NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2020

by | Aug 13, 2020 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Recaps of yesterday’s playoff games, the Penguins fire their assistant coaches, the Leafs respond to the qualifying-round elimination and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron’s double-overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Bergeron’s linemates David Pastrnak (one goal) and Brad Marchand (two assists) picked up their first points of the postseason. Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton returned to action after missing the qualifying round with an undisclosed injury, but winger Justin Williams and blueliner Sami Vatanen were ruled “unfit to play” for Game 1.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour was fined $25K for his comments disputing the Bruins’ second goal when Anders Bjork appeared to swat the puck out of Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek’s glove on the ice to teammate Charlie Coyle. “This is why the league’s a joke, in my opinion, on these things,” said Brind’Amour following the game. “That one is a crime scene.”


  SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, the officials got the call wrong, but Brind’Amour should know the league takes a dim view of coaches publicly airing their grievances about officiating.   The New York Islanders overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier tallied four unanswered goals for the Islanders while T.J. Oshie netted both Capitals goals. The Caps were unhappy with Lee over a late hit on Nicklas Backstrom that sidelined the center for the rest of the game. A further word on Backstrom’s condition could be provided later today.  


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eberle’s goal late in the second period gave the Isles a much-needed lift. They went on to dominate the Capitals in the final frame.

A three-goal outburst within a 1:23 span in the third period powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes in the first game of their opening-round series. Nazem Kadri, J.T. Compher, and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers while Philipp Grubauer made 14 saves for the shutout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colorado controlled this game from the opening faceoff. Only the play of Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper kept this scoreless until the Avs’ third-period flurry.

Carter Hart made 27 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Joel Farabee tallied the game-winner 16 seconds after the Habs tied it on a second-period power-play goal by Shea Weber. Habs goalie Carey Price made a breathtaking stick save on a second-period Scott Laughton blast, preventing either a sure goal or perhaps serious injury to teammate Nick Suzuki as the youngster attempted to block the shot.



SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a physical,closely-contested game that could set the tone for the remainder of the series. Both goaltenders were outstanding.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice in a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Horvat, Troy Stecher (with the game-winner), and J.T. Miller netted three unanswered third-period goals. Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom made 29 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a close game until the Canucks blew it open with three goals on five shots. The Blues played better than they had in the round-robin but seemed to wilt in that final period.


TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins dismissed assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin, and Mark Recchi yesterday. A search for new assistants for head coach Mike Sullivan will begin at once.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford promised changes after his club’s qualifying-round exit. He’ll turn next to his roster, but don’t expect any big changes there other than perhaps trading goalie Matt Murray and letting Justin Schultz depart via free agency. If those moves fail to improve the Pens next season, Sullivan could lose his job while Rutherford looks at maybe a bigger roster move or two.

The Penguins also opted to retain their 2020 first-round pick (15th overall). They will instead send their 2021 first-round pick to the Minnesota Wild to complete February’s Jason Zucker trade.

NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist’s future with the New York Rangers appears hazy following a recent meeting with team president John Davidson. The long-time Rangers starting goalie lost his job to rookie Igor Shesterkin this season and the club doesn’t intend to carry three goalies next season. Lundqvist has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $8.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could be trying to convince Lundqvist to retire, removing his full cap hit from their books. They could also buy him out, but that would only save $3 million next season and give them $1.5 million in dead cap space for 2021-22.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan reaffirmed his faith in general manager Kyle Dubas during yesterday’s online end-of-season press conference. Dubas, meanwhile, defended his players and resisted the notion that management misread the club’s potential. Leafs stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly acknowledged the disappointment and frustration over yet another early postseason exit but maintain their belief they have the core to develop into a winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unhappy Leafs followers appear to be running out of patience with “The Shanaplan”, Dubas’ management, and the inconsistent performance of some of the club’s stars. It’ll be interesting to see what off-season moves they make to address their roster deficiencies, especially on the blueline. Another erratic season could cost Dubas his job and perhaps lead to a core player getting traded.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: An undisclosed injury appears to be affecting Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin. He failed to register a shot in the Stars’ Game 1 loss to the Calgary Flames, marking the second time in three games he’s done so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The low-scoring Stars need veterans scorers like Seguin at his best if they hope to stage a run for the Stanley Cup.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little is unsure if he’ll play again after suffering a punctured eardrum and concussion when he was struck in the head by a shot during a game last November. He’s been sidelined ever since as he recovered from surgery to repair his eardrum. His symptoms have reduced but brain scans revealed lingering damage that could put his future at risk if he continues playing hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Little intends to take time to heal as he undergoes further tests and seeks different medical opinions. Nevertheless, his playing career appears in jeopardy.

THE SCORE: Top prospect Alexis Lafreniere won’t be returning to Rimouski Oceanic training camp and he won’t be playing in Europe as he prepares for his NHL career. He intends to train at home and report to his NHL team whenever their training camp opens this fall. It’s expected the New York Rangers will select him with the first-overall pick in this year’s draft in October.


  1. Rod playing Ref games pretty early in series sounds to me like sour grapes but time will tell. I thought the Lee hit was late but he definitely let up could have killed him. Not sure Washington can beat them 5 vs 5

    • Agree Obe, “Rob the Bod” is playing the ref card way early.

      Even if you agree with him, his outburst doesn’t make sense because they scored a shorty on the PP nullifying the goal.

      This outburst was to rally the troops and hoping to gain an advantage with the refs
      We will see if it works or backfires.

  2. Just curious, leaf fans do you feel Shanahan is the right person? Shanahan picked Dubas or Hunter and Lou; was that the right decision? Can Dubas bring the Cup to Toronto?

    • From this non-Leafs fan’s viewpoint anyway, 6 years + 2 GM and coaches later without one series win says that that is a failure. How long does he get at the helm? Meanwhile, Lou’s team, with proven winner Barry Trotz behind the bench, is looking real good.

      • meant to say “Meanwhile, Lou’s team, with proven winner Barry Trotz behind the bench and no Tavares, is looking real good.”

    • Shanahan screwed up from the beginning setting the plan back before it started. He had it a.. backwards out of the gate. THE GM HIRES THE COACH to execute his plan NOT THE PRESIDENT. Lou also hurt the club’s recent past and future bringing in a washed up Marleau.

      Dubas is definitely the right guy and Shanahan is now in the background. Dubas hasn’t even had a single training camp with his coach of choice.

      Ceci is now gone as is Barrie so that is significant addition by subtraction.

      Dubas needs to add RHD and a new goalie as Andersen is a scarred goalie.

      A great first move would be Andersen for Adam Larson straight up.

      Matthews-led Leafs will win cup quicker than Ovi’s Caps and Ovi is the best player over the past 10-15 years, not Crosby as all the Canadian homers like to think.

      • Nice one, Wendel, I’ll take Crosby, thanks.
        It is time for Shanahan to come under the microscope. One more year, I guess, but Keefe better find a system that works in their own end.

      • Hi W17H

        With you on most

        Tough to get an Andersen replacement… who do you suggest? Cost?

        Setting aside my Crosby bias; using only statistically comparisons and eye test; etc etc … Crosby over Ovi every time

        Ovi has Ht. , wt.; age; one timers and EN goals as the only stats he’s ahead of Crosby on

      • I’m an American and I’ll take 87 over 8 any day. To be fair, i am also bias. Pens fan.

        Regardless, Ovi is great but the stats don’t lie. What Crosby has done in the number of games he’s played is pretty amazing. Especially in this era.

      • Marleau takes waaaay too much heat from Leafs fans for what was a player management issue by coach and Dubas.

        3 year contract and fans were generally happy year 1 in a top 6 role. Year 2 was a bad year in a top 6 role, Dubas simultaneously overpayed their RFAs and forced themselves to pay to unload the contract before year 3 to fit others under the cap.

        The option was for the team to correctly assess and pay the RFAs at market rate, keep Marleau for the final year of the contract on an overpay while used in a role more like Spezza in the bottom 6. They keep the 1st round pick and have cap space to build a deeper team. That is how Lou would have done it.

      • Way too much cold logic there 2.0. Factual as hell but many are simply looking for someone to blame and aren’t interested in reality.

      • Pengy, I think something like kerfoot for georgiev and play Campbell or georgiev whoever is hot. NYR needs help behind Z at centre. Nice 2and trade after Andersen for Larson.

      • Nonsense 2.0. Dubas paid a fair price for Tavares (wellunder what others were willing to pay him) , a fair price for Matthew’s (too short of a term though), got an excellent deal on Nylander and overpaid Marner by 2M per year admittedly. He hasn’t painted them in any cap corner, Lou did with his old people’s tired idea of paying for “experience” and not for talent.

      • Tavares cost them Vanreimsdyk and a 1st round pick and ultimately depth. Not a wrong move but is a bold decision that came at a high cost. Not well under what others were willing to pay but it was- well.. under.

        Nylander was not a bargain. The leafs did not use their leverage. For example the Jets used their RFA leverage to sign Laine (more points, more goals and higher profile) to 6.75m a season after the Nylander contract for 6.9m. Laine’s contract does not walk him to UFA either.

        Agree on Mathews contract re term. It was the capitulation on the Nylander contract that was the blood in the water that agents for Mathews and Marner smelled and exploited. Mathews is a hell of a hockey player.

        Marner is a top 20 player in the league being paid like top 5 — its 3 mil high.

        Reilly has a good contract.

      • What sold Tavares on the Toronto deal was the huge up front lump of cash that MOST other teams cannot afford to do. THAT’S why a lot of teams will relish the sight of Dubas in panic mode when all the options to clear cap space are used up with other teams.

    • Hunter has been a winner everywhere. Can’t imagine why this decision was made.

  3. I watched the Canucks/Blues game – that Quinn Hughes is amazing. He plays with the confidence of a veteran even though he’s 20 years old and in his 1st season. I’m sure Bettman will job him by giving the Calder to Makar to grow the game in the USA. Enter the conspiracy theorists.

    • Hi Gored1970

      With you 100% in QH’s talent but weighing the tough decision between QH and Makar…. to me the tough choice goes in Makar’s favour

      The PHWA tend to award this to the statistically best Fwd; when its basically a two man race re Dmen … they’ll almost assuredly go with the best statistics

      Similar game TOI … 21/22 mins
      Makar (2nd in team in pts)
      57 GP …. 12-38-50 + 12

      QH (4th on team in points)
      68 GP…. 8-45-53 -10

      The dark horse is the unbelievable Kublik…3rd in points on team; 30 G’s; only Kane had more Hawks goals

      He will get some first place votes for sure; so it’s a numbers game (1st place votes, 2nd place votes etc)

      I think it goes to Makar