NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2018
Latest on Joe Thornton, James Neal, Darnell Nurse, Richard Panik and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Coming off his second straight knee surgery, San Jose Sharks veteran center Joe Thornton said he’s healthy and feels good. He adds he’s looking forward to the start of the coming season. Despite his age (39), he still feels he can dictate the play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton had a slow start last season after coming off his first knee surgery but looked like he was rounding back into form when he was sidelined again. Having more time to recover this time around could help him have a better beginning this time around.
CALGARY SUN: James Neal hopes to establish himself as the Flames’ new first-line right wing. He joined the club as a free agent this summer on a five-year, $28.75-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is there for the taking. Michael Frolik and Elias Lindholm are the other notable Flames’ right wingers but neither is a natural sniper like Neal.
EDMONTON SUN: Defenseman Darnell Nurse said he won’t attend Oilers’ training camp without a new contract. The restricted free agent is coming off a three-year entry-level deal. Given the Oilers’ limited salary-cap space, Nurse is likely to get a two-year bridge deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Oilers fans might freak out over Nurse’s statement but it’s really the proper thing to do. He shouldn’t attend training camp if he isn’t under contract. That being said, there’s still plenty of time for the two sides to get a deal hammered out before camp opens next week. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t an agreement in place by then.
KUKLA’S KORNER: cites TMZ reporting Arizona Coyotes forward Richard Panik pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal trespass stemming from an incident on April 8 when he drunkenly refused to leave the entrance to a Scottsdale sports bar. He avoided jail time by cutting a plea deal involving the completion of a court-ordered diversion program.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Veteran goaltender Steve Mason is still hoping to land with an NHL team this season. In June, Mason was traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens, who bought out the remainder of his contract.
THE SCORE: Veteran defenseman Cody Franson signed a two-year contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk.
TORONTO SUN: In an interview with TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he isn’t in any rush to name a new team captain to start the upcoming season.
TSN: The NHL is in discussions to settle various lawsuits filed by former players alleging the league lied to them over the dangers of repeated head trauma and concussions.
SPORTSNET: The investment group seeking to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle “has announced a new set of local investors including Seattle Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer and members of the Ackerley family that previously owned the Seattle SuperSonics.”
CBC.CA: Former NHL forward Ab McDonald has passed away at age 82. Starting in 1957-58, He spent nearly 15 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues, winning three Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and one with the Chicago Blackhawks. He also spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA. McDonald was the first captain of the Penguins and also of the Jets.
Tonight we mourn the great Larry Wigge, who for half a century filled The Sporting News with informed, intelligent hockey prose.
Larry made the St. Louis press box a warm, welcoming place, going back to the Checkerdome.
R.I.P., dear friend and colleague.
— PHWA (@ThePHWA) September 5, 2018
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to their families and friends.