NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2019

by | Apr 29, 2019 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Hurricanes take 2-0 series lead over the Islanders, Avalanche ties their series with the Sharks, Hart Memorial Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 1-0 deficit with early third-period goals to defeat the New York Islanders 2-1 and take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter scored 48 seconds apart for the Hurricanes, who lost goaltender Petr Mrazek (lower body) and defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk (shoulder) and Saku Maenalanen (hand) to injuries

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders outplayed, out-hit and out-chanced the Hurricanes throughout this game but managed just one goal and got caught napping on those Carolina goals. Hurricanes backup Curtis McElhinney, who replaced the sidelined Mrazek in the second period, made 17 saves for the win. It was a costly victory for Carolina. Mrazek is listed as day-to-day, Maenalanen requires surgery and is expected to be out 10-14 days, while Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour believes van Riemsdyk won’t be returning anytime soon. 

Tyson Barrie’s three-point performance helped the Colorado Avalanche edge the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in Game 2 of their second-round series (Photo via NHL Images)

Tyson Barrie had a goal and two assists and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 31 shots as the Colorado Avalanche edged the San Jose Sharks 4-3, tying their second-round series at a game apiece. Brent Burns scored twice and set up another for the Sharks, who weren’t happy over what they considered an icing that went uncalled led to Barrie’s goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche put forth a better effort in this contest compared to Game 1. As a result, they return to Denver for Games 3 and 4 having stolen a game from the Sharks in San Jose, giving themselves an opportunity to build some momentum heading into the third game. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, “given annually to the NHL player voted to be most valuable to his team.”

THE ATHLETIC/OTTAWA SUN: Frequent healthy scratch Alexander Wennberg skated for the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 of their series with the Boston Bruins. Ryan Dzingel, acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline, was a healthy scratch as he’s disappointed thus far in the postseason. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wennberg could be back in the Blue Jackets lineup for Game 3 tomorrow in Columbus. After tallying 12 points in 21 games with the Jackets (along with 44 in 57 games with the Senators), Dzingel went scoreless through five playoff games. 

THE ATHLETIC: Bruins high-scoring winger David Pastrnak may be second on the club in scoring this postseason but he’s struggled with consistency thus far. 


  1. Almost missed this this morning Lyle – out of sequence.

    Heh, I realize voting for trophies like the Hart take place without the playoffs as part of the equation – but it has to be just a bit embarrassing to have one from an also-tean team and two from teams taken out 4 straight by wild-card teams in the first round.

    In McDavid’s case, what did they consider? That the Oilers might have finished below Ottawa had he not been there? OK, maybe not Ottawa – not possible – but L.A.?

    I can understand the other two regardless of their early departure from the playoffs – but maybe it’s time they began to wait for the voting until the playoffs are concluded.

    • “also-ran team” – DAMNED faded script

    • Fixed the sequence, thanks for pointing that out, George.

    • I don’t like the term “valuable” being used. I think the intent of the award was to give it to the NHL’s best player. Most valuable means what it says, and is interpreted that way because players who play on crappy teams do not get 1st place votes from many writers. Which is fine as that is what valuable means.
      These are individual awards not team awards, so why does a player who plays on a crappy team get shut out from many votes depending on how they view that players value relative to the rest of his team?
      I think they should give it to the best player that season, period. The league should add some clarity to that as I have heard different interpretations from media folks who vote on this award.
      Lyle – what do writers such as yourself think about the interpretation of this award?

  2. Another Ottawa trade looking better and better – Dzingel and a 2019 7th-round pick for Duclair and 2nd-round picks in 2020 and 2021.

  3. Patrick Kane didn’t do much for the Hart I guess. And I don’t even like the guy.

    Should be that “tampa player” I guess…

  4. Fleury will replace TVR and Jake Bean will be on deck. A lot of fans in Carolina complained about Ron Francis not making player for player trades as he quietly built the depth the organization never had.

    The Charlotte Checkers are having a great season and have also moved on to round 2. Alex Nedeljkovic could be doing double duty in net for round 2. Doug Waddell solved Carolina’s goalie problem, at least for this year. He solved the problem that Francis repeatedly failed to solve.

    • Goalie problem solved by a bad decision by Toronto.

      • You are right, for most of the season McHlhinney was slightly better than Mrazek. His calm demeanor and reliable consistent goal tending allowed our young defensemen to be more more aggressive. Carolina would not be where they are today if not for that waiver pick up. It eventually lead to sending Darling to the AHL and that’s when the real culture change started. The message was sent, you had to earn your position regardless of your contract. It also sent a message that Dundon was serious about winning. I have felt all along that before signing Mrazek to a new contract they need to lock up Curtis for 2 years as insurance. I’m also a Redwing fan so I’ve seen both sides of Mrazek. I believe he has matured and knows the work it takes to be a good NHL starter. I believe the McHlhinney pick up contributed to Mrazek’s success.

  5. Have to share, I seen one of the funniest post last night. When the 3 finalist were announced on NHL.com twitter feed one twitter asked “Did Patrick Kane get robbed?” which got replied by another “No but his cab driver did.” Oh my that was priceless.

  6. Hart award has to IMO go to McD.

    By definition of the award it is supposed to be awarded to the :

    “player judged most valuable to his team” and is voted on by members PHWA

    By definition of the above then Kucherov finishes 3rd of those 3, plain and simple.

    However, from what TSN and SN seem to always say; “not all Sports Writers vote by that definition”. They do at times , and in fact “often” (according to them) vote for the most valuable player in the league.

    Generically most fans refer this to the award for the League’s “best” player.

    IMO the over-all best (that is every facet of the game) is still Sid (just over McD). Pure skill/speed/acuity/dynamics… McD. But over-all acumen, play making, 200 ft, awareness, hockey sense, etc. etc. is still Sid.

    If the PHWA vote for most value “to league” (which by definitiion they should not)… then the two real marquee players (players most representative, most valuable to the NHL as an organization ) are McD and Sid. McD the new face; Sid the existing face … of the NHL. We are now in the “cross-over” phase of “the face of the NHL”

    If the PHWA actually vote on “most valuable to THEIR team; then Kuch must for sure finish behind the other two in voting. Bolts were completely stacked and although he was the clear winner in total points; he benefited from being on a loaded team

    Had McD played a full season, he would have had 2 more goals than Kucherov and finished only 5 points back; while being on a very weak team.

    Sid truly carried his team for stretches when other key players fell by the wayside and when there were key injuries to Malkin, Letang etc. and in spite of having the massively negative impact of JJ on the team.

    I am and have been for a long time; and will be for a long time; a huge fan of my future son-in-law; but I feel my judgement of his abilities is fair and shared by many.

    Setting the bias of my future son-in-law aside…. IMO, the award should go to :


    Sid —- 2nd

    Kuch —- 3rd

    We’ll see how the voting goes

    • NHLPA player poll last season:
      Best Forward – McDavid.
      I value their opinion.

      • Hi Ray

        I don’t question “best player” going to McD

        he is right now; and will be for a while. Sid for a 8 year span or so; with last year and a bit the “phase in” of the new wunkerkind (McD)… no argument

        “Most valuable to THEIR team” can be different to “most valuable to the LEAGUE” AND to “best player in the league”.

        Best player and most valuable to THEIR team …. McD

        I would still argue that the face of the NHL (most valuable to the brand “NHL”) is still Crosby; with McD about to take-over

        Kuch is not near the other two under any of the definitions.

        Hart should go to McD IMO


    • Pengy not sure how you can say plain and simple; for me it’s plain and simple it’s Kucherov he lead the league with 128pts which is the most points by a player in what 10-13yrs.
      The sole reason people look at McDavid is because of points and for no other reason, to say he should get it based on that, is conversely what you are say about Kucherov. The value of Kucherov can’t be understated, you simply don’t know where the Rays would’ve landed in the standings without him. but we do know he is a big part of the reason that Tampa won 62 regular season games.
      McDavid simply doesn’t make players around him better, they keep talking about they can’t find people to play with him. That is something that never been said about Crosby who always made lesser forward look good, unfortunately couldn’t do it with elite forward like Kessel.
      It seem people want to knock Kucherov down because he plays on a good hockey team, the reality is he is the best player on the best regular season team but he isn’t Canadian playing for a Canadian base team.
      It would be wrong for this award to go to anyone but Kucherov.

      • “It would be wrong for this award to go to anyone but Kucherov.”

        Kuch absolutely dummied the league this season.

      • Hi Caper and Taz

        that was just my opinion.

        For sure; if they are voting for “best” player there is a major major difference.

        My contention is that the award; by it’s absolute definition; is to supposed to go to the “most valuable… to THEIR team”.

        To me, Kucherov was valuable to his team; no question, but was , IMO , not as valuable to Bolts; as Mcd was to Oil; or as Sid was to Pens.

        Kuch had an outstanding year; no question. I love the way he played. He is a fantastic player and a phenom; it’s great watching him. That said, if Kucherov was NOT on the team; I still see Bolts finishing first in East; perhaps not President’s trophy, but first in the East.

        Ed w/o McD…. IMO they definitely finish 30th and possibly in a dog fight for last

        Pens w/o Sid, IMO, don’t make the playoffs. Pens only finished “IN” the playoffs by 4 points. Yes Pens should have finished 2nd in the East if it was not for the brutal JJ; but Sid got the team into the playoffs despite JJ; despite injuries for lengthy periods to Malkin and Letang; despite production droughts to Kessel et al.

        so that is why , for the Hart (Most Valuable to HIS “team”) I stick with : McD, then Sid, then Kuch

        My gut tells me that the PHWA will cast the true definition aside and will vote in Kucherov; as they (as a whole) would be casting their vote for the “League’s Best Player” instead of “most valuable to his team”. Some for sure will vote by true definition; but I’m guessing a large number will vote for “Best”.

        So, I stick with my opinion on the true award should be McD, Sid, then Kuch

        …. but as I said, I would not be surprised with PHWA voting on “Best player” lines

        The voting is of course subjective. Always has been always will be. Most writers are nixing any chance that Binnington has at ANY 1st place votes due to his only playing since Jan. If he had played the full year at that rate; to me for sure he gets it over Pettersson. Hard to extrapolate trends/stats with that “small” sample size but….remember….

        McDavid wasn’t given the Calder his year because “he was viewed as not playing enough games”. He was over a PPG on a very very very weak team that year; playing at 18/19 with no pro experience and the award was given to Panarin; who played almost a full year and played on a line with Kane (won the Art Ross by 17 points) and was 6 years older than McD and had played professionally for 6 years; McD right out of Jr.

        At the time of the voting the HNC and TSN panel kept saying over and over and over again, that the magic number was 48—- “if he played in 48 games, he gets the Calder for sure”. 3 games short???? All subjective. Friedman must have gone on about the 48 game plateau/threshold about 10 times. So, he voted for Panarin, but would have voted for McD if he played 3 more games even if he didn’t get a single point in those 3 games????

        all I’m trying to say is that the voting is very subjective and for this particular award (Hart) I am very confident that there will be writers that vote for the “Best” player vs. “most valuable to his team”

        If the award was for “Best” and If ALL voted for “Best”; I have not issue with Kucherov getting it; None whatsoever.

        However the award is NOT for “Best”….

        ….if they are voting as it should be “for most valuable to their team”; then to me… McD, then Sid, then Kuch

        Even if Sid didn’t even finish in the top 3; he’ll still be an excellent son-in-law!! 🙂

      • Pengy doesn’t matter how you word it, or quotations or capitalize the word. It still Kucherov award he is the MVP imo.
        If you want the MVP maybe give it to Hall, as NJ missed the playoff without him and if he played a full season instead of 33 games maybe the Devils be back in the playoffs.
        McDavid in NOT the “MVP” of the league, just by the fact the team didn’t make the playoff excludes him from it. Best individual player, OK, maybe; but not the MVP.

  7. Is Pastrnak injured? Is Debrusk injured? This isn’t to take credit away from opposing teams playing hard against these players. But my eyeball says their playing hurt because they are not doing the things that made them successful for example when Pastrnak has the puck, time and space he is still dumping the puck off quickly, when he would usually skate with it; Debrusk is lacking the willingness to do net drives and play below the goal line where he is successful.
    So if they are hurt sit them both tonight this would give them both 4 days off with the next game on Thursday this extra time could help heal the ailment. Put Backes and Kulman in the lineup adding spark and energy. Columbus doesn’t have the foot speed of Toronto so Backes get more body on body play and they both can play with Krecji.
    Would be a bold move to take the two out of the lineup but the risk could be worth the reward.
    If they are not injured then they both need a good Kick in the *ss!

    • Caper, I think CLB is plugging the neutral zone and forcing the dump ins. Leafs did too.
      Pasta was turning pucks over at the blue line and just over it causing rush chances the other way against TO and methinks Cassidy had a chat with him.
      Smart on CLB’s part and the B’s need to adjust and get behind their D or pound their D on dump ins.
      I would throw Pasta back with the top line and stick with it all game instead of just here and there. Agree that Kulman should be in the lineup.
      I think we will see a better Bruins team tomorrow as they finally get a day off. I think it will have a big impact on their energy level.

  8. A couple of guys who should probably be considered as MVPs
    Binnington & RoR