NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

by | May 15, 2021 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The Jets down the Leafs in their final regular-season game, Conference championship trophies won’t be awarded this season, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Ondrej Kase and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets ended their regular season on a high note by doubling up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Kyle Connor scored twice to finish the season with a team-leading 26 goals. The Leafs’ Auston Matthews was held pointless, finishing the season with a league-leading 41 goals.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs will have several days off before they begin their respective first-round series. The Jets face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday while the Leafs meet the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL won’t be handing out the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the conference champions this season. The Prince of Wales Trophy is usually awarded to the Eastern Conference champion while the Campbell Bowl is awarded to the Western Conference champion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bright side is we won’t have to listen to any of the superstitious nonsense over whether the winning teams will touch those respective trophies. Because, of course, everyone knows touching those awards could determine the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final (end sarcasm mode).

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The lack of a new contract for Alex Ovechkin isn’t bothering Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. He said he and Ovechkin are focused on the upcoming playoffs.

Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” Leonsis said, adding the team’s commitment to his captain is to continue to have great teams. “We’ll spend to the cap, we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on because that’ll be his legacy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is completing a 13-year, $124 million contract. He and Leonsis agreed at the start of this season to put aside contract discussions until after the playoffs are over. Based on Leonsis’ comments, it sounds like Ovechkin won’t be going anywhere.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase won’t be playing in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Washington Capitals tonight. Kase suffered an upper-body injury unrelated to the suspected concussion that sidelined him for all but three games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the issue, it sounds like Kase could miss more than just Game 1.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith left Friday’s practice early to receive medical treatment after making a routine save. It’s suspected to be a lower-body injury. The Penguins open their first-round series against the New York Islanders on Sunday.

TSN: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Artem Zub to a two-year, $5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zub, 25, joined the Senators as a free agent from the KHL and played well in his first NHL season. He finished with 14 points in 47 games and a plus-minus of plus-4 while logging over 18 minutes of ice time per game.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk declined to comment about lawsuits filed against five defendants by his traveling companions related to his Caribbean vacation last Christmas.

THE SCORE: cites a report by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating Alain Vigneault will return as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of returning coaches, Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed Rick Bowness will be back behind the bench with his club next season. Nill also said forward Roope Hintz will undergo surgery next week in New York to repair a groin injury.


  1. For easy reference looking ahead to UFA season – and beginning with the back end out – here are the 2021 UFAs by position – not listed in any particular order of preference – just by age – youngest to oldest and if the same age, then in alpha order. Taken from CapFriendly, these are only the ones who appeared on the roster or taxi squad during this season and includes G6 UFAs – but not expirinbg LTIRs.

    Many, if not most, will wind up without contracts and almost just as many will retire or play in Europe. And with a few possible exceptions, of those signed or retained, not many are looking at raises over their last deal and with minimal term.

    The lists could see a few RFAs added if teams decide to cut ties with any along the way. Here are the goaltenders:

    UFA Goaltenders
    Philippe Desrosiers Florida – 25
    Landon Bow Dallas – 25
    Jonas Johansson Colorado – 25
    Chris Dreidger Florida – 26
    John Gillies St. Louis – 27
    Kasimir Kaskisuo Nashville – 27
    Charlie Lindgren Montreal – 27
    Linus Ullmark Buffalo – 27
    Laurent Brossoit Winnipeg – 28
    Maxime Lagace Pittsburgh – 28
    Alex Lyon Philadelphia – 28
    David Rittich Toronto – 28
    Scott Wedgewood New Jersey – 28
    Louis Domingue Calgary – 29
    Philippe Grubaur Colorado – 29
    Petr Mrazek Carolina – 29
    Frederick Andersen Toronto – 31
    Troy Grosenick Los Angeles – 31
    Antti Raanta Arizona – 31
    Jonathan Bernier Detroit – 32
    Aaron Dell New Jersey – 32
    Andrew Hammond Minnesota – 33
    James Reimer Carolina – 33
    Tuuka Rask Boston – 34
    Devan Dubnyk Colorado – 35
    Jaroslav Halak Boston – 35
    Carter Hutton Buffalo – 35
    Corey Schneider NY Islanders – 35
    Brian Elliott Philadelphia – 36
    Curtis McElhinney Tampa Bay – 37
    Pekka Rinne Nashville – 38
    Craig Anderson Washington – 39
    Henrik Lundqvist Washington – 39
    Mike Smith Edmonton– 39

  2. UFA Left D
    Samuel Morin Philadelphia – 25
    Daniel Renouf Colorado – 26
    Joakim Ryan Carolina – 27
    Slater Koekkoek Edmonton – 27
    Mikko Lehtonen Columbus – 27
    Jake McCabe Buffalo – 27
    Brandon Montour Florida – 27
    Ryan Murray New Jersey – 27
    Mike Reilly Boston – 27
    Frederick Claeson Tampa Bay – 28
    Ben Hutton Toronto – 28
    Nikita Nesterov Calgary – 28
    Jordan Oesterle Arizona – 28
    Jamie Oleksiak Dallas – 28
    Brandon Davidson Buffalo – 29
    Derek Forbort Winnipeg – 29
    Erik Gustafsson Montreal – 29
    Jonathan Merrill Montreal – 29
    Patrick Nemeth Colorado – 29
    Jared Tinordi Boston – 29
    Sami Vatanen Dallas – 29
    Michael Del Zotto Columbus – 30
    Dmitri Kulikov Edmonton – 30
    Aaron Ness Arizona – 30
    Kevin Connauton Florida – 31
    Luca Sbisa Nashville – 31
    Ian Cole Minnesota – 32
    Brad Hunt Minnesota – 32
    Brendan Smith NY Rangers – 32
    Jordie Benn Winnipeg – 33
    Niklas Hjalmarsson Arizona – 33
    Matt Irwin Buffalo – 33
    Alec Martinez Vegas – 33
    Carl Gunnarsson St. Louis – 34
    Jack Johnson NY Rangers – 34
    Marc Staal Detroit – 34
    Alex Edler Vancouver – 35
    Alex Goligoski Arizona – 35
    Brayden Coburn NY Islanders – 36
    Andy Greene NY Islanders – 38
    Zdeno Chara Washington – 44

  3. UFA Right D
    Jalen Chatfield Vancouver – 25
    Brady Keeper Florida – 25
    Ben Thomas Tampa Bay – 25
    Kyle Burroughs Colorado – 25
    Josh Jacobs New Jersey – 25
    Roland McKeown Carolina – 25
    Mitch Reinke St. Louis – 25
    Jordan Gross Arizona – 26
    Tyler Lewington Nashville – 26
    Cody Ceci Pittsburgh – 27
    Connor Carrick New Jersey – 27
    Dougie Hamilton Carolina – 27
    Dakota Mermis Minnesota – 27
    Tucker Poolman Winnipeg – 27
    Adam Clendening Columbus – 28
    Adam Larsson Edmonton – 28
    Andy Welinski Anaheim – 28
    Tyson Barrie Edmonton – 29
    Erik Gudbranson Nashville – 29
    Jani Hakanpaa Carolina – 29
    Stephen Johns Dallas – 29
    Mark Pysyk Dallas – 29
    Zach Bogosian Toronto – 30
    Travis Hamonic Vancouver – 30
    Greg Peteryn San Jose – 30
    David Savard Tampa Bay – 30
    Michael Stone Calgary – 30
    Cody Goloubef Ottawa – 31
    Steven Kampfer Boston – 31
    Luke Schenn Tampa Bay – 31
    Matt Tennyson New Jersey – 31
    Jason Demers Arizona – 32
    Tylor Fedun Dallas – 32
    Yannick Weber Pittsburgh – 32
    Alex Biega Detroit – 33
    Kevan Miller Boston – 33
    Nate Prosser Philadelphia – 35

  4. projected lineup for Bruins tonight …..just maybe for the first game I wouldn’t mind seeing Frederic in for Wagner and Tinordi in for Lauzon…a touch more size

    Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

    Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith

    Nick Ritchie – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle

    Jake DeBrusk – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner


    Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

    Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo

    Jeremy Lauzon – Kevan Miller


    Tuukka Rask

    Jeremy Swayman

    • @Joe
      Will be interesting to see if the Bruins just play their game or if they do dress Frederic to set that tone

      • So Wilson can eat Frederic up again?

        He’s a willing punching bag.

      • Agree with Wilson handling Frederic ….that’s why I suggested Tinordi also …. Frederic can just about matchup with anyone else on that Caps team with physical play ….also Ritchie needs to play with a little more edge he has the size

      • but it just takes Frederic finally holding his own over Wilson to make him a non-factor. Frederic is still a rookie

      • Why play Washington’s game? Put your most skilled guys on the ice. Absorb the hits where necessary. The caps will beat anyone in the east who tries to match their ‘heavy’ game. Imo.

      • Tinordi was supposed to be hard hitting skilled when drafted and tried to fight when he didn’t live up to expectations and then suffered a few brutal beatings.

        He has a concussion history and shouldn’t be fighting as he isn’t good at it and any fight must be his last.

        Bruins need to play their game as they can’t beat Wilson at his.

      • Tinordi doesn’t skate well enough to play on a contending team regularly.
        He is a depth guy who is willing to step up when needed.
        Solid guy, just not a solid D-man.

      • Ray Bark,

        Tinordi was a bust, plain and simple, he couldn’t even hang on to a regular job in the AHL.

        He’s a big pylon and tries to fight.

        He happens to be a gem of a guy though. Montreal eats up failures but Tinordi wasn’t destroyed by fans as expectations very quickly dropped once we saw him play.

        Great guy, hope he won’t fight again.

  5. Doesn’t matter who they dress, the Caps will thump the Boston Flip Floppers …

    • It all starts today. Basically comes down to can Boston handle Washington toughest.

      I’m not talking about fighting or hit for hit; but will the Pastrnaks and Debrusk of the team be willing to grind it out, fight for the puck and battle when knowing they’re going to get hit.

      The other big key is Boston will need to make sure the PP is clicking to keep the Capitals honest.

      Wilson can handle Frederick and that is OK, the important note is Frederick is willing and won’t stop because he lost a fight. He also tends to get under their skin which is why I’m surprised he isn’t in the lineup. Wagner we will see.

    • You usually call the fans that…now you are calling the team that. A little confused with your insults today are you?

  6. Morning Ed Boston needs to play 5 on 5 stay out of the Wilson nonsense and someone needs to nut Ovechkin eye for an eye but only at end of game. George thanks for always doing the work with your posts always great information had no idea there were that many goaltenders available. George you think the game and management equally well that’s so awesome have a great day and keep up the good work.

  7. Last two playoff series the Bruins lost was because of their 5 on 5 play and they couldn’t handle the TB or ST Lou size and toughness….sure the Caps will try to play physical right off the puck drop

    • Agree Joe, they will. Also agree that would be playing into WSH hands.
      B’s have some guys that can and will step up in that regard. But they can’t win that game.
      I thing the B’s can outplay then on special teams and in net. Keep it even 5 on 5.
      Even if the B’s win this series they won’t come out of it unscathed.

  8. The reality is Washington has only a handful of physical players, Wilson, Hathaway and Dillon, also have smaller players, Ossie, Spring, Hagelin and Sheary.

    The issue is some of their best players are the physical beast.

    Keep dumping the puck in Chara corner; I do not believe Washington has the D or goaltending to win this series.

  9. Washington’s a big physical talented team but we’ve got them in speed and in goal. They are a scary team on the power play. I think they can be beat, but Wilson’s almost like a pit bull unleashed that guy concerns me Miller’s tough so is Ritchi but none of those guys can best Wilson in a fight. I wish we had one guy on the team that could make Wilson think twice before pulling off his garbage. I’m almost think Fredrick should in there. From what I hear Wilson really hates the guy and maybe that would throw him off his game. Should be a great. Game.

    • Miller would absolutely destroy Tom Wilson. He’d do the same damage as McQuaid. I’m not worried about beating him. The only concerns I have wear striped sweaters. Bruins in 5, unless the refs try to manage the games.

  10. Boston got this series in the bag. The team already knows the caps strategies cause they were recording practices. Then marchand can get rid of Wilson by licking him and giving hum the New England covid variant. Then pasta will use the deflated pucks to rack up the points.

    • Ha!