NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2019

St. Louis Blues are going to the Stanley Cup Final. Game recap plus updates on Erik Karlsson, the latest on the Oilers and Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time in 49 years, the St. Louis Blues will be playing in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Ryan O’Reilly collected three assists, David Perron had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves. The Blues will take on the Boston Bruins – the team they faced during their last trip to the Final – in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Monday night

The St. Louis Blues are the 2019 NHL Western Conference champions. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are the feel-good story of 2018-19. On Jan. 3, they were dead last in the league standings. They overcame the odds (in part thanks to Binnington’s goaltending) to reach the playoffs, eliminating the Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, and Dallas Stars along the way. 

NBC SPORTS: The Sharks played without defenseman Erik Karlsson, winger Tomas Hertl and captain Joe Pavelski. The trio was sidelined by various injuries. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had those three been healthy, perhaps the outcome of Game 6 would’ve been different. Karlsson was plagued by injury throughout the regular season. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said the blueliner was healthy and dialed in “for about six weeks.”  An unrestricted free agent this summer, Karlsson’s future in San Jose is uncertain. I’ll have more on his status later today in the Rumors section.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion met with former Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy yesterday in Montreal. Roy was reportedly being interviewed for the Senators’ head-coaching position. Dorion has also interviewed “associate coach Marc Crawford, Belleville coach Troy Mann, Pittsburgh assistant Jacques Martin, Providence College coach Nate Leaman, Toronto assistant D.J. Smith and Dallas assistant Rick Bowness.” A decision could come as early as this weekend. 

TSN: Former Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett remains the front-runner for the Edmonton Oilers’ coaching job. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers also dismissed Duane Sutter as their vice president of player personnel. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook (core muscle injury) and defenseman Calvin de Haan (right shoulder) recently underwent surgery. Martinook’s recovery time is four-to-six weeks while de Haan will be sidelined four-to-six months. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin was injured during Team USA’s 3-0 loss to Canada during a preliminary round game at the IIHF World Championships. No update as to his status but it’s believed to be a groin injury. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2019

The latest on the Sharks, Blues, and Bruins, plus an update on Justin Williams, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer offered no updates yesterday on the status of Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski, and Tomas Hertl. The three were injured during the Sharks’ 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. 

Joe Pavelski is one of three players uncertain to play for the San Jose Sharks tonight in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

Karlsson appears to be nursing an old injury that he aggravated in Game 4 of the series. Pavelski left Game 5 after receiving a high hit from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Hertl was also on the receiving end of a high hit from Blues forward Ivan Barbashev. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Down 3-2 in the series and facing elimination tonight, the Sharks’ odds of winning Game 6 become slimmer with three of their best players on the sidelines. 

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of Barbashev, he won’t face supplementary discipline for his hit on Hertl

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league was “unable to determine conclusively that the head was the main point of contact.”  Sure looked like his head was the primary point of contact to me. I stopped trying to make sense of rulings from the department of player safety a long time ago. 

WEEI.COM: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said he’s learned a lot from his early days as an NHL coach. Cassidy recently faced criticism from former NHL player Bates Battaglia, who played for Cassidy with the Washington Capitals in 2003-04. Since taking over as Bruins coach, Cassidy has a regular-season record of 117 wins, 52 losses, and 22 overtime defeats.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: People can change and improve and that’s certainly what Cassidy’s done since his first tenure as an NHL head coach. After being fired by the Capitals, Cassidy spent one season as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks (2005-06), two seasons with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, and eight seasons with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence. In his 2 1/2 years as the Bruins’ bench boss, he’s coached them to three straight playoff appearances and their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 2013. 

THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams is undecided if he’ll return for a 19th NHL season. The 37-year-old winger led the Hurricanes to their first postseason appearance in a decade. If he does return, Williams made it clear it’ll be with the Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Williams scored 23 goals and 53 points during the regular season, along with seven points in 15 playoff games. If he’s willing to agree to a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth the same annual salary-cap hit as his current contract ($4.5 million), I think he’ll come back for another season. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 20, 2019

The Blues are within one game of the Stanley Cup Final. A recap of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, updates on the Bruins, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues are one win away from the Stanley Cup Final following a 5-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Jaden Schwartz tallied a hat trick and Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a penalty shot. Schwartz is one goal from tying Brett Hull’s franchise record for most goals (13) in a playoff year. Tarasenko became the first Blue to score on a penalty shot in the postseason. Jordan Binnington turned in a 21-save shutout performance. 

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick powered the St. Louis Blues to victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

The Blues lead the series three games to two. They can wrap up the series in Game 6 at home on Tuesday night.

It was a costly loss for the Sharks. Four players – Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi – left the game with injuries. Donskoi was the only one to return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Up 1-0 entering the second period, the Blues seized control of the game with goals by Schwartz and Tarasenko. Those tallies sucked the life out of the Sharks. They were on their heels for the remainder of the contest.

Karlsson was once again in obvious discomfort, stoking speculation his nagging groin injury has flared up again. Pavelski seemed to be limping when he left the game following a hit by Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Hertl departed following a blindside hit by Blues forward Ivan Barbashev that went uncalled. The Sharks will be in real trouble if those three remain sidelined for Game 6. 

NBC SPORTS: David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, and Steve Kampfer skipped Boston Bruins practice yesterday. Krejci took a “maintenance day”. Chara and Kampfer are nursing injuries but they skated before practice yesterday. The trio is expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final next Monday.

CBS SPORTS: cites a report from The Fourth Period claiming the Carolina Hurricanes intend to buy out goaltender Scott Darling. The contract buyout period begins June 15 and runs to 5 pm ET on June 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As yet, there’s no indication from Hurricanes management regarding their intentions for Darling. It’s doubtful they’ll formally confirm their plans before the buyout period begins. Signed to a four-year, $16.6-million contract two years ago, Darling struggled with poor conditioning and several injuries. He spent the bulk of this season with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2019

Injury updates before Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, Senators to interview Patrick Roy for their vacant head-coaching position, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: There was no update yesterday to the status of Erik Karlsson. The San Jose Sharks defenseman sat out half of the third period in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final in obvious discomfort. That’s prompted speculation his nagging groin injury has flared up again. 

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson’s status remains uncertain for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images).

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn will miss Game 5 with an upper-body injury. Dunn was struck in the face by a puck in Game 3. Blues forward Sammy Blais, meanwhile, is expected to play in today’s contest. Blais took a Brent Burns shot off his foot in Game 4. 

NHL.COM: Game 5 of the Western Conference Final begins at 3 pm ET today. 

STLTODAY.COM: Speaking of the Blues, they’re rallying around Laila Anderson, an 11-year-old fan battling a rare disease. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller (knee injury) and forward Chris Wagner (right arm) aren’t expected to be ready for the start of the Stanley Cup Final. 

OTTAWA SUN: Patrick Roy is expected to be interviewed for the Ottawa Senators’ vacant head-coaching position. Roy, a Hall-of-Fame goaltender, is a former coach of the Colorado Avalanche. He’s now the coach and general manager of the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Roy won the Jack Adams Award in 2014 but stepped down two years later over a lack of input regard player personnel decisions. He has a reputation for being hot-tempered and impulsive but he also has plenty of experience working with young players. Roy is just one of several candidates for the Senators’ coaching job. 

NEW YORK POST: Finnish prospect Kaapo Kakko believes he can convince the New Jersey Devils to select him with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Kakko is tied for the scoring lead at the IIHF World Championships with six goals in four games. “This is a big thing for me for the draft,” Kakko told NHL.com through a translator. “I think I can be the first [pick].”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: American center Jack Hughes is considered the top prospect in this year’s draft. Kakko’s performance at the Worlds, however, has some observers suggesting the Devils should select him instead. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2019

Blues tie Western Conference Final at two games apiece, John Davidson returns to the Rangers, Stanley Cup Final schedule released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee Headlines. 

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues held off the San Jose Sharks 2-1 to tie the Western Conference Final at two games apiece. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 29 saves while Ivan Barbashev and Tyler Bozak were the St. Louis goal scorers. Tomas Hertl replied for San Jose. There’s concern over the status of Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who spent a significant amount of time on the bench in the third period in obvious discomfort. 

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson appeared to be hampered by an injury during a Game 4 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a solid bounce-back by the Blues from their controversial loss in Game 3. Binnington once again displayed his remarkable ability to shake off a tough loss with a strong follow-up performance.

As for Karlsson, we’ll learn more about his status between now and Game 5 on Sunday afternoon in San Jose. If it’s his nagging groin injury flaring up it could have consequences for the Sharks in this series. 

The 2019 Stanley Cup Final will begin on Monday, May 27 in Boston as the Bruins host either the Sharks or Blues. 

NEW YORK POST: John Davidson stepped down as president of hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets to take the same position with the New York Rangers. Davidson spent most of his NHL playing career with the Rangers and was their lead analyst on national broadcasts for 19 years. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Davidson’s hiring affects the Rangers’ rebuild.

TSN: The NHL’s unrestricted free agent interview period begins on June 23 at 12:01 am ET. The restricted free agent contact period begins three days later on June 26. “During the period, pending free agents will be able to meet with prospective teams, but are not permitted to discuss contract details. The NHL’s free agency period will open on July 1 at noon ET.”

SPORTSNET:  Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Igor Ozhiganov signed with KHL club AK Bars Kazan.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun donated $10,000.00 to The New Foundation, “a local foundation that focuses on mental health awareness.”

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2019

Bruins sweep the Hurricanes to advance to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Check out the recap plus the latest notable news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: For the third time in nine years, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Final. Tuukka Rask turned in a 24-save shutout and Patrice Bergeron scored twice as the Bruins blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins took the series in four straight games. The Bruins played without captain Zdeno Chara (undisclosed injury), but he’s expected to be ready for the Final. 

The Boston Bruins are the 2019 Eastern Conference Champions (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were just too powerful for the upstart Hurricanes in this series. They outscored the Canes 17-5 and were lethal on the power play, going seven for 15 with the man advantage. They also killed all but one of 14 penalties against them. Their best players all stepped up, especially Rask. At this point, he’s my Conn Smythe Trophy candidate.

Despite the disappointing performance in the Conference Final, this was a successful season for the Hurricanes. They reached the playoffs for the first time in a decade, upset the defending Cup champion Washington Capitals, and swept the New York Islanders to reach the Conference Final. They’ve got some promising youngsters in guys like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. They must build upon their achievements this season. 

Boston’s Don Sweeney, Carolina’s Don Waddell, and St. Louis’ Doug Armstrong are the 2019 finalists for NHL General Manager of the Year.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Esa Lindell to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $5.8 million. He “set career highs in goals (11), assists (21), points (32) and ice time (24:20 per game) this season. He averaged a team-high 3:14 per game on the penalty kill and was second leaguewide in total time short-handed”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the 25-year-old Lindell will also get a full no-movement clause in the final four years of the deal. He was slated to become a restricted free agent.

Lindell blossomed into a top-pairing all-around blueliner with the Stars. If he maintains this season’s level of performance over the term of his new contract, his annual cap hit will be considered a bargain. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Vince Dunn’s status for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final is uncertain. He left Game 3 after taking a puck to the face, suffering damage to his teeth. It’s also possible he suffered a broken jaw and/or a concussion. He’s currently listed as day-to-day. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour suffered a sprained MCL playing for Canada at the 2019 World Championships. His recovery time is six weeks. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers executive Craig MacTavish is heading to the KHL to coach Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This decision could be tied to the Oilers recent hiring of Ken Holland as the Oilers new GM. MacTavish spent the past two seasons in charge of the Oilers AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. 

TSN: Jim Schoenfeld has resigned as vice president and assistant general manager of the New York Rangers.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked a 30-year lease extension with Bridgestone Arena. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Manchester Monarchs, the Kings ECHL affiliate, is folding. They’ve been associated with the Kings since 2001.