NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2023

by | Mar 30, 2023 | News, NHL | 39 comments

The Panthers rally to nip the Leafs, the Wild widen their lead in the Central Division, the Islanders strengthen their hold in the first Eastern wild-card spot, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brandon Montour. Alex Lyon got the win with a 38-save performance while Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist for the 37-31-7 Panthers (81 points), who moved one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Auston Matthews tallied his 37th goal of the season for the 44-20-10 Leafs as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers rallied thanks to head coach Paul Maurice’s mid-game profanity-laced tirade toward his players on the bench. Lyon got the call in goal as Sergei Bobrovsky was sidelined by illness.

Minnesota Wild forward Frederick Gaudreau scored two shorthanded goals to double up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Filip Gustavsson kicked out 42 shots for the Wild (44-22-9) as they hold a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division with 97 points. Bowen Byram and Lars Eller replied for the 44-26-6 Avalanche, who remain in third place in the Central with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild winger Ryan Reaves was unavailable for this game with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance in this game, claiming there were “some passengers” among his players. In other words, he believes some of them didn’t play up to their expected level of performance.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (NHL Images).

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin picked up his eighth win in 10 starts through March in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri tallied in the shootout as the Islanders improved to 39-28-9 (87 points) to open a five-point lead over Pittsburgh for the first Eastern wild-card spot. The Capitals (34-32-9) are five points behind the Penguins.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery dismissed a TSN report claiming Taylor Hall was close to returning to the lineup. “The only thing I can say is that I know he is not cleared. That’s what I know so that report to me is false,” said Montgomery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report cited sources claiming Hall felt he was ready to return but the Bruins lack the salary-cap space to activate him, speculating they could attempt to stretch it out until the playoffs start when the cap no longer applies.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday signed Filip Chytil to a four-year, $17.75 million contract beginning in 2023-24. The average annual value is $4.4375 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for Chytil, who centers the Rangers’ third line between Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. The 23-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who is earning $2.3 million on his current deal. He’s enjoying a career-best performance with 22 goals and 42 points in 66 games.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Rangers with a projected $12.3 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 14 roster players under contract. Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller are also eligible for RFA status this summer.

THE SCORE: Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot is likely sidelined for a couple of weeks with an upper-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso won’t be out of the rest of the season with a lower-body injury after all. He’s not expected to return this week but could get in some games before the season’s end. Winger Robby Fabbri, however, is confirmed to be out for the season following surgery to address a lower-body injury that will take four to six weeks of recovery.

CTV NEWS OTTAWA: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league will evaluate its Pride Nights after a handful of players refused to wear Pride-themed jerseys during pregame warmups.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Buffalo Sabres prospect goaltender Devon Levi will make his NHL debut on Friday against the Rangers.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks signed forward Nikolai Knyzhov to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.25 million.


  1. Pens… what’s the point now…. Looks like best finish is likely going to have them playing Bruins…. So 2 home Pens gates

    Best to consider the future

    As it stands right now; Caps are holding on to “last Bedard hopes” at 3% (cite tankathon) lottery odds

    Caps just 5 points ahead of Pens

    Play Dumo/Ruhweedel 25 minutes a game (including all PKs) for the rest of the season…. Easy peezy to fall below Caps

    Jokes aside…. Sure would be nice to keep playoff streak alive; but that just may not stimulate change…. And change IS needed

    Hextall and Burke must go

    Team age ; speed; etc a HUGE concern

    They can rebuild/retool and still stay competitive through Crosby’s remaining contract:

    Have Carter wear Hossa’s gloves first practice next year….LTIR retirement

    Setting aside the NMC and NTC issues; Even retaining 50% on Rutta; Rusty; Granlund; Petry and getting Four 7th rounders (in ‘30) in return; Frees up close to $9M

    Zucker has done well this year…. But due for a raise…. Pens can ill afford to extend a 31 year old to a multi year contract AT a raise (earned due to his one good year with them…, let him go to market)

    Under no circumstances let Ruhweedel play with the big club next year….EVER

    Re-up Smith; O’Connor, Poehling; Arch; Nylander

    Promote 2 WBS players

    Leaves Pens with ~ $25 M …. for 7 players

    Go to UFA market…. Sign no player who has already had their 29th birthday…. Exception…. 29 year old on a 3 year or less contract

    And … maybe it’s time to move on from Sully …. Setting aside the oft bantered line re coaches losing games they should win (“he’s lost the room”)… that I don’t know

    What he has done ; that has been very detrimental to Pens…. Is (1) continuously NOT dress best available roster (cite D picks for games all season); and (2) stayed with line/D combos for eons when they were failing miserably (cite Carter/Kappy/McG as 3rd lind for so many games)

    Changes above should make them a play-off team next year; will get them their highest draft pick in a very very very long time …. Heh…. 3% chance at Bedard …. Sid feeding Bedard in the slot….👍👍👍😃😃😃…. Well, one can dream

    Worst thing for sure for Pens…. Making playoffs and then having ownership actually thinking Hextall is on the right track…. Hextall would then re-up Zucker $7M * 6; Dumo $6M * 4, and would extend Carter and Ruhweedel; and would sign Kessel to $5 M * 3 while personally guaranteeing him that if he can tie his own skates…. Pens promise to keep his streak alive

    Brando crying from the grave …. “The Horror “

    • Pengy, while the Penguins may be just 1 point up on Florida and 5 back of NYI, they do have 2 games in hand on NYI. I know I posted yesterday that no one will catch the Islanders for that first WC slot and that Florida will pass the Penguins to grab the second spot… but today, looking at the remaining games for each, I can see where things could change in a hurry.

      The Islanders have the fewest games left – 6 – the first two of which represent a tough back-to-back on the road
      @ Tampa April 1
      @ Carolina April 2
      Then they’re home to Tampa on April 6, home to the Flyers on April 8, @ Washington on April 10, and home to Montreal on April 12

      Florida, with 7 games left, is
      @ Montreal March 30
      @ Columbus April 1
      home to Buffalo April 4
      home to Ottawa April 6
      @ Washington April 8
      home to Toronto April 10
      home to Carolina April 13

      Pittsburgh, with 8 to go, is
      home to Nashville – tonight
      home to Boston April 1
      home to Philadelphia April 2
      @ NJ April 4
      home to Minnesota April 6
      @ Detroit April 8
      home to Chicago April 11
      @ Columbus April 13

      • Hi George

        Yes possibility is there for Pens to make playoffs as EWC1

        Sorokin has kept Isles where they are; anything could happen

        That still has Pens most likely at best 3 home gates (prob Canes; outside chance Devils)

        As a Pens fan; I’d rather have the outcome as I’ve posted… out ; streak over; mega changes while re-tooling and remaining competitive through Crosby’s contract

        The worst scenario of all…. Somehow Pens in; key injuries to Canes….Canes win in 7…. That just fuels Hextall that his choices were correct (they weren’t)…. because he took Canes to 7.

        And then he’ll stay AND make Pens older, slower, smaller for next year… Yikes

        No matter what ; Pens pick should be in the 13th – 17th range

        Maybe it’s better for them to pick at 17; get in; swept (and routed each game) in 4

        Then…. Streak alive ; AND ownership then must fire Hextall (and Burke; maybe Sully) and new GM will make the necessary adjustments to getting younger; bigger; faster; much more sound defensively… but able to make playoffs in ‘24 and give it a push


      • With the Pens schedule it will be tough to catch the Islanders. Although they do have the easiest schedule amongst the three teams… right now. For Florida, their last two games could be easier if Toronto and Carolina’s playoff positioning is decided by then and they decide to rest some players.
        The final playoff WC spots in both conferences are going to be fun to watch to see how they unfold.

    • Pengy, I agree the Pens need a rebuild. However, 10 current Penguins have no trade clauses. Of those 10, 4 are 35+. 2 Are UFAs after this season. One, Crosby, isn’t going anywhere so the Pens are down to facing a rebuild with 7 NTCs.

      A rebuild under those restrictions are monumental. To make matters worse, the Pens have 1 first and 1 third round pick, and only 6 in total for the forthcoming draft.

      Hextall and Burke aren’t going anywhere, I’ll wager. Both were signed in 2021, so getting rid of them would be expensive. Necessary, I’d argue, but expensive.

      There is a reason wine exists, Pengy …

    • Pengy..your boy rudwhedel ripped the twine vs Washington..lol

      Look Penguins have $25 million coming off the books….and the salary cap will go up at least$ 1 million.

      Owen Pickering our number one pick has been promoted to wilkes Barrie which means he is way ahead of schedule.

      Penguins just signed defenseman Justin Lee 22 captain of Denver.

      Young defensemen coming along with Ty Smith …and Joseph

      Move on from Jarry
      UFAS. Goalie Jonas korpasalo who has been brilliant in Columbus 14- 11- 4. 3.01 Gav 913 save %

      With La here 4-1-1
      Save % 930

      Defense vkadislav gavrikov 28 big strong nasty great first pass. Ufa @ $1.3. Give him doumoulins money he slots next to jeff Petry

      Third line center. Max domi to either play third line ce ter or right wing with sid. or geno. He has 20 goals rust can go to third line or with Maljin if we dont resign Zucker..

      Although i thonk hextall gets fired

    • Penguins are close..the core has been great Crosby on pace 90 points just voted by his peers best overall player in the game.

      Malkin having a good year

      Letang a bit inconsistent tough year mini stroke father passing he will b ok

      It is the goaltending and surrounding cast and thaTs on Hextall and Burke

      This off season if solid moves are made we will b back

  2. Gary Gary Gary

    “evaluate its Pride Nights”

    What can be done?

    NHL has made big strides towards inclusion …. There can’t be steps backwards

    And…. He can’t unilaterally mandate that players must participate or face penalties/suspensions/fines


    • I’m thinking roll all the inclusion nights into one night. One jersey that includes all the groups. One night to say you all are welcome to play hockey. You all are welcome in the dressing room.

      • One night by each team of course. Forgot to add that part.

      • Surely the answer is to have one high profile player from each team be the one to endorse an inclusion night, theme, month or …. whatever …

        That player would be one who is supportive of the initiative and comfortable doing so. Avoids friction and splits in the dressing room.

        Seems simple, effective and (hello Bettman) obvious to me.

    • Pengy,
      My religion discourages homosexuality as dishonorable. But also regards bigotry of any sort as dishonorable. But I think I can speak for a majority of hockey fans when I say, just play the damned game.

      • I think the opposite is true Paul, I think the majority of hockey fans welcome it, including me.
        At least up here in Canada.

        Especially those below the age of say 45 or 50, you know, the ones who will still be around and buying tickets with their kids when us old guys are dead.

        That includes the vast majority of the players, as they are obviously younger.

        They have a different attitude on this than some older folks, and while they usually respect another persons opinion they won’t let it stop them from doing what they want to do. Good on em’ I say! I was the same at that age.

        It also good business for the NHL, just as it it for major companies who promote and practice DEI. The reason is there is strong evidence they out perform the non DEI companies deliver better financial results. The reason is the diversity of thought that comes when you have a diverse workforce. You make better decisions, you’re more innovative, etc. Makes sense to me.

        #’s don’t lie, the study below was on VC Companies and looked at the partnerships they invested in. A perfect lab rat as they say in the article.


        Seems like a win win to me, and I can’t see the NHL changing what they are doing significantly. Have a look at what McDavid and Hughes recently said to the press.

        We’ll see I guess.

      • Paul
        To each their own..respect to everyones own belief but it is 2023…

  3. Toronto media making excuses already? Big fat nothing burger with regards to Bostons cap situation. Like the boys mentioned yesterday, Forbort can easily and FAIRLY be placed on LTIR with his broken hand. Man, TSN and SportsNet are getting worse instead of better.

    For those folks who don’t like regional (NESN) play by play man Jack Edwards, how can you stomach national broadcasts with Cuthbert and Simpson? Cuthbert calls a good game, but both him and Simpson are extremely biased for a NATIONAL broadcast. If the Leafs fail to put up 4 or 5, then the story of the game is always the opposing goalie. Craig Simpson turns my stomach.

    • Yeah, I have a laugh every time I hear that “it’s the opposing goalie” crapola. That’s why the game, as it’s structured, insists on having them as part and parcel of a team. When they win – and shove in a bunch of goals – we don’t hear him say “it was the opposing goalie” as a reason for the rout.

      THAT sort of stuff from a supposed “national” source is why I could never latch onto the Leafs (before the resurrection of the Senators).

      • You have to admit though, that glove save on Matthews in OT was a game-saver for the Panthers. With the offensive power of the Leafs one of the best players of the opponent has to be the goalie for them to beat the Leafs. It’s the same with the Oilers. The Oilers have lost a lot of games this season when they have out played their opponent, but the goalie stood on his head.

      • I guess, if the game can have “star” scorers they can also have “star” goalies.

    • You can’t bad-mouth the best play-by-play guy in the game. Cuthbert is right up there with the best ever. One thing he is good at is supporting his colour guy, and he does it to a fault. When his colour guy brings up the homer comments he doesn’t make them look bad but goes along with them.
      Sportsnet does have issues with their national broadcasts though. When they first won their bid for all the national broadcasts we were promised big interactive things. Not only were those promises broken, the quality of the broadcast have declined over the past bunch of years.

      • Cuthbert is good, liked him doing CFL as well.

        Jack Michaels and the Big Man Louie DeBrusk are excellent for the Oil broadcasts. As good as any combo I listen to.

        I can see Michaels getting work on national broadcasts either in Canada or the US when an opportunity comes up. He’s that good IMO. Might as well take Louie too, they work well together.

      • Jack Michaels is growing on me, but he’s no Kevin Quinn. Louie is another bright spot for the SportsNet broadcasts. Harnarayan Singh is also growing on me. He’s no Chris Cuthbert, but he’s still young.

      • Ah, ah, lads. No longer with us, but Danny Gallivan was the GOAT. I hate that acronym, but I will use it here.

        Possible worst: Bob Cole.

      • You know LJ, I usually respect your comments whether I agree with them or not as you usually make a compelling argument. And you are bang on with regards to Bob Cole.

        Even hearing the name Danny Gallivan gives me bad vibes. While the multiple devastating playoff losses of my B’s to your Habs during that era likely plays a role in my bad mojo towards Gallivan, so does the “Savardian Spinorama”. The “Scintillating Save”, but only when it was a Hab tender, is like finger nails on a chalkboard.

        And folks complain about Leaf fans in the booth, this guy set the standard for the Habs. Well at least when they played Boston. The GOAT alright, but just for the Habs.

        I need to go for a walk.

      • Singh is awesome. He calls a game so well you almost don’t even need to watch. I wasn’t bad mouthing Cuthbert, as I believe he’s one of the best of all time, it’s just that I can’t stand Simpson. Your guy in Edmonton is becoming a favorite of mine s well. He makes icing the puck exciting.

      • Ah, Ray, LOL!

        I understand. I wasn’t trying to troll you but I knew Gallivan would produce very different reactions amongst non-Habs fans.

        Console yourself with this season: A couple of seasons ago I pronounced the Bs as in decline. Now look at them. I never thought as a Habs fan I would say “go Bruins” but I hope your boys win it all this year. They are playing excellent hockey and we all benefit when excellence is rewarded.

      • Here’s hoping LJ, while I’m not as confident as some others they will hoist the Cup, we have a good shot.

        Luckily Montreal is not the 8th seed this year and the ghosts will be dormant for another year.

  4. Chytil got 1 million less than I think he could have. great for the Rangers. he would have 35 goals with 2nd line minutes

    • Re The Best Oilers broadcasters

      Rob Brown & Louie DeBrusk are Excellent for the Oilers broadcasters👍

      They both give you Excellent inside info that makes so much sence …
      We are spoiled by these to and they have a Great sence of humour those two also…
      We Love it when Louie interviews his son
      Jake Debrusk, now the kid is polaying great in Boston and big Pappa Louie is so proud and rightfully So…❗️👌

  5. @Kevjam yesterday you posted regarding Winnipeg it’s not the coach.

    BS!!! It is the coach! Last resort my #ss, that’s a guy trying to deflect from his own responsibilities.

    The concerns in Winnipeg it was always Paul Maurice, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele team.

    Scheifele been a concern for a couple of seasons, player that started out as a two-way center and now who pouts and shows disinterest.

    Bowness comes in and strips Wheeler of his captaincy; sending a message he is top dog and going to build team cohesiveness.

    Things goes well no concerns no complaints.

    Things go bad; oh Bowness can’t motivate so time to throw the players under the bus! yea that has success written all over it!

    Kyle Connor and Nic Elhers have never been a concern here in Winnipeg, they are top 6 forwards

    This year they are both concerns. Nic Ehlers can’t even get ice time, no matter what he does. Here in Winnipeg folks wonder what did Ehlers do to Bowness?

    Ehlers in a full season this year be on pace for 19 goals. Last time Ehlers scored less then 20 goals in a season was his rookie season in 2015-2016 when he scored 15 goals.

    Bowness to the media Wheeler is slow that why i put Namestnikov with him so he can angle off plays to compensate for Wheeler.

    The core isn’t the issue. There maybe one player who is a concern, who is suppose to be their best player.

    Bowness has lost more then Scheifele, he has lost the team.

    He doesn’t know who to put on the ice and when.

    It be interesting if Ehlers went to the media and said “I don’t know what else to do here to get more ice time.”

    Time for Bowness to own some of his own shortcomings instead of deflecting 100% of the time.

    You can’t coach your team thru the media, it doesn’t work!

    Look in the mirror ask yourself the hard question “what can i do differently”

    Stop the negative energy and start praising guys, and give the guys who deserve the ice time, the ice time.

    We all know Scheifele is a concern and showing no effort, instead of reducing his ice time, sit him in the stands!

    Take the negative off the ice, that will send a clear message; but, it’s only part of the problem, put the right people on the ice and in the right place.

    Mark Scheifele is a major concern for the team but the coach owns a lot of the responsibilities as he decided who play, when and where and that also is a major factor in this team present position.

    • Well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
      Two different coaches had the same issues with the same team. In troubleshooting, if you switch out one part, but the problem is still there the issue wasn’t the part you switched out.

      • Caper, I’m with ya on the coach naming specific players in the media. I don’t like it it either.

        What it tells me is that he, and the organization are desperate. Bowness and Chevvy have discussed what is going on in the room, and what to do about it, for sure. I would bet my truck on it. Still shouldn’t though, as the reaction from some of the players is totally predictable, and if the goal was to turn it around, a fail.

        Having said that, there sure seems to be a problem in that room on the player side of things, and if that is the case, coaches will struggle. Any coach, and I don’t care who you are. I say that because I have never seen a press conference like the one with Maurice last year. A SC winner, and well respected coach. By most accounts a “players coach”. He lost them, and knew he had no chance of getting them back. He walked away. That don’t happen.

        No different than a business when you compete. When you come into a negative culture, at least in my experience, you have negative whiners and me me guys dragging it down. Often folks who have been there for a while. The only way to change the culture is to get the a-holes out, even if you have to pay a significant severance.

        It will never change until you do that, so buck up and get on with it.

        2 things can be true at once.

        Get to work Chevvy, or Chevvy’s replacement.

      • Why do you think BARRY Trotz was not interested in the job.

    • Deep frustration, Caper. Understandable, but …

      The main Jets players are now on their third coach. Maurice, who effectively gave up (let’s think about that), short lived Lowry, and now Bowness.

      No question the coach has major responsibilities but there is an old saying, to the effect of: coach the team you have, not the team you want. Three coaches, no success, and it’s the coaches?

      I have had a soft spot for the Jets while my Habs have been staggering around in the weeds these past several years. But the current stars of the Jets have had many chances to demonstrate they could get it done. The past 8 years they have won three playoff rounds. The past 4 seasons, they have won one round. Not rubbing it in,Caper, just saying it seems obvious to me where the problems lie.

      The one name conspicuous by its absence is Cheveldayoff. The same core players that have failed to get the job are the ones still there. Why’s that, I’d be asking.

      • Seem to miss Big Buff in WPG.
        Not only a unique and talented player, with size and a nasty streak, but I think he was the alpha in that room.

      • Great point. I forgot about Big Buff.

      • Buff is the alpha in most rooms he walks into. He didn’t allow bulies to run the playground.
        Wheeler and Scheifle are at the root of the problems in Winnipeg. Wheeler is a jerk and a bully according to people in the know.
        Bones is likely one and done. Maybe time for a new GM as well.

      • Ray it’s been mentioned in Winnipeg the room changed with Buff departure; maybe some truth to that.

        I can tell you here in Winnipeg, there is a strong believe that Bowness is the one who lost Connor and Ehlers.

        Some folks point to Wheeler but in fact Wheeler other then the comment Bowness made about his speed is treated extremely well by Bowness to the point folks are asking why is Wheeler on the ice.

        The biggest ice brow raiser is his treatment of Nic Ehlers, for what ever the reason his been put in Bowness dog house and can’t get out.

        So Bowness can whine all he wants and what also can be true it it isn’t the club house at all; it’s the delivery of the message and how it’s delivered.

        Folks like to point out Maurice stepping down as a point in direction.

        How quick they forgot that in fact in was Maurice himself who built the culture of the team.

        One of Maurice quotes “I would go thru a wall for that guy!” in reference to Blake Wheeler.

        Wheeler who supposing along with Scheifele were / are the core issue.

        The reality is two fold

        1. Scheifele is the player being reference to changing core player.

        2. Bowness is the one who lost the room with his throwing players under the bus and how he has handle the lineup.

        Winning is great no complaints when winning however start to lose and then the sins start to show.

        You want the guys to play hard for you, throwing their names to the media doesn’t work.

        I would like to see the reaction if a player said to the media “Not quite sure what the thought process was with the PP unit.”

        Instead of the media loving Bowness media scrum ask the question why is Nic Ehlers only getting 13:50 minutes of TOI?

        The more you shout, the deeper i look.

        No pat on the back to Paul Maurice who quit on his team, as he built the culture.

        No pat on the back for Rick Bowness because his job is to get the most out of his team and he has failed.

        If your able to call your players out publicly then have the courage to scratch them for a game or two. That would get respect maybe not from that players but from the rest it surely would.

      • That last paragraph is 100% true Caper, give ya that.

        Wouldn’t it be something if the Jets got in, the players said fuq it to all of ya, us against the world attitude, and went on a run?

        Go Jets!

    • Kevjam all good different pov are encouraged.

      I understand what you’re saying however Winnipeg now have new players to the list.

      For me support your players publicly or say nothing. What you say behind closed doors, maybe and probably is a different story.

      I see no purpose in trying to publicly shame players.

      My response to that would be “your the coach, figure it out.”