NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2020
Recaps of Saturday’s action, plus the latest on Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves backstopping the Boston Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in Game 3 of their opening-round series. The Bruins lead the series 2-1. Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci each had two points for the Bruins.
Halak took over as the Bruins’ starter after Tuukka Rask released a statement before yesterday’s game indicating he was leaving the team and returning home for family reasons. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the club supported Rask’s decision.
It was a costly loss for the Hurricanes as first-line winger Andrei Svechnikov left the game with an injured leg after jostling in front of the Boston net with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Andrei Svechnikov is helped to the locker room after going down awkwardly here.#NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/0Uz95T2DSr
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 15, 2020
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That game had a surreal feeling, starting with the sudden news of Rask’s departure followed by Svechnikov’s injury. The latter prompted a crass, misinformed tweet by NESN’s play-by-play man Jack Edwards chiding the Hurricanes’ winger, in turn sparking an outpouring of criticism toward Edwards, including from several NHL TV analysts and pundits.
While Rask is expected to return to the Bruins next season, there is already speculation he may have played his final NHL game. I’ll have more on that later today in the Rumors section.
The Hurricanes could provide an update on Svechnikov’s status, but head coach Rod Brind’Amour suggested the injury looked “really bad” during his post-game presser. Losing their best winger would leave a big void in the Hurricanes’ lineup.
The Vegas Golden Knights have the Chicago Blackhawks on the ropes as they hung on for a 2-1 win in Game 3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Marc-Andre Fleury made his first start of this series for Vegas, turning in a 26-save performance. William Karlsson and Patrick Brown scored for Vegas while Olli Maatta replied for the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks had several good scoring chances but failed to cash in. The Golden Knights can complete the sweep later today.
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper tied a career-high 49 saves carrying his club to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of their opening-round series. The Avs lead the series 2-1. Taylor Hall tallied the game-winner late in the third period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been outshot and outplayed through most of their games in this postseason but Kuemper’s made the difference. He stole this game for the Coyotes, keeping them from falling behind 3-0 to the powerful Avalanche.
Victor Hedman’s second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. Lightning center Brayden Point also scored to extend his points streak to six games. Riley Nash had a goal and an assist for the Jackets, who were held to just seven shots in the second and third periods.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has been a low-scoring grinder of a series. Unlike last season’s opening-round series, this year’s rematch shows the Lightning are willing to play that type of game. The Jackets have relied on strong goaltender and defense to get this far, but they need more goal production if they hope to upset the Bolts for the second time.
RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS: Washington Capitals coach Todd Reirden said Nicklas Backstrom participated in practice yesterday but was reluctant to commit to the center’s status for Game 3 today against the New York Islanders. Backstrom was sidelined following a late hit from Islanders captain Anders Lee in Game 1.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports Oilers defenseman Mike Green has retired.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No official word yet from Green or his representatives. It wouldn’t be surprising if the veteran blueliner has decided to hang up his skates. An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, the 34-year-old Green is coming to the end of his career. He opted out of return-to-play citing family reasons.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports there’s concern some of the top European prospects in the 2020 NHL Draft might not be permitted to play in the NHL in 2020-21 because of COVID-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the European prospects were probably going to remain overseas for next season anyway. I don’t think it’ll adversely affect their standing in this year’s draft.
Just tossing this out there if Rask retires and the B’s let Krug & DeBrusk go would it be possible they could bring in T Hall and B Dillon and a another vet goalie say Robin Lehner for 2 years
That would be very doable Joe. As things stand now the Bruins have $65,140,591 committed to 19 – which includes Rask’s $7 mil cap hit, giving them $16,359,409 to sign 4. Should Rask retire … and since his last contract was signed when he was under 35 … the Bruins could add that to the free space, giving them $23 mil +. RFAs DeBrusk ($863,333) and Grzelcyk ($1,400,000) should be re-signed at more more than $5.5 combined while Chara, should he come back for one more season, will likely re-sign at the same $2 mil. That still leaves them with around $16 mil which should be more than enough to go after both Hall and Lehner who, despite the chatter that they will command the really big bucks, will have to lower their sights somewhat in light of the unusual circumstances.
What they have to keep an eye on is the year after when, with the expansion draft, their RFAs are Kase, Ritchie, Blidh and Carlo and will need to re-sign – or replace – UFAs Halak, Lindholm, Kuraly and Krejci
Regarding Rask, with his indifferent play and comments about it not being playoff hockey. The best and only decision was to leave the bubble.
You can’t have your number 1 goalie playing with a negative attitude and not wanting to be there. This only brings down the moral of the people around him.
Not sure what the future is for Rask, he only has one more left on his contract.
Bigger question is how does his teammates feel about it?
Family emergency understandable. Missing family while others are making the same sacrifice might not go over as well.
Rask has a new born and his priorities may just be his family, then so be it; it’s his decision to make.
Side note: Jack Edward’s is an idiot. I dont like Homer’s for announcers. Just call the game and leave the bias crap at the door.
Jack gets carried away and this happens to him once or twice a year but what everyone is dealing with in the everyday life right now he was wrong ……
As a Bruins fan I can’t handle Jack he is a moron even though what he said this time wasn’t horrible he never thinks before he starts yapping. I feel for Andy as he has to work with him.
The Lightening are going to come out of the series better for playing against such a tight style of hockey against the Jackets. I have a feeling they are the team to beat.
Just a little reminder to whoever it was bemoaning the stringent crowd controls over Covid-19 concerns and bragging about how things were under control in B.C.
With idiots doing what they do best it’s going to get worse long before it starts to get better
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Rask is owed another $6.5 mill on the final year of his contract at the age of 34.
I just can’t see him walking away from that unless what he is dealing with cannot be deal with within the next four months.
That said, Rask & his wife, has just had a newborn. Sometimes, mothers of newborns experience some metal health issues. If this is indeed the case, I can relate to what they are going through. My wife, one of the mentally strongest persons I have ever met, experienced it big time with only one of our children for approximately an eight month period. As husband & a partner, all you can do is be there & be supportive as your spouse works her way through it. It was one of the most helpless feeling I have had in my adult life. And sometimes they do not, as a friend of ours took her own life shortly before their third born was one year old.
I don’t know if this is the issue, but when folks piss all over this man for leaving the game for family reasons, I can only relate to some I have experienced & I am willing to believe he did so for very good reasons.