Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite NHL Team: Atlantic Division
The Oilers hire Dave Tippett as their new head coach, latest on the Bruins and Blues, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: As expected, the Edmonton Oilers yesterday formally announced Dave Tippett was taking over as their new head coach. He’s their 16th coach in franchise history, but also the ninth in the past 11 years. Tippett formerly coached the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tippett has a good reputation as a coach who can quickly improve a team’s performance. However, he faces a daunting task achieving the same results with the Oilers. Their goaltending is suspect, their defense porous, and they lack secondary scoring depth. It’s up to general manager Ken Holland to provide Tippett with a better roster for next season.
SPORTSNET: Paul Coffey won’t be returning as the Oilers’ skills development coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dismantling of the Oilers’ “old boys network” in the front office continues. Craig MacTavish recently departed for a coaching gig in the KHL. Last week, the Oilers announced they were parting ways with VP of player personnel Duane Sutter.
NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug’s hit on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was the talk of yesterday’s player interviews. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington joked about Krug’s intensity. “His pupils were pretty big. I don’t know if he’s on something, but he was pretty fired up.” Game 2 of the series is tonight in Boston at 8 pm ET.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues coach Craig Berube said there’s a chance Vince Dunn (concussion symptoms) could play in Game 2. He’s been sidelined since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams expressed interest in hiring Keefe. Some observers believe the Marlies coach could one day take over behind the Leafs bench.
NEW YORK POST: Following a dazzling performance at the 2019 IIHF World Championships, prospect winger Kaapo Kakko said he’ll skip the upcoming NHL Draft Combine. The 18-year-old winger helped Finland win the gold medal at this year’s tournament. Kakko is the sixth player in IIHF history to win gold at the Worlds, the under-18 and under-20 tournaments.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bold decision by Kakko. Nevertheless, his performance at the Worlds is perhaps the best audition he needs to prove himself as this year’s top prospect. The New Jersey Devils hold the first-overall selection in next month’s NHL Draft. American center Jack Hughes was ranked as No.1 by Central Scouting but Kakko’s play at the Worlds could change that.
NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame has awarded long-time hockey writer Frank Brown the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award. Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.
Games recaps, including a big night for Islanders rookie Ryan Pulock, plus the latest on Carey Price, Martin Jones & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Defenseman Ryan Pulock had a five-point game (one goal and four assists) as the New York Islanders thumped the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3. Chicago winger Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists to become the fifth player in Blackhawks history to reach 800 points. He also notched his 20th goal of the season.
The red-hot Colorado Avalanche picked up their ninth straight win by downing the New York Rangers 3-1. Nathan MacKinnon, Miko Rantanen and Erik Johnson each had a goal and an assist.
The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 16 games (12-0-4) with a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins. Before the game, the Canadiens honored legendary sportswriter Red Fisher, who passed away Friday at age 91.
Earlier in the day, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price revealed he was diagnosed last year with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He credits a change of diet with improving his performance. Before the diagnosis and being sidelined by a lower-body injury, he began the season with a 3-7-1 record and a save percentage of .877. Since his returns. his record was 10-8-3 with a .923 save percentage.
The Nashville Predators won their fifth straight game by beating the Florida Panthers 4-3. Kevin Fiala tallied twice while teammates Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok each had three points.
Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler scored in a shootout as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Calgary Flames 2-1. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the win.
Three unanswered third-period goals by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Connor Carrick rallied the Toronto Maple Leafs from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Matthews’ goal was also his 20th of the season.
Mattias Janmark scored twice, John Klingberg collect three assists and Alexander Radulov picked up his 200th career NHL point as the Dallas Stars crushed the Buffalo Sabres 7-1.
The Minnesota Wild extended their home points streak to eight games with a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who’ve dropped three straight and lost five of their last seven games.
Aaron Dell made 31 saves and Tomas Hertl scored the game winner as the San Jose Sharks nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced starting goalie Martin Jones is day-to-day with a “minor lower-body injury”. Head coach Pete DeBoer said it is unrelated to the ailment Jones suffered earlier in the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if Jones’ recent injury explains the downturn in his performance since returning to action in early-December.
The Edmonton Oilers got their third straight victory by downing the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored a goal and set up two others while teammate Patrick Maroon scored two goals. Speaking of the Oilers, Paul Coffey is expected to rejoin the organization in “an active, skills-type role.”
A three-goal first period power the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist while Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves.
Two power-play goals by Elias Lindholm carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
A four-game first period enable the Arizona Coyotes to snap a 12-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Christian Dvorak tallied two goals for the Coyotes.
CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights returned defenseman Jason Garrison to their AHL affiliate in Chicago.