NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2020

by | Jul 16, 2020 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The Calder Trophy and Adams Award finalists revealed, plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Shea Weber, Patrik Laine, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, Chicago Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the finalists for the 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy honoring this season’s rookie-of-the-year.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik was a pleasant surprise for the Blackhawks this season, become the leading goal-scorer (30) among this season’s rookie class, but he will be overshadowed by Hughes and Makar. During the first half of this season, Makar seemed a lock for the Calder, but Hughes steadily came on throughout the season. The Canucks blueliner leads this season’s rookies in assists (45), points (53), and power-play points (25) while sitting second in ice time, averaging 21:53 per game.

Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, and Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault are this season’s finalists for the Jack Adams Award honoring the league’s top head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cassidy’s Bruins were the NHL’s top team during the regular season. Tortorella’s efforts helped his injury-ravaged Blue Jackets remain a playoff contender. Vigneault guided the Flyers to their first best performance (second in the Metropolitan Division) since 2010-11. Tortorella is a two-time winner (2003-04, 2016-17) of the Adams Award while Vigneault took home the award in 2006-07.


THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine admits he’s not quite up to speed following his lengthy layoff. “Still kind of far away,” he told reporters yesterday. “It’s kind of hard to see myself playing playoff hockey in two weeks.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine won’t be the only NHL player trying to shake off the rust and return to game shape following a four-month layoff. He said he’s trying to make the most of it and hopes to be game-ready when the puck drops.

TRIBLIVE.COM: There are mixed reports regarding Matt Murray’s performance in the opening three days of Pittsburgh Penguins’ training camp. Mark Madden cites sources claiming  Tristan Jarry is outplaying Murray, but Seth Rorabaugh (who’s covering the Penguins’ training camp) said he’d seen no difference in play between the two. Rorabaugh observed Murray is more often between the pipes when facing some of the Penguins’ top players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s restricted free agent status at season’s end ensures he’ll be closely watched in practice and the upcoming playoff tournament. He’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation this season. His performance will determine his future with the Penguins.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak joined his teammates for his first practice since completing his mandatory quarantine period after returning from the Czech Republic.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to make his training camp debut before the weekend. He’s been sidelined with an undisclosed issue.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber returned to full practice Wednesday. He’d spent Tuesday doing drills on his own.  

CANES COUNTRY: Sami Vatanen is healthy and looking forward to making an impact with the Carolina Hurricanes in the upcoming playoff tournament. The Hurricanes acquired the 29-year-old defenseman near the trade deadline, but an injury prevented him from suiting up with his new team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Dougie Hamilton recovered from a broken leg, he and Vatanen will provide a much-needed boost to the Hurricanes’ defense corps, especially if Brett Pesce (shoulder surgery) remains unable to participate.

NBC SPORTS: The pause in the schedule proved to be a silver lining for a banged-up Columbus Blue Jackets lineup, allowing sidelined players such as Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Cam Atkinson an opportunity to recover.

CALGARY SUN: Flames bench boss Geoff Ward denies he’s split up some of his roster over fitness-related issues. Johnny Gaudreau’s removal from the Flames’ top line raised eyebrows this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league’s clampdown on the players’ medical status only stokes speculation over the motivation behind such moves.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs were told to stop using on-ice officials during their practices following complaints from rival clubs.


NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks officially signed defenseman Ian Mitchell to a three-year, entry-level contract beginning next season. He would’ve had the first year of his ELC burned off if he’d joined his teammates for Phase 3 training camp.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Former Carolina Hurricanes TV announcer John Forslund will be freelancing for NBC Sports during the upcoming playoff tournament. His status with the Hurricanes remains uncertain since his contract expired last month.


  1. I posted my thoughts yesterday re Calder…

    “Re ROOKIE…

    Makar (D) … 57 GP…. 12-38 – 50… + 12 …. 5on5/PP60 …. a little more than 1.90

    Hughes (D)… 68 GP…. 8-45-53… – 10…. 5on5/PP60 …. a little shy of 1.4

    Kubalik (W) ..68 GP… 30-16-46 …. +2 …. 5on5/PP60 …. about 2.6

    This was Makar’s to lose at the mid-point; but Kubalik was on fire with goals and was on full season pace for 36 G … 55 Pts
    Makar’s full season pace was … 17 G and 72 points… for a rookie D-Man !

    This still should go to Makar but Kubalik will certainly get a look“

  2. Re Adams

    To me …. Cassidy… great Bruins team but he has got the best out of them to finish reg season as top team

    I will be very transparent in saying I’m not a Torts fan. He’s a great coach; I just don’t like the persona

    Setting my personal bias against Torts… I’d still have to give Vigneault my nod at 2nd…. what he has accomplished this year is excellent and the surge they had just before stoppage was impressive !

    Cassidy with Vigs close 2nd

  3. Re Madden and Rorabaugh’s conflicting viewpoints on Murray/Jarry… I’ll optimistically take that to mean that Pens are good to go with either goalie 👍👍👍👍

    I refuse to perceive it as the opposite… that being … neither is impressing 👎👎👎👎

    Re off season… I still say keep both…. just one ; then with an injury or illness …. starter is DeSmith with Larmi (with only a handful of AHL & ECHL games experience) is the back up…. dangerous

  4. John Forslund is a class act and one of the best (the best?) in the business. I’m not sure why the Hurricanes have decided to make a stand here. Given their mis-handling of their legendary radio voice Chuck Kaiton a few years ago, this does not bode well.

    They seemed to be able to find nearly $5M for a fancy scoreboard (yawn…), but can’t find what, maybe an extra $50K (?) for their lead broadcaster?

  5. Sounds like Laine is making excuses saying he can’t imagine playing in August and “He said he’s trying to make the most of it and hopes to be game-ready when the puck drops.”
    I don’t see Sidney Crosby making comments to that effect?

    • I give Laine credit for being honest. I daresay most of them are feeling the same way. You can work out at home all you want but there’s no substitute for being on the ice to get into game shape.

    • that is typical Laine candor. He has said something like that once or twice a year since entering the league – he has usually followed up those comments by playing some of his best hockey.

    • I think every celebrity, rock star , pro athlete should just duct tape their mouths shut these days.

      Every little thing they say or in some cases don’t say is misconstrued and or scrutinized to the point of ridiculousness.

      Note: not blaming the celebrity/ rock star / pro athletes.

      Blaming the hyper sensitive fan bases and media.

      • Amen. More often than not, when out in my car with the radio tuned to the sports station I simply turn it off when they break into what I term “inane chit-chat” as they over-analyze what some pro athlete may have said or – as you point out – what they didn’t say.

        A classic in that regard was when Eddie Johnston announced Mario Lemieux as the 1st pick overall and Lemieux refused to come down to the stage and don a Penguins jersey. That was good for a solid month of “analysis” – including how he was dictating a trade to Montreal.

      • Everyone could simply ignore twitter, that would help as well. Especially if I was an athlete or celeb.
        The loudest and craziest get the most attention and nowadays it seems the most influence, so we get more and more opinions from people who have nothing valuable to say other than to kick someone.

  6. Laine is a breath of fresh air; he speaks his mind and is honest with his responses. I dare say the media enjoy interviewing him because it isn’t a bunch of cliche.

    Laine point is also confirmation of what I’ve been saying al along; the Covid Cup has nothing to do with the 2019 – 2020 regular season.

    The wear and tear isn’t there any habits created are long gone; players couldn’t find a sheet of ice to skate on.

    One would wonder how may hot dogs did Phil Kessel have during this layoff.

    It is what it is and opportunity for the NHL to regain lost revenue.

    It’s a tournament where the 8 best in class were given the golden buzzer to advance to the next round.

    16 teams will play a short series in a qualifying round to advance to playoff round.

    If you lose in the qualifying round, you’ll enter the bonus round, one life line left, with a 1 in 8 chance of getting the 1st overall draft pick.

    Should the winner have an ***, really i don’t care, and * doesn’t mean anything to me, other then something unusual has happened.

    The winner of Covid Cup will be deserving as the players deal with unusual circumstances of living under a bubble and no family or friends physical contact. Then a can it just might come down to luck.

    At any time a team best player may test positive or 2 or 3. It could happen in the first round before they even get to the bubble or in the Covid Cup finals.

    This isn’t to say the team winning the Covid Cup is deserving or the Hockey won’t be good.

    It just has no resembles of the 2019 – 2020 regular season.

  7. Regardless of the ready or not, this is going to be some awesome hockey….. like the World Cup on steroids. I’m geeked. They are not playing for or to the fans in the stands, only themselves. With all due respect, we are going to see what kind of athletes these guys are. If Laine (and others) don’t feel like they are up to speed, the tournament is happening (fully aware that I am saying this from my armchair). PS — hopefully there are no asterisks in the record books on this one.

    • There won’t be an asterisk, and the winner will still be the Stanley Cup Champion.
      I will go out on a limb and predict it will be a team that was solidly in the playoffs and not one of the bubble teams not in a spot when the season was halted.
      Yes revenue is a big part of this, but I don’t believe it is the only part.
      And I also think most of the players on contending teams are thrilled to have a chance to compete for the ultimate prize. I would be.
      Like Chara said, he is thankful and excited for the opportunity to hoist the cup again.

      • Ray i would contend if there was no revenue for the NHL the season would already have been cancel.

      • Agree Caper.
        Maybe I should have said the biggest part of it.

      • I wonder what kind of new fandangled ad’s we’re going to be subjected to? Lots of board and end glass distractions I’d imagine.
        NBC is the lead broadcast for the East?
        That should be something.
        Anyone know who’s calling the games for the respective series?

  8. Lyle, I am working on my first coffee, I admit, but I see nothing on Shea Weber?

    • Fixed, thanks. I was working on my first coffee too…;)