NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

Evgeni Malkin reaches a career milestone, Taylor Hall collects his first point as a Coyote, Ilya Kovalchuk becomes a free agent, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin tallied his 400th career goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1. He’s the fourth player in Penguins history to reach that milestone. Tristan Jarry made 33 saves as the Penguins picked up their third straight victory. Kris Letang and Bryan Rust also netted two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored his 400th career NHL goal on Tuesday. (Photo via NHL Images)

Taylor Hall picked up his first point with the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Hall picked up a well-earned assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s game-winning goal.

Anze Kopitar’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Bruins have dropped six of their last seven games. Earlier in the day, Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent after clearing unconditional waivers, allowing the Kings to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kovalchuk’s struggles with the Kings, there’s plenty of speculation suggesting the 36-year-old winger could end up with another NHL club. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their second straight win by downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored twice, Dougie Hamilton collected three assists, and Andrei Svechnikov tallied his second lacrosse-style goal of the season. Meanwhile, the estranged relationship between the Jets and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took a step toward improvement as the blueliner is rehabbing his injured ankle in consultation with the club. He remains under suspension for failing to report to training camp.

Seven unanswered goals powered the Nashville Predators to an 8-3 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Calle Jarnkork and Craig Smith each had three-point performances for the Predators. Meanwhile, Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang will report to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after a two-month absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang was told not to report to Bridgeport by Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello as the latter attempted to honor the winger’s trade request. Ho-Sang needs to play to drum up any interest from rival clubs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice as his club held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist.

The Columbus Blue Jackets swept their back-to-back series against the Detroit Red Wings with a 5-3 victory. Former Wing Gustav Nyquist picked up two points. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returned to action for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 30. Jackets blueliner Ryan Murray is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Red Wings rearguard Danny DeKeyser is expected to miss the remainder of the season following back surgery on Tuesday. Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin injury) was sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 40 stops in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who got a boost from Travis Konecny’s return to the lineup following a three-game absence recovering from a concussion. Ducks winger Troy Terry left the game with a knee injury in the second period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-1 lead but went on to edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a brilliant overtime goal by Anthony Cirelli. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) on injured reserve.

Carey Price kicked out 38 shots backstopping the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tomas Tatar and Shea Weber each scored power-play goals. The Habs have won four of their last five and sit one point behind the Sabres for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Former NHLer and Colorado Eagles player Akim Aliu has accepted “a heartfelt and emotional apology” from Eagles equipment manager Tony Deynzer, who attended a team Halloween party in 2011 in blackface dressed as Aliu. Deynzer will keep his job with the club.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL defenseman Scot Kleinendorst died yesterday of injuries he suffered while on the job at a paper mill in Grand Rapids. He was 59. Kleinendorst spent eight seasons in the NHL from 1982-83 to 1989-90 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, and Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kleinendorst’s family, friends, and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2019

P.K. Subban slammed for his poor play, Predators coach Peter Laviolette denies abuse allegations, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Corey Crawford made 29 saves for his 250th career win backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Hawks rookie Kirby Dach tallied the winner in the fifth round of the shootout. The Blackhawks played without Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw, as they were placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. The Devils have dropped four straight games. Speaking of the Devils, the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis implies P.K. Subban is putting marketing himself over hockey.

A New York sportswriter suggests New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban’s struggles could be tied to his off-ice marketing schedule. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s declining production in 2018-19 can be attributed to injuries, but that’s not the issue this season. As Cyrgalis suggests, his busy off-ice schedule could have something to do with it. One could argue Subban’s play is suffering  because the Devils are a lousy club, but he’s supposed to be a superstar who can elevate any team’s performance.

Cyrgalis also suggests the low return the Nashville Predators received (“two middling prospects and two second-round draft picks”) from the Devils last summer was indicative of Subban’s declining value. In reality, that trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Predators, freeing up cap dollars to sign Matt Duchene. That’s why the Devils didn’t have to give up very much to get Subban. Nevertheless, his play this season certainly hasn’t bolstered his stock.

The Penguins spoiled Phil Kessel’s return to Pittsburgh by blanking Kessel and his Arizona Coyotes’ teammates 2-0. Tristan Jarry kicked out 33 shots for his second straight shutout.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as his Edmonton Oilers edged the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Draisaitl (53 points) holds a one-point lead over teammate Connor McDavid atop the league scoring race. Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen turned aside 35 shots. With the Coyotes falling to the Penguins, the Oilers regained first place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals winger Jakub Vrana tallied the game-winning goal and collected an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf collected two points in a losing cause. The league-leading Capitals have won six in a row.

A late goal by Nate Thompson lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the New York Rangers 2-1. Habs goalie Carey Price made 29 saves for the win. The Canadiens played without center Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who suffered a concussion in Thursday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

HEADLINES

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette denied allegations of abusive behavior leveled at him by former player Daniel Carcillo when they were with the Philadelphia Flyers. “First was a suggestion by (Carcillo) that I used my position of power inside of a locker room to bully or … challenge players to go out there and fight,” Laviolette said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Laviolette also responded to a video clip making the rounds on social media showing him apparently punching forward Ville Leino in the back of the head during a game in 2011.

“I had called a timeout. I was trying to get my team motivated and I went to punch my fist into my hand. I nicked the back of his helmet. By no means was it meant as any physical abuse nor have I ever had any physical abuse with a player. … If people really thought I was punching somebody in the back of the head, then that would have come forward a long time ago.”

Leino defended Laviolette, saying he didn’t believe the coach intentionally struck him. “There are a lot of emotions in the game. Coaches get fired up and thing happen,” Leino told ESPN. “I don’t think Peter tried to hit me, and it looks worse than it was.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Flyers Daniel Briere and Scott Hartnell also defended Laviolette, as did current Predators forward Austin Watson. While time will tell if Carcillo’s accusation against Laviolette holds up, that video clip inspired a rush to judgment on social media before all the facts were in. And speaking of rushing to judgment…

SPORTSNET: Nikita Zaitsev’s agent released a statement disputing claims by his ex-wife that he’s taken their children and she doesn’t know about their whereabouts.

“The story that is being circulated online by the ex-wife of my client Nikita Zaitsev is not accurate,” Dan Milstein wrote. “Nikita’s children are safe and with his parents, at his parents’ home in Moscow, where they normally reside. Nikita’s ex-wife knows where the children are and that they are safe. Law enforcement considers this to be a private matter. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy.”

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed defenseman Zach Werenski (shoulder) on injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is on IR with a lower-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed Andreas Johnsson (leg) on IR until at least Christmas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2019

Mikko Koivu plays the hero in a milestone game, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reach 50 points, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game by scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars. He also collected an assist for his 700th career point. The Wild are 6-0-3 in their last 10 games.

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu collected his 700th point in his 1,000th career game (Photo via NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid (two assists) and Leon Draisaitl (two goals) became the first players to reach 50 points this season in a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. McDavid sits atop the NHL scoring race with 51 points, with Draisaitl right behind him. Oilers defenseman Matt Benning left the game after being hit in the head by a puck.

David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 25th goal as the Boston Bruins downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. The Habs are now winless in eight games.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane are the NHL’s three stars for November 2019. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was named rookie of the month.

THE SCORE: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Stars defenseman Julius Honka are ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. The two restricted free agents were still unsigned by yesterday’s 5 pm ET deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars were reportedly working on trading Honka’s rights before yesterday’s deadline. I expect their rights will be traded in the off-season.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will miss the next four weeks with a shoulder injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Brian Dumoulin will be sidelined at least eight weeks following surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his left ankle.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur underwent surgery on Thursday to remove a lobe from one of his lungs. Lafleur was coming off quadruple bypass surgery in late September. The procedure went well and he’s under observation in the hospital before returning home to continue his recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur for a speedy convalescence.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2019

Mikko Rantanen makes a splashy return with the Avalanche, Alex Ovechkin tallies a hat trick, fallout from the Peters firing and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen made a splashy return to action by picking up four points in a 7-3 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. It was his first game since being sidelined by a leg injury on Oct. 21. Joonas Donskoi also enjoyed a four-point performance, Nathan MacKinnon picked up three points, and Nazem Kadri scored two goals. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored to extend his points streak to 15 games.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen collected four points in a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images)

Alex Ovechkin tallied a hat trick to lead the Washington Capitals over the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov collected three assists. Ovechkin now has 20 goals on the season, sitting second to Boston’s David Pastrnak (24) in the goal-scoring race. The Wings’ winless skid has stretched to nine games. Earlier in the day, they acquired goaltender Eric Comrie from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Vili Saarijarvi.

The Vancouver Canucks got a four-point performance from Tanner Pearson to down the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Canucks captain Bo Horvat picked up three assists. Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast each tallied shorthanded goals. Devils rookie Jack Hughes missed the game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Devils near the bottom of the conference, there are reports they’re entertaining offers for Taylor Hall. Check out the Rumors section for details.

The Philadelphia Flyers extended the Montreal Canadiens’ winless skid to seven games (0-4-3) with a 4-3 overtime victory. Ivan Provorov tallied the game-winner while Flyers goalie Brian Elliott kicked out 39 shots. Tomas Tatar scored twice for the Habs, who lost defenseman Victor Mete to a lower-body injury. The Flyers sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 35 points.

Calgary Flames winger Elias Lindholm scored twice in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted his team-leading 14th goal for the Senators.

John Tavares tallied in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Tavares also had an assist on William Nylander’s game-opening goal. Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton made 41 saves in a losing cause.

Carolina Hurricanes netminder James Reimer made 36 saves as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. The Lightning also revealed defenseman Brayden Coburn is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury, while winger Alex Killorn (lower-body injury) is listed as day-to-day.

Florida Panthers rookie goaltender Chris Driedger’s first NHL start was a memorable one, turning aside 27 shots to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. Anton Stralman scored twice for the Panthers.

Semyon Varlamov replaced an ailing Thomas Greiss in the first period and backstopped the New York Islanders to a 2-0 shutout over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Isles center Mathew Barzal scored one goal and collected an assist on the other. Isles defenseman Nick Leddy returned to action after missing one game with a lower-body injury. Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski left the game with an upper-body injury.

Logan Couture scored twice and Tomas Hertl picked up two assists as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. It’s the Sharks’ 11th win in their last 13 contests.

St. Louis Blues forwards Jaden Schwartz and Ryan O’Reilly each had two points in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game with an undisclosed injury. The Penguins also played without winger Bryan Rust, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

A 33-save effort by Jack Campbell enabled the Los Angeles Kings to hang on for a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis issued a statement yesterday claiming he informed then-team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. of alleged physical incidents between former coach Bill Peters and two players. Earlier in the week, Karmanos claimed he was not aware of the incidents and would’ve immediately fired Peters had he known. Francis said he took immediate action to address the issue and no further incidents occurred.

Peters resigned Friday as coach of the Calgary Flames after former NHL player Akim Aliu claimed he hurled racial slurs at him during their tenure with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs a decade ago.

SPORTSNET: Speak of Aliu, he’ll be meeting with the NHL this week to to discuss the cultural problems in hockey.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Sean Avery claimed he was kicked by coach Marc Crawford during a game in 2006-07 when they were with the Los Angeles Kings. Avery said the incident occurred when he took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

“He didn’t have me serve it, we got scored on, and he let me have it. You know how I stand at the end of the bench? He came down and gave me an ass kick that left a mark.” Avery found the incident more bemusing than upsetting.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will miss tonight’s game against the Canadiens with a lower-body injury. Winger Brad Marchand is questionable for the game as he’s battling flu symptoms. Winger David Backes (concussion symptoms) could be close to returning to the lineup.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu will appear in his 1,000th NHL game today when his club takes on the Dallas Stars.










High Qualifying Offers A New Twist In NHL RFA Contracts

High Qualifying Offers A New Twist In NHL RFA Contracts

 










Blue Jackets Re-sign Werenski

Blue Jackets Re-sign Werenski

The NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reports the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year, $15-million contract. Weekes’ report is corroborated by Aaron Portzline, The Athletic’s Blue Jackets’ beat writer.

Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year deal (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Werenski’s annual average value will be $5 million, putting him just below defense partner Seth Jones’ $5.4 million AAV. Both contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22, with Jones slated to become an unrestricted free agent while Werenski will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

I’m not surprised that Werenski accepted this deal. Reports emerged several weeks ago claiming the 22-year-old blueliner wanted to be re-signed before training camp opened. There was speculation he would accept less than Jones, who is the Jackets’ best all-around rearguard as well as their highest-paid.

Werenski is getting a healthy pay increase from the $1.775-million AAV (bonuses included) of his entry-level contract. Should the skilled puck-moving defenseman continue to improve, he can seek much more from the Jackets by 2022.

Werenski’s new deal could affect fellow RFA blueliners like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov. The latter was reportedly seeking $8 million per season but the Flyers could use Werenski as a comparable.