NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2018

Game recaps, Blues fire head coach Mike Yeo, stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:  The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo following a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. It was the third time the Blues were shut out in four games. Craig Berube takes over behind the bench on an interim basis.

St. Louis Blues replaced head coach Mike Yeo with Craig Berube. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yeo is the third NHL coach to lose his job this month. This move seemed inevitable given the Blues’ stumbling start to this season. They’re currently sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

There’s already speculation they could bring back Joel Quenneville as their full-time bench boss but The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports a source “close to the situation” claims Quenneville is in no hurry to return to the coaching ranks.

Quenneville would also prove a costly hire. Rutherford reports his former club, the Chicago Blackhawks, wants any team attempting to hire him to pick up a portion of his $6-million per season contract that he’s owed through 2019-20. 

Patrik Laine’s hat trick powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kyle Connor also collected four points for the Jets. Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson netted his 12th goal of the season while teammate Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves.

Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau each got four points and Sean Monahan scored twice to lead the Calgary Flames to a 7-2 drubbing of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Two third-period goals by Zach Hyman and a 37-save performance by Frederik Andersen enabled the Toronto Maple Leafs to overcome a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2.  Jackets captain Nick Foligno rejoined the roster yesterday after a brief absence to tend to his ailing five-year-old daughter Milana.

The Buffalo Sabres collected their sixth straight victory by rallying from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jack Eichel. The Penguins have dropped four straight games. They also learned earlier in the day that center Matt Cullen could be sidelined long-term with a lower-body injury.

Florida Panthers forward Mike Hoffman scored against his former club in a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators. Hoffman’s point streak has reached 16 games. The win was overshadowed as Panthers center Vincent Trocheck was stretchered from the game after twisting his right left awkwardly while battling for the puck along the boards.  Matt Duchene scored twice for the Senators, who honored former equipment manager Mike Foley with a video tribute. Foley passed away at age 61 on Saturday from colon cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Foley’s family, friends, and the Senators’ organization. 

Lars Eller’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally as the Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Braden Holtby got the win after relieving Pheonix Copley in the second period, stopping 22 shots.

Filip Chytil’s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the New York Rangers edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Stars goaltender Ben Bishop left the game in the second period and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 18, 2018.

TSN: Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks with an upper-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS: Broad Street Bullies no more? The Philadelphia Flyers are one of two clubs with no fighting majors thus far this season. 


NHL Coaches Potentially On The Hot Seat

NHL Coaches Potentially On The Hot Seat

One month into the 2018-19 NHL campaign, two head coaches – Los Angeles’ John Stevens and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville – lost their jobs within 48 hours of each other. Stevens was fired by the Kings last Sunday while the Blackhawks axed Quenneville the following Tuesday.

That’s quite a contrast to 2017-18 when no coaches were fired during the regular-season schedule. Stevens and Quenneville join Alain Vigneault and Dave Tippett among several noteworthy former NHL bench bosses currently on the sidelines.

Some of them could end up behind an NHL bench in the near future.

Several struggling teams could opt for a coaching change later this season. Here’s a look at the current coaches on the hot seat.

Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings. The Wings haven’t shown much improvement under Blashill, wallowing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Granted, they’re still a rebuilding club with a mix of youngsters who’ve yet to reach their full potential and past-their-prime veterans. However, Blashill was supposed to advance the development of their young talent. For the most part, that hasn’t happened as quickly as hoped. The Wings could be willing to just let Blashill’s contract expire at the end of this season but the opportunity to bring in someone like Quenneville might hasten his departure.

The Ottawa Senators’ Guy Boucher could be among several NHL coaches potentially on the hot seat this season. (Photo via NHL.com)

 Guy Boucher, Ottawa Senators. From owner Eugene Melnyk’s cantankerous ways to the trading away of veterans Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, and Derick Brassard amid rumors of a divided dressing room, to several current players being secretly filmed recently mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond, the Senators have lurched from one disaster to another over the past 13 months. In the middle is Boucher, who’s in the final year of his contract trying to guide a retooled roster back to respectability. While the Sens are off to a better-than-expected start, Boucher still faces an uncertain future in Ottawa.

Bob Boughner, Florida Panthers. After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2017-18, the Panthers were expected to take a serious step toward playoff contender status during Boughner’s second season behind the bench. So far, however, they’ve stumbled out of the gate and find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. A big reason was the absence of starting goalie Roberto Luongo for over a month with a knee injury. Boughner can’t be faulted for the poor play of backups James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson, but he could start feeling the heat if the Panthers fail to reverse their fortunes soon.

Randy Carlyle, Anaheim Ducks. With the Ducks transitioning toward youngster talent, they’re still struggling to adjust as the league shifts toward a faster-paced offensive style. That could cast Carlyle, who tends to favor a more physical defensive game, into a harsh spotlight. It hasn’t helped that aging forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry have been sidelined by injuries, with Perry out until March with a knee injury. Nevertheless, with the Ducks tumbling down the standings following a hot start, Carlyle could be on thin ice.

David Hakstol, Philadelphia Flyers. Hakstol’s success in the US college ranks hasn’t carried over into his NHL tenure. Under his coaching, the Flyers reached the playoffs in two of the last three seasons but failed to advance beyond the opening round. To be fair, Hakstol hasn’t had an established NHL starting goaltender and the defense is made up largely of still-developing youth. Still, the Flyers continue to struggle to find consistency. GM Ron Hextall is staying patient with Hakstol but he could be a lengthy losing streak away from losing his job.

Mike Yeo, St. Louis Blues. After bolstering their offense last summer, the Blues were expected to return to Stanley Cup contender status. Instead, they’re stuck near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Following a 7-4 loss to Columbus, Yeo suggested his efforts could be in question, prompting speculation he’d be the first coach fired this season. Management has stuck by Yeo so far but if the Blues don’t improve soon, he could be out of the job by the end of November.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2018

Game recaps, Bettman upholds Wilson’s 20-game suspension, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cam Talbot made 31 saves and rookie defenseman Evan Bouchard scored his first career NHL goal to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension of Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Capitals, they learned earlier in the day that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension of Capitals winger Tom Wilson, who received the punishment for hitting St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the head during a preseason game. Wilson has seven days to decide if he’ll take his case to an independent arbitrator.

Sidney Crosby and Derick Brassard each collected three points while Patric Hornqvist and Phil Kessel each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Calgary Flames 9-1. Earlier in the day, the Flames activated defenseman Travis Hamonic off injured reserve.

Boone Jenner and Anthony Duclair each scored twice and Artemi Panarin collected three assists to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The loss gives the Blues just two wins and seven points in nine games, raising questions over head coach Mike Yeo’s future behind the bench.  They also played without defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who was placed on injured reserve

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues were supposed to be much better than this. Last season, the problem was a lack of scoring depth. This season, it’s lousy defensive play. If they don’t reverse their fortunes soon, Yeo could be relieved of his duties. 

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, uncertainty over the futures of pending free agents Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin is among the factors behind the drop in their attendance thus far this season. Attendance is down nearly 1,000 fans per game compared to this point last season and more than 2,000 from the whole of last season. 

The Minnesota Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves and Eric Fehr scored a goal and set up another.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of coaches in danger of losing their jobs, this latest defeat does nothing to help Kings’ bench boss John Stevens. Firing him, however, probably won’t help. The aging Kings’ core is struggling in a league trending toward youth and speed. 

Jason Dickinson scored twice and set up another in the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf tallied both goals for the Ducks, who’ve lost their fourth straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After getting off to a strong start in October the Ducks are in free-fall approaching month’s end. Their weak puck possession is catching up with them.

Zdeno Chara scored twice and Jaroslav Halak had a 28-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.

The Buffalo Sabres overcame three one-goal deficits to edge the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Jason Pominville potted two goals and Kyle Okposo scored the winner on a power-play with 1:01 remaining in the third period. Max Domi also scored twice for the Canadiens.

Filip Forsberg scored the game-tying goal in the third period and Kyle Turris tallied the winner in overtime as the Nashville Predators squeezed past the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Nico Hischier netted two of the Devils’ goals.

Patrick Kane scored his ninth goal of the season as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Alex DeBrincat also scored and set up another goal. The Rangers also lost defenseman Adam McQuaid to a lower-body injury in the second period. 

Third-period goals by Clayton Keller, Brad Richardson, and Lawson Crouse carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green is set to make his season debut tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. Green’s been sidelined by a liver virus. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes recalled goaltender Scott Darling from his AHL conditioning stint. 

CBC.CA: Former NHL player Peter Worrell recalls the racist incident that occurred to him during a Junior hockey game in Quebec and how his teammates, coaches, and management helped him overcome it and continue his playing career. 


Blues Fire Hitchcock

Blues Fire Hitchcock

The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Ken Hitchcock.

The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Ken Hitchcock. Assistant coach Mike Yeo will take over. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season was to be Hitchcock’s last, with Yeo taking over next season. The Blues’ current struggles and the threat of falling out of playoff contention accelerated that plan.

It’ll be interesting to see how the roster responds. Their goaltending has struggled, especially young starter Jake Allen. They lack depth at center and their defensive play is deteriorating. Those are issues that perhaps a midseason coaching change won’t fix.

Then again, the New York Islanders are playing very well under interim coach Doug Weight after bench boss Jack Capuano was fired in mid-January. By replacing Hitchcock with Yeo, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is hoping for the same result. 

Perhaps the sense of HItchcock as a lame duck permeated the roster and they tuned him out. We’ll find out soon enough if Yeo, who had issues of his own in his former gig as Minnesota Wild coach, can get the Blues back on track.

If he can’t, Armstrong could face pressure to shake things up with a significant trade. Expect the trade rumors swirling about defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to persist.