NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2020

The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Stanley Cup Final, the Coyotes have a new general manager, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2015. Anthony Cirelli scored in overtime as the Lightning edged the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to win the series 4-2 and the Prince of Wales Trophy as the Conference champions.

Islanders defenseman Devon Toews opened the scoring in the first period but Victor Hedman tied it with his ninth goal of the playoffs. Hedman is tied with Bobby Orr and Brad Park for the third-most goals in a single postseason by an NHL defenseman.

The Islanders were playing without defenseman Adam Pelech, who suffered a broken wrist in Game 5 that will require surgery. He was replaced by Noah Dobson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Lightning, whose depth of talent proved the difference in this series. The Isles also deserve praise for their impressive playoff run.

The Lightning will face the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Final which begins Saturday with Game 1 at 7:30 pm ET. The league has released the full schedule for the Final. Game 7 (if necessary) would be played on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes officially named Bill Armstrong as their new general manager. Armstrong is the former assistant GM and director of scouting for the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this move by the Coyotes. Armstrong is an experienced and successful NHL executive, which is what the Coyotes need right now.

Armstrong began as an amateur scout with the Blues in 2004, became their director of scouting in 2010. He’s also a former AHL and ECHL coach. During his tenure, the Blues drafted such notables as Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Jordan Binnington, Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes were behind on their payments to the company that manages the Gila River Arena. The club had layoffs and furloughs of employees in mid-August, citing the pandemic. Several players were also late receiving their bonus payments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes are the most noteworthy team that appears to be having financial difficulties tied to the pandemic. It’ll be interesting to see if reports of similar problems emerge for other NHL clubs in the coming weeks and months.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs hired Manny Malhotra as an assistant coach.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel to a two-year, $2.15-million contract extension.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals re-signed forward Brian Pinho to a two-year contract, with the second year being a one-way deal. He’ll earn $700K at the NHL level in the first year and $750K in the second.

WGR550.COM: The Rochester Americans hired Adam Mair and Mike Weber as assistant coaches. The Americans are the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.

IIHF.COM: The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be staged as a single-venue format in Edmonton under similar quarantine bubble conditions as the NHL’s return-to-play tournament.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2020

The Lightning eliminate the Bruins, the Avalanche stay alive against the Stars, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the fourth time in six years, the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Eastern Conference Final. Victor Hedman scored in double overtime as the Lightning edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 to win their second-round series four games to one.

Tampa Bay LIghtning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images)

Hedman had a goal and an assist while teammates Brayden Point and Kevin Shattenkirk each had two assists. Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli scored in regulation for the Bolts, who played without winger Nikita Kucherov as he left the game before the third period after being high-sticked by Zdeno Chara in the first period. David Pastrnak and David Krejci scored for the Bruins.



SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning did a good job keeping Boston’s top line under wraps as this series went on. The Bruins’ lack of secondary scoring and the absence of starting goalie Tuukka Rask were contributing factors to their early demise.

After reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season and winning the Presidents’ Trophy this season, questions are being asked if the Bruins’ championship window is closing. Asked about his future plans, the 43-year-old Chara said he hadn’t reached a decision, intending to be open-minded.

No word yet as to how long Kucherov might be sidelined. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh returned to the lineup since being sidelined in the first game of this series.

The Colorado Avalanche avoided elimination by riding a five-goal first period to a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of their second-round series. Avs third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson made 31 saves in his first-ever playoff start while the Stars’ Ben Bishop was pulled after giving up four goals on 19 shots. Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and collected an assist, giving him a playoff-leading 23 points. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and added an assist. The Stars still lead the series 3 games to 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was shaky in his first start since Aug. 13 but he had little help from his teammates. The Stars were flat-footed and unprepared in the first period, outshot 23-5 in the first period.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers hired Jacques Martin as their new assistant coach.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jeremy Rutherford cites sources claiming St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Bill Armstrong is believed to be a finalist for the vacant Florida Panthers GM position.

TSN: Thirteen NHL clubs will carry salary cap overages into next season. The Stars lead the list with over $2.9 million, followed by the Bruins ($1.928 million), Vancouver Canucks ($1.7 million), Carolina Hurricanes ($1.367 million), and Buffalo Sabres ($1.275 million). Because of the unusual circumstances emerging from this season, those teams have the option of dividing that amount equally over the next two seasons.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Edmonton Oilers re-signed forward Patrick Russell to a one-year, $700K contract extension.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said the club intends to honor defenseman Andrei Markov, who spent his entire 16-season NHL career with the Habs.    



NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: St. Louis Blues

NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: St. Louis Blues


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2019

The latest on the Bruins and Blues ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Backes was also scratched from Game 6. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will go with the same lineup from that game. 

Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch from tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be difficult for a veteran like Backes to watch this game, the biggest of his career, from the press box. Nevertheless, Cassidy’s got to go with the lineup that was successful in Game 6.

If the Bruins win tonight, Backes is assured of getting his name on the Stanley Cup. He played in 15 playoff games, including four in the Final. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (upper-body injury) skated in a non-contact jersey in practice yesterday. It’s unlikely he’ll be in the lineup for Game 7. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube won’t say if forward Robert Thomas will return to the lineup for Game 7. He missed four games of the Final with a wrist injury before returning to the lineup for Game 6.

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Bozak missed practice yesterday but Berube said they’ll be in the lineup tonight. 

NBC SPORTS:  Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was upset at Boston’s TD Garden staff yesterday for not having the ice ready in time for the club’s practice. “Do your ****ing jobs!”, he yelled at one point. To which one of the staff replied, “Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?” Armstrong later apologized to the crew. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the pressure of this series is taking an emotional toll on everyone involved. 

TSN: Pending unrestricted free agent center Kevin Hayes visited the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday and met with general manager Chuck Fletcher. Hayes was acquired last week from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Fletcher hopes to re-sign him before the UFA market opens on July 1. 

CBS SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild re-signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, two-way contract. He spent all of this season with the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Keith Gretzky will remain with the Oilers as their assistant general manager in charge of their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Gretzky was interim GM after the Oilers fired Peter Chiarelli in January. Ken Holland took over that job last month.

SPORTSDAY: Former LA Kings coach John Stevens is joining the Dallas Stars’ coaching staff. 

NHL.COM: The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee released a statement revealing recommendations for several potential rule changes. Among them are changes to video review and coach’s challenge and for players to leave the ice if their helmet comes off during play. The recommendations require the approval of the NHLPA’s executive board and the NHL board of governors. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2017

Game recaps plus latest on Mark Scheifele, Kris Letang, Zach Parise and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 4-2 deficit to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on shootout goals by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, with the latter having a three-point game. The Penguins were playing without defenseman Kris Letang, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Joel Armia scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets held on for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. It was a costly victory, however, as first-line center Mark Scheifele left the game in the second period with an apparent right-shoulder injury. A further update is expected later today.

Malcolm Subban made 27 saves to give the Vegas Golden Knights their fifth straight win by defeating the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. The expansion Golden Knights (50 points) sit atop the overall standings in the Western Conference. This game was the first of the season for Ducks center Ryan Kesler, returning to action after being sidelined by offseason hip surgery. 

Two goals by Nico Hischier powered the New Jersey Devils to their fifth consecutive victory as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Sami Vatanen scored his first goal as a Devil. Brian Boyle and Kyle Palmieri returned to the lineup after leaving Saturday’s games against Chicago.

Pekka Rinne made 29 saves as the Nashville Predators held off the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Earlier in the day, the Blues announced the re-signing of general manager Doug Armstrong to a four-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong’s new deal shouldn’t come as any surprise. He’s done a fine job building the Blues into one of the league’s better clubs. 

Riley Nash scored twice and set up another as the Boston Bruins downed the Ottawa Senators 5-1. The Sens have dropped 16 of their last 19 games while the Bruins move into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sorry, Sens fans, no playoffs for your team this year. They’ve sunk too far in the standings to rally back now. 

Ondrej Pavelec kicked out 30 shots backstopping the New York Rangers to a 1-0 blanking of the Washington Capitals. Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello scored in the shootout for the Blueshirts. Rangers winger Chris Kreider left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury

Sebastien Aho’s two-goal performance gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a miraculous second-half turnaround, the Canadiens can forget about reaching the playoffs this season. Despite goalie Carey Price’s heroics, their offense is anemic and their defense atrocious. 

Mathew Barzal scored in overtime as the New York Islanders edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. John Tavares and Josh Bailey each collected two points for the Isles.

The Minnesota Wild doubled up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Mikael Granlund tallied the winner on a second-period power play. Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist for the Wild. Meanwhile, Wild left wing Zach Parise headed to the Wild’s AHL affiliate to play a tune-up game before returning to NHL action. He’s been sidelined since undergoing back surgery on Oct. 24.  

Antti Raanta turned aside 25 shots to give the Arizona Coyotes a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Earlier in the day, the Avs learned defenseman Tyson Barrie will miss four-to-six weeks with a fractured bone in his right hand, Meanwhile, Coyotes forward Zac Rinaldo received a six-game suspension for sucker-punching Avs blueliner Samuel Girard during Saturday’s game between the two clubs. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Bad news for the Blackhawks as goaltender Corey Crawford is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Crawford’s out for a significant period it will put considerably pressure upon backup Anton Forsberg to fill the gap. Forsberg’s been used sparingly in recent weeks.