NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2020

Islanders get their first win of the Eastern Conference Final, Nathan MacKinnon wins the Lady Byng Trophy, the Penguins trade Nick Bjugstad to the Wild, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brock Nelson’s tie-breaking goal late in the third period powered the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third before Nelson scored and Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted the insurance goal. Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves for the win.

The Lightning leads the best-of-seven series two games to one. They were without two regulars in this contest. Winger Alex Killorn served a one-game suspension for boarding Nielsen in Game 2. Center Brayden Point was unfit to play following an undisclosed injury in Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Isles to avoid falling behind 3-0 in the series. It appeared the Lightning were going to pull off a come-from-behind victory but the Isles proved their mettle in this one. Their top-six forwards led the way with Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier each netting a goal and an assist while Josh Bailey collected two assists.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is this year’s winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best displays sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability. He took just five minor penalties during the regular season while finishing fifth in points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Nick Bjugstad last night to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2021. The 28-year-old center has a year remaining on his contract. Cap Friendly indicates they’re retaining $2.050 million of Bjugstad’s $4.1 million salary-cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired by the Penguins from the Florida Panthers in February 2019, Bjugstad was frequently sidelined by injuries, limited to just 13 games this season. He’ll get a chance to get his career back on track in his hometown next season. This is a salary dump by the Penguins as they attempt to clear some cap space, perhaps for other offseason moves.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner rejected a report yesterday claiming he and the Golden Knights agreed to a five-year, $25-million contract back in June. “Yeah, well, it’s not true,” said Lehner. “You know, you have some talks and kind of (discuss) where you’re at, what you want to do. Nothing has been finalized.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report might not be true but Lehner seems to suggest his camp has had some discussions with Golden Knights management. We know Lehner seeks stability after bouncing from Buffalo to the Islanders to the Blackhawks to Vegas since 2018. Perhaps he’ll find it with the Golden Knights. If so, that will only stoke speculation about Marc-Andre Fleury’s future with the club.

The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually from Oct. 6 and 7. The first round begins at 7 pm ET on Oct. 6, with rounds 2 through 7 taking place the following day beginning at 11:30 am ET. Broadcast times to be determined.

The NHL free-agent market opens at noon et on Friday, Oct. 9.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed defenseman Sean Walker to a four-year, $10.6 million contract extension. The annual average value is $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable move by the Kings. As the report observed, Walker’s blossomed into a speedy, productive two-way blueliner. He’ll be a key piece of their rebuilding roster.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2020

The Bruins become the first team to reach 100 points this season,  Mika Zibanejad and Filip Forsberg set franchise records with their respective clubs and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask kicked out 36 shots to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0, snapping the latter’s nine-game winning streak. Matt Grzelcyk and Patrice Bergeron were the goal scorers as the league-leading Bruins became the first team to reach 100 points this season. The Flyers played without defenseman Philippe Myers, who’s sidelined at least four weeks with a fractured patella in his right knee.

Mika Zibanejad is the fastest player to score 40 goals in New York Rangers history (Photo via NHL Images).

Mika Zibanejad became the fastest player to reach 40 goals in New York Rangers history in a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Rookie Kaapo Kakko scored twice for the Rangers (78 points), who sit three points out of an Eastern wild-card berth. The slumping Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’re winless in their last six contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how many great scorers the Rangers have had in their long history, that’s quite an achievement by Zibanejad.

The Nashville Predators (78 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by doubling up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Filip Forsberg scored twice, becoming the first player in Predators’ history to register six 20-goal seasons. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced leading scorer Tomas Tatar is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews’ 47th goal of the season was also the game-winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Teammate Mitch Marner collected two assists as the Leafs (81 points) opened a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly returned to action for the first time after suffering a broken foot nearly two months ago. The Lightning are eight points behind the Bruins.

Evgeni Malkin scored twice and picked up an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 86 points, the Penguins sit third in the Metropolitan Division. Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced center Nick Bjugstad is considered week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian tallied twice and added an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek made 23 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in late February. With 81 points, the Canes move into the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Wings, meanwhile, have the dubious honor of clinching last place in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The silver lining for the Wings is they have the best odds of winning the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

The struggling New York Islanders winless skid reached seven games as they fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. Brock Nelson scored twice for the Isles while Thatcher Demko made 45 saves for the Canucks (78 points), who moved back into the second Western wild-card berth, The Isles (80 points) sit one point out of an Eastern wild-card spot.

A natural hat trick by Nicolas Deslauriers carried the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.


THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s status remains uncertain after suffering a lower-body injury during Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is expected to provide an update later today. Meanwhile, the Avs announced former Colorado Rockies stars and MLB Hall-of-Famer Larry Walker will be their honorary emergency backup goalie during Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues placing Troy Brouwer on waivers has raised speculation sidelined winger Vladimir Tarasenko could be nearing a return from shoulder surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic could return to action against the Islanders on Thursday.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets assigned Mark Letestu to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint. A diagnosis of myocarditis sidelined him for all but seven games this season.

THE SCORE: The Columbus Blue Jackets will continue to allow fans at their home games despite the Ohio governor’s recommendation that indoor sports events be held without spectators over coronavirus concerns. The team has recommended those fans at higher risk, including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, should avoid these events.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2018

Game recaps, Kings fire head coach John Stevens, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cam Fowler tallied a hat trick, including the winner in overtime, in the Anaheim Ducks’ 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to snap a seven-game losing skid. The Ducks played without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Cam Fowler’s hat trick carried the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo via NHL Images)

 Brayden Point’s last-minute game-tying goal set the stage for Yanni Gourde’s overtime winner to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh collected three assists. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 41 saves.

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 39 shots and Jimmy Vesey scored two goals as the New York Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. The Rangers played without defenseman Adam McQuaid, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings fired head coach John Stevens, naming Willie Desjardins and Marco Sturm as interim coaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Kings mired at the bottom of the Western Conference, management had to do something to keep the season from spiraling out of control. A coaching change, however, might not be enough. I’ll have more on this later this morning in the Rumors section. 

PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott left practice on Sunday holding his head following a collision with teammate Travis Konecny. An update on his condition is expected today.

WINNIPEG SUN:  Jets forward Nic Petan made his return to the lineup on Friday after missing most of training camp and the first 13 games of the season due to the sudden death of his father. He’s appreciative of the support he received from the team and the league.

CSN WASHINGTON: The Capitals placed forward Nathan Walker on waivers.



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 Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2017

Game recaps plus updates on John Tavares, Dustin Brown, Justin Faulk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:Claude Giroux collected three assists and Sean Couturier tallied the winning goal as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, giving the Flyers their seventh win in their last eight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the brink of falling completely out of the playoff race a month ago, the Flyers (37 points) now sit just two points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Seth Jones had a two-point game and backup Joonas Korpisalo made 39 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Leafs blueliner Jake Gardiner also picked up two points. 

Dougie Hamilton’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. 

SPORTSNET: During yesterday’s press conference announcing the New York Islanders winning bid to build an arena at Belmont Park, team captain John Tavares said a new arena wouldn’t be a deciding factor regarding his contract status. Tavares is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It may not be the deciding factor but it certainly improves the Isles chances of re-signing Tavares. Not only does it provides the Isles with an better venue to play in, it will also generate more revenue that can be used to invest in attracting and retaining quality talent. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examines the reasons why the expansion Vegas Golden Knights enjoy the best home record in the Western Conference this season.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: On the eve of playing his 1,000th NHL game, Kings winger Dustin Brown is enjoying a renaissance season. With 12 goals and 26 points, he’s well within range of exceeding last season’s meager 14 goals and 36 points. Part of the credit belongs to the faith shown in Brown by new head coach John Stevens and new general manager Rob Blake. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is trying to find a way to break out of his scoring slump. After scoring a franchise-record 17 goals last season, Faulk’s found the back of the net just once so far in 2017-18. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera is slated to return to the lineup tonight against the St. Louis Blues. He’s been sidelined since the summer due to knee surgery. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals claimed forward Nathan Walker off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers, who had plucked him off the waiver wire at the end of November. 


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.