NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

COVID cases keep rising among NHL teams, Steven Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines

COVID NUMBERS STILL RISING AMONG NHL CLUBS

CALGARY SUN: Forward Dillon Dube and defenseman Oliver Kylington are the latest Flames players to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number to 18 players and five staff members, including head coach Darryl Sutter. Test results also showed several players appear to have the Omicron variant.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers now have seven players in COVID protocol. They are forwards Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Lomberg and defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have three more players in COVID protocol as goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh were added to the list. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were placed on the list earlier this week.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s COVID protocol list grew to five with forwards Andrew Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joining defenseman Devon Toews. Toews is the only player with symptoms and those were described as mild.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Lawson Crouse and Jay Beagle were placed on the COVID list yesterday.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore joined teammate Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett in COVID protocol.

The Nashville Predators placed forward Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote on the COVID protocol list. They joined head coach John Hynes, forwards Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tamasino and defenseman Ben Harpur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reported Cousins took to Twitter wondering why the NHL doesn’t pause the schedule until after Christmas to get this situation under control. “This is ridiculous!”, he said. They added that Cousins fully supports advanced protocols but doesn’t think it’s fair to have the threat of COVID hanging over the players and their families in this way.

There’s no indication thus far the league intends to pause the schedule. However, there might not be many choices if the number of infected players keeps rising. The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.

The league could be hoping to make it as far as their scheduled three-day break next week. That could slow the spread while allowing time for those who’ve already tested positive to be cleared to resume play following the holiday break. Let’s hope we’ll get some clarification soon because so far there’s little indication of what the league’s intentions are at this point other than soldiering on as cases mount.

NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February could soon be out of the question if more teams have games postponed by the league due to rising COVID numbers. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players but the league can opt-out by Jan. 10 if it believes mounting COVID cases will adversely affect the remainder of this season’s schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos collected an assist to reach his 900th career point in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. With 42 points, the Lightning now sits first in the overall standings.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist as the Nashville Predators topped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colton Sissons picked up three assists as the Predators extended their win streak to six games. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brock Boeser scored twice and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced Stan Smyl was promoted to vice-president of hockey operations.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and assisted on another as his club dropped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to snap a six-game losing skid. Connor McDavid chipped in two helpers while goaltender Stuart Skinner picked up the win with a 36-save effort.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win in eight games by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Jonathan Drouin’s shootout goal. The Habs played without fans in the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec public health officials concerned over the rising cases in the region. They received assurances they will be able to return to a partial capacity scenario in January.

Jonathan Quick kicked out 41 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Florida Panthers 4-1. The King extended their points streak to four games while handing the Panthers their third straight loss. Anze Kopitar was among the Kings’ goal scorers.

The Vegas Golden Knights got goals 33 seconds apart by William Karlsson and Nicolas Roy in the third period to hold off the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had two points apiece for Vegas. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 contests.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter tallied two goals in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The COVID-depleted Hurricanes iced a roster of just 16 players. One of them was rookie Jack Drury, who scored his first NHL goal. Drury is the son of former NHLer Ted Drury.

Semyon Varlamov turned aside 40 shots for his first win of the season as the New York Islanders downed the Boston Bruins 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck tallied twice for the Isles.

A shootout goal by Tage Thompson lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Sabres played without defenseman Robert Hagg as he’s month-to-month with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2021

Patrick Roy’s agent dismisses rumors linking him to the Canadiens, Max Domi, Josh Morrissey and Nikita Zaitsev fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TVA SPORTS: Patrick Roy’s agent, Neil Glasberg, dismissed speculation linking his client to the Montreal Canadiens. He shot down a rumor claiming Roy met with Canadiens owner Geoff Molson at a hotel in Quebec City last spring.

Quebec Remparts head coach and general manager Patrick Roy (NHL.com).

Glasberg tied the rumors linking Roy to the Canadiens on the club’s poor play this season. He called them “nonsense, falsehoods,” adding he has never spoken to Molson about his client. He said Roy has given him the mandate to monitor opportunities around the league, not just in Montreal, but also indicated Roy is doing very well in his current positions as head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation about Roy joining the Canadiens has it basis in the growing concern among Quebec hockey pundits over the club’s current plight. The Habs are rudderless with Molson seemingly in hiding, Marc Bergevin looking like a lame-duck GM, the players confused by Dominique Ducharme’s coaching, and the club’s puzzling unwillingness to name a new captain with Shea Weber sidelined with potentially career-ending injuries.

Glasberg didn’t rule out the possibility of speaking with the Canadiens on Roy’s behalf if the club contacted him. Time will tell if that call gets made.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Wednesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Defenseman Josh Morrissey of the Jets was also fined $5,000.00 for slashing Jets forward Alexandre Texier.

Ottawa Senators blueliner Nikita Zaitsev received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier on Wednesday.

The New Jersey Devils claimed forward Nathan Bastian off waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Thursday. The Kraken chose Bastian in this summer’s expansion draft after the Devils left him unprotected.










NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)

NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019

Evgeni Malkin reaches a career milestone, Taylor Hall collects his first point as a Coyote, Ilya Kovalchuk becomes a free agent, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin tallied his 400th career goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1. He’s the fourth player in Penguins history to reach that milestone. Tristan Jarry made 33 saves as the Penguins picked up their third straight victory. Kris Letang and Bryan Rust also netted two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored his 400th career NHL goal on Tuesday. (Photo via NHL Images)

Taylor Hall picked up his first point with the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Hall picked up a well-earned assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s game-winning goal.

Anze Kopitar’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Bruins have dropped six of their last seven games. Earlier in the day, Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent after clearing unconditional waivers, allowing the Kings to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kovalchuk’s struggles with the Kings, there’s plenty of speculation suggesting the 36-year-old winger could end up with another NHL club. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their second straight win by downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored twice, Dougie Hamilton collected three assists, and Andrei Svechnikov tallied his second lacrosse-style goal of the season. Meanwhile, the estranged relationship between the Jets and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took a step toward improvement as the blueliner is rehabbing his injured ankle in consultation with the club. He remains under suspension for failing to report to training camp.

Seven unanswered goals powered the Nashville Predators to an 8-3 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Calle Jarnkork and Craig Smith each had three-point performances for the Predators. Meanwhile, Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang will report to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after a two-month absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang was told not to report to Bridgeport by Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello as the latter attempted to honor the winger’s trade request. Ho-Sang needs to play to drum up any interest from rival clubs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice as his club held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist.

The Columbus Blue Jackets swept their back-to-back series against the Detroit Red Wings with a 5-3 victory. Former Wing Gustav Nyquist picked up two points. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returned to action for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 30. Jackets blueliner Ryan Murray is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Red Wings rearguard Danny DeKeyser is expected to miss the remainder of the season following back surgery on Tuesday. Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin injury) was sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 40 stops in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who got a boost from Travis Konecny’s return to the lineup following a three-game absence recovering from a concussion. Ducks winger Troy Terry left the game with a knee injury in the second period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-1 lead but went on to edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a brilliant overtime goal by Anthony Cirelli. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) on injured reserve.

Carey Price kicked out 38 shots backstopping the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tomas Tatar and Shea Weber each scored power-play goals. The Habs have won four of their last five and sit one point behind the Sabres for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Former NHLer and Colorado Eagles player Akim Aliu has accepted “a heartfelt and emotional apology” from Eagles equipment manager Tony Deynzer, who attended a team Halloween party in 2011 in blackface dressed as Aliu. Deynzer will keep his job with the club.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL defenseman Scot Kleinendorst died yesterday of injuries he suffered while on the job at a paper mill in Grand Rapids. He was 59. Kleinendorst spent eight seasons in the NHL from 1982-83 to 1989-90 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, and Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kleinendorst’s family, friends, and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2019

P.K. Subban slammed for his poor play, Predators coach Peter Laviolette denies abuse allegations, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Corey Crawford made 29 saves for his 250th career win backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Hawks rookie Kirby Dach tallied the winner in the fifth round of the shootout. The Blackhawks played without Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw, as they were placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. The Devils have dropped four straight games. Speaking of the Devils, the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis implies P.K. Subban is putting marketing himself over hockey.

A New York sportswriter suggests New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban’s struggles could be tied to his off-ice marketing schedule. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s declining production in 2018-19 can be attributed to injuries, but that’s not the issue this season. As Cyrgalis suggests, his busy off-ice schedule could have something to do with it. One could argue Subban’s play is suffering  because the Devils are a lousy club, but he’s supposed to be a superstar who can elevate any team’s performance.

Cyrgalis also suggests the low return the Nashville Predators received (“two middling prospects and two second-round draft picks”) from the Devils last summer was indicative of Subban’s declining value. In reality, that trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Predators, freeing up cap dollars to sign Matt Duchene. That’s why the Devils didn’t have to give up very much to get Subban. Nevertheless, his play this season certainly hasn’t bolstered his stock.

The Penguins spoiled Phil Kessel’s return to Pittsburgh by blanking Kessel and his Arizona Coyotes’ teammates 2-0. Tristan Jarry kicked out 33 shots for his second straight shutout.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as his Edmonton Oilers edged the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Draisaitl (53 points) holds a one-point lead over teammate Connor McDavid atop the league scoring race. Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen turned aside 35 shots. With the Coyotes falling to the Penguins, the Oilers regained first place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals winger Jakub Vrana tallied the game-winning goal and collected an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf collected two points in a losing cause. The league-leading Capitals have won six in a row.

A late goal by Nate Thompson lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the New York Rangers 2-1. Habs goalie Carey Price made 29 saves for the win. The Canadiens played without center Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who suffered a concussion in Thursday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

HEADLINES

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette denied allegations of abusive behavior leveled at him by former player Daniel Carcillo when they were with the Philadelphia Flyers. “First was a suggestion by (Carcillo) that I used my position of power inside of a locker room to bully or … challenge players to go out there and fight,” Laviolette said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Laviolette also responded to a video clip making the rounds on social media showing him apparently punching forward Ville Leino in the back of the head during a game in 2011.

“I had called a timeout. I was trying to get my team motivated and I went to punch my fist into my hand. I nicked the back of his helmet. By no means was it meant as any physical abuse nor have I ever had any physical abuse with a player. … If people really thought I was punching somebody in the back of the head, then that would have come forward a long time ago.”

Leino defended Laviolette, saying he didn’t believe the coach intentionally struck him. “There are a lot of emotions in the game. Coaches get fired up and thing happen,” Leino told ESPN. “I don’t think Peter tried to hit me, and it looks worse than it was.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Flyers Daniel Briere and Scott Hartnell also defended Laviolette, as did current Predators forward Austin Watson. While time will tell if Carcillo’s accusation against Laviolette holds up, that video clip inspired a rush to judgment on social media before all the facts were in. And speaking of rushing to judgment…

SPORTSNET: Nikita Zaitsev’s agent released a statement disputing claims by his ex-wife that he’s taken their children and she doesn’t know about their whereabouts.

“The story that is being circulated online by the ex-wife of my client Nikita Zaitsev is not accurate,” Dan Milstein wrote. “Nikita’s children are safe and with his parents, at his parents’ home in Moscow, where they normally reside. Nikita’s ex-wife knows where the children are and that they are safe. Law enforcement considers this to be a private matter. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy.”

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed defenseman Zach Werenski (shoulder) on injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is on IR with a lower-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed Andreas Johnsson (leg) on IR until at least Christmas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2019

Details of several anticipated free-agent signings leaked, Zaitsev-for-Ceci trade expected today, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Matt Duchene will reportedly sign with the Nashville Predators today (Photo via NHL Images).

The NHL’s free-agent period begins at 12:01 PM ET today. However, details leaked last night regarding new contracts for several noteworthy unrestricted free agents. Here’s a summary of what was reported:

Matt Duchene is expected to sign a seven-year, $56-million contract with the Nashville Predators

Joe Pavelski will sign a three-year, $21-million deal with the Dallas Stars. They’ve also signed Corey Perry to a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a base salary of $1.5 million.

Mats Zuccarello is heading to the Minnesota Wild. His contract is expected to be for five years and worth $6 million annually. 

Richard Panik is joining the Washington Capitals on a four-year deal believed to be worth over $2.5 million per season. 

Cam Talbot returns to Alberta with the Calgary Flames. The former Edmonton Oilers goaltender will sign a one-year, $2.75-million deal. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev has waived his no-trade clause, setting the stage to ship him to the Ottawa Senators for blueliner Cody Ceci. Winger Connor Brown will also be heading to Ottawa. Other players and/or draft picks will also be part of this swap. The trade is expected to be finalized later today after the Leafs pay Zaitsev his $3 million signing bonus. 

**UPDATE** As per Cap Friendly:

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas deserves kudos for finding a taker for Zaitsev and his $4.5 million AAV through 2023-24. No surprise, however, that he had to include a sweetener (Brown) in the deal.

Ceci, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was qualified at $4.6 million for 2019-20. He was said to be seeking a five-year deal worth between $5 – $5.5 million per season. It remains to be seen if the Leafs will pay that much, take him to arbitration, or flip him to another club. I think he’s marginally better than Zaitsev but maybe his performance will improve with the Leafs. If the Leafs re-sign Ceci, they’ll still need replacements for Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey. Both are unrestricted free agents.

Zaitsev could also benefit from a change of scenery. Senators head coach D.J. Smith reportedly vouched for the blueliner, having worked with him when Smith was an assistant coach with the Leafs. Getting the versatile Brown in the deal is a nice boost to the Senators forward depth. 

In other Leafs and Senators news, Toronto plans to sign winger Kenny Agostino to a two-year, one-way contract. The Senators, meanwhile, hired former St. Louis Blues coach David Payne as an assistant coach.