NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 27, 2022

Catching up on the notable news coming out of the Christmas holiday in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The schedule resumes Tuesday with 11 games on tap. However, tonight’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus has been postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date for the game has been announced yet.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, and Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 25.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: In case you missed it, Ovechkin earned the star of the week honors by scoring twice during his club’s 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 23, moving him past Gordie Howe into second place on the all-time goal-scoring list. With 802 career goals, the Capitals winger has Wayne Gretzky’s 894 in his sights.

SPORTSNET: Ovechkin’s goal chase isn’t sitting well with critics of his support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Luke Fox offers up a balanced take of this situation.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman John Carlson is sidelined indefinitely after being struck in the face by a puck during Friday’s game against the Jets. He was transported to a hospital for evaluation and released into the care of the club’s medical personnel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlson’s absence will be keenly felt if he’s sidelined for a lengthy period. He’s their top defenseman and sits fifth among Capitals scorers with 21 points in 30 games.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart suffered an upper-body injury during Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The team will issue an update on his condition on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “upper-body injury” could be a concussion as Hart and Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis collided with each other after the latter was inadvertently pushed into the Flyers goalie by defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards examined the Panthers’ struggles thus far and the daunting task they face in securing a playoff berth by season’s end. “With three first-round picks already traded elsewhere (Montreal, Philadelphia and Calgary own them) and salary cap concerns, no one expected the Panthers to be serious buyers at this year’s trade deadline,” writes Richards. He speculates they could be sellers if they haven’t improved by deadline day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers were Presidents’ Trophy winners last season. A depleted blueline is one factor behind their current difficulties, prompting speculation they could attempt to pursue such notables as the San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson and the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. Given those issues noted by Richards, I doubt they’ll be suitors for either guy this season.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils defenseman John Marino is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. He’s played a significant role in the Devils’ success thus far this season, averaging 21 minutes per game.

GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan reported Arizona Coyotes rookie forward Matias Maccelli will miss six weeks with a lower-body injury. The 22-year-old winger sits second among this season’s rookie scorers with 22 points in 30 games.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The NHL department of player safety suspended Minnesota Wild forward Mason Shaw for two games for kneeing San Jose Sharks forward Evgeny Svechnikov on Dec. 22.

NHL.COM: Happy belated birthday to Steve “Wochy” Wojciechowski, who turned 100 on Dec. 25. The former Detroit Red Wings forward is believed to be just the second NHL player to become a Centenarian.