NHL Morning Coffee Headline – June 7, 2022

by | Jun 7, 2022 | News, NHL | 50 comments

The Avalanche sweep the Oilers to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins fire coach Bruce Cassidy and Kyle Connor wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are heading to the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Artturi Lehkonen scored in overtime as the Avs swept the Oilers, sending them to the Final for the first time since 2001.

2022 Western Conference Champion Colorado Avalanche (NHL.com).

The Avalanche opened the scoring but the Oilers took leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before the Avs regained the lead on third-period goals by Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Zack Kassian scored late in the third to tie the game at five and force the extra frame.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar finished the night with a goal and four assists while Landeskog and Lehkonen each had a goal and an assist. Leon Draisaitl had four primary assists, Zach Hyman tallied twice and Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was the most exciting of this short series but it also had an air of inevitability about it. Despite the Oilers taking two 2-goal leads they simply lacked the goaltending and defensive depth to hold it.

The Avalanche are a much deeper club, enabling them to overcome those deficits and prevail in overtime. That included adjusting to the absence of center Nazem Kadri, who returned to Denver to repair a broken thumb suffered in Game 3. His return for the remainder of the postseason is questionable.

Injuries to some key players also hurt the Oilers in this series. Despite Draisaitl’s offensive heroics, he was pretty much playing on one leg after suffering an ankle injury during their first-round series with the Los Angeles Kings. Defenseman Darnell Nurse revealed he’d played the entire postseason with a torn hip flexor. Winger Kailer Yamamoto missed Game 4 with an upper-body injury suffered in Game 2.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins yesterday announced they fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. During Cassidy’s six-year tenure behind the bench, they reached the playoffs six times, including the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa cited front office unhappiness with Cassidy’s offensive tactics and approach to optimizing player performance (especially those of the younger players) as the reasons behind this move. However, he’s among the pundits who are critical of this move, suggesting the club’s Stanley Cup window is now closed. Some believe Cassidy is taking the fall for management’s missteps over the past six seasons.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Kyle Connor won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. He enjoyed a career-best performance (47 goals, 93 points) while collecting just four penalty minutes in 79 games. That was the fewest among the league’s top-100 scorers with at least 50 games played.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Connor for this well-deserved award. Like all the previous winners, he’s a fine example that this game can be played at a high level without resorting to questionable behavior or taking costly infractions.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point remains sidelined by a lower-body injury and won’t suit up for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers.

NHL.COM: Rangers center Ryan Strome is expected to play against the Lightning tonight after leaving Game 3 on Sunday with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Speaking of the Rangers, prospect winger Vitali Kravtsov has rejected an extension to his KHL contract and appears to be eyeing a return to the NHL next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time will tell if he’s back with the Rangers or another club. His falling-out with management over his playing time earlier this season prompted considerable trade speculation.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said the lingering effect of COVID-19 took a toll on his performance this season. He had just five goals in 27 games before the Christmas break. His performance improved over the remainder of the campaign, finishing with 21 goals and 58 points, as well as seven goals and 12 points in 12 postseason games.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger tweeted that Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine has fully recovered from the back injury that sidelined him from the final seven games of the season. There’s no update, however, on the status of the restricted free agent’s contract negotiations.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed defenseman Chris Wideman to a two-year, $1.525 million contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Long-time Blackhawks forward Eric Nesterenko passed away Monday at age 88. He spent 21 seasons in the NHL, starting in 1951-52 with the Toronto Maple Leafs before joining the Blackhawks in 1956-57, spending the remaining 16 seasons in Chicago and helping them win the Stanley Cup in 1961. He had 250 goals and 574 points in 1,219 games. Nesterenko appeared in the 1986 movie “Youngblood” and also served as a consultant on the film.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Nesterenko’s family, friends and former teammates.


  1. Of course Cassidy is taking the fall for the preservation of Sweeney and Neely.

    How the Hell do you justify canning a coach whose team has won 7 playoffs round, including a trip to game 7 of the finals and guided his team, over the course of his coaching career, to a .673 winning % while winning the Jack Adams in 2020?

    That is just ludicrous.

    As for the Colorado-Edmonton series, it quickly became obvious the Oilers had no chance against the ultimate Cup winners.

    • George

      You are correct this was a scapegoat firing. Unless players like 37 voiced concern. Which I doubt. He seemed to be able to squeeze what was available to him to full value Someone is going to get a great coach. His only flaw I saw was he never let the young players just play mistakes and all

      • You’re probably right on that score Mrbruin4, but Cassidy isn’t alone when it comes to non-tolerance of rookie mistakes – especially repeated ones.

        The things is, had the Bruins been in a rebuilding mode when or shortly after he became coach, he might have been more willing to let the younger players “learn on the job” so to speak (as D. J. Smith has had to do in Ottawa for example) – but the Bruins were always in the mix, fighting for ideal position at season’s end, so that was simply not an option.

      • SOP, i have not heard any rumblings of what your claiming.

        Bergeron will be 37yrs old in July, had several concussions over his career. This season took his family on the road for several games. He is just considering if he wants to continue or hang them up.

        Debrusk, i believe it has more to do with the Hall signing as it moved him to 3rd line left wing; until Cassidy put him on his off wing to the top line.

        Krecji has always said he wanted to play in front of his family and friends and did just that.

        Krejci did comment it took him to leave before they moved Pastrnak down. (not exact quote)

        Yes hard on the young guys, one mistake meant you sat and maybe scratch next game. i was not a fan of that.

        NO!!!!!!! Claude Julien! Bergeron became a consistent 30 goal scorer after Julien left. he suck the life out of the game. Cassidy play a more offensive game with a defensive structure.

        Barry Trotz could be coming thru the door.

        Cassidy won’t be sitting on the sidelines for long, if we wants to work.

        One year left for Sweeney and Neely as they are very much one in the same. One goes the other has to as well. They don’t feed off each other and always order the same dish.

      • Like i said, Caper. I could very well be 100% wrong.

    • I honestly believe that Rick W Murray could have led those Bruins teams to 100 pt seasons given the talent on the Bruins top line and defensive depth.
      I was never a fan of Cassidy, much like I’m not a fan of Sweeney.
      The players obviously didn’t like him and I’m fairly certain that’s why Debrusk asked for a trade, DK46 went home, and Bergeron hasn’t signed another contract.
      I also believe Chris Kelly was placed in his position to confirm these musings to upper management.

      I could very well be 100% wrong on all my thoughts……but I don’t think I am.
      I’m just hoping they don’t bring in Dave Quinn as a replacement…….but I think they will.
      I’d hire Savard or bring back Claude and Chara.

      • Lots of Savards out there, SOP, which one’s your favourite?
        If Cassidy’s such a terrible coach, why did his players play so hard? I don’t get it but some other team’s going to hire a quality coach.

      • SOP

        I am in agreement that 46 had issues as does debrusk. Maybe 37 as well. Trots is not the coach. Too defensive. They want more offensive systems put in place. I hope no Quinn prefer savvy with an experienced Co coach

      • Marc Savard.

        They played hard for the crest on the sweater, for each other and because that’s the Bruins culture, led by Chara, Bergeron, Marchand and Krejci.

    • I obviously liked Cassidy but he had player issues it will come out let’s wait to hear from players. Lots of good coaches available sometimes a group responds to the right one Edmonton sure did. Bruins have bigger issues than behind bench to sort out. Colorado was just better than Edmonton Makar May be best player in world right now wow.

      • Ya, none of us know what went on in the room, but on the surface this does look like scapegoating. There is tension in every room with some players and the coach, as there is often a difference in how the player views himself, and how the coach views the player. On a whole most players speak positively about playing in Boston.

        I liked Cassidy.

        We’ll never know.

        The B’s were not good enough to compete for a cup no matter who their coach was, and they won’t be next year either and the injuries to key guys makes it even tougher.

        If it was me I start to think long term and take advantage of the negative with the injuries to make some moves as the fan base will understand due to the injuries. If they were healthy, not sure that would be the case.

        Not blaming Sweeney either, when you are good for as long as the B’s have been and trade assets to go for it, pick late, it will eventually catch up to you. Just the way it is in a cap world as you can’t spend your way out of it.

  2. Cograts to the Avs on their trip to the Cup finals! I am sure they will appreciate me recognizing them. LOL

    • Why is it every time a high powered defenseman comes along there’s always the inevitable comparison? The hockey panel as much confirmed that Monday, Makar is not the next Bobby Orr,his offensive abilities are evident. Bobby Orr could do so much more. Don’t forget Matt G had 5 pts one night. That always rubs me the wrong way. Just like Kelly Hrudey does, once he starts blabbering on I go grab beer.

      • I don’t think Hrudey brings much to the conversation most nights either Rick, he’s a goalie after all, but he did not say Makar was the next Bobby Orr.

        What he said was- relaying a conversation with an NHL coach – Makar is the best defensemen he has seen since Bobby Orr. Since being the key word. When asked if he agreed with that assessment he said yes.

        I can’t remember a 23 yr old D man controlling the play from the back end like he does since Orr either. Bourque and Coffey come to mind but not like this kid.

        And he does defend really well too. There is a reason the Avs kept matching him and Toews up against McDavid when they had last change. It ain’t because he sucks defensively.

  3. Ever since lurche’s press conference you knew it was only a matter of time. Talk about the pot calling the kettle Black, the problem is with the top. Not even including the highly Incompetent Sweeney and in over his head Neely The Jacobs are responsible for this I wish JJ would just sell the team to someone who knows something about the sport. What a mess. You won’t be waiting long till Barry Trotz is ushered in as the new coach. Just watch. Now you’ll see pivitol names like Patrice and Krecji fall back in the fold

  4. Believe it or not, when I read of the firing the first name that popped into my head as a replacement was Trotz.

    • I thought of Torts and Quinn. I prefer the former to the latter.

      • Unless they hire his spectre Quinn is no longer available.

      • Im guessing Quinn would leave the national team for a shot at coaching in the pros again.

      • Bcleaffan I always hear I get to play for or coach an original 6 team.

        Whether that’s true or not. I don’t know.

        Not sure Trots is the answer.

        Someone like Bruce Cassidy would be a good fit.

    • George, Barry Trotz can pretty well pick his next job. Do you think Boston’s at the top of his list?
      Given the current situation for the Bruins, I don’t think so.

      • Probably not, BCLeaf Fan – as you say, he can pick the potentially best situation as he sees it if he gets more than one offer – but now he has Grade A competition.

  5. Seems the whole planet is in agreement on the Cassidy firing. I just wish Ottawa would hire him. Not gonna happen with this GM.

    On another note. How refreshing is it to see Freddy Andersen practically win a vezina with solid coaching and defense in front of him. This is why you fail Toronto. Kyle just doesn’t get it. Jack Campbell isn’t the answer.

  6. So you mean the greatest oiler of all time was right? You have to play defense to win the Stanley Cup? You need more than one or two lines? You can’t have a handful of guys eat the entire cap without a second team full of role players and you studs on entry deals and league min deals? I’m shocked.

    • Edmonton has proven you can have 2 of the best players in the world and still not win.

      Both McDavid and Draistl averaged over 2pts per game. Not enough to get you to the finals.

      McKinnon makes $6.3m McDavid $12.5m

      Almost $6m more Av’s have to spread out.

      Yes after next season McKinnon contract will go up.

      But for now they get to enjoy the depth.

      Hockey is about depth, can’t win with just a couple of super stars.

    • With you on that thought Azhockeynut. It also got me curious as to how the legitimate playoff contenders stack up against one another heading into next season in terms of % of their cap tied up in their top 5 cap costs (barring trades of course), while pointing out pending RFAs/UFAs who, if re-signed, would have a major impact on the final % – Top to bottom

      Toronto – 58% – Campbell
      Tampa Bay – 54% – Palat, Paul
      NY Rangers – 54% – Kakko, Copp, Strome
      Minnesota – 50% – Fiala, Fleury (that % includes the fact that, with $12,743,588 worth of dead byout space facing them, their realistic cap is $69,756,412
      Vegas – 50% – Smith
      Edmonton – 50% – Yamamoto
      Washington – 49% – no one
      Florida – 48% – Giroux, Marchment, Chiarot
      Dallas – 47% – Klingberg
      Colorado – 46% – Kadri, Manson
      Los Angeles – 45% – no one
      Nashville – 44% – Forsberg
      Boston – 42% – Bergeron, Krejci (?)
      St. Louis – 42% – no one
      Carolina – 40% – Necas, Niedereiter, Trochek, Domi, DeAngelo
      Calgary – 32% – Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Mangiapane, Kylington

      • In comparison, this is how the remaining teams stack up using the same formula – top to bottom

        San Jose – 52% – no one
        Chicago – 51% – Dach
        Montreal – 44% – no one
        Vancouver – 41% – Boeser
        Winnipeg – 41% – Dubois
        Columbus – 41% – Laine, Roslovic
        New Jersey – 40% – Bratt
        Ottawa – 39% – Norris, Formenton
        Philadelphia – 39% – no one
        New York Islanders – 39% – Dobson
        Anaheim – 34% – no one
        Buffalo – 34% – Olofsson
        Arizona – 34% – Crouse, Stralman
        Seattle – 33% – no one

    • Everybody like to jump on the Leafs, and the Oilers for locking up high end guys for long term deals.

      News flash, every single NHL team would have done exactly the same thing in their position. No player of Matthews or McDavid’s caliber is taking less or they would be morons and have a moron for an agent.

      Both teams, more so the Leafs, got burned by the cap not going up which was caused by a pandemic that nobody saw coming. Or perhaps I missed those posts. Teams like the B’s and Avs who locked up their key guys when the cap was less years ago, had time for the those contracts to look good as the cap rose. Same calculation Leafs and Oilers made.
      Look at McKinnon’s #’s when he signed that deal, he should have taken a bridge because he took off after.

      The new US TV deal was coming and teams expected the Cap would go up significantly, and they were right as it was way more than the previous deal and the cap would probably be over $90M this coming season.

      You can argue the Leafs shouldn’t have signed Tavares because they had Kadri already, and I would agree with you.

      You could argue they should trade one of the other 3 now that circumstances are different, but I would also bet every deal being discussed by Dubas has him losing that deal. Maybe he does it anyway like the Oil did with Hall.

      Leafs got burned by the pandemic more than every other team as their high end talent came due at the wrong time, they have decided to ride it out, we’ll see if they’re right or not.

      • Can’t disagree Ray … and looking at my own lists you have to wonder how long it will be – barring a monument leap in cap in the next couple of years – before most teams will be in the same boat as the high-end teams.

        Certainly Carolina and Calgary will see major hikes in their % once – and if – some of the key players named have new deals.

        Among the also-rans, Columbus, Winnipeg, Chicago and even Ottawa will see that % rise considerably closer to the top.

      • Ray McKinnon is $6.3 is he a moron? Look at Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron. Is Boston loaded with morons?

        It’s negotiations and timing and human factors.

        Some GM are better at it then others.

      • Caper, I like all the B’s you mention but they are not McDavid or Matthews. They were also playing on a cup champion and contender when they signed. And ya, they took a discount to stay in BOS and on their 2nd long term deals other than Pasta. Oilers and Leafs were in much different situations and much different players.

        But you’re right, there can be different motivations. But would also bet a nickel if Pasta was as good as McD and in last place EDM, he gets $12M + too.

        McDavid could have likely got a little more actually.

        McKinnon’s #’s prior to when he signed extension in that started in 16/17.

        15/16 – 72 gms – 21G, 31A for 52 PTS. -4
        14/15 – 64 gms – 14G, 24A, 38 pts. -7

        Was a more than a fair deal based on production and the cap at the time. If he took a bridge? I dare say he makes way more $ today. If he hit 100 pts in 15/16? He gets paid.16/17 wasn’t great either, then boom.

        McDavid was better than a point per game player at 18, hit 100 starting the next season as a 19 yr old and has been crushing it ever since.

        McKinnon will make more than $10M on his next deal if he doesn’t have a catastrophic injury. Likely $11M. Pretty sure he doesn’t take $6.3 again.

      • Ray, just to be clear, in putting those above lists together I was not jumping on the Leafs or Oilers.

        I understand the Covid impact on annual cap increases as well as that original intent on various signings was predicated on larger annual increases.

        But the fact remains, regardless of how they got where they are – and there will continue to be endless arguments about some GMs “caving” on RFA demands and/or forking over considerably more to individuals than common sense dictates – it is what it is, The bottom line, as things shake down at the moment, is that a GM cannot have 45% and up of their cap invested in 5 players and fill out the rest of the 18 man roster in a manner that provides bona-fide depth. And if a few get lucky with multiple break-out performances from among their ELCs, that won’t last any longer than their next negotiations when the money is simply not there.

      • That’s fair George, and agree it isn’t working but what does Dubas do? Trade Marner or Willie I guess, Willie is on a good deal IMO, and Marner? That is the tough one. Better player than Willie, but over paid by a bit.

        I think the offers aren’t there for him that makes them a better team in his opinion, as who can afford him that isn’t in a rebuild?

        Tough spot because they are close to being a real contender, damned if you do….

        Ride it out til cap goes up and hope you can re-sign Matthews? Seems to be the plan from here.

  7. Referring suck in the 3 round
    Its lack of following rules
    Round one seemed well ref but round two wasnt bad but round three has been the worst
    They need a new bunchbof refs that calls the game how it should be called

    • I agree, have to say the officiating was better in first two rounds than it has been in last 2 decades, but the conference finals it has been s**t and vey one sided in both series. Add in that DPS does nothing and you have series where it’s nothing but cheap shots and “old time hockey” excuses. Call the infractions, call the cheap shots is the only way we will ever see all the skill come out in the CF and Finals

    • Maple Leafs are in Tough….
      Willie on a very good Contract, 2 more years @$6.9M

      They need to Re-sign Jack Cambell he has been the BEST goaltenders in Years with a Mediocre Defence…⁉️

      The Big 3…..
      They 100% need to trade one of these guys

      Mitch Marner is on 3 more years at $11.M
      John Tavares is on 3 more years at $$11.M
      Austin Mathews is on 2 more years @$11.6.M
      But Austin Mathews
      Could Bolt to Home to Arizona in 2 years…❓

      I would trade Mitch Marner 1st, they need Better suport players.
      IE, look at Brodie & Mark Giordano, A Great pair
      on the D

      if they get some cash get a better guy to replace Justin Holl, or keep holl to be the 7th D/man

      They need to add some depth to the 3rd line
      if Not 7th round Exit coming up in 2023…✔️🤔🤮

  8. Good luck to Sweeney and Neely. Potentially no Bergeron if he retires. Even if he doesn’t he’ll retire soon enough. Potentially no Marchand and McAvoy to start the season. Now they can one of the best coaches in hockey.

  9. I can’t comment on the behind the scenes stuff with Cassidy, but I do know that, under his watch, the Bruins were a well coached team that played a system that worked. I might be happy to see him in Detroit.

  10. This is how old I am – Eric Nesterenko was on the ice for the Leafs when my dad took me to my first game at Maple Leaf Gardens.
    The years go racing by.

    • And I am old enough to remember when Chicago had Nesterenko shadow Gordie Howe all over the ice. I remember him well. RIP.

  11. The fact the league has to even have a trophy like the lady byng speaks volumes to how much more the game needs to grow.

  12. Lehkonen showing what Habs fans have known for years: he is a clutch, proven playoff performer.

  13. The more i think about it, I think Sweeney hires Rick Tocchet.

    Makar is nothing short of elite.

    • With the Pens having new owners, I wonder if Sullivan ends up back in Boston somehow?

    • God I hope not. I take Oates before him

    • Maybe but he’s long from Orr & falls short Lindstrom,

    • RT got baggage …

  14. 🍁 Congrats to the Avs, they played Very Well & the Oilers we very Banged up

    The Edmonton Oilers need a Starting Goaltender, Mike Smith sould Retire NOW.
    Mikko @ $4.5 contract is done now,
    Mike Smith @$2.M should just Retire…✔️

    You cant let in 4,5,6, goals every playoff Game, your going No where.

    Bring up Skinner he had better numbers than Both Mikko & Mike Smith to be the Back up

    1) Go after Cambell or Villie Russo to be the starter

    2) Sign Evander Kane for 3 to 4 years at $4.M

    3) Trade Tyson Barrie $4.5M contract for a Stay at home d/man with some bit & Sand papper to his game

    4) Trade Zack Kassian we dont need a 3rd or 4th line winger making $3.M PA❗️

    that will bring you up to $16.7M

    To get a Goaltender,for 4 years $5M. Kane for $4.M for 4 years, a Tough RD-d/man $2.5.M….?

    5) Re-Sign LD, Brent Kulak @3 years $2.M

    That leaves about $5.M to re sign the 3 X RFA
    Yamo & Puljujarv ….. OR will they trade one as Dylan Hollaway will be on the team next year..?
    and young McLeod

    UFA Archibald & Shore..@750,000 ?

  15. Didn’t want to see BC leave, thinking David Quinn is coming thru the door