NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2019
Game recaps, Blue Jackets clinch final Eastern playoff spot, Leafs goaltending controversy, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets clinched the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot by edging the New York Rangers 3-2. Artemi Panarin scored the only goal in the shootout. The Jackets’ victory also officially eliminated the Montreal Canadiens from the playoff race.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on what the offseason might hold for the Canadiens later today in the Rumors section.
Speaking of the Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports former Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is amenable to the possibility of becoming the next president of the New York Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing’s set in stone here as the Rangers could consider other candidates, such as Columbus president John Davidson. Still, this report pokes a hole in the assumption that Yzerman is only interested in rejoining the Detroit Red Wings.
Patrick Kane scored two goals as the Chicago Blackhawks rolled to a 6-1 win over the Dallas Stars. While the Stars are heading to the postseason, the loss prevents them from clinching the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson kicked out 44 shots to backstop his club to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs starting goalie Frederik Andersen avoided an injury scare during practice yesterday when he was struck in the left arm by a shot that left him in some pain. After treatment, he returned and finished the practice without any lingering issues.
Meanwhile, the Leafs recalled Michael Hutchinson from their AHL affiliate. Backup Garret Sparks was placed on hiatus to work with the goalie coaches to address his recent struggles between the pipes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With concerns over Andersen’s heavy workload potentially affecting his performance as the playoffs approach, the Leafs are in a difficult situation with their backup goaltending. If Andersen’s struggles continue and neither Hutchinson or Sparks can effectively spell him off, they’ll face another early postseason exit.
SPORTSNET: Former Arizona Coyotes players Craig Cunningham is skating again thanks to a new prosthetic skating leg. Cunningham had part of his left leg amputated due to complications following cardiac surgery in 2016. He’s now employed as a scout by the Coyotes.