NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2022
The hockey world honors the late Guy Lafleur, the Oilers clinch a playoff berth, Kirill Kaprizov establishes another Wild milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
HOCKEY WORLD HONORS LAFLEUR
NHL.COM/MONTREAL GAZETTE/THE ATHLETIC/TVA SPORTS: The hockey world was in mourning yesterday following the announcement that Montreal Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur had passed away at age 70 following a long battle with lung cancer.
Tributes poured in from around the league from current and former stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Alex Ovechkin, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Patrick Roy and Martin St. Louis, former teammates such as Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Yvon Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire and Chris Nilan and former Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman.
Lafleur was also remembered by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec premier Francois Legault and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Teams, executives and coaches from around the league sent their condolences, including Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. Sakic was Lafleur’s teammate during the latter’s two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques while Sutter played against him in the early-1980s.
The Quebec Remparts, Lafleur’s former junior team, honored his memory prior to last night’s game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wrote my tribute to Lafleur yesterday after seeing news of his passing. I noted his five Stanley Cups as well as his individual honors, statistical achievements, and what he meant to the Canadiens and their fans.
Put simply, he was the greatest player on hockey’s greatest team in the 1970s. A hero to Canadiens fans and admired by non-Habs supporters, Lafleur was worshipped in his home province of Quebec. He was a superstar whose electrifying style lifted fans from their seats and is fondly remembered to this day. He was also a Hall-of-Famer who always had time for his fans long after his retirement from the game. Rest in peace, Flower, you’ll never be forgotten.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff berth with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Evander Kane had a hat trick and chipped in an assist while Connor McDavid had three helpers and Mike Smith made 34 saves. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice for the Avalanche. The Oilers have won eight of their last 10 games and hold second place in the Pacific Division with 98 points. The Avalanche had lost three straight and remain in second place in the overall standings with 116 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have won 23 of their last 34 games since Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach. The addition of Kane in late January is another contributing factor to their turnaround in the second half of the season. He had 20 goals and 36 points in 39 games with the Oilers. A potential concern, however, was the departure of defenseman Darnell Nurse in the second period of this game with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated today.
Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov became the first player in franchise history to reach 100 points in a season as he helped his club defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-3. Kaprizov scored a goal and picked up three assists while Joel Eriksson Ek tallied twice for Minnesota. The Wild hold a two-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division with 107 points. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored to extend his career-opening points streak to five games.
The Washington Capitals blanked the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves for the shutout while Conor Sheary and John Carlson were the goal-scorers. The Capitals have won seven of their last nine games. They’re tied with the Boston Bruins with 99 points but the latter holds the first wild-card berth with a game in hand.
A shootout goal by Tim Stutzle gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brady Tkachuk also scored for the Senators while Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic notched his 20th of the season for the first time in his career.
IN OTHER NEWS…
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will visit the White House on Monday as President Joe Biden honors the club for their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup championships.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer dismissed a report by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan citing sources claiming goaltender Robin Lehner was about to undergo season-ending knee surgery. Lehner missed Friday’s practice as a maintenance day, according to DeBoer, who also said he expected the netminder at practice on Saturday and to be dressed for Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time this season that DeBoer has dismissed a report claiming Lehner could undergo season-ending surgery. The previous one occurred in February alleging he’d suffered a serious shoulder injury. Multiple reports claim he’s battling a nagging injury which would account for his inconsistent play this season. There’s been no confirmation of this by Lehner or the club.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers forwards Andrew Copp (lower body) and Filip Chytil (upper body) are listed as day-to-day and won’t play against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford were both fined by the NHL department of player safety for their actions against the Lightning during their 8-1 loss on Thursday. Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for charging Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev while Clifford was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Corey Perry.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: ESPN NHL analyst Kevin Weekes is considered a strong candidate for the Sharks’ general manager position. The club is conducting a search to replace Doug Wilson, who recently stepped down as GM for health reasons.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes fans should expect to pay high prices to attend the club’s home games at the 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University. The highest price per ticket for full season-ticket holders works out to $300.00 per game (before separate ticket fees) while half-season tickets work out to $445.00 per game. The cheapest seats for season-ticket holders is $89 per game while the cheapest half-season price is $110.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s just the ticket prices. It doesn’t take into account the price for concessions, souvenirs and parking. It seems to me those tickets will be mostly sold to local businesses, shutting out the average fan and leading to a lot of empty seats in that small arena.
Guy Lafleur…. What a player. As a kid (and at that time, only a Leaf fan); I was mesmerized by his speed and skills. The world loses another (Bossy) NHL great in such a short time…. RIP Guy. Condolences out to the entire Lafleur family.
Did anyone envision 3GS 1A by Kane AND a 3 G win by Oil (over Avs)?
Ok , no Landeskog, no Rantenen…. But still …. Quite a strong performance by Oil. Smith played very well; McD, another 3 point night…. And then Kane …. 3 goals (two of them with some slick moves)…. Oil now securing play-off position….1 more regulation win (4 games to do it), and they secure home-ice advantage for first round…. Woodcraft doing a great job. For Oil sake, hoping Nurse injury short lived.
If Lehner report is true…. certainly not good for Knights
Re proposed/expected ticket prices for Yotes…. and they expect 5,000 fans in that barn (with bench seating)??? WTFuddleDuddle????Just move the team… 32 owners; 700 + players; and massive numbers of new fans (Houston???) , all gain.
Keeping them in Arz, in a barn, max 5,000 seats, very poor TV broadcast set up… for a minimum of 4 years….. an absolute moronic decision
Do ya think Austin Matthews would wanna play there now????? LOL
No player wants to play there
The phoenix arena has potential to be a special place to play and watch a game. A crowded junior arena with 5000 people has more atmosphere than most NHL rinks, louder, engaging for all fans because everyone is close enough to hear what is said and feel a big check. They will find enough people willing to pay Boutique prices, they will sort out the tv sight lines and as long as the home team dressing room is first class players will cherish the time spent there. It is a brilliant short term solution that will result in a hard core group of coyote fans.
You gave away your identity
Now we all know who you are …. Your wife’s name is Shelli ; and your kids are Lauren, Brittany, and Jordan.
Harry Sinden said it best “ Guy was one of the scariest Players the bruins ever faced.” This afternoon turn away, it will get ugly. I would put the rangers in the top four for Cup contention, the bruins aren’t even in the top ten. I won’t be watching this slaughter.
C’mon, Rick. You’re being silly again. Should be a great game. Enjoy the day with your nieces all the same. Spoil em with ice cream and positive attention.
When you get home check the score you were off again. But that is not a surprise
You missed a good game, Rick.
There are no easy games left Bruins usually play well in afternoon games. For me it is get healthy the rest will take care of itself. I will definitely be having a brew cheering on my team even without pasta and Lindholm
Playoff hockey is getting closer. Hurry up and finish the regular season.
Tuesday game between LV and Dal should have a playoff vibe to it.
The 2 first round matches, that have potential of being very exciting.
Tor vs TB a ton of skill best for both teams to stay out of the penalty box. It may cost you the series.
Minny vs St L this should be a no holds barn match.
Both team have elite players and a ton of toughness.
Can’t have Bos vs NYR in the first round.
My preseason finals prediction was Rangers vs Avalanche
Why not NYR. Bruins in 1st rd? Original 6 match up
Great idea bruins out in 4
“Spectors note” summed up Guy very nicely, and to add if I may,…. I would bet that Guy probably signed the most autographs ever.
Guy would be the #1 vote imo for the Fans Favorite Player even if he wasn’t on your favourite team. Guy earned the respect from opponents and was adored by hockey fans across the league.
I met him once at an autograph signing and made him and his wife and son smile by saying to him…Thanks for making my black and white TV seem like it was in colour. He also signed one for my parents that I requested…it read ” Stay out of the penalty box”
That night he played the Kingston cops and as My dad and I walked through the corridor, Guys wife and son smiled at me and nodded as we crossed paths to watch Guy play and between periods they brought in the tiny tikes…(kids probably 11 and under to play against the Guy all star team and to set up what occured that made everyone go wow…
….Guy is flying down the ice on a breakaway and as he just gets into the blue line he rifles his stick up making it look like he was going to rifle a slap shot on this kid goalie….Well to everyones amazement GUY DID let that slap shot off and it went over the kid goalies head andhit the back pexli glass with authority and The kid froze but the ref who was mic’d up said the kid had an ear to ear grin on his face,…and so did every fan in the building. RIP GUY we all salute you and you will never be forgotten 🙂
Great post, DJ! What an amazing experience that must have been.
Shoreorrpark – Thanks, yes it really was and still today I treasure that memory. Cheers!
Re- Guy Lafleur
1971 -72 , Montreal Canadians had a mini camp , as in training camp , in Kitchener ..
My dad was an “avid” Montreal fan, mainly, in awe over Lafleur !
I played rep hockey , very young at the time , our team Kitchener Greenshirts .
My dad recognized Guy Lafleur and Ralph Backstrom behind the auditorium , having a cigarette .
My dad approached them ., They were both very cordial .Guy asked us who are favourite team was , of course my dad said Montreal !
I replied , Toronto Maple Leafs !
Mr Lafleur than asked me who my second favourite team was – I replied , “the Boston Bruins ! “
Guy than asked me who my favourite player was, I replied , “Bobby Orr” . Guy chuckled !!
I invited him to our hockey game which was on at 1:00 , this Saturday afternoon .
Make a long story short, Guy Lafleur showed up in between periods, with a Lafleur game worn jersey , not a practice jersey , a game stick and gloves !
I listened to Ken Dryden speech yesterday , reflecting his memories, on Lafleur , small town guy, humble , so so true , as per my great story , I am sharing here ..
After this adventure , bit later in life , I became a collector of interesting memorabilia , prized possessions , Orr – Parry Sound Shamrock game jersey and an Orr-1969 game worn – Bruin jersey !!
Error above -72-73 experience
SOP tonight we’ll all sit down to a Scoff and scuff. Take care SOP I hope for your sake it’s not a massacre I won’t be watching it.
Cod tongues and cheeks with some fresh mussels?
Now that is a maritime treat right there
Maybe horrible massacre today , ranger, Bruins game
Yeah, DJ, a lousy season for Habs fans just got worse. Guy was a phenom.
You mention memorabilia. I have a mini hockey stick with two autographs together that no one else has: Cyclone Taylor and The Flower. I think I will go stand in front of it.