NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

The Avalanche sets franchise records in a lopsided win over the Kings, Martin St. Louis clarifies his future plans with the Canadiens, the Flames are poised to clinch a playoff berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche set franchise records with their 53rd win of the season by crushing the Los Angeles Kings 9-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick and collected two assists, Cale Makar had a goal and three assists while Valeri Nichushkin and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each scored two goals. The Avalanche also set a franchise record with their 29th home victory, sitting on top of the overall standings with 112 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs’ franchise record for points in a season is 118 in 2000-21. With nine games remaining in their schedule, they can break that record with four more wins. The Kings, meanwhile, cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 88 points, holding a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Kaapo Kakko scored twice while Jacob Trouba and Barclay Goodrow each had two assists. With 102 points, the Rangers sit two points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers suffered their 40th loss of the season, marking the second time in franchise history they’ve reached that level. They dropped 48 games in 2006-07.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got two goals from Jack Roslovic and three points from Patrik Laine in a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis indicated he’d like to return behind the Habs bench following yesterday’s morning skate. He said he was brought in to finish the season and that’s where he was putting his focus, but added his goal would be to be back with the club next season.

St. Louis was clarifying earlier comments where he seemed to suggest he might not return after this season, raising some concern among Canadiens fans. He’s in his current position on an interim basis but general manager Kent Hughes recently said he’d like to keep him on as their full-time bench boss.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: The Flames can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have their hands full against a determined opponent battling for a wild-card spot.

SPORTSNET: The NHL department of player safety fined Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman $4,250.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct for flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman can afford that fine but that hasn’t stopped Wild fans (and Kane’s estranged wife Anna) from chipping in to an online fund to help him pay it off. I suspect he’ll donate that money to charity.

NEW YORK POST: Vitaly Kravtsov will not be joining the Rangers for the upcoming playoffs. However, he remains in good standing with the organization and plans are being made for him to come to New York this summer to get an early start on training camp. Kravtsov, 21, spent this season on loan to the KHL after refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov was a hot topic for early-season trade speculation. He could resurface in this fall’s rumor mill if he fails to secure a full-time roster spot with the Rangers. It’s also possible he gets traded during the offseason if the Rangers get a suitable trade offer.

NHL.COM: Boston’s Fenway Park will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 as the Bruins face off against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel makes the case for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting to receive votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy despite the 26-year-old rookie’s age and his previous (albeit limited) NHL experience with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I consider Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras as the front-runners for this award, with Seider my choice as rookie of the year.

I acknowledge Siegel’s point that Bunting had to rise to the challenge of dealing with the pressure of playing alongside superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in hockey’s biggest market. However, Seider and Zegras are already establishing themselves as invaluable players on rebuilding clubs lacking big-name talent.

The Leafs would still be a playoff club this season regardless of whether Bunting played on their top line. Seider and Zegras, however, are budding impact players already playing important roles on their respective teams.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Reese Johnson to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2022

Results of the All-Star skills competition plus Commissioner Gary Bettman talks about Flames and Coyotes arenas, Canadian teams, the 2022 Draft and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.com: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the hardest shot competition at 103.2 mph while St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou was the fastest skater with a time of 13.550 at the 2022 NHL All-Star skills competition in Las Vegas on Friday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho won the accuracy shooting in 10.937 seconds while Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell and Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy combined for nine consecutive saves in the Save Streak event.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski was the Las Vegas 21 in ’22 winner, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski won the Fountain Faceoff Challenge and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo won the Breakaway Challenge.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Pietrangelo, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras should’ve won the breakaway challenge for his blindfolded Dodgeball trick shot routine. Honorable mention to Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov for mimicking his idol, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin.

A stick tap as well for former USA Women’s star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson for finishing third in the Fountain Faceoff, which saw the participants attempting to hit targets while standing on an island in the Bellagio Fountain. At one point, she led by hitting all of her targets in 16.253 seconds.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed the Arizona Coyotes plan to temporarily play at a 5,000-seat venue at Arizona State University, provided the club secures commitment to building a new arena at Tempe. Bettman made the remarks during a press conference along with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly prior to the skills competition yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes would spend at least the next three seasons at the ASU facility while awaiting the building of their new venue. This season is the last for the Coyotes at the Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale announced it was terminating the club’s lease.

Bettman also approved of the Calgary Flames decision to skate away from a new arena deal with the city of Calgary but stressed the club remains committed to the city despite the collapse of the agreement. He believes the team’s ownership worked hard to get a deal done but felt the city pushed too hard to include additional costs that the team would have to pick up. Bettman believes the sooner both sides figure out how to get a new arena the better given the long-term cost of maintenance at the aging Saddledome.

The commissioner also raised the possibility of the 2022 NHL Draft moving from Montreal to another location if the city and the province of Quebec remain under strict COVID regulations. The draft is scheduled for July 7-8, 2022 at the Bell Centre.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman also indicated the slow reopening of Canadian NHL arenas has affected the revenue of the Canadian teams, prompting some of them to look into playing games at other locations where COVID restrictions on attendance aren’t as strict. So far, the league isn’t going that route but that could change depending on how long the current Canadian restrictions remain in place.

Bettman announced the Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, the 2023 Winter Classic will be hosted by the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park while the 2023 NHL Stadium Series will feature the Carolina Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Bettman excused Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz for his “emotional moment” during a Wednesday townhall when he lashed out at two reporters who asked what measures the club had implemented to protect its players in the aftermath of an investigation into the sexual assault allegations by former player Kyle Beach against Brad Aldrich, the club’s former video coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wirtz’s “emotional moment” was a PR disaster that has his critics questioning whether he should remain in his role.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they continued conducting interviews for the vacant position of general manager with Kyle Davidson and Eric Tulsky. Davidson is currently their interim GM while Tulsky is assistant GM with the Carolina Hurricanes.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced Shawn Horcoff has taken over as assistant GM. He replaces Pat Verbeek, who was hired as the new general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’s David Schoen reports Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer said Jack Eichel will be cleared for contact drills following the All-Star break.