NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2024

The Hurricanes force Game 6 with the Rangers, the Stars push the Avalanche to the brink of elimination, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes erupted for four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the New York Rangers 4-1 in Game 5 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Jordan Staal, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jordan Martinook and Martin Necas found the back of the net as the Hurricanes avoided elimination for the second straight game. Jacob Trouba opened the scoring for the Rangers in the second period. This series returns to Carolina for Game 6 on Thursday, May 16 at 7 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A series that seemed all but done after Game 3 has become more intriguing and entertaining.

The Rangers looked sluggish in this contest while the Hurricanes were again determined to avoid the end of their season. They didn’t fall apart after Trouba’s shorthanded goal gave the Blueshirts the early lead. Staal’s tying goal following his impressive drive to the net seemed to suck the life out of the Rangers.

Heading back to Carolina, the Rangers remain in control with a 3-2 series lead. However, if the Hurricanes take Game 6, it’ll force a seventh and deciding game back in New York with all the pressure on the Blueshirts.

Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston (NHL Images).

The Dallas Stars are poised to advance to the Western Conference Finals following a dominating 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of their second-round series. Wyatt Johnston scored twice and collected an assist while Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists for the Stars, who’ve taken a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Casey Mittelstadt replied for the Avalanche. The series returns to Dallas for Game 5 on Wednesday, May 15 at 8 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars stormed from the gate in this game, outshooting Colorado 16-2 in the first period. They had a 3-0 lead midway through the second before the Avalanche finally got on the board.

Johnston continues to thrive in this postseason. The 21-year-old sophomore forward set a franchise record by scoring his 10th career playoff goal, the most of any Stars player before the age of 21, eclipsing Mike Modano’s previous record of nine. He added another to make it 11 goals. Johnston turns 21 today.

Stars forward Roope Hintz left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury after blocking a shot by Avs defenseman Scott Walker. There was no immediate update on his condition.

Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews was sidelined by illness. Meanwhile, winger Jonathan Drouin returned for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury during their regular-season finale.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin’s postseason is over after entering Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports the 29-year-old winger failed a drug test.

Nichushkin entered the program in January and returned to the Avalanche in March. He will now be suspended without pay for a minimum of six months and can apply for reinstatement in November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche learned about Nichushkin on Monday morning. His teammates attempted to put a brave face on the situation but his absence affected their performance against the Stars in Game 4. Nichushkin’s nine goals in this postseason ties him with Edmonton’s Zach Hyman for the goal-scoring lead.

This is a major setback for the Avalanche and the second straight postseason that Nichushkin has required time away from the team to deal with personal matters. However, the important thing right now is he receives the treatment and support he needs to regain control of his health and his life.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy received a one-game suspension and blueliner Nikita Zadorov was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid at the end of Game 3 on Sunday.

NHL.COM: The Oilers aren’t revealing their starting goaltender for Game 4 against the Canucks on Tuesday. Stuart Skinner started the previous three games but was replaced by Calvin Pickard following the second period of Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner has struggled against the Canucks with a .793 save percentage in those three games. Pickard could get the nod for Game 4.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney believes the league and on-ice officials should go before the media to answer questions about controversial calls. His comments come after his club was on the wrong end of a couple of calls in their second-round series against the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney has a point but don’t hold your breath expecting the NHL to follow his advice. Commissioner Gary Bettman believes his league has “the best officials in the world.” Try not to let your eyes roll too far back into your head after reading that. 


DAILY FACEOFF: The Fontainebleau Las Vegas will host the 2024 NHL Awards on June 27.

NJ HOCKEY NOW: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier suffered a facial laceration playing for Switzerland against Czechia on Monday in the 2024 IIHF World Championships. He received stitches and returned to action as the Swiss won the game 2-1.

CITY NEWS: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have interviewed former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube for their vacant head-coaching position. They’re also expected to speak with former Los Angeles Kings bench boss Todd McLellan this week. They’ve also been interviewed by the New Jersey Devils.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres promoted Seth Appert as an assistant coach. He was the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2024

Recaps of Tuesday’s games feature a five-point performance by the Stars’ Wyatt Johnston, the Golden Knights acquire Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


The Ottawa Senators trade Vladimir Tarasenko to the Florida Panthers for a 2025 third-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-rounder that becomes a third-round pick if the Panthers win the 2024 Stanley Cup. The Senators also retain 50 percent of Tarasenko’s $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators reportedly sought a first or second-round pick plus another asset. It appears Tarasenko’s trade value wasn’t as high as rumored. 


NHL.COM: Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston tallied his first career NHL hat trick and collected two assists in a 7-6 win over the San Jose Sharks. Roope Hintz scored in overtime as the Stars overcame a 6-3 deficit on three unanswered third-period goals with Johnston scoring two of them. Jamie Benn and rookie Logan Stankovan each had four points for the Stars (38-17-5) as they moved ahead of the Winnipeg Jets into first place in the Central Division with 85 points. Anthony Duclair scored twice and had two assists for the 15-39-7 Sharks.

Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stankovan now has five goals and eight points in six games for the Stars. Meanwhile, Duclair’s improved performance of late could bolster his trade value.

The Jets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Seattle Kraken as Andre Burakovsky broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period. Jared McCann had a goal and two assists while Joey Daccord stopped 30 shots for the 28-23-11 Kraken. Adam Lowry had a goal and an assist for the Jets (39-17-5) as they sit two points back of the Stars in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken held center Alex Wennberg out of the lineup for the second straight game. I’ll have more about Wennberg in today’s Rumors update.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored the tying and winning goals in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists for the Oilers (38-20-2), who’ve won five straight games and sit in second place with 78 points in the Pacific Division. Pavel Zacha replied for the 36-13-15 Bruins, who slipped into third place in the overall standings with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid (99 points) sits six points behind league leaders Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche in the scoring race. Meanwhile, Bruins winger James van Riemsdyk played his 1,000th career NHL game.

The league-leading Florida Panthers (90 points) picked up their sixth straight win (43-16-4) by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Sam Reinhart tallied his 45th goal of the season, Nick Cousins scored twice and Aaron Ekblad collected an assist to become the all-time assist leader (230) among Panthers defensemen. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist for the 30-28-4 Devils, who were playing their first game under interim head coach Travis Green.

An overtime goal by J.T. Miller lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson scored the tying goal while Quinn Hughes collected two assists for the 40-17-7 Canucks, who moved into second place in the overall standings with 87 points. Trevor Moore replied for the Kings (31-19-11) as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 73 points.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored in overtime to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-3, snapping the latter’s eight-game win streak. Suzuki and linemate Cole Caufield each had two points for the 24-28-10 Canadiens. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and two assists for the Predators (35-25-3) as they hold the final Western Conference wildcard berth with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens placed forward Colin White (upper body) on injured reserve.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth straight by doubling up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist while Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech each collected two assists for the Islanders (27-20-14) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot with 68 points. Joel Hofer made 29 saves for the 32-27-3 Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders placed defenseman Scott Mayfield (lower body) on long-term injury reserve as he’s expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. Meanwhile, Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello said his club won’t be a seller at the upcoming trade deadline.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Reilly Smith had a goal and two assists in a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist for the 28-24-8 Penguins. Jack Roslovic and Andrew Peeke each had a goal and an assist for the 21-31-10 Blue Jackets.

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Seth Jones scored twice as the Blackhawks (16-42-5) ended their 22-game road losing skid. Connor Ingram made 27 saves for the 25-32-5 Coyotes, who held winger Jason Zucker out of this game for trade-related reasons.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights acquired winger Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2026 fourth-rounder. The Capitals also retained half of Mantha’s $5.7 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha reached the 20-goal plateau this season for the first time since 2018-19. He should be a good rental scorer for the Golden Knights. They might not be done adding to their roster as they still carry over $4.4 million in salary cap flexibility.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Zach Bogosian to a two-year, $2.5 million contract extension. Bogosian, 33, averages over 17 minutes of ice time per game, blocking 51 shots and sitting second among the Wild with 80 hits.

THE ATHLETIC’s Kevin Kurz reports Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Nick Seeler could miss a bit of time with an undisclosed injury but isn’t expected to be sidelined for long.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames plucked defenseman Joel Hanley off waivers yesterday from the Dallas Stars.

CALGARY SUN: Meanwhile, Flames forward Martin Pospisil faces a disciplinary hearing with the league on Wednesday for a dangerous hit on Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn on Monday.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers placed forward Sam Gagner on waivers.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2023

The Jets’ Connor Hellebucyk and Mark Scheifele and the Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin sign contract extensions plus an update on Jake Guentzel and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday announced the signings of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele to identical seven-year contract extensions with an average annual value of $8.5 million. The deals go into effect next season.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was surprising news from the Jets. Given their eligibility for unrestricted free-agent status next summer, Hellebuyck and Scheifele frequently appeared in trade speculation during the offseason. It was assumed one or both would be shopped before the March 8 trade deadline if the Jets were out of playoff contention by then.

Re-signing Hellebuyck and Scheifele is a big win for Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. He faced considerable criticism over the direction of the club in recent years, sparking calls for a roster rebuild from fans and pundits.

Cheveldayoff locked up this club’s two best players on long-term extensions with a reasonable average annual value, signaling that this club has no intention of rebuilding the roster. These moves also put a dent in the belief around the league that the small-market club can’t retain their best players.

Hellebucyk and Scheifele are both in their playing prime and would’ve earned considerably more from next summer’s free-agent market. By accepting less money to stick with the Jets, they’ve provided a big vote of confidence in Cheveldayoff’s plans.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

However, it’s also a substantial investment by the Jets in two 30-year-old players who will be in decline by the second half of their seven-year deals. While the salary cap is projected to rise considerably over that period, having $16 million tied up in two aging stars still takes a big bite out of their payroll. It could become a salary-cap headache down the road.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, defenseman Ville Heinola underwent surgery on his fractured left ankle and will be sidelined for a minimum of eight weeks.

CBS SPORTS: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers has ruled himself good to go for his club’s season opener on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames. He’d missed preseason play with neck spasms.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres yesterday announced they reached an agreement with Rasmus Dahlin on an eight-year, $88 million contract starting in 2024-25. The average annual value is $11 million, making it the most lucrative contract in Sabres history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a hefty new contract for Dahlin but one that should prove worthwhile for the Sabres. The 23-year-old defenseman is among the league’s elite puck-moving blueliners, reaching or exceeding 40 points in four of his five NHL seasons. Those include his 53-point performance in 2021-22 and last season’s career-best (to date) 73-point output.

Dahlin is the cornerstone of the Sabres’ blueline corps and one of their core players. He will play a key role in this club’s future as they attempt to transition into a perennial playoff contender. This deal ensures they’ll have Dahlin under contract throughout the prime of his career. $11 million annually makes him one of the league’s highest-paid defensemen but it could be worth it for the Sabres over the long term.


THE ATHLETIC: Jake Guentzel is hopeful of signing a new contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I’ve pretty much grown up in Pittsburgh,” he said. “I love this place so much. I really do. This is a great place, both for me and my family. I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

Guentzel is in the final season of his contract earning an AAV of $6 million. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Contract talks haven’t started yet but both sides seem confident that a deal will get done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will have to pay Guentzel a raise if they hope to retain him. Perhaps they can convince him to accept between $8 million and $9 million for the security of a long-term contract.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray will be sidelined for six to eight months following bilateral hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray will likely spend the season on long-term injury reserve. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer but his playing career is probably over.

The Leafs also announced Curtis McElhinney as their new director of Goaltending Development and Scouting, Jake Muzzin was named a pro scout and Chris Bourque was named a college free-agent scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin is in the final season of his standard player contract with the Leafs but he is moving on to a post-playing career. He’s on what I call permanent LTIR due to a neck injury suffered during a game last October.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Sidelined forwards Roope Hintz, Wyatt Johnston and Radek Faksa remain questionable for the Stars’ season opener on Thursday against the St. Louis Blues.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defensemen Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud were placed on injured reserve yesterday.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen was placed on IR with an undisclosed injury.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Austin Watson to a one-year, one-way contract worth just over $776K. He played four games with the Lightning during the recent preseason on a professional tryout offer.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders placed forward Ross Johnston on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Johnston clears waivers he’ll likely be sent to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Ottawa Senators reclaimed defenseman Lassi Thomson off waivers yesterday from the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche claimed goalie Ivan Prosvetov from the Arizona Coyotes, the Calgary Flames claimed forward A.J. Greer from the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed defenseman John Ludvig from the Florida Panthers.

NEW YORK POST: The NHL has banned its teams from using Pride Tape during pregame warmups as it continues to move away from special initiatives that caused issues for a handful of players, including Pride Night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Hockey is for everyone.”

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2022

The Sabres’ Tage Thompson has a six-point night, the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale could be sidelined for the season, plus updates on Charlie McAvoy, T.J. Oshie, Jake Oettinger and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson tallied a hat trick and collected three assists to lead his club to an 8-3 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Jeff Skinner collected three points, including his 300th career NHL goal, as the Sabres improved their record to 6-3-0. Dylan Larkin, David Perron and Olli Maatta replied for the Wings, whose record drops to 4-3-2.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE After tallying just three points in his first seven games of the season, Thompson now has nine points in his last two contests.

Shootout goals by Brent Burns and Andrei Svechnikov lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Svechnikov also scored the tying goal that sent the game into overtime and the shootout frame as the Hurricanes move to a 6-2-1 record while the Capitals drop to 5-4-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 785th career NHL goal.

The Los Angeles Kings improved to 6-5-0 by dropping the St. Louis Blues 5-1. Carl Grundstrom scored twice, Kevin Fiala had three assists and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the win. The Blues have lost five straight and fall to 3-5-0.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt and Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are the league’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 30, 2022.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Bad news for the Anaheim Ducks as they announced Jamie Drysdale will require surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 20-year-old defenseman could miss the remainder of the season as his recovery period is four-to-six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Drysdale as he was hoping to build upon his 32-point rookie performance last season. It’s also a big loss to the blueline of the rebuilding Ducks, who’ve stumbled from the gate this season with a 2-6-1 record.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Some good news for Charlie McAvoy as he’s resumed practice with his Bruins teammates. The 24-year-old defenseman is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and wasn’t expected to return to action until December 1. He’s ahead of schedule but isn’t going to play during their upcoming three-game road trip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McAvoy could return by mid-November at the latest if he performs well in practice over the next week or two. He will provide a significant boost to their blueline, which has performed well in his absence. It will also force management to find a way to shed salary to make room within their salary cap payroll for his arrival.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is out indefinitely while defenseman John Carlson is day-to-day as both players are sidelined by lower-body injuries.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger will have his lower-body injury re-evaluated in a week’s time. The club cannot recall Anton Khudobin due to salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars addressed this by signing Matt Murray to a one-year entry-level contract. Murray, 24, played 11 games with their AHL affiliate, five of those this season. He is not to be confused with sidelined Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars rookie center Wyatt Johnston will be staying with the club for the season. The 19-year-old played his ninth game of the season on Saturday, raising questions as to whether the Stars would return him to his junior club before his 10th game for contract reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the first season of Johnston’s entry-level contract goes into effect when he plays his 10th game. Had the Stars returned him to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, his ELC would’ve slid to next season.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins center Jeff Carter has been sidelined by a lower-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forwards Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman suffered upper-body injuries during Sunday’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights netminder Laurent Brossoit has been sent to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint. This is the next step in his return to the Golden Knights lineup as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.