NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2022

by | May 22, 2022 | News, NHL | 39 comments

The Avalanche take a 2-1 series lead over the Blues but each club loses a key player to injuries, the Penguins sign Bryan Rust to a contract extension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche regained the lead in their second-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 5-2 victory in Game 3. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, including what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points while Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues.

Each team lost a key player to injuries during this contest.

Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is out for the playoffs after suffering a broken sternum early in the first period when he was checked into the boards behind his own net by Ivan Barbashev.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Later in the period, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington left the game with a suspected knee sprain following a collision with Kadri. Ville Husso replaced him and made 19 saves on 23 shots. During a post-game interview, Kadri accused Binnington of throwing a water bottle at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri has earned suspensions for undisciplined play in recent postseasons. In this instance, however, there was no intent to injure or to run Binnington and no penalty call on the play. He was driving for the net and reaching for the puck when he inadvertently collided with Binnington and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen.

Losing Binnington could be a big blow for the Blues. He won four of his last five starts and played a key role in his club’s first-round elimination of the Minnesota Wild and their bounce-back win in Game 2 of this series.

The Avalanche will feel Girard’s absence. He had three points in seven games this postseason while playing on their second defense pairing.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Bryan Rust won’t be testing this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguin announced they’d signed the 30-year-old winger to a six-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rust has flourished skating alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the Penguins’ top line. He’s reached or exceeded 22 goals in the last three seasons and netted over 50 points in two of the last three.

Rust was earning $3.5 million annually on a four-year deal. His raise is a reasonable rate that reflects market value, though the six years is a little long for a 30-year-old forward with an injury history. Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Penguins with $58.5 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23 with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang as their notable remaining unrestricted free agents.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers need more from their best players, especially on the power play, if they hope to overcome their 2-0 series deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The rivalry between the Panthers and Lightning hasn’t generated much passion or heat between the fan bases of both clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I chalk that up in part to what’s been a disappointing series thus far in terms of excitement compared to when these two clubs tangled in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. The Lightning has successfully shut down the Panthers’ vaunted offense with a grinding defensive style that has also sucked much of the life out of this series.

THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Smith reports Lightning coach Jon Cooper said center Brayden Point (lower body) will remain sidelined for Game 3 today against the Panthers. He’s uncertain if Point will return for this series. He suffered the injury in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

CALGARY SUN: Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom promises to improve his performance as his club’s second-round series against the Oilers shifted to Edmonton for Game 3 on Sunday. The Vezina Trophy finalist allowed 11 goals in the first two games, compared to allowing that many during the entire seven-game opening-round series against the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not just Markstrom who must be better. The Flames’ usually solid defensive game vanished during those two games against the Oilers.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ third defense pairing of Brendan Smith and Ian Cole have made their presence felt in their club’s second-round series against the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers hope to open up their offense more in Game 3 to avoid falling behind 3-0 in the series against the Hurricanes. They’ve been limited to just one goal thus far.


  1. Great to see Rusty extended

    I didn’t think Pend could afford him…. Term too long IMHO

    Rusty’s contract raise easily covered once they punt Zucker

    With the Rusty extension it would seem “rebuild” is off the table… next up Tanger/Gino extensions

    Didn’t get to see game last night… power and cell tower outage due to yesterdays storm
    Cells back up; but still no electricity

    I’m guessing from media posts that Binnington won’t return for series??? All on Husso now

    • Rusty being signed sends a message to Tanger and Gino to take discounts! Gotta sign both for well under $15M! Gonna be very difficult to jettison Zucker, inn this very tight cap era! Maybe he goes on LTIR and they make an inseason trade to replace him. Ha ha

      • Re Zucker…Retain $2M…. And b-bye

        Just 1 year left

  2. Girard has a broken sternum! How was that not boarding???

    • Boarding ? Right in the chest , just blew him up , even started to glide at the circle , about as clean a hit as you can throw . The result is terrible but the only penalty that could be called is hittting to hard.

    • When did they move the chest?

      Clearly a high shoulder neck hit. On a defenseless player. It was dirty.

      • Shoulder to under the arm , side of chest . Clean in every sense , no charge , not from behind , not to the head , not a player that’s already engaged in a battle , 110% clean . And I’m not an avs or blues fan

      • It’s a dirty hit, and it’s the shoulder and neck.

        If you see a chest, then I don’t know what you’re watching.

        The sole intention of the velocity of the hit was to injure.

        He succeeded; it wasn’t to take the player out of the play; it was to take the player out of the game.

      • Maybe Girardi shouldn’t go in like he’s collecting a routine pop up in left field , it’s round 2 of the nhl playoffs , expect to be hit , clean in every sense of the rule book

    • I’ve watched this hit a dozen times from every angle available. He doesn’t hit him from behind, and without question it’s not in the neck.

      Shoulder to shoulder from every angle. If they start calling hits like this, welcome to a full season of all star games.

      • Even Bednar stated that it looked like a clean hit.

      • Clean hit. Fairly unnecessary all the same. No need to hit to hurt……………I suppose.

  3. According to a recent Top 30 unrestricted free agents list , Bryan Rust was #6 ahead of both Letang #10 and Malkin #12. Rickard Rakell also made that list. An interview Rust outperformed his contract , wanted a fair raise , and remain in Pittsburgh with his family. Rust’s new six year deal , 5.125 million cap hit per year , is fair deal. After the new Rust deal Penguins will resign who ???

    • I think the dilegently try to get Tanger/Gino for a combined $15M or less

      • So basically, bring back the same team that has been bounced in the 1st round 4 years consecutively?

        Sounds like a good plan.

        “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”


    • The $$$ are ok but the contract is 3yrs to long.

      • CO, change “insanity ” to “golf ” – same definition.

      • Are you that bad a golfer bc?

      • Or that good

  4. Neely shouldn’t even think about letting Cassidy go it would be a mistake …. Sign PB & DK for two years …. Set the top two lines ..get the 3rd and 4th lines bigger, quicker and tougher …. Get a puck carrying Dman with size and a big tough shutdown Dman ….

    • This is a reply for Joe only,The Saunder Triplets need not respond. When you think of the positives Sweeney and that big Lump in front office have done over the years and compare em to the negatives. the ultimate response from ownership would have been,should have been to clean house.
      I can’t believe Jacobs endorses this nonsense. 2015 draft, Horrible free agent signings, with the exception of Lindholm terrible signings . Failure in the post season.
      Sweeney’s usual excuse “we tried but we couldn’t get a certain player”I’ve heard it all before. It’s called “ selling your product,” Sweeney can’t do it, Pollack had it, Sather had it. Why do these two goofs still have a job?!? You’re only as good as the team you send out on the ice,the bruins were inferior to the Canes, Lightning Av’s, Florida, etc. how is that Cassidy’s fault?!? They needed a scapegoat to cover their tracks and Neely somehow sold that To JJ Unless they do something significant and that doesn’t mean signing Bergy or somehow bringing back krecji or signing Pasta. Unless they do something significant on the trade front Ican’t watch this team next season, too frustrating..

      • Thought you were fired by bruins as a fan already. Must be delay in paperwork

      • IP but you have no issue with a broken Sternum?

        Good clean hockey play.

        Kadri trying to fight for the puck.

        Good clean hockey play.

    • Joe. Hard to argue that. But. 46 ain’t coming back wish he would. 37 probably on a 1 year deal with home town discount. They going to move one maybe 2 d men I would assume. Debrusk as well I hope they make hard push for Mark Scheifele

  5. Lyle,

    I was interested to read your unbiased perspective regarding the Kadri/Binnington collision in net—Berube and I are viewing from a different lens!?

    Even if unintentional (“inadvertent”), I thought the league was placing an emphasis on “protecting the crease”.


    • I thought they were, too, IP. But rules seem to get “flexible” during the playoffs.

      That being said, it didn’t appear to me that Kadri deliberately ran Binnington or was trying to hurt him.

      • Lyle,

        Appreciate your follow-up and thoughts.

        I believe that EVERYTHING Kadri does is deliberate!


      • I have to disagree with you Lyle. I watched the replay multiple times, and to me, it appears that Kadri initiated contact with Rosen outside the crease and took them both down with a diving block. I think that he did intend to create contact with Binnington. Attempt to injure ? Only Kadri and God know.

  6. There’s another reason for the lack of passion in the Bolts-Cats series. IT’S FLORIDA!!! They’re a bunch of old transplanted retirees down there in God’s waiting room. They never get excited about anything. Except maybe college football.

    • Not true Howard ! There is the early bird buffet, naps, shuffleboard, golf…..

  7. Caper,

    I DO have an issue with a broken sternum. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

    I DO NOT have an issue with the Barbashev hit.

    ps. I DO have an issue with Binnington tossing a water bottle at Kadri during post game.

    • Then you should have no issue with the Kadri play.

  8. Great signing by leafs gio for 800k. For 2 years

    • Absolutely fantastic signing by the Buds.
      Good for Gio. Playing at home to cose out a great career is a dream of many, I bet.