NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2022

by | Mar 25, 2022 | News, NHL | 41 comments

Claude Giroux collects points in his Panthers debut, David Pastrnak tallies his 12th career hat trick, general managers to discuss closing the “LTIR playoff loophole” and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Claude Giroux had two assists in his debut with the Florida Panthers as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Former Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot picked up an assist in his first game against his former team. Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Panthers (92 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Dallas Stars on a shootout goal by Tyler Seguin. Scott Wedgewood picked up the win with a 44-save performance while Roope Hintz scored twice in regulation. Nino Niederreiter netted two goals for the Hurricanes. The Stars (74 points) remain one point ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 12th career hat trick in a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Haula collected three assists and Hampus Lindholm collected an assist in his first game with Boston. The Bruins (85 points) move into third place in the Atlantic Division, knocking the Lighting into the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth. They’re also tied with the Leafs but the latter holds second place in the Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh left the game after blocking a shot in the third period.

The Vegas Golden Knights got a goal and two assists from Evgenii Dadonov to thump the Nashville Predators 6-1 to avoid falling further behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot. It was Dadonov’s first game since his trade to the Anaheim Ducks was overturned by the league. The Predators, meanwhile, are three points up on the Stars in the first wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights center Brett Howden was stretchered from the game following a hit by Predators winger Filip Forsberg. He was reportedly conscious, in stable condition with full movement of his limbs and sent to a hospital for further tests.

Earlier in the day, the Predators announced defenseman Mark Borowiecki is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Leon Draisaitl scored twice and Connor McDavid added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. McDavid sits atop the scoring race with 95 points, five ahead of Draisaitl. With 77 points, the Oilers are two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game with an upper-body injury.

The Kings, meanwhile, picked up a point in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist in regulation and potted the winning goal in the shootout while Colin Delia made 43 saves for the win. Phillip Danault scored twice for the Kings.

An overtime goal by Joel Eriksson Ek lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot kicked out 26 shots as the Wild (80 points) sit one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues in second place in the Central Division. With 71 points, the Canucks are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues, while, fell 5-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Travis Konecny scored two goals and Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Earlier in the day, the Blues announced Tyler Bozak (lower-body) was moved to injured reserve.

A four-goal third period by the Ottawa Senators carried them to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter five points out of the final Western wild-card spot. Brady Tkachuk scored twice and Tim Stutzle collected two assists for the Senators. Jets winger Kyle Connor netted his 40th goal of the season.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth win in their last five games by downing the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Brock Nelson scored twice and Anders Lee had three assists.


DAILY FACEOFF: Closing the LTIR playoff loophole in the salary cap will be among the items up for discussion in next week’s meetings of NHL general managers. Some general managers aren’t happy that some teams exceed the salary cap in the regular season with players on long-term injury reserve only to see those players return to the lineup for the playoffs when the salary cap no longer counts.

One proposed solution is to have 20 players iced by a team in a playoff game to count against the salary cap. Any attempted changes to the salary cap or to roster requirements, however, would constitute a material change of the collective bargaining agreement and would have to be negotiated with the NHL Players Association.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some would consider this the “Nikita Kucherov rule”, which arose because the Tampa Bay Lightning winger returned to action at the start of the 2021 playoffs after spending last season on LTIR recovering from offseason hip surgery. That allowed the Lightning the salary-cap flexibility to exceed the cap by the equivalent of Kucherov’s $9.5 million annual cap hit and add players before the trade deadline.

This loophole has existed since the implementation of the salary cap in 2005 and was used before, specifically by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 when Patrick Kane went on LTIR several weeks before the trade deadline with a broken collarbone. It’s taken this long, however, for some general managers to have an issue with it.

Bear in mind that medical substantiation must be provided to the league to justify placing a player on LTIR. The league looked into Kucherov’s status late last season and concluded the Lightning did nothing wrong.

Assuming the majority of general managers support this proposal, I don’t expect the PA to be onboard with it. This could be an issue that gets revisited during the next round of collective bargaining.

NBC SPORTS: The International Ice Hockey Federation has asked an independent ethics council board to investigate the Russian Hockey Federation and former IIHF president Rene Fasel regarding issues related to the war in Ukraine. Fasel was critical of the IIHF’s decisions to ban Russia and Belarus from upcoming international competitions. He’s serving as an advisor to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo will undergo season-ending hip surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery in six months.

TSN: New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery while defenseman Scott Mayfield is done for the season with a lower-body injury.

Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway was fined $2,000.00 for diving/embellishment by the NHL department of player safety.


  1. Bruins looked really good last night even without Bergeron. Let see if they can take claim to the 2nd seed would love to play Leafs in rd 1

    • Hopefully PB will be back, sure wished they traded for a winger who at least has some consistency to his all around game .. 74 comes to the rink (game) clean and leaves clean

    • I agree, no better way to purge that stink on the leafs in the playoffs than to finally be able to beat the Bs. If not, I guess after the 7 game series the Bs will go to the finals again.

  2. Was flicking between games last night and hit on the Knights v Predz only seconds before Howden got hurt…. Man it looked horrific at full speed

    Still awful when they slowed it down, but a tad less ominous… hope he will be OK

    Dadanov had a good game

    Knights only a point back of last WC spot (Stars)… but Stars have 4 games in hand …. Only 16 games left… hard to make enough up

    Big game for Pens tonight…. Can we have a non Covid illness (case of the runs) for Shesterkin?

    If Pens bring their game from v Sabres…. Then Rangers over Pens by 6 or 7 gaols is not far-fetched…. The Sabres game was just awful

  3. A rule change would be a good thing. Even something small like if you didn’t play a game in regular season you can’t play in playoffs

    • That, if applied rigidly, would also preclude anyone brought up from the minors as, say, an injury replacement who hadn’t played a game in the NHL during the season.

  4. the playoff cap rule should also be called the Vegas Knights rule, as they are using LTIR to keep a bunch of their top players (Stone, Martinez) there until the playoffs.
    I don’t see why the PA would object this is more to keep other GM’s in line

    • I doubt Vegas is doing that because, if they are, they’re playing with fire if they want to even MAKE the playoffs. Right now they sit 6 pts back of Nashville for the first WC spot and 1 back of Dallas for the 2nd. But Nashville has 2 games in hand on Vegas and Dallas a whopping 4 in hand. Meanwhile, sitting just 2 pts back of Vegas are Winnipeg (who hold 2 games in hand) and Vancouver (with 1 in hand).

      Tampa, on the other hand, were never in danger of missing the playoffs.

    • Mike, I don’t think Vegas want to have Stone and Martinez on LTIR. They need them to actually make the playoffs.
      The problem is the Eichel trade imo. That move took away any wiggle room under the cap and set Vegas up for the situation they are in now.
      Changing the rule re the playoffs won’t change the problem that teams with significant long term injuries face.

      • MikeP & BCLeafFan -Vegas’ shaky situation is clearly shown in the records of the 5 teams battling for those WC slots since Feb 1

        The 5 Teams In The West WC Hunt Since Feb 1

        GP W L OT/SO PTS GF GA %
        Dal 21 13 7 1 27 62 61 .643
        Van 21 11 7 3 25 75 68 .595
        Wpg 22 10 9 3 23 84 78 .523
        Nas 19 10 9 0 20 71 59 .526
        Veg 20 8 11 1 17 50 57 .425

      • I realize that the 4 teams in the West currently holding down playoff spots could still conceivably fall out, so for comparison here are their records since Feb 1

        GP W L OT/SO PTS GF GA %
        Edm 24 14 8 2 30 85 71 .625
        LA 20 12 5 3 27 60 60 .675
        Min 22 11 10 1 23 75 78 .523
        StL 19 9 6 4 22 71 59 .579

        If their % pace since Feb 1, and those of the above 5 in the WC hunt, is maintained the rest of the way, this is how the 9 teams will wind up

        L.A. 101 pts
        Min 101 pts
        StL 101 pts
        Dal 99 pts
        Edm 98 pts
        Nas 96 pts
        Van 90 pts
        Wpg 88 pts
        Veg 87 pts

        Barring 1 or 2 teams catching fire – or conversely falling apart at the seams, that is going to be dogfight right to the wire

      • Jason Gregor tweeted this morning that 95 points is what will be needed to get at least a WC spot.
        He also posted what the teams record needs to be to get to 95 points with their remaining games.
        LA 8-8
        Nashville 8-8-1
        Edmonton 9-8
        Dallas 10-9
        Vagas 10-4-1
        Vancouver 12-4
        Winnipeg 12-4-1
        IMO I see LA, Nashville, Edmonton, and Dallas having better records than what is needed to get 95 points. This means Vegas, Vancouver and Winnipeg can’t lose more than 3 of their remaining games if they want a sniff at the playoffs.

      • Pretty much what is reflected above – IF they all continue to play at the same % pace they have done since Feb 1 … but there’s always a surprise in the mix – remember, St. Louis was in last place on Jan 31 they year they rose and won the cup

    • They object cause this rule allows gms to exceed the cap. Thus players can get more lucrative contracts.

  5. Couldn’t they just enforce they salary cap in the playoffs the same way they do in the regular season?

    • Not really. The roster size increases for the playoffs.

  6. MB
    Never really gave it serious thought until now , you mentioned it ..
    Leafs playing the Bruins again in the first round .
    I was kind of narrow minded as per the 2 Florida teams , more or less the 2 king pins in that division , but not so ..
    Boston is now a definite threat !

    Soon will tell where the Leafs sit , as they have Florida on Sunday and the Bruins on Tuesday
    Montreal , who always gives them fits , on Saturday .

    The goaltending has to be at least be presentable to achieve anything ..
    Playoff hockey , there don’t be 5-4 games , as the Leafs can score , but can they stop the puck

    • Ken. I just like the playoff rivalry the bruins and leafs has created the last little while and most of my buddies are leaf fans. I think the east will be whoever gets the hot goalie and is healthy will advance.

      • MB
        I am totally on the same page with you
        It is really , really exciting hockey , those 2 teams squaring off against each other !
        I viewed the Montreal series ,Columbus series , Washington series , not the same ..
        By the way , this is 8 th anniversary year of Shanahan at the helm ?

        Lots of tension in Leaf land

      • Ken, it’s all going to come down to which Campbell they get for the playoffs – the one who sparkled in the first 2 months or the one who floundered over his last 2 months – with Mrazek or the rookie handling the bulk of the work, they’re likely dead in the water, because nothing deflates a team that’s been working hard more than seeing their goalie give up a bad goal.

  7. #74…..So if you score 7 goals in 5 game stretch with a couple of assist during during part of the regular season and the rest of the regular season say 75 games you score 7 more goals and a handful of assists but don’t do much if anything else on the ice but cry because the coach made you a 3rd line winger and then turn around and asked to be traded, after the trade deadline passes say it was a tough 3-4 months for me are you worth 4 million per year

  8. RWM

    Hopefully , your guy – Ullmark , is managing the crease next Tuesday , when the Leafs and Bruins meet up

    • They will lose with Ullmark in net

  9. Back to your discussions yesterday regarding players being traded after the deadline. Is it in the MLB that anyone traded after the deadline has to go through waivers before the trade can be completed?

    I suppose this is to stop teams from loading up after the deadline. I mean why even have a “trade deadline” if you’re going to allow trades to occur after.

    George. Is Chychrun worth Ottawa’s potential top 5 pick? JUST the pick.

    • Hoo Boy Dark G – that’s a tough one. Right now they sit 4th from the bottom overall – and just 5 from last-place Mtl.

      The Top 5 consensus picks are

      Shane Wright 6′ 0″ 191lb C
      Logan Cooley 5′ 10″ 174lb C
      Matthew Savoie 5′ 9″ 175lb C
      Connor Geekie 6’3″ 196lb C
      Pavel Mintukov 6’1″ 197lb D

      Without being lottery-protected it would be just their luck to make that deal only to win the lottery and see Wright go to Arizona.

      That’s a helluva gamble because, if they were to get Wright, he’d be in the C mix at once with Norris, Pinto, Stutzle.

      And I doubt Arizona would want any part of a lottery-protected deal.

      • So essentially any deal would be done after the lottery is over – which really is a “soft” way of saying “lottery” protected. So, say ottawa gets the 3rd pick or the fourth. Then do you do that deal? If not, you swing for the fences and offer it for Patric Liaiane

        I dunno. I look at Chychrun, but I can also be swayed to call about Severson or Pionk. And in scanning cap friendly, Sens defense doesn’t look to bad when you look at other people’s –LOL

      • I know what you mean. Now that Sanderson’s season is over at N. Dakota he’ll be joining the team son and should get a good look at the NHL before the end. There’s also Tyler Kleven, a big defensive D prospect also from North Dakota who the Senators are apparently trying to convince to turn pro now and report to Belleville – although he could go back for one more college years. But with Sanderson, Bernard-Docker, Thompson in the mix next season to go along with Chabot, Zub, Brannstrom, Holden and Hamonick (not a bad debut last night) next season, their D is looking to be solid. Right now, Zaitsev is still in the mix, but there could be movement there in the off-season.

  10. Rakell was a good pickup for the Pens but the Buffalo game showed how they failed to address their defensive issues from a positional and physical standpoint. Chasing the puck behind the net while letting guys wide open in front of it will not get you far in the playoffs.

    • Hi SJPP

      Yep… Pens were brutal defensively v Sabres…. All D-Men had sub-par performances v Sabres

      Pens fans have grown to expect this kind of play (in wrong corner, next to D partner already engaged with puck carrier, while leaving his own man uncovered in front of the net) from CR…. and of course he didn’t let down these expectations

      But… Marino and Dumo simultaneously had their worst game this season by replicating CRs usual D moves

      Tanger, Pettersson, and even Matheson also played poorly on D

      I fully expect Marino and Dumo to rebound and play solid tonight. Tanger, Pettersson and Matheson each had a couple key flubs that they (I assume and hope) won’t repeat in tonight’s critical game

      This is an extremely important 4 point game…. Pens win in reg…. Up by 5; the reverse… up by only 1… Blueshirts with game in hand

      Pens will already have it tough scoring on Shesterkin…. No need to provide poor resistance to that solid top 6 of the Rangers

      One move will go a very long way to ensuring a Pens V…. CR out; Friedman in…. a very long way. Won’t guarantee a win… but will all but guarantee the best defensive effort is put forth by Pens.

      However, Sully has become completely blind to CR and his costly plays… remember after a brutal CR game; great game Pettersson, great game Friedman…. Sully rewards Freidman when all D back from IR with playing…. But instead of the logical sitting CR…. He sat Pettersson ….. no sense at all.

      If Sully plays CR tonight and he costs a goal (more likely than not) and Rangers win…. Then the loss is on Sully

      He (Sully) went down this road before …. and that D-Man was completely instrumental in costing Pens 2 consecutive 1st round series loses; and directly and solely responsible for 3 of those games (over the 2 series)….. it ended up with an off-season buyout of that player (finally) and the firing of the assistant coaches that had repeatedly asked Sully to sit that defenseman….. rather than Sully (and Jimbo) ever conceding their gross errors

      This blindness just must not happen again

      You can’t play a defensively problematic player over a far better available layer; just because he is a nice guy. There is no challenge to him as a person. The team, and team results must come first…. Which would (should) lead to CrR out; Freidman in

  11. This is for Chrism, just because it keeps getting advertised on the NHL radio network.

    Mario Lemieux scored 5 goals in 5 different ways Dec 31st 1988 against NJ

    Even strength, Power play, shorthanded, penalty shot and empty net.

    It’s actually pretty neat feat.

    • Sure is. That fact is burned into every young pen fan at an early age.

  12. Winnipeg if you can’t beat the bottom feeders like the Ottawa Senators, who are missing some significant pieces, then you don’t belong in the playoff race.

    This isn’t a knock on Ottawa they play hard and will win some games down the stretch.

    Winnipeg playing at home cannot afford to lose to teams not in the playoff picture.

    4 games Ottawa, Columbus, Arizona and Buffalo. Winnipeg needed to go 4-0 in them games, now the best they can hope for is 3-1

    After a big win against Vegas, to come out and play that flat against Ottawa. Did they think Ottawa was going to lay down?

    Maybe thought “hey they’ll give us this one, you know, they’ll want another Canadian team in the playoffs.”

    Ottawa may not have a good team with all their injuries but their going to make you work for your win. Winnipeg didn’t want to work.

    • 100% agree. Winnipeg just flat out lost that game. Or let Ottawa win.

      Forsberg was steady – but beatable
      Ottawa’s defense was decent but not crazy good.
      Ottawa’s forwards capitalized on some chances. The announcers called out the Jets weird habit of not being able to move through the neutral zone with the puck BEFORE the game started – and sure enough it happened over an and over. That’s coaching.

  13. Jeremy Swayman May be the best goalie playing in the NHL right now. Bruins miss Bergeron but must get power playing going soon to make long run in playoffs. Be nice to finish second for home ice but more important to be healthy. Hampus Lindholm was real real good last night.

    • Obe
      Sway. Has a shot to be top 3 but. Vas is still best in my opinion. I agree 100%. The bruins will need their pp to start clicking again If they stay healthy they can beat anyone

  14. @Obe
    Swayman may be great
    As long as they save Ullmark for the leafs , I am happy 😃

  15. Pengy

    Good analysis of Pens D and Sullivan. For the past several years, I think the Pens have been a lot like the Maple Leafs. They put up good offensive numbers in the regular season and get the points but their flaws are exposed come playoff time. They each make deadline deals that are supposed to fix these issues but maybe they just lie at the core? Hopefully it will be different this year!

    • Agree Sjpp,

      I’m hoping that for BOTH Pens and Leafs

  16. The Lightning knew that Kucherov needed the surgery that he got well over a month before he actually had it. They purposely held off of him getting the surgery until a time that they knew he would be back healthy in time for the playoffs. This is what the issue was with Tampa Bay. As per the NHL and cap rules they didn’t do anything wrong, but they knew exactly what they were doing.
    Vegas tried to do a similar thing this season, but it blew up in their face.

  17. The Oilers had a strong game last night. Although on that first Sharks goal, I have no idea what Smith was thinking. He’s also falling forward again. When a goalie is falling forward is a sign they aren’t balanced and it puts them out of position for any rebounds, from what Kevin Woodley has said.
    Brassard-Nuge-PuljujarviKulak looked to have some chemistry and had a very strong game.
    Yamamoto continues his strong play under Woodcroft. I’m loving the little guy’s tenacity. Nothing like seeing the smallest guy on the ice going up against the big guys and coming off the boards with the puck.
    Kulak not only past the eye test, but his advanced stat showed just how strong of a game he had. If he keeps this up, he will be well worth the 2nd round pick and 8th d-man (Lagesson) he was traded for.