NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

by | Mar 30, 2022 | News, NHL | 29 comments

Game recaps, the salary cap will rise next season, possible LTIR changes to be discussed in the offseason, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the first team to reach 100 points this season by downing the Calgary Flames 2-1. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, Darcy Kuemper made 44 saves and Cale Makar became the third defenseman in Avalanche history to reach 50 assists in a season. The Avs hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first overall. Tyler Toffoli scored for the Flames (88 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche got the win without Nathan MacKinnon, who is sidelined with what’s believed to be a fractured hand as the result of a fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba on Sunday.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 4-1 lead over the Montreal Canadiens before rolling to a 7-4 victory with three unanswered third-period goals. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected an assist, tying the record for most assists (70) in a season by a left wing. Ryan Lomberg also had two goals and an assist while Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists. Laurent Dauphin had a goal and an assist.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 49th goal of the season while Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly each had two points as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Boston Bruins 6-4. It was a costly win for Toronto with goaltender Petr Mrazek and defensemen Justin Holl and Ilya Lyubushkin leaving the game with injuries. The Leafs (89 points) sit one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while Boston sits two points behind the Leafs. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 with Steven Stamkos tallying his 30th goal of the season in overtime. Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov finished the game with three points each as the Lightning sits six points behind the first-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (96 points), who hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Rangers, they held on for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chris Kreider scored his 45th goal of the season as the Rangers hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for second place in the Metro Division. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored to reach 70 points for the 12th time in his career.

The Dallas Stars regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on third-period goals by Roope Hintz and Jacob Peterson. The Stars (77 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights. Miro Heiskanen returned to the Dallas lineup after being sidelined since March 2 by mononucleosis. The Ducks have lost 10 straight games.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots to backstop the Minnesota Wild to their seventh straight win by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Kirill Kaprizov’s 37th goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Wild hold second place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros made 36 stops in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Michael McCarron tallied twice and Mattias Ekholm had three assists for the Predators, who sit four points behind the Wild in third place in the Central. Before the game, the Predators held a moment of silence to honor Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away on Monday.

The New York Islanders held on for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brock Nelson netted his 32nd goal of the season while Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each had two assists. Vladislav Gavrikov tallied twice for the Blue Jackets, who played without head coach Brad Larsen and assistant coach Steve McCarthy as they entered COVID protocol yesterday.


TSN: NHL general managers were officially informed by the league the salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million during the second day of their meetings in Florida. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s revenues are expected to top $5 billion this season.

Pierre LeBrun reports discussions on potential changes to long-term injury reserve rules (such as a playoff salary cap) didn’t lead to any rule changes. However, there is expected to be a further talk on this subject during the NHL Draft in Montreal in July. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he’s already spoken with the NHL Players Association about this issue.

LeBrun mentioned there’s been lots of “white noise” over how the Vegas Golden Knights are handling their LTIR this season. Bettman and Daly, however, said there are no issues with how Vegas is handling their LTIR business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darren Dreger said the league doesn’t consider this to be a major problem but rather a perception one where the media and fans are concerned. Nevertheless, they intend to discuss addressing that impression with the NHLPA. Whether it results in any immediate change remains to be seen. Because this is a collective bargaining agreement issue, it might not be addressed until the next round of CBA talks in 2026.

Chris Johnston reported the league is finalizing an agreement with the NHLPA regarding how no-trade and limited no-trade clauses are submitted by players. The plan would see a player’s no-trade lists sent to NHL Central Registry and the PA to eventually compile a database. This comes on the heels of the NHL overturning the Vegas Golden Knights’ recent attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks because the league was not aware of his no-trade clause when they initially approved the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised it took this long for a snafu like the attempted Dadonov trade to surface.

LeBrun reports there won’t be a Team North America or Team Europe in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey. It will instead return to a traditional format of countries.

SPORTSNET: Bettman also said he’ll be speaking with the daughters of the late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk as well as the executor of Melnyk’s estate. He said an ownership structure has been in place and it’s expected the franchise will continue to operate as it always has.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Senators fans were concerned over whether the team would be sold to a prospective owner who might have designs on relocating the franchise. That is not going to happen.


NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is hoping to retain interim head coach Martin St. Louis after this season. The club is 10-8-4 since St. Louis took over behind the bench on Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is St. Louis’ if he wants it. Judging by how much fun he’s having and the Canadiens’ improvement despite an ongoing rash of injuries and the recent trades involving four key players, I’ll be surprised if he turns down the opportunity.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Minnesota Wild have reportedly signed defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2 million.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse’s season could be over after suffering a broken bone in his hand.


  1. Yuuuck! Poor effort, officiating horrible but, 6 goals you can’t blame the refs for that, Swayman flat out stunk, the bruins forgot there was a game going on. I turned it off after the 6th goal. They put in about as much of an effort as a belch at Mexican fiesta

  2. Dubais didn’t add depth to a teams most critical position in goal …
    Groin pull is chronic with Mrazek

    Like I have mentioned previously , Leafs need 5- 6 goals a game to win..

    I couldn’t figure out the injury to the Russian Bear
    Taylor Hall basically gave him a Swat ?

    • Groin issues can be worse than a broken bone – especially for goalies. If Campbell isn’t ready yet – or has to be rushed – they face the prospect of going the rest of the way with two rookies.

      In that event, one of two things COULD happen – 1) they go into a tailspin as they buckle under the pressure or 2) one of them gets super hot and carries the team to wins. Both scenarios have happened in the past with a number of teams.

      Could Hutchinson be pressed into service? He’s not having a bad season with the Marlies. One veteran and one rookie could be better than two rookies.

      That loud WHRUMPP I heard last night had to be Swayman coming back to Earth.

      Who do they fill in with if the two injured D are out for any length?

      • George the Leafs are still without Muzzin. And even when he returns, he’s gonna need games to get up to speed. If you think about it, all they need to temporarily replace, if both D are unfit to play.
        The goalie situation is more dire and that goalie wavier claim Arizona didn’t do the Leafs any favors.

        Anyone else getting the sense that as long as teams, players, coaches, etc don’t bad mouth the status quo everyone will look the other way; however, if you mock or speak up, they’ll make it about you.

        A couple of cases make me think this. First the t-shirt Kucherov wore and how that was pointed out by Bettman or when Landeskog got fined $5000 then the coach joked for $5000 he should of hit the guy harder then got fined himself. You can site numerous times teams, players or coaches are fined for bad mouthing the refs…which I can kinda see because after all they are human and make mistakes on an already tough job….but it’s also the leagues job to have the best and right now they are a group I would describe as anything but.

      • Pretty classy of the Pittsburgh Penquins to honor Roethlisberger name on their jerseys before the game.

        Later, after the game…they each committed sexual assault in a bar bathroom for old times sake !

      • Gee wilikers!

      • Ron – not to be nasty or anything – but how can you use Muzzin and speed in the same sentence? Just joking …

  3. The game wasn’t entertaining. Cassidy thought he would try Grizz and Clifton together, after the 1st period he realized it wasn’t a good thing.

    Not sure what happen to the leaf player after Hall smacked him, i didn’t see anything that would get that reaction but he didn’t return.

    The nhl officials certainly have a whole film to watch to provide footage of |”what were you thinking when you made this call?”

    Matthews got a pp goal but was otherwise invisible but the leafs didn’t need him last night.

    Mckinnon might of broke his hand in a fight; this is why you don’t want your star players fighting.

    • Clifton stunk last night along with gryz and Swayman next gm will be Ullmark. And cliffs will sit. And maybe gryz too

      Bad effort all around

    • Hey Caper, as a Leaf fan I thought the game was pretty entertaining. If Matthews was invisible then I think Bergeron didn’t dress…And other than one or two rushes, Hall and Pasta looked like board banging fourth liners. The leafs were faster, checked harder and clearly the better team at both ends of the ice.

      • Wawman93, have no issue with Pasta throwing a bodycheck it’s a good thing.

        Don’t disagree Boston as a team was bad.

        Matthews was not noticeable other then a pp goal that not an insult just a fact, they didn’t need him last night. Not going to have your a game every night.

        I guessing you found it entertaining because the leafs won?

        It was 6-1 at one point, the game was over at that point. Third period was boring hockey.

  4. Re the LTIR rule and any changes…. wouldn’t that need to be passed (accepted) by the NHLPA as it is part of the CBA??

    Re Leafs/Bruins…. did not expect that outcome. Leafs did get some calls going their way but I did not expect that score

    Re Pens v Rangers…. it is getting harder to see a chance that Pens can beat Rangers in a series. 3-2 is close, yes. And there was a super push near the end (Pens had pulled the goalie)… but Shesterkin is really good; and Rangers were buzzing.

    It took way too long for Pens to put together their onslaught.

    Re playoffs…. and now it is looking more and more that Rangers will have home ice advantage.

    One more H2H, in the big Apple…. Rangers win that in reg…. Pens basically kissing good-bye the chance at home ice advantage.

    Pens also have a tough upcoming sched… could they slide enough for Caps to catch them; meaning opening in Raleigh, Caps opening in the Big Apple?

    • Pengy: regarding LTIR, yes, it requires the NHLPA to be onboard with the change. That’s why I suggested it might have to be part of the next round of CBA talks in 2026.

      • Cheers and thanks Lyle

    • Wow, Pengy, you need to watch the Leafs more carefully. They’re fairly good. Not up to the level of the “big” teams but decent.
      I think Hutchison gets another chance with the Leafs, George. He can be solid at times.

  5. Yes the leafs are a very hoot team. There 3rd line is a really good shutdown line very fast team if they get goaltending I believe they will be a tough out.

  6. Loved that game last night. Putting a close on Bostons streak and slapping it in the back of their shorts.

    What I am noticing about the leafs is that when they play 4 on 4 they are $$ with all that open space. It should almost be a ploy of theirs to attract that scenario more often.

    So even if the punch from Hall seemed like a pillow punch, it connected and landed on the side of the jaw. Fact is that it did injure LYB and a 5000 fine just shows how the lack of attention the NHL pays towards scenarios like this.

    Dubas should gather about 20,000 dollalrs of fine money and go goon out and take as many liberties as they can against Boston on the last game of the year. May as well fair it out since Parros doesn’t want to uphold the law in the correct manner.

    Rules state- In discussion on Tuesday at the annual GM Meetings, Rule 46.23 on fighting could now read: “a player who is deemed to have thrown a forceful or violent punch or punches on an unsuspecting, defenseless, or unwilling opponent may be subject to supplementary discipline.”

    Pretty sure everyone who hockeys or even thinks they can scrap knows what a sucker punch is….well everyone except Parros. Parros should get fined,then removed. This usually happens when you can’t do the job correctly.

    Maybe Parros thought the pillow punch wasn’t deemed hard enough to suspend Hall.

    Whatever the case is, obviously Parros turned a blind eye to it and thinks 5 g is good enough for a sucker punch but meanwhile he gives out suspensions to others who have gave out simular “sucker punches” before this fine.

    Kinda too bad that the win isn’t outweighing the Lyb/Hall incident. It really makes me hope we meet up with Boston in the playoffs. A real good win by the Leafs over the Bruins. The first of many more to come. The tides are turning,…face it boston fans, you had some good runs but now we hope you get the runs and keep that streak in your shorts.

    • Dj

      Be careful what you wish for

      • Mr. Bruin, lol,… You best be careful what I wish for and even though I hear you (because yes we have seen some scenarios where it backfires) but there are many great things that could also occur beating the Bruins in a playoff race.

        Yes you may look at this as a one off game but I see it differently where I know our speed is going to give the Bruins a hard time and it is not the path that ends all,…there will be more teams after beating your team even though it will feel great,…1 series is simply not enough,…but yup I’d like to start it off with the Bruins.

        LOL pretty sure most Bruin fans are hoping they meet us first round, so don’t forget that balance.

      • Hey DJ I think I would of liked the Bs goon it up with them having the lead and see how the Leafs fair then. The Leafs held them off considering they went down two D with almost half the game to play and your starter leaving only 10 mins in.

        Also…it’s only one game but one no one here picked the Leafs to win and no one could ever thought this much over those circumstances. Good game by the Leafs… it would be nice to bring that when they play bottom teams though.

    • Mr. Parros is doing a great job at letting players know that a sucker punch cost $5000 to players….so if someone gives you a clean hard check and you don’t like it, we’ll wait for that player to turn his back on you then sucker punch that fool in the face! Best $5000 spent a multi-millionaire player can spend that on.

      • Btw just looked up the rule book and saw what Hall did is exactly whats in the rule book for mandatory ejection. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Sooooo again, the refs don’t even know the rule book that they are enforcing.

        Does someone read it differently?

    • DJ, one thing I’ve learned over the many many years I have followed the game is, never get too high on the basis of one game. That tendency has led to many more heartbreaks than you can imagine. Including 1 game in a playoff series.

      • George ….Totally hear you, I have been watching for more than 1 game lol,… and all I know is REVENGE can be a good thing and when Bostons picture is on the wall and the whole Leafs team can get behind the cause, well for me it just makes sense. If we fear Boston we are phucked. This team is past the fear factors. They are hungry to prove that they can do it and get past the Boston stigma.

        Boston knows we improved and it is time to put the skate on the other foot and accept that maybe some teams might not want to play us! Boston just might be the first to stand in line to play us as I feel Boston wants us in a first round matchup, so in this case when my face gets slapped,..I ain’t turning the other cheek and neither will this Leaf team! Buck Foston !

    • Dj if I’m Toronto or a Toronto fan, I agree with you rather play Boston over Tampa, Florida or Carolina in the first round.

      As a Bruin fan, I would rather play Toronto over the other 3 teams in the 1st round.

  7. Re;Taylor Hall
    He is a CHEAP Shot Artist….
    Somebody need to give that guy a Beating he is always taking cheap shots at players, he never fights one on one he likes smaller guys…..

  8. jeez guys does the western conf even exsist here???

    • Isn’t it up to fans of the western teams to chime in? Not only do we see few – if any – of them chiming in on Eastern teams, few bother to comment on their own western teams of choice.