Time For The Predators To Part Ways With GM Poile
Recaps of Tuesday’s games, the stars of the month, plus injury updates, game postponements and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski scored twice and collected two assists as the Dallas Stars defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists while Patrik Laine was held scoreless in his first game with the Blue Jackets since getting traded last month from the Winnipeg Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 36-year-old Pavelski is off to a strong start, with 14 points in his first seven games of the season.
Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber collected an assist as his 1000th career NHL game ended in a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Habs winger Tyler Toffoli continues to terrorize his former club by scoring twice while Josh Anderson also tallied two goals. The Canadiens (16 points) vaulted over the idle Toronto Maple Leafs into first place in the North Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight of Toffoli’s nine goals this season have been against the Canucks.
The Carolina Hurricanes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Andrei Svechnikov. Jordan Staal and Warren Foegele each had two points for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin rejoined the lineup after being on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.
Vince Dunn scored and set up another as the St. Louis Blues hung on to nip the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Blues have won four straight games. Christian Dvorak tallied twice for the Coyotes, who played without forwards Christian Fischer (upper-body injury) and Lawson Crouse (upper body).
The Winnipeg Jets tallied three first period goals and held on to down the Calgary Flames 3-2. Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals for the Flames.
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves backstopping his club over the Minnesota Wild 2-1. The Avalanche were playing with superstar Nathan MacKinnon, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left this game with an upper-body injury. No post-game update was provided on his status.
The Anaheim Ducks snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Nicolas Deslauriers scored and added an assist while Kings rookie Arthur Kaliyev tallied his first career NHL goal.
Jesse Pulujaarvi scored his first two goals of the season as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Connor McDavid and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle netted his third goal of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have dropped nine straight games since their season-opening win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They weren’t expected to be a playoff contender but it was assumed they would be more competitive after a busy offseason shoring up their roster with some veteran additions. None of those moves, however, have improved the Senators, who are on track for one of their worst seasons in franchise history.
NHL.COM: Pavelski and McDavid were among the NHL’s top stars for the month of January 2021, joining Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk.
WGR 550/NEW YORK POST: The Buffalo Sabres’ scheduled games against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Sabres forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were added to the protocol list following the club’s recent series of games against the New Jersey Devils.
NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they now have 14 players on their COVID-19 protocol list. Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Damon Severson, Ty Smith and Matt Tennyson were added to the list yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind this doesn’t mean those players have all tested positive for COVID-19. Players can be added to the list if they’re a suspected close contact.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Morgan Frost will undergo potentially season-ending shoulder surgery later this week. Center Sean Couturier (costochondral separation) is expected to return within seven-to-10 days.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forwards Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne will rejoin their teammates today after missing several games on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. Sam Gagner, Jon Merrill and Filip Zadina are also off the protocol list.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Several sticks ordered by the Capitals for defenseman Zdeno Chara were instead delivered to a New Jersey man. The total order was worth over $5,000.00.
The Canucks beat the Senators, the Predators edge the Blackhawks, Jim Rutherford steps down as Penguins GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-1 thanks to a 42-save performance by goaltender Thatcher Demko. J.T. Miller and Tyler Motte each scored twice as the Canucks broke a 1-1 tie with a three-goal outburst in the second period. The Senators also lost defenseman Christian Wolanin to a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were outshot 23-7 in the first period. The outcome of this game would’ve been very different if not for Demko.
Matt Duchene scored the deciding goal in a shootout as the Nashville Predators nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen kicked out 41 shots. Earlier in the day, Lucas Wallmark became the third Hawks player added to their COVID-19 list this week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawk are without Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist yet they’ve managed to pick up at least one point in their last five games. Lankinen’s been a major factor in that streak, going 2-0-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jim Rutherford stunned the hockey world yesterday by announcing he was stepping down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Assistant GM Patrik Allvin has taken over from Rutherford on an interim basis as the club begins its search for a permanent replacement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under Rutherford, the Penguins became the first team to win consecutive Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017) since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings. A savvy wheeler-dealer, he was never afraid to make bold moves to bolster his roster as he saw fit.
Rutherford and the Penguins denied his decision was health-related or that he was retiring from the game. Nevertheless, some pundits found the timing of this move surprising and curious. It comes just seven games into this season when he has just months remaining on his contract, sparking some speculation perhaps it was less amicable than we’re being led to believe.
Shortly before Rutherford’s announcement, the Penguins revealed they signed free-agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, $700K contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rash of injuries has walloped the Penguins defense corps, with Brian Dumoulin the latest to be sidelined. That made them the subject of recent trade chatter. The Weber signing is an inexpensive short-term move to add some veteran depth.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights placed defenseman Brayden McNabb on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday announced they’ll be returning to SAP Center in San Jose on Feb. 13 for their scheduled home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks have been playing home games in Arizona this season because of restrictions against team sports in Santa Clara County. That restriction was recently amended after the state of California lifted its’ stay-at-home order.
The Sharks also pulled off a rare three-team trade yesterday. They shipped defenseman Trevor Carrick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Jack Kopacka, then sent Kopacka and a seventh-round pick in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Christian Jaros.
THE SCORE: cites a report in Sports Business Journal indicating the NHL has borrowed $1 billion US to divide among its 31 teams to address revenue shortfalls occurring from COVID-19 restrictions.
Mika Zibanejad and Victor Olofsson start training camp on the sidelines, Travis Hamonic signs PTO with the Canucks and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day and won’t be taking to the ice for the Rangers’ first practice session on Monday. No word as to what’s ailing the 27-year-old center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad is the Rangers’ first-line center. He tallied a career-high 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games last season.
CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson exited practice yesterday with an apparent arm injury after crashing into the net during a one-on-one drill. No details this morning as to the 25-year-old Swede’s condition but he’s considered day-to-day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are also without captain Jack Eichel, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
TSN’S Rick Dhaliwal this morning tweeted former Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic will join the Vancouver Canucks in training camp on a professional tryout offer. Dhaliwal wonders how the Canucks will fit him in under their limited cap space if he makes the club. He also indicated they stopped calling the agent for free-agent defenseman Sami Vatanen two days ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic would be a welcome addition to the Canucks’ blueline. Cap Friendly shows the Canucks sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by just over $1.5 million. However, they could get some cap relief if winger Micheal Ferland’s ongoing post-concussion symptoms keep him on the sidelines to start the season.
Placing Ferland on long-term injury reserve to start the season would give the Canucks about $2 million in wiggle room, enough to ink Hamonic to a cost-effective one-year deal. They could also free up additional space if necessary by placing a player on waivers and putting him on their taxi squad.
OTTAWA SUN: Following Germany’s elimination Saturday from the 2021 World Junior Championships, winger Tim Stuetzle headed to Ottawa to join the Senators. He’ll join his new teammates following a week of quarantine and four negative COVID-19 tests.
The Senators will be playing without a captain again this season, but they named Thomas Chabot, Erik Gudbranson and Brady Tkachuk as their three alternates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stuetzle was dazzling at the WJC, showing the world why he was such a coveted prospect in this year’s draft. If he adjusts well to the NHL game, the Senators will have a potential superstar in their midst.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators brought back defenseman Yannick Weber on a professional tryout offer. Weber played with the Predators from 2016-17 to 2019-20 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.