NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2014

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Game recaps, including the latest on Patrik Elias, John Tavares, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Tomas Hertl, Antti Raanta, Shawn Thornton and more.

Jonas Hiller congratulates captain Ryan Getzlaf following their victory over the Sharks.

Jonas Hiller congratulates captain Ryan Getzlaf following their victory over the Sharks.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Five goals in less than 12 minutes lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Ryan Getzlaf led the way with a goal and two assists. It was the Ducks 11th win in their last twelve games.

STLTODAY.COM: T.J. Oshie and Jaden Schwarz scored in the second period as the Blues ground out a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, handing the Wild their sixth straight loss.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 but the win came at a cost, losing Patrik Elias to an upper body injury.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: John Tavares and Frans Nielsen each scored twice as the New York Islanders rallied to upset the Boston Bruins 5-3.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Erik Cole scored twice as the Dallas Stars edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.

DENVER POST: Despite being outshot 38-23, the Colorado Avalanche downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Brad Richards’ shootout goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.

TBO.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has risen to the occasion this season.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: San Jose Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl underwent successful knee surgery.

CSNCHICAGO.COM: Should the Blackhawks keep Antti Raanta as their backup when Corey Crawford returns from injury or demote him to the minors?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless he spends the rest of the season nailed to the bench, I say keep him.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes are on the verge of terminating their contract with Gilbert Brule, who has refused to report to their minor league affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brule’s playing career could be over if the Coyotes terminate his contract. A sad end for what was once thought a promising career for the sixth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has decided not to seek a further appeal of his 15-game suspension.

CBS SPORTS/KUKLA’S KORNER: Video highlights of yesterday’s Toronto Maple Leafs-Detroit Red Wings outdoor alumni games.

Maple Leafs Re-sign Phaneuf.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs today announced the re-signing of defenseman Dion Phaneuf to a seven-year, $49 million contract. 

Dion Phaneuf re-signs with the Leafs.

Dion Phaneuf re-signs with the Leafs.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hate to say I told ya so, Phaneuf haters, but I told you so. No surprise the Leafs ponied up to keep Phaneuf in the fold to the tune of $7 million per season (with a no-trade clause). Given the options available via free agency (where Phaneuf would’ve been the best blueliner in this summer’s UFA market) they had no choice. For all the real and imagined weaknesses in Phaneuf’s game, the Leafs have no one in their system to replace him and no options via trade or free agency. If they hope to build toward Stanley Cup contention (I know, I know, that seems distant right now) they need a physical, puck-moving big-minute blueliner like their captain.

 Critics will undoubtedly consider him overpaid and they may well be right. Still, the Leafs are hockey’s richest team and keep pace annually with the rising cap. With the cap ceiling expected to hit $71 million next season and projected to keep rising in the coming years, this shouldn’t adversely affect the Leafs ability to spend, spend, spend.

NHL Morning Rumor Mill – December 31, 2013.

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The latest on Wayne Simmonds, Nail Yakupov, Nazem Kadri, Michal Neuvirth and Jaromir Jagr, plus updates on the Penguins, Hurricanes and more.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: In response to questions from his readers, Jim Matheson doubts the Philadelphia Flyers will move Wayne Simmonds, who was linked to the Oilers Ales Hemsky back in November. He also claims Oilers GM Craig MacTavish intends to stick with sophomore winger Nail Yakupov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers like Simmonds’ size and physical skills as much as his scoring touch. He’s a prototypical Flyers forward. Yakupov is probably the Oilers best trade chip but they’re reluctant to part with him.

Are the Penguins eyeing Jets captain Andrew Ladd?

Are the Penguins eyeing Jets captain Andrew Ladd?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless claims Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero seeks a replacement for injured winger Pascal Dupuis and is said to be interested in Jets’ forwards Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler. Lawless believes Shero would have to put together a significant offer to pry one of those guys away from the Jets. The Penguins have depth in young defensemen but the Jets want to add forwards, not shed them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Jets wish to part with Ladd, Kane or Wheeler and doubt the Penguins can make a suitable offer for either guy. 

SPORTSNET’s Nick Kypreos reports the following via Twitter: “In wake of Carlyle rant this morning 2 #NHL clubs have confirmed for me #Leafs have made Kadri available in any trade discussion.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs coach Randy Carlyle yesterday took Kadri’s line to task for not playing up to expectations and threatened to demote Kadri to the third line if things didn’t improve.  Kypreos is now the third pundit since Sunday to claim the Leafs are shopping Kadri. It’s also rumored the Leafs are willing to entertain offers for Jake Gardiner. Wonder if GM Dave Nonis would consider packaging Kadri and Gardiner? That would garner considerable interest.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports the Carolina Hurricanes recent trade of Kevin Westgarth to Calgary might not be the only move GM Jim Rutherford has in store for his struggling team. Moving one of his backup goalies (Justin Peters or Anton Khubodin) is a possibility. Rutherford also noted the salary cap system is making it tough to find a trade partner and a deal to help his club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford was also believed shopping Tim Gleason, Tuomo Ruutu and Jiri Tlusty.  A suitable shakeup deal, however, might not come until closer to the March trade deadline, which will be too late to help the Hurricanes.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports the agent for Capitals backup goalie Michal Neuvirth would like to see his client traded to a team where he’ll get more playing time. Neuvirth has played in only seven games this season and has been knocked down in the goalie pecking order by the solid play of Philipp Grubauer, who was called up to replace Neuvirth when he was sidelined recently by an injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neuvirth joins Martin Erat among the Capitals who have requested a trade. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov was another but he’s reconsidered since receiving more playing time.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports Jaromir Jagr won’t ask the Devils to be moved by the trade deadline. Jagr expects a better second half for he and his team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr lacks a no-trade clause so the Devils could trade him if they wish without his permission. Considering his strong play this season, that’s not likely to happen.

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov would love to return with the Leafs. He’s currently playing in the KHL but hopes the Leafs will sign him to another contract. They own his rights until July, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

NHL Canadian Corner – December 31, 2013.

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The Senators down the Capitals, the Canucks fall to the Flyers, the Flames make a trade, a mid-season assessment of the Jets, the latest on Nazem Kadri plus updates on the Canadiens and Oilers.

Kyle Turris (7) scores against the Capitals.

Kyle Turris (7) scores against the Capitals.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Goals by Mika Zibanejad, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur lifted the Senators over the Washington Capitals 3-1. It was the Senators first back-to-back win since early November, but came with the loss of Chris Neil, who left the game with a lower-body injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in a shootout. The Canucks held a 3-2 lead until Brayden Schenn tied the game with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Vincent Lecavalier tallied the only goal in the shootout.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri seems unconcerned by coach Randy Carlyle’s threat of demotion to the third line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri’s name recently popped up in the rumor mill so this is likely to stoke the trade speculation.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen evaluates the Jets season so far and finds a club spinning its wheels.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are six points out of a wild card berth in the very tough Western Conference. If they don’t get it together soon they can forget about a playoff spot.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Following a disappointing loss to Florida, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien decided to boost his team’s spirits with a game of “baseball hockey” during yesterday’s practice.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames yesterday shipped center Greg Nemisz to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for big winger Kevin Westgarth.


EDMONTON SUN: Call-up Roman Horak will get his first chance to crack the Oilers lineup.