NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2023
Recaps of Monday’s action featured a milestone for the Canucks’ Quinn Hughes, plus the three stars of the week, a proposal for a four-nation tournament in 2025 instead of a World Cup of Hockey, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Hughes became the first player to reach 30 points this season and only the third to do so in less than 20 games, joining Hall-of-Famers Bobby Orr and Al MacInnis. The Canucks improved to 13-5-1 (27 points) to sit one point behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference standings. Tomas Hertl replied for the Sharks as they remain at the bottom of the overall standings with a record of 3-14-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks forward Nils Hoglander received a match penalty for slew-footing Sharks forward Kevin Labanc during the second period.
The Florida Panthers overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Kevin Stenlund scored the winning goal and collected two assists while Niko Mikkola tallied twice for the Panthers as they improved to 12-5-1 on the season. Connor McDavid scored twice for the struggling Oilers as they fell to 5-11-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers started call-up goaltender Calvin Pickard for this game but he didn’t fare any better than Stuart Skinner or the demoted Jack Campbell. To be fair, however, he was let down by the porous defense in front of him. I’ll have more regarding the Oilers’ search for a goaltending upgrade in today’s Rumors update.
An overtime goal by Bradon Hagel lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins. Hagel finished the night with two points as did Steven Stamkos, who netted the tying goal with five seconds left in regulation to force the extra period for the 9-6-4 Lightning. Jeremy Swayman stopped 41 shots while David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (13-1-3), who remain in first place in the overall standings with 29 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was a prime example of why the Bruins won’t split up their goalie tandem of Swayman and Linus Ullmark. They’ve helped their club pick up points despite their teammates’ sometimes shaky defensive play in recent weeks.
The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit with six straight goals to down the New York Rangers 6-3, ending the latter’s 11-game points streak and Artemi Panarin’s 15-game points streak. Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists for the Stars (12-4-1) as they hold a three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche atop the Central Division with 25 points. Jacob Trouba collected two assists for the 12-3-1 Rangers (25 points), who hold a four-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Goals by Filip Forsberg and Yakov Trenin late in the third period carried the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. Forsberg finished the night with two goals for the 7-10-0 Predators. Cale Makar had three assists for the 11-6-0 Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators center Cody Glass left this game in the third period with an apparent upper-body injury. There was no postgame update regarding his status.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars announced they will honor Hall-of-Famer and former captain Mike Modano with a statue outside American Airlines Center to be unveiled on March 16. He spent 16 seasons with the Stars and helped them win their only Stanley Cup in 1999.
The Los Angeles Kings extended their season-opening road win streak to eight games by dropping the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Trevor Moore tallied twice while Pheonix Copley made 30 saves for the 11-3-3 Kings. Lawson Crouse netted his eighth of the season for the 8-8-2 Coyotes.
An overtime goal by Rasmus Andersson gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. Andersson finished with three points while Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist for the Flames (7-8-3), who’ve won three of their last four games. Vince Dunn had a goal and an assist for the 7-8-5 Kraken.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames captain Mikael Backlund collected an assist to reach his 500th career NHL regular-season point. Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer left this game in the first period after giving up two goals on seven shots. It’s uncertain if he was nursing an injury.
NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby are the three stars for the week ending Nov. 19.
ESPN.COM: The NHL and the NHL Players Association intend to stage a scaled-down international tournament in February 2025 before the Winter Olympics in 2026. It will feature just four teams representing Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States and will not be called the World Cup of Hockey.
The league has struggled with how to incorporate Russian-born players into an international tournament given the hockey world’s backlash to their country’s invasion of Ukraine. The next attempt at staging the World Cup of Hockey is expected to be in 2028.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can understand the difficulties regarding Russian players as the league has ended all business ties with that country. They’re also banned from international competition by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The report indicated the league looked at having Russian players take part in a World Cup tournament under a neutral name and flag but other participating countries were against it.
However, it makes no sense whatsoever for stars from other countries (such as Germany’s Leon Draisaitl, Switzerland’s Roman Josi and the Czech Republic’s David Pastrnak) not to be allowed to participate in this tournament.
In 2016, there was a “Team Europe” comprised of the best European stars who didn’t have a national team in the tournament along with “Team North America” comprised of the best under-23 North American players. Unless the players are against it, I see no reason why they shouldn’t use that format again.
Otherwise, they should just scrap this event for 2025 and focus on the Olympics the following year. That’s the only international tournament that truly matters to the players.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said no rash moves are coming for his struggling club. He remains supportive of general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and head coach Pascal Vincent. Despite the club’s difficulties, he believes they must “retain their senses and not at all panic.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets are past the point of panic. They face very long odds attempting to overcome their horrific start. If things don’t improve soon there will be big changes which could start with Davidson and Kekalainen. They’ve built this club and installed the coaching staff. The buck stops with them.
CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes released goaltender Jaroslav Halak from his professional tryout offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe he’ll get a call from the beleaguered Oilers. They can’t seem to find a suitable option to improve their goaltending in the trade market. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens placed forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard (lower body) on injured reserve.