NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.

The Dallas Stars yesterday fired head coach Jim Montgomery (Photo via NHL.com).

General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.

The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.

Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.

The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).

Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.

A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2019

The Golden Knights to re-sign William Karlsson, the NHL and NHLPA to stage another World Cup of Hockey, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: The Vegas Golden Knights will re-sign William Karlsson to a new contract this week. It’s expected the 26-year-old center’s new contract will be eight years with an annual average value of $5.9 million. Karlsson is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. 

The Vegas Golden Knights re-sign William Karlsson to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports it was the contract term – eight years – that meant more to Karlsson than the money. He loves living and playing in Las Vegas and didn’t want to leave.

It’s a bit of a gamble by the Golden Knights, as Karlsson will be 34 when this deal expires and his performance could significantly decline in the final years of this contract. Nevertheless, it’s a decent cap hit, one that could be worthwhile if he keeps putting up the numbers (24 goals, 56 points) he did this season.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon isn’t concerned about his club sitting approximately $7.9 million over the $81.5-million salary cap for 2019-20.

While they failed to find any takers for all-but-retired David Clarkson’s contract ($5.25-million cap hit), defenseman Colin Miller ($3.875 million) reportedly remains on the trade block. Forwards Curtis McKenzie ($750,000) and Valentin Zykov ($675,000) could be placed on waivers. 

“We’ve talked to teams all along,” McCrimmon said of potential trades. “I think all 31 teams have done that, and we’ll continue to do that. That’s just part of our business.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights can sit over the cap by 10 percent during the off-season. They can also place Clarkson on long-term injury reserve if they can’t find any takers for that contract. Trading another player, however, appears more likely and could go down this week. 

CBC.CA: The NHL and NHL Players Association are in favor of rebooting the World Cup of Hockey and staging it every four years. The PA would also like to participate in the Winter Olympics but the league remains non-committal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Olympic participation issue could become a stumbling block during the next round of formal collective bargaining between the two sides. However, I don’t consider this as a hill the PA wants to die on. They’re more concerned over escrow payments. 

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed Jordan Nolan to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon caught up with Patrik Stefan, the first overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft. 










NHL CBA Update – January 20, 2019

NHL CBA Update – January 20, 2019

In recent weeks, discussions between the NHL and NHL Players Association regarding a possible a World Cup of Hockey tournament in September 2020 prompted speculation the event could become a deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement.

NHL and NHLPA agree not to stage a World Cup of Hockey in 2020.

Both sides have the option to opt-out of the current agreement this September. It was assumed they would avoid the current CBA expiring while the tournament was taking place. 

Considering the contentious labor history between the two sides, the possibility of labor peace by September 2020 would be a welcome change.

Last week, however, the league and the PA released joint statements announcing it was “no longer realistic” to schedule that tournament next September.

Such news would ordinarily suggest more labor trouble on the horizon. However, most observers noted the tone of the statements was rather mild, with both two sides indicated their intention to continue broader discussions.

In other words, just because there won’t be a World Cup of Hockey next year doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a new CBA in the near future.

Since November, various reports have the league and the PA holding ongoing talks regarding a possible CBA extension.  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman seems keen to avoid a fourth lockout on his watch, recently telling reporters he’s not looking for a fight with the PA.

Fans can be forgiven for their cynicism over Bettman’s comment. As the good folks at the Puck Soup podcast observed, the commissioner said the same thing roughly a year before imposing the season-killing lockout of 2004-05. 

By most accounts, the league doesn’t have any significant issues worth jeopardizing a season over. Escrow and Olympic participation are hot-button topics for the players but the PA doesn’t sound as militant as it once was.

Some pundits have noted a distinct change in tone between the two sides, providing hope that a new collective bargaining agreement can be worked out without another long work stoppage. Time will tell if that’s the case. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2019

Game recaps, Ducks made three trades, Flames to retire Iginla’s number, no World Cup of Hockey in 2020, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Former Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored twice and set up another goal against his former team. 

Sean Couturier’s natural hat trick gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images)

Sean Couturier netted a natural hat trick and teammate Claude Giroux picked up his 500th career assists as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins call-up Peter Cehlarik scored his first two NHL goals. 

The Buffalo Sabres snapped the Calgary Flames’ five-game win streak as an overtime goal by Jack Eichel gave them a 4-3 victory. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 28th goal of the season. 

A shootout goal by Alex Chiasson gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers are now tied with the Minnesota Wild (49 points), though the latter holds the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference as they hold a game in hand. The Canucks are right behind them with 48 points. 

The Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 to end the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves while Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Sharks forward Kevin Labanc had a goal and two assists.

NBC SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks swung a trio of trades yesterday.  First, they shipped winger Pontus Aberg to the Minnesota Wild for center Justin Kloos. They followed that by sending defenseman Luke Schenn and a seventh-round pick in 2020 to the Vancouver Canucks for blueline Michael Del Zotto. Their final move saw them send minor-league center Joseph Blandisi to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Derek Grant.  These moves come just two days after the Ducks traded veteran winger Andrew Cogliano to the Dallas Stars for center Devin Shore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t call this a fire sale by Ducks general manager Bob Murray as he’s bringing in players who could contribute to his roster this season. Nevertheless, it’s not a major roster shakeup, probably because his club is still close to a wild-card spot despite their 12-game losing skid. 

Murray’s giving up some offense in Aberg, who has 11 goals in 37 games, but Kloos led the AHL’s Iowa Wild with 30 points and could get a shot with the Ducks at some point. The Wild, meanwhile, receive a speedy, affordable winger who could provide them with a bit of a scoring boost as they jockey for playoff contention.

The Canucks moved Del Zotto, a frequent healthy scratch, to make room for rookie star Elias Pettersson, who’s returning from injury. Schenn spent this season with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate and will report directly to the Canucks’ farm club in Utica. Del Zotto, an unrestricted free agent this summer, could become a rental depth addition for the Ducks.

Grant played for the Ducks in 2017-18, enjoying his best season with 12 goals and 24 points in 66 games. He signed with the Penguins as a free agent but didn’t enjoy the same measure of success. Murray could be hoping Grant rediscovers his form. The Penguins remove Grant’s $650K cap hit and could be setting the stage for a larger move. 

TSN: Speaking of the Ducks, veteran center Ryan Kesler has no plans to waive his no-movement clause. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for charging Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar during Tuesday’s game. 

SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHLPA released statements yesterday ruling out the possibility of staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2020. While the tournament was linked to recent talks regarding a possible extension of the CBA, the two sides intend to meet again soon to continue discussions aimed at avoiding another work stoppage. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA have the option of exercising their early-out clause in September, which would bring the current CBA to an end in September 2020. Recent reports indicate a seeming willingness on both sides to implement a new deal without going through another round of contentious collective bargaining. We’ll find out by this September if that apparent cooling in tensions between the two sides results in a new deal. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames will honor former captain Jarome Iginla by retiring his No. 12 prior to their March 2 game against the Minnesota Wild. Iginla announced his retirement last July 

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL winger Brandon Bollig announced his retirement yesterday. He spent five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. In 241 career games, Bollig had 10 goals, 23 points and 392 penalty minutes. He also had three goals, four points and 75 PIMs in 35 playoff contests. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2018

Game recaps, notes from Board of Governors meetings, Flyers hire Chuck Fletcher as GM, latest trades and more from a busy Monday in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov extended his points streak to 10 games with a goal and three assists in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Brayden Point had a goal and two assists.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov extended his points streak to 10 games in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images)

The Nashville Predators edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 to hand the latter their third straight loss. Kevin Fiala snapped a 1-1 tie with a third-period goal.

With Connor McDavid ailing and out of the lineup, the Edmonton Oilers fell 4-1 to the Dallas Stars. Brett Ritchie had a goal and an assist for the Stars.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill, and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 2, 2019.

The Philadelphia Flyers hired former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher as their new GM. Fletcher takes over from Ron Hextall, who was fired last week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have a look at Fletcher’s possible immediate plans later this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman projected the salary cap for next season could reach $83 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be another healthy increase in the cap, jumping $3.5 million over the current $79.5 million ceiling. The finalized figure will be announced by late-June.

If, as expected, the Board of Governors approves the addition of Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise later today, it’s expected their first season will be 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected the KeyArena in Seattle won’t be ready to go until November 2020, which would explain the rationale behind pushing their inaugural campaign to the following season. It would also remove a key piece of leverage away from the NHLPA should they opt to take the early out from the current CBA next September. The league probably doesn’t want to risk a potential labor war potentially messing up the debut of their new franchise.

Bettman also said the league has informed the NHLPA that it needs to know by next month if they’re willing to sign off on a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2020. “For the last year and a half, two years, we’ve been anxious to anchor plans for a World Cup but for whatever reason, the players’ association hasn’t been prepared to do that,” said Bettman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason being the players prefer the Winter Olympics over the World Cup of Hockey. Still, if the NHLPA agrees to take part in the tournament, it could mean they won’t exercise their early-out from the current CBA next September. Fingers crossed, kids!

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (hand), winger Robby Fabbri (separated shoulder), and forward Alexander Steen (concussion) on injured reserve. Pietrangelo and Fabbri could be sidelined until at least Christmas while Steen is listed as day-to-day. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander said he was told by GM Kyle Dubas he wouldn’t be traded as long as Dubas is running the Leafs.  Nylander and the Leafs recently ended a lengthy contract standoff. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Dubas was sincere and Nylander undoubtedly believes him. But Nylander lacks no-trade protection until the final season of his new six-year contract. A lot can happen over that time period to change Dubas’ mind if he remains the GM over that period. 

Speaking of the Leafs, they traded forward Josh Leivo to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Michael Carcone and temporarily loaned defenseman Travis Dermott to their AHL affiliate to make room for Nylander. Dermott’s expected back on their roster later today. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded winger Daniel Sprong to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Marcus Pettersson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both trades saw their clubs swapping young players who weren’t working out, with their new teams hoping the change of scenery improves their respective performances. 

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi received a two-game suspension “unsportsmanlike conduct and roughing on Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert.”

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings claimed forward Brendan Leipsic off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Roberto Luongo, James van Riemsdyk, Steve Mason and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied a hat trick, including the game-tying and winning goals, to lead his club to a 5-4 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues.  Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues.

Jonathan Toews’ hat trick led the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 OT win over the St. Louis Blues. (Photo via NHL Images)

Tyler Seguin scored twice and set up two others as the Dallas Stars drubbed the Winnipeg Jets 5-1. Stars captain Jamie Benn also scored twice and collected an assist while Alex Radulov enjoyed a three-point night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Games like this one will make Seguin’s new eight-year, $78.8-million contract starting next season worthwhile for the Stars. 

The Florida Panthers fell 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout. Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury after teammate Frankie Vatrano fell on Luongo’s right leg during a goalmouth scramble. “I don’t know how serious (the injury is)”, said Panthers coach Bob Boughner. “Hopefully, that’s not going to be a long-term thing. They’re going to reassess it and I’ll know more tomorrow.”

Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames downed the Vancouver Canucks 7-4. Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another, giving him five points in his first two NHL contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson has the makings of the Canucks’ next big Swedish star, following in the footsteps of Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins. 

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac each scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the 2018 NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden. Earlier in the day, the Oilers activated defenseman Kris Russell from injured reserved and sent Ethan Bear to their AHL affiliate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One game does not a season make, but the Oilers’ season opener looked pretty much like most of their games in 2017-18. Goaltender Cam Talbot was shaky while their defense struggled against the Devils’ aggressive forechecking. 

Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron scored two goals and an assist while Carey Price kicked out 21 shots in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sophomore defenseman Thomas Chabot scored twice and added an assist while goalie Craig Anderson made 34 stops as the Ottawa Senators upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to a combination of speed, promising youngsters and solid veteran goaltender, the rebuilding Canadiens and Senators look surprisingly good thus far. The playoffs still remain a long shot for both clubs and there’s still a long season ahead of them, but they’re serving early notice they won’t be pushovers.

Colin Wilson scored twice and Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots to give the Colorado Avalanche a 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers, who also lost winger James van Riemsdyk in the first period to a lower-body injury. “I don’t know the extent of it, so we’ve got to wait until we get back,” said Flyers coach Dave Hasktol. “We’re at the end of a long trip here, so we’ll get home and figure out where everything is at.”

The Nashville Predators edged the New York Islanders 4-3 thanks to two goals from winger Viktor Arvidsson. Martin Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

John Gibson turned in a 41-save shutout performance and Max Comtois netted the only goal to give the Anaheim Ducks a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton made 43 saves backstopping his team to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers. Winger Conor Sheary scored twice for the Sabres.

Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal set the stage for Erik Haula’s shootout winner as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports veteran NHL goaltender Steve Mason might be ready to retire. He’s dealt with several injuries (concussion, knee) in recent years and recently turned down a contract from an NHL club seeking a backup netminder. 

Former NHL winger Daniel Winnik signed a one-year contract with Swiss club Geneva-Servette.