NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2017
Game recaps, latest coaching hires and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jake Allen kicked out 51 shots and Joel Edmundson scored in overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win in the first game of their opening-round best-of-seven series against the Minnesota Wild.
Melker Karlsson scored in overtime as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in Game 1 of their first-round series. Sharks center Logan Couture returned to action after being sidelined since March 25 by a facial injury, but center Joe Thornton (knee) was a late scratch.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in Game 1 of their first-round series. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was a surprise starter after Matt Murray (lower-body) was injured in the pregame warmup. The veteran made 31 saves for the win.
Henrik Lundqvist turned in a 31-save shutout performance as the New York Rangers blanked the Montreal Canadiens in the opening game of their first-round series.
Brad Marchand scored late in the third period to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the opening game of their first-round series. The Bruins got the win without center David Krejci, who missed the game with an upper-body injury.
TORONTO SUN/WASHINGTON POST: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (upper body injury) will miss his club’s opening game of their first-round tilt against the Washington Capitals. Washington blueliner John Carlson (lower body) seems likely to play.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders announced interim head coach Doug Weight will take over the role next season on a full-time basis. Meanwhile, the operators of Barclays Center are preparing a pitch that will send the Isles back to their old arena, the recently renovated Nassau Coliseum. Barclays is even prepared to add more seating in the Coliseum and address other issues the Isles might have. No comments from either side so far. They have a 30-day window effective last Sunday to opt out of their current arena lease agreement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that Weight will be back. He took over a last-place team in mid-January and guided them to a 24-12-2 run that nearly got them into the playoffs, even with team captain John Tavares sidelined for the final games of the season.
Throughout this season there’s been talk of the Isles moving to a new venue, including a possible return to Nassau. We’ll likely find out very soon if this comes to pass. No word as to when this would take place, but I suspect it would be for the start of the 2018-19 season. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts, Islanders fans!
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars have brought back Ken Hitchcock as their new head coach. Hitchcock coached the club from 1995-96 to 2001-02, during which they rose to become one of the league’s top clubs during that era. Under his tenure, the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and returned to the Cup Final the following season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hitchcock is aging but remains a well-respected NHL coach. The Stars were lacking structure, especially in their defensive game. He will certainly help them improve in that department. Whether he can help them rise to once gain become a Cup contender remains to be seen.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to name Gerard Gallant as their head coach today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good choice by the Golden Knights, one that was not unexpected. Gallant was a Jack Adams Award finalist last season and a fine choice to guide the expansion Knights through their growing pains.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Long-time Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan expects to reach a decision on his future by mid-June.
BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche will protect veteran goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the NHL expansion draft this June.
CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers have told pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto they will not be re-signed.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings promoted vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel Michael Futa to assistant general manager.