NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest on Brandon Carlo, Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: First-period goals by Anders Lee and Brock Nelson 62 seconds apart powered the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Isles’ fifth straight victory and the Sabres’ seventh consecutive loss. Nelson scored twice while Jeff Skinner tallied his first of the season for Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders (34 points) hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 714 and Ilya Samsonov made 36 saves as the Capitals downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Before the game, Ovechkin weighed in on teammate Tom Wilson’s seven-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, calling it “a kind of joke.” Wilson will not appeal the suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Ovechkin is sticking up for his teammate but I wonder if he’d feel the same way if, say, Brad Marchand (like Wilson, a skilled player with a history of reckless play) hit one of the Capitals in the same way Wilson did to Carlo.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood turned in a 40-save shutout to blank the Bruins 1-0. Kyle Palmieri tallied the only goal. Speaking of Carlo, he was released from the hospital on Saturday and is listed as week-to-week with a head injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Four of their goals came on the power play as they extended their points streak to eight games. Yanni Gourde led the way with two goals and two assists. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy received a match penalty for a dangerous hit to the head of Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and could face supplemental discipline. The Hawks also played without rearguard Calvin de Haan, who’s ailing from blocking a shot during Friday’s game between the two clubs.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 1,000th career NHL game. With the win, the Hurricanes (35 points) are one point behind the first-place Lightning in the Discover Central Division and one point ahead of the Panthers.

A three-point performance by Kasperi Kapanen helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 5-1. The Penguins blew the game open with three goals by Kapanen, John Marino and Sidney Crosby within 61 seconds in the second period. Pittsburgh (29 points) moved two points ahead of the Flyers into fourth in the East Division. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba picked up an assist in his first game since suffering a broken thumb on Feb. 16.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Roman Josi. The Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals to force overtime and the shootout.

A shootout goal by Drake Batherson gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, who dropped their second straight game since firing head coach Geoff Ward.


TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto was fined $3, 854.17 for tripping Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson during Saturday’s game.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. He hasn’t practiced in five weeks and there’s no timetable for his return.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers president John Davidson reached out to Barry Beck after the former Rangers captain recently wrote a scathing Facebook post blaming the Rangers, USA Hockey and the NHL for the death of former teammate Mark Pavelich, who passed away last week at age 63.

Beck believes Pavelich’s struggles late in his life were attributable to head trauma suffered during his playing career with the Rangers in the 1980s. He criticized the club and USA Hockey for what he considered their lack of support of Pavelich. He also called the NHL “cowards” for avoiding discussion about the lasting effect of brain and head injuries suffered while playing. Pavelich’s death is still under investigation.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the goal-scoring leaderboard, the Leafs rebound from an embarrassing defeat on Saturday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season and the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ovechkin now has 701 career goals, sitting seven behind Mark Gartner for seventh place among the all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (84 points) opened a two-point lead over the Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Jets (70 points) are tied with the Nashville Predators, but the Preds hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with three games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

The Predators, meanwhile got third-period goals by Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson to down the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

After an embarrassing loss to an emergency backup goalie on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs rebounded with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leafs captain John Tavares scored twice while Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning (85 points) failed to gain ground on the Bruins, while the Leafs (74 points) hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Hoffman’s third-period goal proved the game-winner as the Florida Panthers squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic, while the Coyotes (70 points) sit just outside the Western playoff picture.

Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund each scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames over the Boston Bruins 5-2. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask saw his personal points streak end at 20 games. The Bruins remain atop the league’s overall standings with 90 points, while the Flames (72 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks edged the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli. With 74 points, the Canucks move into second place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights.

An overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad lifted the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders 4-3. The Isles hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 77 points. The surging Rangers (72 points) have won four straight and eight of their last 10 games, sitting four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Mikko Koivu tallied twice for the Wild, who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The slumping Jackets have just one victory in their last 10 contests.

The Philadephia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory and their seventh in his last 10, doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Kevin Hayes had a three-point performance, including two goals. The Flyers (79 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight victory with a four-goal third period to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Zach Sanford tallied twice for the Blues (84 points), who sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. With the win, the Stars (80 points) move one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division. The Hurricanes (74 points) sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Sonny Milano scored twice (including the game-winner) in his debut with the Anaheim Ducks in a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. New Oilers Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (74 points) sit third in the Pacific Division. Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm left the game in the second period after suffering an upper-body injury crashing into the corner boards. Before the game, the Oilers announced winger Kailer Yamamoto would miss two-to-three weeks with a sprained ankle.

Cory Schneider made 27 saves for his first win of the season as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Devils center Pavel Zacha collected two assists.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2019

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Russell, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Dustin Byfuglien understands the club suspended him for not reporting to training camp was “absolutely procedural” and he was fully aware of it. The club made the move to protect their roster and salary-cap flexibility while Byfuglien’s on his leave of absence pondering his future.

Dustin Byfuglien was aware the Winnipeg Jets would suspend him and the reasons why (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes the theory that this move would drive a wedge between Byfuglien and the Jets.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Kris Russell has been cleared to participate in training camp after spending the last two weeks in concussion protocol. He was injured following an accidental collision with a teammate during a pre-camp skate.

TSN: The Dallas Stars released Scottie Upshall from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Upshall reportedly had a good training camp but the Stars are tight on contracts. Perhaps he’ll land with another club seeking forward depth before the start of the season.

CALGARY SUN: Tobias Rieder is looking for a fresh start with the Flames. He’s currently on a professional tryout offer.

THE SCORE: Former NHL defenseman Eric Gryba has announced his retirement after 289 games over seven seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, and New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gryba in his future endeavors.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators demoted Eeli Tolvanen to their AHL affiliate yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tolvanen was considered among the Predators’ top prospects, but the 20-year-old winger has had difficulty cracking their roster.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2019

Bruins draw first blood against Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, John Tavares and Travis Dermott injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins scored four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Power-play goals by Marcus Johansson and Patrice Bergeron 28 seconds apart sparked the Bruins comeback while goaltender Tuukka Rask made 29 saves. Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon (3 pm ET start) in Boston.

Patrick Bergeron tallied the game-winner as the Boston Bruins downed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in Game 1 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penalties were the Hurricanes undoing in this one. Some of the calls, like Dougie Hamilton getting sent off for roughing, were debatable. However, Jordan Staal’s boarding penalty was an undisciplined infraction.

The inconsistent officiating cut both ways. The Hurricanes’ first goal was the result of a roughing penalty called on the Bruins Sean Kuraly after taking a shoulder to the face from Brock McGinn. The Hurricanes need a more disciplined effort going forward in this series. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center John Tavares returned from the World Championships in Europe nursing an oblique strain. No word how long he’ll be sidelined. Meanwhile, Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott undergoes shoulder surgery today and will require six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott will miss training camp and likely the opening month of the season. 

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz fractured his left foot in Game 6 of his club’s second-round series against the St. Louis Blues. He had painkilling injections and played over 23 minutes in Game 7.

Winger Mats Zuccarello admitted he still felt lingering pain from the broken right arm suffered in late-February that sidelined him for a month. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak missed the entire second round with an injured knee while forward Mattias Janmark played through a fractured foot suffered in February or March. Blueliner Joel Hanley was sidelined by a shoulder injury.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets assistant general manager Bill Zito was in Seattle yesterday meeting with that city’s NHL expansion group. It’s not clear if they’ll be hiring management staff this summer or next.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed defenseman Dylan McIlrath to a two-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way deal worth $700K annually at the NHL level. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Casey Mittlelstadt’s shootout goal gave the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Sabres rallied from a 3-1 deficit on late third-period goals by Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart. Earlier in the day, the Sabres dealt minor-league defenseman Taylor Fedun to the Dallas Stars for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Canucks, meanwhile, learned sidelined winger Brock Boeser was diagnosed with adductor muscles irritation and is listed as week-to-week.

The Chicago Blackhawks suffered their seventh straight loss by falling 4-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Brian Elliot picked up the shutout with 33 saves while Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each collected three points. The Blackhawks were playing without winger Brandon Saad, who’s nursing an injured right arm. Both clubs paid tribute to late goaltender Ray Emery by wearing the No. 29 on the side of their helmets. Emery, who died last summer at age 35, played for both clubs during his 11-year NHL career.

Mattias Ekholm scored in overtime as the Nashville Predators edged the Dallas Stars 5-4 to remain unbeaten (8-0-0) on the road this season. Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist for the Predators.

David Pastrnak’s hat trick powered the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

David Pastrnak’s hat trick powered the Boston Bruins over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-1. Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak kicked out 40 shots and center Patrice Bergeron had a three-point night.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame 2-0 and 4-3 deficit to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4, spoiling the return of former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty in his first game in Montreal since being traded to Vegas in September. Andrew Shaw scored two goals and former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar potted the game-winner for the Canadiens. William Karlsson had a three-point game for the Golden Knights.

Four unanswered third-period goals gave the Ottawa Senators a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had overcome an early 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. Matt Duchene and Bobby Ryan each had a goal and two assists for the Senators while Mathieu Joseph scored twice for the Lightning.  Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman missed the game (day-to-day) with an upper-body injury.

Aleksander Barkov scored the winning goal as the Florida Panthers doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. Panthers winger Mike Hoffman (goal) extended his points streak to 11 games. Before the game, the Panthers honored former team president Bill Torrey by raising a banner in his honor. Torrey passed away in May at age 83.

The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a five-game winless skid with a 4-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Casey DeSmith turned aside 39 shots for the shutout and Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist.

Jonathan Bernier made 49 saves, Anthony Mantha scored two third-period goals, and Frans Nielsen tallied the winner in a shootout as the Detroit Red Wings nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3.

The New York Rangers extended their point streak to six games with a 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jimmy Vesey tallied the winning goal for the Blueshirts. Defenseman Seth Jones had three assists for the Jackets.

David Rittich made 21 saves to collect his first NHL shutout as the Calgary Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings 1-0. Travis Hamonic scored the only goal.

WINNIPEG SUN:  Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will be sidelined up to a month with an upper-body injury. 

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues center Brayden Schenn (oblique muscle injury) is doubtful for today’s game against the Minnesota Wild. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Edmonton Oilers assigned forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.


Can The Oilers Swing a Season-Saving Trade?

Can The Oilers Swing a Season-Saving Trade?

To put it politely, 2017-18 has become a mess for the Edmonton Oilers.

Considered by many observers (including yours truly) to be a Stanley Cup contender when this season began, the Oilers find themselves floundering near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Following Edmonton’s 5-1 loss last Saturday to the Dallas Stars, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos speculated someone could lose their job if the Oilers failed to reverse their fortunes in a week’s time. Over the following four days, they fell 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Nashville Predators.

Kypreos’ comments prompted some talk suggesting head coach Todd McLellan might lose his job, but general manager Peter Chiarelli rejected that notion.

If a coaching change isn’t in the cards, and assuming Chiarelli isn’t in any danger of getting canned, the only realistic shake-up option is a trade. Not a minor move involving depth players but a significant, season-saving deal.

Such trades are usually difficult to make. Given the Oilers’ current precarious position in the standings, it’s likely impossible.

Chiarelli’s rivals won’t do him any favors. The Oilers GM won’t land an established top-four defenseman or a speedy top-six scoring winger unless he sends something substantial the other way.

None of the Oilers’ best players – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Cam Talbot – are going anywhere. Good luck peddling Milan Lucic’s hefty contract with its $6-million annual salary-cap hit and no-trade clause. Rival clubs would love to pry young defenseman Darnell Nurse away from the Oilers but that’s not going to happen.

Rearguard Adam Larsson won’t fetch a winger equivalent to the guy (Taylor Hall) he was traded for. Blueliner Oscar Klefbom’s struggles this season have probably his value in the trade market.

Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ value has probably never been higher. However, he’s also got that $6 million cap hit and Chiarelli could be reluctant to move him.

Wingers Patrick Maroon and Mike Cammalleri are eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July. Chiarelli could shop them by the Feb. 26 trade deadline but they’ll be consider rental players for postseason contenders. The return for either guy won’t provide immediate help. Same goes for depth players such as Zach Kassian, Kris Russell, Matt Benning and Mark Letestu.

For a return with the potential to provide a quick reversal of the Oilers fortunes, Chiarelli would likely have to bundle a promising youngster, such as Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto, with his first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Puljujarvi, a 19-year-old right wing, was the Oilers’ first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2016 NHL draft. Yamamoto, another 19-year-old forward, was selected 22nd overall in last year’s draft.

Given the Oilers’ current spot in the standings, they could be in line for another high selection in the 2018 draft. That assumes, of course, that they don’t significantly rise in the standings between now and season’s end.

Packaging Puljujarvi or Yamamoto with their 2018 first-rounder would be a tantalizing offer for clubs looking to move a scoring forward or a quality defenseman. However, most of those teams could be non-contenders peddling pending UFAs or players carrying budget-busting contracts. There’s also the danger the players Chiarelli ships out could blossom into stars elsewhere.

Sure, there’s a chance Chiarelli shocks the league and pulls off a major deal that addresses the Oilers’ needs and vaults them back into contention. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that deal probably doesn’t exist right now.

At this point, Chiarelli’s best bet is to consider shipping out those pending UFAs who don’t figure into the club’s long-term plans (Maroon, Cammalleri) for the best possible return, give more playing time to his younger players and look toward retooling the roster in the offseason.

That’s probably not what Edmonton fans, thrilled by last season’s promise following a decade of mediocrity, want to hear. Nevertheless, any hasty short-term decisions could have damaging long-term consequences.

For now, patience is the only reasonable option.