NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2021

The Islanders and Lightning commence their third-round series today, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois addresses Nikita Kucherov’s LTIR, an update on the Canadiens, some expansion draft details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:The third round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs begins this afternoon at 3 pm ET as the New York Islanders face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa Bay.

SPORTSNET: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois defended his team’s handling of Nikita Kucherov’s recovery from hip surgery and placing his contract on long-term injury reserve for the entire season.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

We had a player who was injured, needed surgery with about a five-month expected rehabilitation time. It just so happened with this season, because of the extraordinary circumstances, the regular season was only lasting four months,” BriseBois said in a press conference Saturday. “So he was able to have surgery, miss the entire season, we were able to get some cap relief during the season, and he was able to come back a little sooner than expected.”

BriseBois also confirmed the NHL investigated the Lightning’s handling of Kucherov’s contract status and found no rules were broken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics suggest the Lightning somehow cheated the system because Kucherov returned in time for the playoffs when the salary cap isn’t applicable. However, they cannot be faulted for following the LTIR rules within the CBA, which apply to every NHL club. Cap Friendly and PuckPedia have the breakdown of LTIR frequently asked questions. 

It’s legalized cap circumvention which the league and the NHLPA are willing to live with and have done so for years. Perhaps this will be raised in the next round of negotiations in 2026.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans is making progress in his recovery from the concussion he suffered in the previous round. He’s been skating on his own and could return at some point in the upcoming series against the Vegas Golden Knights.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported the Seattle Kraken will be allowed to sign players acquired prior to the July 21 expansion draft to eight-year contracts before the opening of free agency on July 28.

The Kraken also has an exclusive three-day window from 10 am on July 18 to 10 am on July 21 to speak with and potentially sign pending free agents left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. If they sign that player before the expansion draft, it will count as their pick from that player’s former club.

The earliest the Kraken can buy out players is 2022.

July 13 is the latest date a team can ask a player to waive their no-movement clause to be exposed in the expansion draft. The deadline for the player to waive that clause is July 16.

A trade freeze will be in place from 3 pm ET on July 17 to 1 pm ET on July 22 among the 31 NHL teams. The Kraken are allowed to make trades with any club during that period.

The deadline for protection list submission is 5 pm ET on July 17. The Kraken must submit their selection list to the league by 10 am ET on July 21. That’s the same deadline for them to submit contracts of players they signed during the free-agent interview period.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes interviewed Dallas Stars assistant coach Todd Nelson and are expected to interview St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn for their vacant head-coaching position.

PUCKPEDIA: The Boston Bruins have a $2.02 million in bonus carryover overage cap hit for 2021-22.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2021

The Jack Adams Award finalists are announced, the 2021 draft order is set through the first 27 picks, plus the latest on Nikita Kucherov, Tuukka Rask and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes, Dean Evason of the Minnesota Wild, and Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers are this year’s finalists for the Jack Adams Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour and Evason are first-time finalists. It’s the third time for Quenneville, who took home the award with the St. Louis Blues in 1999-2000.

All but the final four spots in the 2021 NHL Draft have been determined. The first 15 positions were determined by the draft lottery on June 2. The 12 teams eliminated from the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs are slotted into positions 16-27.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres hold the first-overall pick. Follow the link above for the full list.

THE ATHLETIC: Owen Power, the top prospect in this year’s draft, said he’s leaning toward returning to the University of Michigan next season. “It’s something I’d like to do just trying to get the true experience of playing college hockey,” said Power. “At the end of the day, it obviously depends on what the team wants and what everyone around me thinks is best.”

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Probably a wise decision on Power’s part. Too many young players have hampered their development making the leap into the NHL before they’re ready.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov responded to complaints about his club placing him on long-term injury reserve during the regular season to garner cap relief as he recovered from offseason hip surgery. He said he didn’t make the LTIR rules and spoke about the long recovery process away from the game.

I didn’t do it on purpose, obviously. I had to do the surgery. I had to go through the whole five months of rehabilitation, and when the time came (when) I was ready to play, it was the playoffs.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was interesting to hear Kucherov’s side of the story. He also spoke about the monotony and frustration he experienced going through the rehab process while his teammates were chasing a playoff spot.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said he wasn’t very confident in Jeff Petry, Jake Evans or Jon Merrill returning to the lineup in time for Game 1 of their semifinal series with the Vegas Golden Knights. All three are sidelined by various injuries. Ducharme didn’t rule out the possibility of them rejoining their teammates later in the series. Game 1 goes Monday night in Las Vegas.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’ve asked the Quebec government to increase capacity for their home games. They’re currently allowed to have 2,500 fans in attendance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say I blame them. The Vegas Golden Knights are now allowed full capacity for their home games. It gives the players a lift hearing more fans cheering them on. Whether the Quebec government agrees to the proposal and how many more fans could be allowed into the Bell Centre remains to be seen.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will undergo hip surgery in the offseason that will sideline him until January or February of 2022. Fourth-line center Curtis Lazar suffered a sprained knee in their series with the New York Islanders Defenseman Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo both suffered concussions.

Jeremy Lauzon underwent surgery on his right hand following an injury in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals and returned wearing a splint. Craig Smith suffered a groin injury during the Islanders series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s surgery and lengthy rehab could have an effect on his contract negotiations with the Bruins. He’s an unrestricted free agent on July 28.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2021

The Islanders advance to the semifinals, the Norris Trophy finalists are announced, plus the latest on Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 6-2 victory over the Boston Bruins to end their series in six games. Brock Nelson scored two second-period goals to snap a 1-1 tie while Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves for the win. Brad Marchand tallied both Bruins goals. The Isles face the Tampa Bay Lighting for the second straight year in the third round.

New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were the better team in this series. They took control of this game in the second on those goals by Nelson with Kyle Palmieri making it 4-1 in the final minutes of the frame.

The Bruins were without sidelined defensemen Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller. Goaltender Tuukka Rask acknowledged he was hampered by a nagging injury, raising questions over coach Bruce Cassidy’s decision to play him in this crucial game.

Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele still doesn’t believe he deserved a four-game suspension for charging Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans during their second-round series. “I thought I was going to be tried to be shut down by (Canadiens center) Phillip Danault,” said Scheifele. “Instead it was the Department of Player Safety that shut me down.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele shut himself down. He let his frustration get the better of him. Rather than accept the Game 1 loss and put the focus on rallying back in Game 2, he made a reckless hit that took himself out of the series. It contributed to the Jets getting swept from the second round by the Canadiens. Scheifele’s suspension is his fault. The sooner he accepts it the better.

Speaking of Evans, he resumed off-ice training yesterday after suffering a concussion from Scheifele’s hit that sidelined him for the rest of the second-round series. There’s no timeline for his return to play but Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said he could return at some point in the semifinals. Defenseman Jeff Petry could also return for the semis after injuring his right hand in Game 3 against the Jets.

SPORTSNET: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers claims he felt 100 percent during the playoffs but revealed he suffered a posterior labrum tear in his shoulder and a first-rib cartilage fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries affected Ehlers’ play as he managed just three points in six games. He enjoyed perhaps the best performance of his career during the regular season, tallying 46 points in 47 games.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin hired Ray Shero as senior advisor. Shero is the former general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks hired former Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw as an assistant coach. He’s expected to help the Canucks improve their porous defense.

THE SCORE: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban will serve as an ESPN in-studio NHL analyst for the remainder of the playoffs. The company is also reportedly hiring NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, as well as A.J. Mleczko Griswold and Ryan Callahan. Turner Sports, meanwhile, is bringing about NBC/Sportsnet analyst Anson Carter.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2021

The Canadiens sweep the Jets to advance to the semifinals, the Islanders have the Bruins on the brink of elimination, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 to sweep their second-round series. The Canadiens are the first team to reach the 2021 semifinals. They opened the scoring with first-period goals by Erik Gustafsson and Artturi Lehkonen but the Jets forced the extra frame as Logan Stanley tallied twice in the second period.

Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal dominated the play despite the close score, outshooting Winnipeg 42-16. If not for Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck this would’ve been a lopsided victory. Habs defenseman Jeff Petry missed this game after dislocating two fingers in Game 3 but he’s expected to be ready for the semifinals.

The New York Islanders held off the Boston Bruins for a 5-4 win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in their second-round series. Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves while Brock Nelson’s early third-period goal held up as the winner. The Isles went three-for-four on the power play. David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston, who pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask after two periods. Bruins forward Curtis Lazar left the game after throwing a big hit on Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock. Game 6 is tomorrow night on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy questioned the officiating during his post-game press conference, saying the penalties called against his club weren’t being called on the Islanders. He also singled out his opponent. “We’re playing a team that have very respected management and coaching staff, they’ve won a Stanley Cup. But I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints and not the New York Islanders,” said Cassidy.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter could return to action for Game 5 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He missed the first four games of this series with an undisclosed injury but returned to practice yesterday. The Hurricanes face a must-win situation down three games to one.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers signed forward Anton Lundell to a three-year entry-level contract. He was selected 12th overall by the Panthers in last year’s NHL Draft.

Renee Hess (founder of the Black Girl Hockey Club), Kevin Hodgson (executive director of HEROS), and Howard Smith (co-founder of Pittsburgh I.C.E.) are the three finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2021

The Golden Knights tie their series with the Avalanche, the Canadiens take a commanding lead over the Jets, the Selke Trophy finalists are announced, Canada wins gold at the World Championships, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A hat trick by Jonathan Marchessault powered the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. William Karlsson collected three assists as the Golden Knights tied their second-round series at two games apiece. Game 5 goes Tuesday in Colorado.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas began outplaying the Avalanche midway through Game 2. Despite losing that one in overtime, they have been in control of this series over the last two games.

The Golden Knights dominated Game 4, prompting one Denver columnist to call upon Colorado head coach Jared Bednar to shuffle his lineup for Game 5. If the Avs don’t do something to regain the momentum they’ll be hitting the golf course before the end of this week.

The Montreal Canadiens took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Winnipeg Jets with a 5-1 win. Joel Armia scored two goals and collected an assist while Carey Price made 26 saves. The Canadiens have won six straight stretching back to their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They can complete the sweep tonight in Game 4 at the Bell Centre.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg tried to get off to a fast start but their game plan was quickly derailed when Corey Perry opened the scoring for Montreal in the first period. The Jets sagged like a slowly leaking balloon after that, looking nothing like the team that swept the Edmonton Oilers from the first round.

The Canadiens didn’t emerge unscathed from Game 3 as defenseman Jeff Petry spent the third period on the bench with a hand injury. An update on his status is expected later today.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone are this year’s finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins center David Krejci was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for spearing New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal in the groin during Game 3 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial call was a five-minute major for spearing but was changed to a two-minute minor for…slashing. Yet another puzzling call in a postseason that’s seen more than its share.

TSN: The Canadian government has issued a travel exemption to allow the winner of the North Division and their American opponents to cross the border during the semifinals and Stanley Cup Final. The NHL’s plan, approved by the provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, includes a number of rules and protocols players and teams must abide by, including pre-and post-departure COVID-19 screenings whenever teams cross the border.

The restrictions include American teams playing in Canada and the Canadian team playing in the US to quarantine in designated hotels, allowed only to visit the arena where they’re playing. There are also restrictions on who the players can interact with.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul scored in overtime as Canada defeated Finland 3-2 to win the 2021 World Championship in Riga, Latvia. Senators forward Connor Brown was the tournament’s leading scorer with 16 points while Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane was named tournament MVP.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an impressive victory for Canada, which dropped its first three games in the tournament before roaring back to win it all. Canadian head coach Gerard Gallant will likely draw even more interest from NHL clubs seeking new bench bosses during the offseason. Gallant is reportedly on top of the New York Rangers’ wish list.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere was named head coach of their AHL affiliate in LeHigh Valley.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2021

The Canadiens widen their series lead over the Jets, the Golden Knights rally to get back into their series with the Avalanche, plus the latest on Mark Scheifele, Evgeni Malkin, Max Domi and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Carey Price turned in a 30-save shutout and Tyler Toffoli netted the only goal as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Winnipeg Jets 1-0. The Canadiens hold a 2-0 lead in the series, which shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Sunday. The Jets were without Mark Scheifele (four-game suspension), Paul Stastny (undisclosed injury) and Dylan DeMelo (lower body).

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens were the better team in this game. They did an effective job shutting down the Jets’ offense. The Habs have now won five straight games stretching back to their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Vegas Golden Knights got third-period goals from Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty 45 seconds apart to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer kicked out 40 shots in a losing cause. The Avs hold a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 slated for Sunday in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have outshot the Avalanche 84-45 over the last two games. Many of the Avs’ best players weren’t at their best in this contest. Grubauer’s been brilliant but he’s going to need more help from his teammates or this series will be tied on Sunday evening.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Mark Scheifele said he was shocked by what he considered an excessive four-game suspension for his hit on Canadiens center Jake Evans in Game 1 on Wednesday. However, he won’t appeal the suspension. He also expressed his unhappiness over the hate his family received on social media following the incident. Evans, meanwhile, is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s one thing to criticize Scheifele for his hit on Evans. He brought that upon himself and must face the consequences for his actions. It’s another to drag his family into this. There’s no justification for that at all.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin underwent surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to be available for the start of Penguins training camp in mid-September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin suffered the initial injury in early March, missing 23 regular-season games. He reinjured his knee during the club’s final game of the regular season, missing two of their six playoff games against the New York Islanders.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Max Domi will be sidelined five-to-six months following surgery to repair a labral tear in his right shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could explain the decline in Domi’s performance this season. He had just 24 points in 54 games this season with the Jackets.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury but hasn’t been ruled out for Game 4 against the New York Islanders tonight.

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Kurtis Gabriel, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban are the finalist for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.