NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

by | Jun 16, 2022 | News, NHL | 28 comments

The Avalanche take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, highlights of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual state of the league press conference, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andre Burakovsky’s overtime goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist while Mikko Rantanen collected two assists for the Avalanche, who took a 3-1 lead into the second period. Nick Paul, Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev replied for the Lightning, who rallied to tie the game and force overtime.

Game 2 will be on Saturday, June 19, at 8 pm ET in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re in store for a very entertaining, fast-paced series if Game 1 is any indication. The Avalanche dominated the play in the first period and much of the third, while the Lightning once again showed their poise and experience by overcoming that early deficit in the second period. Penalty killing was crucial for the Avs as they successfully killed off three shorthanded situations.

The Lightning’s Brayden Point made his long-expected return to the lineup from a lower-body injury suffered in the first round. Avalanche center Nazem Kadri remains sidelined with a thumb injury with no timetable for his return.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league generated record revenues projected to exceed $5.2 billion as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He anticipates more significant increases to the salary cap within the next two-three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the NHL-NHLPA Memorandum of Understanding from 2020, the salary cap will increase by $1 million annually until the players have paid back their overage of hockey-related revenue still owed to the owners for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

THE ATHLETIC: Bettman indicated the 2022-23 season will return to a normal calendar schedule beginning on Oct. 11.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league doesn’t believe at this point that there need to be changes made to the long-term injury reserve system. It had been discussed during the general managers’ meeting in March with an idea of a playoff salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That came about over complaints of teams garnering a salary-cap advantage by placing a player on long-term injury reserve, using the cap relief to add players for the postseason, only to see the LTIR player return to action in the playoffs.

The insinuation was that some teams may be attempting to circumvent the cap by leaving players on LTIR when they may be healthy enough to return to action. However, the league hasn’t found any instance where this was the case.

Daly also said the league has begun its investigation of a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The suit alleges eight players, including some members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team, sexually assaulted a young woman in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the players on that team are now in the NHL. It has yet to be determined whether any of them were among those who assaulted the woman.

NHL.COM: Daly said the league is “very optimistic” that it will be able to stage a World Cup of Hockey tournament in February 2024. Discussions between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like the idea of a World Cup of Hockey in February rather than September as in previous years. After all, if the league was prepared to shuttered the season for two weeks to accommodate Olympic participation, they can do it for a World Cup.

Unlike the Olympics, the league and the players would reap the financial benefits from a World Cup. The players would be in midseason game shape, making for a better tournament and drawing more potential fans to the game.

DAILY FACEOFF: Daly indicated the players on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning have been informed that the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup Final will not be allowed to take the Cup to Russia or Belarus in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Three Lightning players – Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy – are from Russia while Valeri Nichushkin is the only Russian-born Avalanche player. There are no Belarussians on either club.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Daly also said the arbitration on Evander Kane’s contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks may not be resolved until July 13, which is the start of the NHL’s free agent period. The arbitrator assigned to the case isn’t available to conduct the hearing until next month.

Kane is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. If his case remains unresolved by then, it’s not expected to prevent him from signing another contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will have significant implications for the Sharks. They will have $7 million in salary-cap limbo until such time as Kane’s case is resolved.

It could also affect Kane’s efforts to sign with another club. Interested parties could prefer to await the outcome of his hearing before making offers to him.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: There won’t be any changes in how NHL teams report injuries. It was assumed the league’s partnership with gambling outlets would lead to more specific information being released on player injuries other than “upper-body” or “lower-body.”

OTTAWA SUN: It’s expected the NHL Board of Governors will be informed today that it is business as usual for the Senators since the passing of team owner Eugene Melnyk in March. The club continues to be run by a board of directors and a professional management group while Melnyk’s daughters do their due diligence on the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the club isn’t being sold and it won’t be relocated to another city.

Speaking of the Senators, they signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $950K contract extension.

TSN: The agent for Johnny Gaudreau denied a report claiming his client had reached an agreement on a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames. “There is no truth to it,” said Lewis Gross.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed negotiations are ongoing between the Flames and the Gaudreau camp. Both sides agreed at the start of this season that they would keep those discussions out of the media.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed goaltender Daniil Tarasov to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $3.15 million.


  1. Great Game 1 … fast-paced, multiple “chances” great goaltending at both ends … the only meh came in the 1st with TB killing a penalty and early on in that kill Cirelli was called fr “tripping” making it a 5 on 3 for 1 1/2 minutes. I thought that call was weak. Other than that the officiating was OK.

    • The call was perfect. It was by the book stick in his feet. The replay showed a very definite trip. In real time it looked offsides and that it should t have been called which is likely what TV was so upset about, however it was legit and finally the ref’s were on it rather than in it.

      • I guess we all see it the way we want to see it. And slo-mo hindsight should not enter into it. To me, considering they were just IN a penalty kill, it was borderline and the ref should have just kept the whistle out of his mouth. But that’s just me.

      • To me it looked as if his stick was higher and that he fell when he turned and therefore no penalty. As for the offsides, no offside as far as I could see.

    • Agreed George.
      Yes at that point it was almost looking soccery (<new word I will use for scrabble lol) but both teams at that point going down soft looking for a call. I thought it was weak too but a very entertaining game. Vas looks almost human but he has that capability of shutting it down and I look forward to the next game to see how he plays. Could be one of those types of series where the home team wins. 😉

      • Lightning don’t do excuses. As has often been the case in series game 1 situations, they did not play well enough to win, but almost stole one anyhow. My optimistic takeaway is that the Avs, like the three teams before them this year, are very good but didn’t present any insoluble problems. The Toronto, Florida, and NY “unstoppables” were controllable enough. The M&M boys will get some, but can generally be defended. Colorado gave up three to a sputtering TB offense. Not decided yet. Vasy needs three zero-defects games at home and the Bolt need to steal one of the remaining three on the road for a threepeat; if not good for Colorado. Its a hard go, and they’ve paid the price the last few years.

      • Oh, I wasn’t suggesting they had an excuse – just an observation from someone who has seen a LOT of hockey and, from that, the first thought to cross my mind about that call was that it was the “cheap” variety, given the situation, and since his arm went up when the crowd roared it appeared like he might have “rabbit ears” – hell, he could have called the Colorado player for embellishment. From my viewpoint.

  2. Re that lawsuit … there will be some stressful time until that is resolved one way or another and those involved – if any – are named, because once something like this begins without naming anyone a shadow is cast over the entire group. Ottawa, for example, has 3 players from that 2018 team.

    • George, if names come out (likely will) as some players may want to distance themselves from it. Some careers can potentially be over before rather quickly.

      One name I’m certainly hoping is not on there, and that’s only because I know the family.

    • Makar was on the team.

    • George Kevjam, we all know the names if we want to research, I prefer not to list the 8 players; simply because we don’t know and potentially none of the 8 could be involved.

      • True. Good point.

      • I have no idea why the NHL thinks it has the right to investigate, and presumably, impose discipline on players for something done before they were in the NHL.

        If there is any consequences for those involved it should be left with the courts.

      • This was already brought to the courts and a settlement was reached. So the involved players weren’t found guilty or innocent. So this is why the NHL is doing their investigation.
        If any current NHL players are found to be involved and it was found out before their draft year, I highly doubt that the NHL would have allowed them to be drafted.
        The NHL has every right to have a level of appropriate conduct for their players.

      • Kevjam: The point, which is clear on its own face, and should not need to be repeated are:

        The players involved were not NHL players at the time. So why does the NHL have the right to discipline players for conduct committed outside, and prior to, their NHL contracts and their employment relationship?

        You are correct that the allegations against the players were never proven in court and none of the defendants filed a response.” That just begs the question, which you avoid. If you want to respond, respond on point.

        So the proper venue remains the courts.

      • Totally agree Caper … but you see what I mean when we simply list the name of some of the players who were on that team. Without knowing IF the NHL would ever take action based upon its “investigation” – precipitated by a grandstanding Sports minister in the government – they all fall under a cloud. I’m sure the NHL would have preferred to look into it – should they, in fact, have even chosen to following the out-of-court settlement and no charges laid – on the quiet – but when the feds got involved with their grandstanding (and that’s what it is) and vowed piously to “get to the bottom it” they had no choice.

  3. George agree good game I thought Colorado was the better team overall but Tampa battles wow. Darcy Kuemper scares the crap out of me seems to me like he is very nervous. This could easily go 7

  4. Valeri Nichushkin iw going to get a big payday this summer! Unless he elects to stay with the AVs
    He would be the power forward that NJ is looking for…..as well as many others.

  5. Vasy has fantastic results in games where he lost previously. Game 2 will be all his!

    • Last time, he lost two in a row but followed that up with 4 straight wins.

      If TB wins, it will be because of goaltending.

      Be nice to see Kadri get back in.

      • It will Caper – you always want to see the best players involved.

        Encouraging for TB was the play of Point – an assist and 18 minutes of ice-time. He didn’t look bad considering the time he was out … and he will get better as the series goes on.

  6. Great game 1. 6 more please

  7. I know that only the higher salaried NHL contracts are insured. However, if one of these players are on LTIR and they are healthy enough to play, but the team keeps them on LTIR for cap issues, wouldn’t this be insurance fraud?

  8. LTIR exists as a relief valve to the salary cap.The reason the salary cap exists is to ensure a level competitive field across the league. Otherwise wealthy teams like the Rangers and the Leafs would have a significant roster advantage over other teams.

    This we all know.

    Why then does the concept of a level field vanish come the playoffs, the most important part of the season?

  9. Late to the post again today… 😢😢

    One word re last night….. exciting

    Can we have a best of 9 please?

    Hoping for 7 games just like last night👍👍👍

    What is it with refs ignoring any contact with Hedman’s head (that’s a mouthfull)??? Panel kast night once again brought up their disdain (??) and surprise that Laf was not even called by Parros (must be fired).

    Also… my take re 5 on 3…. Phantom trip call. Full speed looked questionable; slowed down…. Tap and of stick near kneepad while Makar is already losing traction…. bad call.. that’s just my opinion. That 5 on 3 and subsequent goal; and missed high stick to Hedman’s face; did not win Avs the game. Best team last night won; plain and simple; no doubt issues there.

    I’m just pointing out that Headman’s receiving of a high stick with no call; parlayed with this very questionable call ; IN a SCF game….. not good to see

    Re: Gary’s “state of the union” and mentioning that it’s not the first time major leagues have played in smaller venues…. Gary…. A moronic inference that the Arz situation is the same….

    It’s not the same time-frame/era; different situation; this is a much smaller arena; and it is an established franchise (over a quarter century now) that has always had brutal revs; has been draining from the rev sharing pool; and the already minuscule revs will plummet (even more) for at least 4 (and likely 5) years; with expectations in 5 years being little different from ore-covid revs

    All this comparison to justify Gary’s continued error. There is doubling down; tripling down….. he’s on 20+ iterations of this gamble…. With a continued dire (increasingly dire) outlook

    All this to justify his “legacy” and promising a 30 year no move clause; that will outlive him

    Gary… please retire

    Re Kane…. Per Freidman last night… if he signs with another team before his Arb outcome he “could” have that new contract owned by Sharks…. Wow!

    What is taking so long re Arb…. Geddddderrrrdone

    LTIR changes??? Would this not need agreement by NHLPA (to change the CBA)? Does anybody hear know for sure? If it does…. Why were they inferring that BOG “could” have decided to change the rules

    Re LTIR “ loopholes” for some teams in playoffs…. “Loopholes” sounds nefarious…. I perceive it as “creative cap management” that is allowed for every team. Those teams first and foremost must have at least one player ON LTIR (which has to be vetted/approved by league) to take “advantage” of the situation. So they either had an injured player (typically of some significant value) that was not available through reg season year end to help the team; OR the team acquired that player (giving up assets).

    World Cup…. Loved it last time… World’s best on best…. Say no more…. Bring it on…. Make it a guaranteed recurring event…. Russia will be scary between the pipes…. Vazy and Shesterkin!!

    Re “There won’t be any changes in how NHL teams report injuries.” Write on the chalkboard 1,000 times each : “UBI” and “LBI”

    Re NHL investigation into settled lawsuit… when the news broke a few weeks ago about the case; I said then that it would be great to know which players made a call to their lawyers that day…. Ditto again re yesterday; and add to that …. knowledge of any calls between former teammates yesterday!! Some big names were on that roster. Whose sphincter was puckered tight yesterday?

    Innocent until proven guilty; and nothing was proven in court; and to my knowledge; no charges…. But this will be a very interesting “investigation” and potential “information” release ; and who knows re outcomes and fall out.

    Even if there is no proof of wrongdoing…. Just the “inclusion” of big NHL names being investigated , could have ramifications re future advertising income of these players

  10. Kane . Hard to believe no out come yet ? Could be as simple as he can only get 7 mil going forward until the contract is done until 24/25 . Just forget this year. Sharks / Oilers eat what ever. But the next team to sign him has to keep the original contract ?

    I understand things can not be simple but from a simple guy this makes sense I would think?