NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2019

The latest on the Bruins and Blues ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Backes was also scratched from Game 6. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will go with the same lineup from that game. 

Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be difficult for a veteran like Backes to watch this game, the biggest of his career, from the press box. Nevertheless, Cassidy’s got to go with the lineup that was successful in Game 6.

If the Bruins win tonight, Backes is assured of getting his name on the Stanley Cup. He played in 15 playoff games, including four in the Final. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (upper-body injury) skated in a non-contact jersey in practice yesterday. It’s unlikely he’ll be in the lineup for Game 7. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube won’t say if forward Robert Thomas will return to the lineup for Game 7. He missed four games of the Final with a wrist injury before returning to the lineup for Game 6.

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Bozak missed practice yesterday but Berube said they’ll be in the lineup tonight. 

NBC SPORTS:  Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was upset at Boston’s TD Garden staff yesterday for not having the ice ready in time for the club’s practice. “Do your ****ing jobs!”, he yelled at one point. To which one of the staff replied, “Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?” Armstrong later apologized to the crew. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the pressure of this series is taking an emotional toll on everyone involved. 

TSN: Pending unrestricted free agent center Kevin Hayes visited the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday and met with general manager Chuck Fletcher. Hayes was acquired last week from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Fletcher hopes to re-sign him before the UFA market opens on July 1. 

CBS SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, two-way contract. He spent all of this season with the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Keith Gretzky will remain with the Oilers as their assistant general manager in charge of their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Gretzky was interim GM after the Oilers fired Peter Chiarelli in January. Ken Holland took over that job last month.

SPORTSDAY: Former LA Kings coach John Stevens is joining the Dallas Stars’ coaching staff. 

NHL.COM: The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee released a statement revealing recommendations for several potential rule changes. Among them are changes to video review and coach’s challenge and for players to leave the ice if their helmet comes off during play. The recommendations require the approval of the NHLPA’s executive board and the NHL board of governors. 










2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Have The Blues Blown It?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2019

The latest on the Bruins and Blues, Flyers hope to re-sign Kevin Hayes, the Coyotes could have a new owner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins’ poise and leadership made the difference in their Game 6 Stanley Cup Final victory over the St. Louis Blues. It could make the difference again in the seventh and deciding game tomorrow night in Boston.

STLTODAY.COM: Struggling special teams play continues to haunt the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. They’ve been outscored 7-1 by the Bruins in power-play goals and 1-0 in shorthanded goals. The Blues are 1-for-18 on the power play while the Bruins are seven-for-21 with the man advantage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues lose this series their special-team play will be a big reason for their downfall. The play of Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask is a significant factor behind those numbers. Despite the Blues PP generating 34 shots-on-goal in this series, only one has eluded Rask.

The Philadelphia Flyers remain hopeful of signing recently-acquired center Kevin Hayes (Photo via NHL Images).

 COURIER-POST ONLINE/SPORTSNET: Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher remains hopeful of re-signing Kevin Hayes to a new contract. The Flyers last week acquired the 27-year-old center from the Winnipeg Jets.

Hayes is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. While nothing’s close yet, Fletcher said he’s had preliminary discussions with the center and his representatives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayes could opt to test the UFA market. If so, it didn’t cost the Flyers much to acquire him. They only gave up a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft to the Jets in that deal. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: Billionaire entrepreneur Alex Meruelo is reportedly close to purchasing a majority share of the Arizona Coyotes. The potential ownership change will need the blessing of the NHL’s Board of Governors. This sale is expected to be on their agenda at their next meeting on June 19. If approved, the sale could be completed at some point this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If approved, it’ll be interesting to see what effect the new majority owner could have upon the Coyotes’ off-season roster plans. 

NBC SPORTS: The Edmonton Oilers restructured their front office, promoting Bob Nicholson as their chairman. They also hired Tom Anselmi as president, business operations and chief operating officer.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings goaltender development coach Dusty Imoo will be joining KHL team Kunlun Red Star in China. Imoo had a hand in salvaging the careers of Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Sean Avery was in Manhattan court Monday for allegedly hitting a car with his scooter.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2019

The Boston Bruins win Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Check out the recap in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: There will be a seventh and deciding game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final as the Boston Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 in Game 6 on Sunday. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves while Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each had a goal and an assist. 

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask backstopped his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

The Bruins successfully killed all four Blues power plays. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s empty-net goal made him the oldest defenseman (42) to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Final. 

SPORTSNET:  Bruins center Patrice Bergeron’s pre-game speech helped motivate his teammates to victory. 

THE SCORE: Blues center Ryan O’Reilly admitted his delay-of-game penalty early in the first period put his club on the back foot. The Bruins capitalized with a game-opening five-on-three power-play goal, forcing the Blues to try to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper prematurely published a letter from Blues chairman Tom Stillman congratulating the players and Blues fans for their Stanley Cup championship to their digital edition. The pages were eventually removed before Game 6. 

STLTODAY.COM: The loss was the Blues seventh on home ice in 13 postseason games this spring. 

Game 7 will be held in Boston on Wednesday night

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t for a lack of effort by the Blues. This game was much closer through the first and second periods, with the Bruins clinging to a one-goal lead before blowing it open in the third. Indeed, the Blues controlled most of the play through those two periods but couldn’t beat Rask. The Bruins’ netminder made the difference, aided by his hardworking defense corps. If the Bruins win Game 7, Rask will probably win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2019

The latest on Zdeno Chara, Vladimir Tarasenko, Adam McQuaid, Jason Pominville, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he’s not feeling any limitation playing with a facial injury. While it hasn’t been confirmed by the club, Chara is believed to have suffered a fractured jaw in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. He played over 16 minutes in Game 5 and is expected to be in the lineup for Game 6 tonight in St. Louis. 

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claims he’s feeling no limitations playing with a facial injury (Photo via NHL Images).

Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (concussion) and forward Chris Wagner (injured right arm) skated in non-contact jerseys during practice yesterday. Grzelcyk hasn’t been cleared to return but Wagner could be ready if the series goes to Game 7. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko’s wife gave birth to a son on Friday. Tarasenko said he’ll be ready to play in Game 6 tonight. The Blues lead the series three games to two and can win the Stanley Cup with a victory on Sunday. 

With Ivan Barbashev serving a one-game suspension, Blues forward Robert Thomas could return to the lineup tonight. Thomas last skated in Game 1 when he was on the receiving end of a big hit from Boston’s Torey Krug. 

SPORTSNET: has a collection of the most controversial calls of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should be used as “Exhibit A” when the league launches its review of its officiating this summer. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Adam McQuaid is still dealing with concussion issues. His agent, Rick Curran, confirmed he’s been struggling with the symptoms since receiving a hit during a game in late-March. He played only 14 regular-season games with the Jackets after being acquired from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. McQuaid is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McQuaid has a long injury history, including several head/concussion injuries since October 2011. The wear-and-tear of his 10 NHL seasons is taking a toll on the 32-year-old blueliner. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Congratulations to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers defeated the Chicago Wolves in five games to win their first-ever Calder Cup. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2019

The Sabres re-sign Jeff Skinner, Ivan Barbashev receives a one-game suspension and Patrick Marleau puts his Toronto home up for sale. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres last night reached an agreement with Jeff Skinner on an eight-year, $72-million contract extension. The 27-year-old left winger was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. His new deal is worth an annual average value of $9 million. 

The Buffalo Sabres re-signed Jeff Skinner to an eight-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly provides the full details of Skinner’s new contract. He’s earned $10 million annually in actual salary through all but the final two seasons of this deal. In 2021 and 2023, he’ll receive $7.5 million in signing bonuses. It also comes with a full no-movement clause throughout.

Critics of Sabres general manager Jason Botterill quickly took to social media saying he overpaid to keep Skinner in the fold. They point to the decline in his goal production over the final two months of this season as a cause for concern.

Botterill, however, had little choice. Skinner established strong offensive chemistry with Sabres captain Jack Eichel. Letting him walk via free agency would’ve sent the wrong message to Eichel and his teammates, as well as the Sabres’ long-suffering fans.

Yes, this could end up being an expensive mistake by Botterill. But if Skinner continues to produce on Eichel’s line and helps turn the Sabres into a playoff contender, it’ll be considered as money well spent. 

STLTODAY: St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev will miss Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Boston Bruins forward Marcus Johansson during Game 5. Blues GM Doug Armstrong called the punishment “excessive”. 

THE ATHLETIC: Thanks to the solid defense in front of Jordan Binnington, the Boston Bruins are struggling to cash in offensively on the Blues goaltender. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins fail to address this issue in Game 6 on Sunday they can forget about returning to Boston for Game 7. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Patrick Marleau put his Toronto home up for sale. Recent trade rumors have him linked to the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau is coming off a down season and carries a $6.25-million annual cap hit through 2019-20. Still, he could be moved to a budget club if the Leafs bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect or perhaps a young NHL-ready player.

It could take until early-July for a potential Marleau deal to go down. Cap Friendly indicates he’ll receive $3 million of his $4.25-million actual salary as a signing bonus on July 1. Interested clubs will likely prefer the Leafs pay that bonus. 

LAUSANNE HC: signed forward Josh Jooris to a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jooris spent five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent this season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.