NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

The Blues take a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Stars re-sign two players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues are one victory away from their first-ever Stanley Cup following a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Final. Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-opener and set up David Perron for the winner while Jordan Binnington kicked out 38 shots.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington backstopped his club to victory in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

The winning goal was controversial as an obvious trip on Bruins winger Noel Acciari by Blues center Tyler Bozak went uncalled before David Perron’s tally. Bruins president Cam Neely and coach Bruce Cassidy were furious with the officials. Following the game, Cassidy said the non-call was “egregious”, calling it a “black eye” for the league.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suited up for this contest despite a broken jaw suffered in Game 4. He played over 16 minutes, blocked three shots and led all Bruins defensemen with four hits.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That missed trip by Bozak on Acciari was just the latest embarrassment for the league in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Blues go on to win this series, Bruins fans could point to that missed penalty as the reason. The officiating has been terrible, so much so that league commissioner Gary Bettman recently promised some changes in the off-season. 

That call overshadowed Binnington’s outstanding performance. The Blues were dominated through most of Game 5, especially in the first period. Binnington, however, made the difference.

O’Reilly also deserves his share of plaudits for his efforts in this contest. While Binnington will be considered the Blues’ front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy, O’Reilly also deserves consideration. He’s been impressive throughout this postseason. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Roman Polak and winger Mattias Janmark to one-year contracts yesterday. Polak, 33, will earn $1.75 million for 2019-20. The 26-year-old Janmark will make $2.3 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators officially hired Jack Capuano yesterday as an associate coach.  His role will be improving the club’s young defense.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets inked forwards Seth Griffth and JC Lipton to one-year, two-way deals worth $700K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: Overhauling their AHL affiliate will be the priority of the Rangers under new team president John Davidson.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2019

Latest on Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, Antti Niemi, Nail Yakupov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t ruling out captain Zdeno Chara from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight in St. Louis. However, he suggested the big defenseman wasn’t trending in the right direction. Chara suffered what the Bruins are calling a “facial injury” in Game 4 and some reports suggest his jaw is broken. He didn’t participate in practice yesterday.

Bruins blueliner Matt Grzelcyk, meanwhile, participated in practice wearing a no-contact jersey. He’s been under concussion protocol since Game 2 but hasn’t been ruled out for Game 5. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo returns to the lineup for Game 5 after being a healthy scratch in the previous contest. He’ll replace Joel Edmundson, who will be a healthy scratch for the third time in this postseason. 

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson recently underwent groin surgery (Photo via NHL Images).

 NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson underwent surgery on May 31 to address a groin injury suffered during the regular season. He’s begun rehabilitation and is expected to make a full recovery in time for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That injury plagued Karlsson since midseason. He was sidelined for 29 games during the regular season and missed the final game of the Western Conference Final. Slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, Karlsson’s health will be a factor during his contract negotiations. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltender Antti Niemi signed with Finnish club Jokerit in the KHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Niemi’s NHL career is over after 11 seasons. The 35-year-old backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup in 2010 and enjoyed his best seasons (2010-11 to 2014-15) with the Sharks. In recent years, however, his performance declined as he bounced from the Sharks to the Dallas Stars. Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, and the Canadiens as a backup goalie. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Former Flyers forward Jori Lehtera is joining SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. In March, he was sentenced to “four months of conditional imprisonment (probation) in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine, a case that stemmed back to September 2018.”

TSN: A report on Tuesday claimed the Arizona Coyotes had interest in KHL winger and former NHL player Nail Yakupov. However, The Athletic’s Craig Morgan cites an NHL source claiming that report is “completely inaccurate.”

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets center Jack Roslovic fired agent Ken Robinson and replaced him with Claude Lemieux. Roslovic is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have held talks with former New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano about possibly becoming an assistant coach in Ottawa.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2017

Edmonton Oilers celebrate one of their goals in their 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

Game recaps, Blackhawks & Kings swing a minor deal, an update on Jack Capuano & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Jordan Eberle scored twice and set up two others while goalie Laurent Brossoit made 38 saves for his first NHL win as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Calgary Flames 7-3, sweeping their season series with their Alberta rival for the first time in history. 

A three-goal third-period outburst in less than two minutes from Erik Haula, Ryan Suter and Jason Zucker powered the Minnesota Wild to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks, who also lost starting goalie John Gibson in the first period to an upper-body injury. No word yet as to how serious Gibson’s injury could be. Suter, meanwhile, had a three-point performance on his 32nd birthday.

The red-hot Washington Capitals extended their points streak to 13 games as Jay Beagle’s overtime goal gave them a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. During the game, the Stars’ game operations crew poked fun at the Trump Administration by announcing on the Jumbotron that their attendance for this game was 1.5 million. 

Ondrej Pavelec made 34 saves, including a team record 25 in the second period, backstopping the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Blues’ recent struggles has one St. Louis pundit speculating they could become sellers at the March 1 trade deadline if they keep losing ground in the standings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending and depth at center are their two significant roster weaknesses. I believe general manager Doug Armstrong might soon become a buyer to address those issues and keep his club in playoff contention

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals as the New York Islanders doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2, giving the Isles their third second straight win since replacing Jack Capuano as coach with Doug Weight. Speaking of Capuano, Newsday reports sources claim at least one team has asked the Isles’ permission to speak with him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on which club has interest in Capuano. Newsday notes only the Florida Panthers and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are without permanent head coaches. Maybe it’s the Boston Bruins, as bench boss Claude Julien is rumored to be on the hot seat. 

Scott Hartnell scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Cody Franson scored the game-tying goal and Zach Bogosian tallied in overtime as the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing Habs goalie Carey Price his fifth loss in his last six starts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it’s any consolation for Canadiens fans, Price has played better in his last two or three games.

Bobby Ryan and Tom Pyatt scored in a shootout as the Ottawa Senators edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. 

David Schlemko’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks their fourth straight win as they nipped the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 3-2. 

Christian Fischer scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut as the Arizona Coyotes snapped a four-game losing streak by holding on for a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Miles Wood scored twice and Keith Kinkaid turned aside 34 shots to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Michael Latta from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling. Both players are expected to remain in the minors. 

Islanders Fire Capuano

Islanders Fire Capuano

New York Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano.

The New York Islanders fired head coach Jack Capuano. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by assistant general manager Doug Weight, who also served as a coach on Capuano’s staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most Islanders fans probably feel this is long overdue. After winning their first playoff series in 23 years last season, the Isles are now last in the Eastern Conference and eight points out of a wild-card berth. With their playoff hopes fading and no help coming from a stagnant trade market, firing Capuano was the only option Isles general manager Garth Snow had to reverse their fortunes.

 Capuano’s faced his share of criticism this season. However, it’s worth noting the Isles reached the playoffs in three of his previous seven seasons behind the bench, with two 100-point campaigns in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Capuano is also paying the price for Snow’s inability to suitably replace departed veterans Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin last summer. He also had to make do with a three-goalie system since the middle of last season, while once-promising forward Ryan Strome has struggled over the last two seasons.

Sometimes a coaching change can spark an improvement. Given the Isles’ roster deficiencies this season, it’ll be interesting to see if Weight has better luck than Capuano. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2016

Nicklas Backstrom & T.J. Oshie led the Washington Capitals to a 7-1 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nicklas Backstrom & T.J. Oshie led the Washington Capitals to a 7-1 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game recaps, Stamkos, Hall & Gaudreau sidelined, CBA extension offer to NHLPA & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and set up three others and T.J. Oshie had a four-point game to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-1 beatdown of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray was forced from the game with a head injury but said afterward he was fine. 

Michael Frolik’s overtime goal lifted the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Flames learned left wing Johnny Gaudreau will likely miss four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair a broken finger suffered in the Flames’ previous game against the Minnesota Wild. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is out indefinitely after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. 

NJ.COM:  New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall underwent surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus and is sidelined three-four weeks. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Darren Helm is out for a minimum of six weeks to a dislocated left shoulder. 

SPORTSNET: Sources claim the NHL made an offer to the NHL Players Association to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in exchange for extending the expiration date of the current collective bargaining agreement from 2022 to 2025. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting proposal from the league, one that isn’t unprecedented. In 1998, the league and the PA agreed to extend the CBA expiration to 2004 to ensure Olympic participation and the expansion into Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota and Nashville.

The problem, however, is accepting this proposal means the players would be stuck with the highly unpopular escrow clawbacks from their salaries for three more years. While there’s no word yet from the PA, early speculation suggests the players will reject that offer. 

USA TODAY:  Kevin Allen reports some NHL players could be trying to find away to game their advanced stats numbers to their advantage. “Corsi measures all shot attempts and has now become the industry standard as a proxy of puck possession.” writes Allen. “Take a shot on goal, from anywhere on the ice, even if your team is struggling to move the puck into the offensive zone, and it will help your Corsi.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting piece worth reading. While there’s no obvious evidence that some players are gaming the analytics to their advantage, the possibility certainly exists. I’m sure this will be cited in debates between proponents and critics of analytics. As I’ve frequently said, advanced stats are a useful tool for measuring performance, but they’re not the end-all and be-all. 

NEWSDAY:  New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow gave head coach Jack Capuano a vote of confidence. The club’s early-season struggles have generated calls among the Isles faithful for Capuano’s dismissal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think a bigger share of the blame belongs to Snow. He allowed long-time Islanders Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin depart via free agency last summer. Their absences have adversely affected the Isles’ performance this season. Free-agent addition Andrew Shaw Ladd’s been a bust thus far (three points in 16 games).

ESPN.COM: The Anaheim Ducks traded forward Michael Sgarbossa to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Logan Shaw. 

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2016

Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella could be among several NHL bench bosses feeling the heat.

Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella could be among several NHL bench bosses feeling the heat.

Coaches on the hot seat plus latest on the Canucks, Islanders & Sharks in your NHL rumor mill. 

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos lists Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders, Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars and Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche as five NHL coaches on the hot seat early in this season.

Traikos cites Capuano “taking a shot” at Isles general manager Garth Snow for the loss of 134 points from their lineup, referring to the departures of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin via free agency. He also notes the Canucks anemic offense, the Blue Jackets record, the Stars poor goaltending and the Avs spotty goaltending, poor defense and popgun offense as factors putting those coaches in their current plights. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Notice a common theme? All of those coaches are feeling the burn because of the rosters built by their general managers. But of course, it’s the coach that takes the fall for a GM’s mistakes. Capuano’s been with the Isles a long time and perhaps they need a change behind the bench, while the demanding Tortorella’s act can wear thin with his players after a while.

If I had to pick one from this list who’s most likely to be fired first, I’ll go with Desjardins. The Canucks have really struggled in recent weeks and a shakeup behind the bench is possible if they don’t snap out of their tailspin soon. 

TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Appearing on Vancouver’s TSN 1040, Darren Dreger reports Canucks GM Jim Benning’s been shopping for offense in the last couple of weeks. Benning told Dreger trade calls are increasing, which isn’t surprising given the league general managers will be meeting next week in Toronto. Benning’s getting calls for his promising prospects. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning’s not parting with any of his top prospects. As I’ve said, there’s no magic trade coming that’ll boost the Canucks offense. They’re pretty much stuck with what they’ve got for this season. 

NEWSDAY: Asked by a reader if we can expect a trade that brings the New York Islanders a top-end forward to playing alongside John Tavares, Arthur Staple cites salary-cap constraints around the league as why he doesn’t expect such a deal to happen. He said GM Garth Snow is fielding calls and offers daily but didn’t elaborate. Staple also feels they’ll stick with goaltender Jaroslav Halak for now because they need wins and he’s best suited to provide them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow failed to adequately replace the lost offense of Okposo and Nielsen. That’ll likely remain a problem over the remainder of this season. As for Halak, his $4.5 million cap hit through next season and injury history also makes him difficult to move right now. 

CSN BAY AREA: Responding to a reader’s question on when the San Jose Sharks might ship forward Patrick Marleau at the trade deadline, Kevin Kurz replied it’s far too early for that speculation. He doesn’t see much of a market right now for “a 37-year-old winger with two even strength points in 13 games that carries a $6.67 million cap hit.” Kurz speculates Marleau could play out this final season of his contract with the Sharks, but nothing’s happened that makes him thing the long-time Shark will return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Marleau is willing to accept a trade by the March 1 deadline, maybe he’ll be dealt to a playoff contender. Even then, that’s not a certainty. His production will have to pick up over the course of the season to attract interest from rival clubs.