NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

Connor McDavid wins the Art Ross Trophy, Auston Matthews takes home the Richard Trophy, and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight. Check out the latest in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader while Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 2021-22.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid finished the season with a career-high 123 points in 80 games, marking the fourth time he’s taken home the Art Ross Trophy and the fifth time he’s netted 100-or-more points in a season.

Matthews won the Richard Trophy after scoring a career-high 60 goals. It’s the second straight year the Leafs center has led the league in goals.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight with the puck dropping on four of the eight first-round, best-of-seven series. The Boston Bruins face off against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Toronto to meet the Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild, and the Los Angeles Kings are in Edmonton to face the Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: All signs point to Alex Ovechkin being in the Washington Capitals lineup for Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Capitals captain missed the final three regular-season games nursing a shoulder injury but took part in regular practices with his teammates over the weekend.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Panthers, sidelined defenseman Aaron Ekblad is practicing with his teammates and could be ready for Game 1 against the Capitals. Ekblad’s been out of the lineup since March 18 with a lower-body injury.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Hurricanes will be without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen for Game 1 against the Bruins tonight. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Andersen’s taken part in off-ice workouts but has yet to take part in full on-ice drills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen was the Hurricanes MVP this season and a potential contender for the Vezina Trophy. His absence could be a critical factor in this series with the Bruins.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news as team captain Gabriel Landeskog has been medically cleared for Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The 29-year-old winger has been sidelined since March 10 by knee surgery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie Tristan Jarry (foot injury) and winger Jason Zucker (undisclosed) are listed as day-to-day and won’t be part of the lineup in their upcoming series with the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers, meanwhile, will get sidelined forwards Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp back in the lineup for Game 1 against the Penguins tomorrow night. Both of them missed the final two games of the regular season for precautionary reasons nursing minor injuries.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was back on the ice with his teammates for practice on Sunday after missing the final four games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. His status remains unconfirmed for Game 1 tonight against the Kings but it’s assumed he could be in the lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars expect to have John Klingberg and Vladislav Namestnikov in the lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Klingberg missed the final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury while Namestnikov missed the final five games.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting (undisclosed injury) is doubtful for Game 1 tonight against the Lightning.

THE PROVINCE: Brock Boeser revealed his father’s battle with dementia during an emotional season-ending press conference yesterday. He revealed it took a toll on him throughout this season. “He’s not doing well. He has pretty bad dementia right now. It got pretty bad this year,” said a tearful Boeser. “It has really hit me hard.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was overcome with emotion and understandably left the press conference soon after. The Province’s Ben Kuzma reported his teammates praised the winger’s perseverance as he attempted to remain a difference-maker for the Canucks.

Fans and pundits sometimes forget the players have to deal with personal issues just like everybody else. Sometimes, it can affect their performance despite their best efforts. My sympathies go out to Boeser and his family during this difficult time.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to a three-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the speculation suggesting Cheveldayoff was in danger of losing his job following this disappointing season. He’ll have his work cut out for him this offseason. The Jets have been declining since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018. One of his priorities will be determining Mark Scheifele’s future with the franchise. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with assistant coach Phil Housley, who was in the final season of a three-year contract.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks parted ways with associate coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson. Crawford had a year remaining on his contract. Derek Kings remains the interim head coach but a decision on his future is expected soon.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Draft Lottery odds were released yesterday, with the Montreal Canadiens leading the 16 eligible teams with 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5) and the Seattle Kraken (11.5). The lottery will be held on May 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list by clicking the link above.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Thousands of Canadiens fans lined up yesterday outside the Bell Centre to pay their respects to the late Guy Lafleur as he lies in state through today. His funeral will be held in Montreal on Tuesday. Lafleur succumbed to lung cancer on April 22 at age 70.










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 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

Zdeno Chara sets record for defensemen, Zach Parise reaches a scoring milestone, the Predators retire Pekka Rinne’s number, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for most games (1,652) by an NHL defenseman but his club dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks. Isles winger Zach Parise also reached a personal milestone by tallying his 400th career NHL regular-season goal. Logan Couture netted the winning goal for the Sharks (52 points), who sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Chara and Parise on their respective achievements in what could be their final NHL seasons. Both are now well past their playing prime and could face retirement following this season.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars after they honored former goaltender Pekka Rinne by retiring his jersey No. 35 in a pre-game ceremony. Rinne’s successor, Juuse Saros, made 27 saves for the win as the Predators opened a six-point lead over the Oilers in the first Western wild-card berth with 64 points. The Stars (59 points) sit just behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and a two-time All-Star, Rinne retired at the end of last season as the Predators’ all-time leader in games played (683), wins (369), save percentage (.921), goals-against average (2.43) and shutouts (60).

J.T. Miller scored twice and added two assists while Thatcher Demko made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1, snapping the latter’s 10-game win streak. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat each tallied two goals as the Canucks (56 points) moved within three points of the Oilers. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 66 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead (36) in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap a three-game losing skid. Petr Mrazek kicked out 29 shots while Mitch Marner collected two assists. With 70 points, the Leafs sit two points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Wild remain in third place in the Central with 65 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev left the game early with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Boston Bruins got a two-goal performance by Jake DeBrusk, including the winning goal in overtime, to down the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists while Linus Ullmark stopped 25 shots. Bruins winger Brad Marchand was held scoreless in his return from a six-game suspension. The Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 64 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Kraken has dropped six straight games.

Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 36 shots for the Rangers while teammates Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points, three behind the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Patrik Laine scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Florida Panthers 6-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each collected two points for the Jackets while J-F Berube made 39 saves for the win. The Jackets have won four straight games and sit nine points behind the Bruins. The Panthers remain atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Speaking of upsets, the New Jersey Devils rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes each collected three points while Nico Daws turned in a 37-save performance for the Devils. The Penguins sit one point behind the Rangers in the Metro Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo will be sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury. It appears he injured his midsection during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was enjoying a solid bounce-back performance with the Hurricanes. Skating for much of the season alongside Jaccob Slavin, he’s third among Hurricanes scorers with 40 points.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Kaplan reports Evander Kane described his professional prospects beyond this season as “uncertain” and his pending contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks as “unclear” in a recent court filing in his ongoing bankruptcy case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players Association reportedly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf three weeks ago over the Sharks terminating his contract. A date for a hearing has yet to be determined.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: The Kraken placed winger Jared McCann (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points in 48 games.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for diving/embellishment during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TSN: The Dallas Stars claimed forward Martin Studenic off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

Check out the latest on the Ducks, Blackhawks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently wondered if this season will be the last for Ryan Getzlaf. The 35-year-old Anaheim Ducks captain becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He and general manager Bob Murray intend to meet following this season to discuss his future.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

Murray has indicated he’s interested in bringing Getzlaf back but Stephens wonders if that’s a good idea. The Ducks are rebuilding with younger players, Getzlaf’s best seasons are behind him, he was slowed by a bad back this season and no longer skates among their top-six forwards or their top power-play unit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season was the worst in Getzlaf’s 16-season career, tallying a career-low 17 points in 47 games. He could face three choices. He returns for a final season with the Ducks, he considers signing elsewhere, or retirement.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently examined which forwards are expected to be in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup next season. Dylan Strome fell into the category of “most likely” while Pius Suter’s future was unknown.

Strome faces an uncertain future with the Blackhawks after struggling this season. Powers believes he’ll return next season in part because his trade value is low coming off a down year plus he’ll require a new contract after next season. He could be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft.

The Blackhawks would like to keep Suter but that could depend on his contract negotiations. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He played well this season but benefited from a larger role with other key players sidelined. Powers speculates the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk via free agency if a new contract isn’t worked out early in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hawks could try to trade Strome if they feel they could lose him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. A rival club seeking depth at center could make a pitch for him but I agree with Powers’ assessment. The Kraken could pass on him too.

Suter’s contract situation could get dicey if the two sides reach a stalemate that could require an arbiter to sort it out. However, this could end up quickly sorted without much hassle. If negotiations go sideways I expect the Hawks would shop him in the trade market in hope of getting a decent asset in return.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell pointed out Michael Bunting became an important player for the Arizona Coyotes in recent weeks. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a Group VI free agent (UFA) this summer unless the Coyotes re-sign him. Head coach Rick Tocchet sang Bunting’s praises, calling him “a guy we sorely need in this organization”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bunting has 10 goals and 13 points in 20 games since joining the Coyotes’ roster in late March. He would be an affordable re-signing on a one-year “show-me” contract. Bunting could also become a worthwhile, low-risk signing by another club on the open market.