NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2020

by | Jul 17, 2020 | News, NHL | 31 comments

Lady Byng and Masterton Trophy finalists are announced,  Edmonton’s Rogers Place suffers some water damage, plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are this year’s finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded annually to the player who bests combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and ability.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is a finalist for the 2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This award typically goes to the most notable superstar with the lowest penalty minutes. MacKinnon had 12 PIMs this season, O’Reilly 10 and Matthews eight. However, this year’s selections stirred up some controversy.

Matthews got himself into trouble last year when he and a group of friends were accused of harassing a female security guard in Arizona. Meanwhile, some pundits were puzzled why Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (10 PIMs) was passed over as a finalist. It was also pointed out only three defensemen (Bill Quackenbush, Red Kelly, and Brian Campbell) have won the Lady Byng.

Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns, Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom, and Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johns returned to action after being sidelined nearly two years by post-traumatic headaches that at times left him confined to darkened rooms battling depression and suicidal thoughts.

Lindblom’s rookie season was derailed by Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He recently completed cancer treatments, including chemotherapy.

Ryan took a leave of absence last November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. He returned to action on Feb. 25 and scored a hat trick two days later.


TSN: A storm in Edmonton caused some water damage to Rogers Place just two weeks before it becomes a host city for the Western Conference teams in the upcoming playoff tournament. Oilers Entertainment Group issued a statement expressing confidence the incident won’t hamper its hosting efforts. Most of the damage was reportedly limited to the Ford Hall terminus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time to break out the Shop-Vacs! Seriously, though, it doesn’t appear the arena, training facilities, or dressing rooms suffered any damage.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were declared unfit to participate in practice yesterday. Both had emerged from travel quarantine earlier in the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Do they have COVID-19 symptoms? Did they suffer injuries preparing to return to play? No one knows because the league won’t allow teams to reveal a sidelined player’s status due to “medical privacy”. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving shot down speculation suggesting winger Johnny Gaudreau’s skating with a smaller group of players was some sort of punishment over his conditioning. “Johnny Gaudreau has never looked better,” claimed Treliving. He added Gaudreau’s placement with the smaller group was due to circumstances arising from the need to be cautious as the players returned from a long layoff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t prevent some folks from theorizing Gaudreau’s fallen out of favor with the coaching staff or stoking rumors about the winger’s future in Calgary.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Taransenko isn’t concerned about living in a quarantine bubble in Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament. “I don’t need much to live. I just need a bed and food,” he told The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is more concerned about his club’s opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup than his future. The 37-year-old center is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could be playing his final games with the Wild.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre examines the strict pandemic protocols the Winnipeg Jets are following during Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan. Defenseman Luca Sbisa explained the players aren’t really allowed to go anywhere but the rink and their homes, though they do partake in simple errands such as grocery shopping. The Jets have their own Phase 3 policies as well as those issued in a 19-page document by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 3 is the crucial period if the playoff tournament under Phase 4 is to take place starting in two weeks. The Jets, and the other clubs involved, are taking significant steps to ensure the health and safety of the players. Time will tell, however, if those measures prove successful.


TORONTO SUN: Long-time Leafs TV reporter Paul Hendricks is stepping down to spend more time with his wife, who’s battling cancer. Hendricks was part of Leafs TV from its infancy in the mid-1990s.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hendricks and his wife during this difficult time.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Rocky Thompson is stepping down as head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves after three seasons behind their bench. He’s expected to coach the Vegas Golden Knights’ new AHL affiliate in Nevada next season.


  1. I had hoped that Jay Bouwmeester would be honored with a Masterton nomination—a final honor and tribute.

    • Hi Iowa Prince

      If he returns next year (which is in doubt now unfortunately) you can count on it.

      The award is “typically” given to a player that either returns from a serious injury or devestating circumstance; or plays through it

      Unfortunately JayBo was cruising until this tragedy happened

  2. I’m a big fan of the Lady Bing

    #1 son (had they given it out in the GTHL) would have received it when he was 12… 52-73-125 and +102 in 51 games…. 1 minor penalty

    Was also surprised that Lucky number Slavin was not one of the three

    Re AM and his off ice antics…. not a fan at all of what he did; but that’s pre-season and off ice… so I set that aside

    Call the PMs basically even for the three as I was at the Leafs FLA game this year where AM got away with a trip AND a high stick; and I remember earlier in the season the fandom trip call on Mac K

    So setting that aside; who is the superstar

    AM—- 47-33-80 in 70 GP… 55 P 5on5

    Mac K …. 35-58-93 in 69 GP…. 62 P 5on5

    ROR…. 12-49-61 in 71 GP…. 43 P 5on5

    Gotta give this then to Mac K… not as many goals as AM ; but more points and doing so with the massive number of man games missed by key Avs contributors ; and leading his team to 3rd in the league while those injuries happened and finishing with almost twice as many points as the next player on his team

    Mac K; then AM ; the ROR IMHO

  3. So Mathews should be eliminated whole Ryan should be considered. Got it! Clear as mud.

  4. It is an embarrassing trophy to win for a player. It should be retired.

    • Maybe they could re-name it the Caspar Milquetoast Award.

    • Yup. A trophy honoring players that show you can be successful without hurting your team by awarding the other team the man advantage because you lack discipline. Sounds like a waste to me.

      • Ohhhhhhhhhhh, oozing with sarcasm, I love it. I sprinkle that sh!t on everything!!!

        Also, I agree 100%.

  5. I agree that what Matthews did in the summer shouldn’t disqualify him from the lady byng. I don’t like what he did with the Ottawa goon In the early season or preseason. It’s just not a good look to mock another player Especially one who is just starting to make his way in the league and is doing exactly what he was paid to do. That was un-classy.

  6. I’m one of the fans puzzled by why Jacob Slavin was not a Lady Bing finalist. The fact that few defensemen have won the award doesn’t surprise me because I think it is a much tougher position to play without taking penalties. Which just adds to the reason Slavin deserves to be a finalist.

    Jacob Slavin is not a fighter but he doesn’t play a soft game. He avoids taking holding and stick penalties because he is seldom out of position or flat footed. He is a great skater that seldom loses gap control. His skating ability allows him to gap up earlier than most defenseman. His speed allows him to recover from his mistake or his teammates mistakes. There is a reason BrindAmour said he is the perfect partner for Hamilton. Hamilton can play an aggressive game offensively because he knows Slavin has his back. Slavin will throw a big check occasionally but his poke check, stick work, instincts and skating are his main assets.

    Slavin doesn’t lose his composure despite being a very competitive player. He has 10 PIM and one of the penalties was a complete missed call due to the referees angle.

    Now consider that he is frequently matched up against the fastest and most elite players in the world for 23 minutes a game.

    As far as being a gentlemen on and off the ice and being well respected in the community I cant imagine how any voter could not consider him a finalist.

    • I agree GP, but if Nic Lidstrom was unable to win it, I doubt any D-man will be able to.

      Plus Stevie Y stole a Conn Smyth from Nic as well.

      He was IMHO, a player who never got the respect he deserved.

  7. Wow can’t believe the take on Autin Matthew.

    The Professional Hockey Writers Association is a JOKE!!!!

    Absolutely what he did off ice matters. He represents the NHL, the integrity of the league and players.

    In today’s environment everything matters, what message is the PHWA sending to the public, to all the women who have been abused.

    The only reason this story about Matthews made the headlines is because he is an NHL Player, that why we care.

    It’s a joke and embarrassment to the league.

    If Matthew win the award maybe Bobby Hull could be the presenter.

    • Ah, let em have it , Caper.
      It’s the only trophy he’ll come close to earning throughout his career.
      He’ll go on a run winning this award because the Leafs need it.

      • Umm…he’s already won a calder trophy so how could this trophy he hasn’t won be the only trophy he comes close to winning in his career?

      • That’s already done.
        There’s too much talent in Edmonton and Colorado for him to win anything else.(barring injuries of course)
        I should have rephrased it, the Leafs management thinks the fans need him to win something.
        I don’t think he wants it to be honest.
        I think Slavin should have been the run away winner, but there’s a lot of forward bias involved in this award.

      • Agreed on AM being in the running Caper. The “on-ice” part is the high-level of play. Gentlemanly conduct includes everything and while second chances need to be given; maybe you wait a year before nominating a guy who harassed and mooned a security guard a trophy for gentlemanly conduct…

        And @NYR4Life who mentioned ROR, which I’m guessing was for his alleged (acquitted due to lack of proof but still probably did it) DUI incident 5 years ago; I would argue that 5 years ago, he should have been excluded. But people do change and you can’t paint him for life because of a poor decision years ago. In the same way that if AM was nominated again a few years from now, this past offseason should no longer matter.

        Lastly, on Slavin; unfortunately the hockey writers who nominate no longer know the difference between “high-level of play” and “who got the most points.” Which is why the Hart Trophy is also a complete farce; and why the Norris Trophy often goes to d-guys who are more likely to forecheck than backcheck (seriously just come out with a Bobby Orr trophy for offensive defensemen and bring the Norris back to defense; not saying you can’t have someone good at both, but Subban, Burns, Letang (when he won) as the best DEFENSE? Nope).

        The only trophies that really matter anymore are the peer-voted or results based. The Lindsay, Vezina, etc.

      • By rephrase you mean change what you said to the exact opposite? You said it’s the only trophy he’ll ever come close to winning in his career, he’s already won a trophy. but you meant any trophy won in the past doesn’t count? Does that count for everybody or just players from Toronto? By your logic no player has ever won anything except for the night that they win it? and going forward only players from Colorado and Edmonton can win anything?

      • Yes. Just players from the Leafs.
        Can he win the Calder again?
        Do you see him winning the scoring race any year with McDavid, Leon, and MacKinnon playing a full season?
        Not really the exact opposite. Just added a bit to reflect how I feel.
        He doesn’t want it.
        Most seasoned fans could care less. It’s been won by some of the best, that much is true, but it’s nothing more than a secondary award in my lowly opinion.

      • Oh, now your ranking which awards are important and which ones aren’t, that part you didn’t mention. Let us know which ones are important and which ones aren’t and then we can go from there I guess. I guess we’re also discounting any award that a player has only won one time? are a couple of Edmonton players who have won rookie of the year only ones as well. Seems like a strange criteria, a player who wins rookie of the year only wants is not good, and also you are the arbiter of which trophies are worthwhile or not, got it.

      • Nope. Never typed any of that.
        Clearly stated that the Byng being a secondary award (voted on by writers) was only my opinion.
        You sure took a lot more from my post than I intended to convey.

      • Actually that was a garbage post by me.
        I shouldn’t have posted it.

  8. To clarify in case my point was missed.

    This isnt about Austin Matthews as much as it’s about the writers who voted.

    I doubt very much that Matthew wants this history hashed over and over again.

    Whom ever voted for Matthew should be the one’s to answer the question “What were you thinking”

    • Yup

  9. So, all you Don Cherry wannabees look back at the past winners of the Lady Byng Trophy:
    Gretzky – 5; Datsyuk – 4; Red Kelly – 4; Bossy – 3; Ron Francis – 3; St. Louis – 3; Bucyk, Kariya, Keon, Ratelle, Mikita, Dionne, all twice.
    Most recent winners include Barkov, Gaudreau, Kopitar, O’Reilly.
    These guys could all play for me and have been great in a tough league.
    Spare me the Caspar Milquetoast BS.
    I certainly agree that defencemen should get a lot more consideration than they do – Slavin’s an excellent example.

    • I was being facetious in response to Wendel re Caspar Milquetoast. Sheeesh are we thin-skinned today …

      • It’s not the temperature, George, it’s the humidity (as you in Ottawa well know).

  10. I disagree with calling a Bobby Orr trophy for Offensive defenseman. Bobby Orr did it all , including fighting his own fights .He had 47 in his career . Lots of highlights of him blocking shots.
    Bobby Orr was a true Norris winner

    • True that Vinne,
      Little known fact he had more fights than Gordie Howe.
      I am totally biased, but do actually believe he was the most dominant player of all time before his career was cut short.
      A D man winning the scoring title, twice.
      Controlled the game all over the ice like no other.

  11. Small correction, it wasn’t Lindblom’s rookie year, he played 81 games last year and 23 the year before.

  12. Bobby Orr had it all the perfect hockey player with an awesome attitude and is still a true leader for the game. I’m no Leafs fan in fact if they played the Russians I would cheer for Russia but I have to say don’t count Matthews out of winning major awards the kid can play. I’m not totally sold on his attitude but his skill is undeniable.

    • Orr…. best hockey player ever…. period.