NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

by | Jun 19, 2022 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The Avalanche crush the Lightning to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Nicklas Backstrom undergoes hip surgery, the Oilers are on the verge of re-signing head coach Jay Woodcroft, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche holds a 2-0 series lead in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final after drubbing the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 on Saturday. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar each scored two goals, Mikko Rantanen collected three assists while Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves for the shutout. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 starting on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the most lopsided Stanley Cup Final games I’ve seen. The Avalanche dominated the defending champion Lightning from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Their speed made the difference throughout this contest, leaving the Bolts chasing the game and struggling to keep up.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin (NHL Images).

Three years after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, Nichushkin had a career-best performance this season and is enjoying a solid postseason. In this series, he’s taken his game to a higher level, tallying two points in each of the first two games. Eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 13, Nichushkin is on his way to a lucrative new contract.

Following the game, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos called his club’s performance “unacceptable”. Head coach Jon Cooper said the Avalanche were playing at an elite level while his club was not. Andrei Vasilevskiy was in net for all seven goals-against but Stamkos and Cooper laid the blame on the poor defensive play in front of him.

Stamkos and Cooper said all the right things about the need for the Lightning “man up” and not give up. They’re capable of surmounting a 2-0 series deficit as the New York Rangers discovered in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rallying back this time will be far more challenging for the Lightning. They’re up against the most formidable opponent they’ve faced over the course of their championship reign.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. He faces a lengthy recovery process with no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom will likely miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season and could be sidelined for much longer. His absence leaves a big hole in the second-line center position.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have $8.9 million in salary cap space with Backstrom carrying an annual average value of $9.2 million. Management could place him on long-term injury reserve to exceed the $82.5 million salary cap in order to find a suitable short-term replacement or to address other roster needs. Should he return to action during the season, however, they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes and Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now reporting the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of removing the interim tag from head coach Jay Woodcroft’s job title. They’re expected to reach an agreement on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me unsurprised. Woodcroft did a fine job after replacing Dave Tippett behind the bench. Taking over a struggling Oilers’ team that was in danger of falling out of playoff contention, he coached them to a 26-9-3 record in their remaining 38 games and guided them to the Western Conference Finals.

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson has earned his degree in general studies at the University of Michigan. He’s fulfilled a promise to himself and Red Berenson, who coached Johnson at Michigan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a special season for Johnson. In addition to earning his degree and appearing in his first Stanley Cup Final, he also became the 21st American-born defenseman to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have dismissed Chris Brumwell, who was their vice-president of communications and community partnerships for the past nine seasons.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill is retiring on July 1 after 29 years with the organization.


  1. Washington now officially enters the JT Miller sweepstakes!

  2. Similar surgeries that Backstrom had have recovery times of about a year…..and Ryan Kessler never did return after his….

  3. Good on JJ earning his degree. Vegas has good odds that he starts using his degree next year!

  4. Now THAT underlines my opinion posted a few weeks back that “this is Colorado’s year.” Tampa looked like they were skating uphill all night.

    One VERY minor thing I didn’t get after the game was naming Kuemper the 2nd star … yeah, I know, he got the SO – but 16 shots? Damned few of which were “labeled.” Rantanen would have been a better choice.

  5. Tampa’s toast, hail the Av’s……..Shhhhhhhh, can you hear it? The Silence is almost deafening, Sweeney’s hiding up in the executive suite clutching his Bergeron Bobble head get ready to throw some coins in the fountain, hoping Bergy’s coming back. Neely in the meantime hard at work out on the links practising his golf swing. The clubs in good hands.

  6. D O M I N A N C E

    • Really depressing. Several years of work by Colorado came together in a peak moment this postseason. For the Lightning it happened it the bubble. It is amazing how good a team looks when everything works. And how confidence spreads among a group. And how bad a team god enough to dispatch three other good clubs can be made to look.
      Doesn’t negate two cups and 11 straight series by the Bolts; but proves the cap does it’s job. The Lightning may find a way to win at home and yet make this a series, but its hard to see how they get to four wins.
      We are fans so we retain hope.
      We have gratitude for a team, win or lose here, that has given us more playoff wins than other this decade.
      Colorado will likely play next year with five players here now gone, and be favored to repeat. In two years they will have a dozen holdovers and in three they will be down to their core. The Lightning may opt for one more try, or try a major rebuild on the fly.
      Both fanbases are not too happy with the cap right now, as once you reach the mountaintop its easy to resent a rule-based-rope pulling you back down, but the last place AVS of five years ago and Bolts from a decade ago took advantage to make the runs they are on. Pitts & Chi fans know the drill.
      The question for a lot of fanbases is why so few teams take advantage, and so many remain mired in mediocrity.

  7. Happy Father’s Day! Best job ever!

  8. Can the Avs keep Nichushkin??? Seems he is going to be the hero of this series. The other UFA’s they can let go, but they gotta keep this guy in the fold!

    • I cant see Sakic messing with his cap space to compete with what Nichushkin will be offered.
      Nichushkin should get at least 5×5

      • i think kadri, burka, manson, and even kuemper might be gone..i think attempting to sign the russian choo choo train is priority one..leks is a rfa

  9. So are we finally ready to give the Av’s some credit?

    Last night announcer “Vally has played of hockey over the last three, we must be tired”

    “Hedman is definelty injured; he isn’t playing like himself.”

    The series isn’t over, never is until you lose at home.

    Why didn’t Cooper pull Val in the third period. Give the guy a little rest.

    TB was never in this game, it was totally dominant by the Av’s. Even with Point second game back and two days off, adjusted to the altitude.

    Hoping for a better game 3, the lightning needs to score first.

    On trade deadline day, I was listening to the NHL radio and the announcer said after a trade by minny and then one by the Av’s was made saying. Guerin is adding more toughness; meanwhile, Sakic is adding anyone with speed.

    It so far looks like “sleepy Joe” knows what he is doing.

    • Just a few years ago, some here were ready to crucify Sakic. Tampa looks lost.

      Shocked Vasilesky was not pulled after 4-5. Never mind the 3rd.

      As awful as they’ve looked, I’m still not counting this group out.

      • Guaranteed that, if the Avs win the Cup, Joe Sakic will remain as classy as ever.
        A wonderful player, a great GM, the consummate pro.

      • Do many GM’s get all ghetto after they win a cup?

  10. If that blowout does not wake the bolts then nothing will. Maybe out of gas 3 yrs 3 finals That is a ton of hockey They all seamed a step behind last night

    • 56 regular season games last season and 70 the season before.

      It’s a lot if hockey but 38 less regular season then before.

      This has nothing to do with how much hockey Tampa played.

      It has everything to do with how good Colorado is playing.

    • the av’s can make any team seem a step slow…