
NBC SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed team president John Davidson, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and assistant GM Bill Zito. Contract terms weren’t disclosed.
SPORTSNET: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said December is the earliest the league board of governors could vote on approving a new franchise in Seattle. He also added the league wasn’t changing its marijuana policy as Canada legalizes cannabis on Oct. 17.