NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2021

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Golden Knights, the Canadiens beat the Jets in their second-round series opener, the Sabres win the draft lottery, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mikko Rantanen’s overtime power-play goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights and a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Brandon Saad and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado while Alec Martinez and Reilly Smith replied for Vegas. Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Golden Knights’ net after being the backup in Game 1.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t happy with the officiating on the slashing call on Rielly Smith that led to Rantanen’s PP goal. “Just a soft call”, he said, going on to accuse the Avalanche players of embellishment throughout the game.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Eric Staal had a goal and an assist while Carey Price made 27 saves for the win. Their victory, however, was overshadowed by a dangerous hit by Jets center Mark Scheifele on Habs center Jake Evans as the latter was scoring an empty net. Evans was stretchered from the ice while Scheifele received a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was out of character for Scheifele, who has no history of supplemental discipline. He let his emotions get away with him and could face a suspension. Evans, meanwhile, was evaluated by the Canadiens’ medical staff. John Shannon reported he was back at the team hotel following the game, where he was described as doing fine, alert but shaken.

It should be noted that Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers protected the prone Evans during the ensuing scrum. He also called for additional medical attention for the fallen Hab. “In a situation like that, you don’t want anyone falling on top of him,” said Ehlers. “I was just trying to keep everyone away.”

Winnipeg center Paul Stastny missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo left the game early in the first period with a lower-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres won the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday. The expansion Seattle Kraken won the second-overall pick while the Anaheim Ducks will select third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could select University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power. He’s listed as this year’s top prospect by NHL Central Scouting.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan defended his team’s top-four players during the club’s end-of-season press conference. He did, however, acknowledge the club lacked a “killer instinct” that must be addressed.

SPORTSNET: Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s doing “really well” in his recovery from the traumatic head injury suffered during Game 1 against the Canadiens. Tavares missed the rest of the series with a concussion and a knee injury. He said he has no memory of the incident and doesn’t intend to watch the replay.

TSN: Leafs winger Mitch Marner denied a report that he refused to play a goal-line role on the club’s power play. “It’s a complete lie,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Marner, Tavares, Matthews or William Nylander to be traded this summer if Shanahan’s comments are anything to go by. However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation among the Toronto media. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck’s status for Game 3 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning remains uncertain. He was still being evaluated yesterday following his ankle-to-ankle collision with teammate Warren Foegele in Game 2.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Craig Smith could return to the lineup for Game 3 tonight against the New York Islanders. He missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury suffered during the previous game.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said he’d be comfortable returning with the same group of players next season. He defended beleaguered starting goaltender Tristan Jarry, lauded the coaching staff and expects core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke intend to bring some size and toughness to the line next season. There will be some changes but those will likely involve their secondary players. They could also acquire an experienced backup as a mentor for Jarry.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Kevin Hayes underwent successful sports hernia surgery last week. His expected recovery period is five weeks.

 










What We Learned This Week in The NHL: Week 15

What We Learned This Week in The NHL: Week 15

 










Golden Knights Fire Gallant, Hired DeBoer as Head Coach

Golden Knights Fire Gallant, Hired DeBoer as Head Coach

The Vegas Golden Knights fired head coach Gerard Gallant, replacing him with former San Jose Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer. Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also relieved of his duties.

The Vegas Golden Knight fire head coach Gerard Gallant (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes as a big surprise. Gallant becomes the seventh head coach to lose his job this season. That includes DeBoer, who was fired a month ago by the Sharks. Considering the Golden Knights already had Gallant’s replacement already lined up, management obviously had this move  planned for a while. 

The official statement from the Golden Knights claims this decision was necessary for the club to achieve its full potential. They’ve have struggled of late, mired in a four-game losing streak and slumping just outside the last wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Nevertheless, they’re only three points behind the Arizona Coyotes (57 points) for first place in the tight Pacific standings.

Gallant was selected to coach the Pacific Division at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He won the Jack Adams Award guiding then-expansion Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, and a third-place finish in the Pacific Division last season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Golden Knights and Gallant were talking contract extension earlier in the season.

Recent reaction on social media suggests this move was made as a shot across the bow at the Golden Knights players. Given how much they’ve invested in the roster, ownership and the front office expect this team to be a Cup contender. Perhaps Gallant lost the room, or maybe he’s paying the price for some recent shaky goaltending and a defense lacking a true blueline stud.

Given Gallant’s solid coaching credentials, he shouldn’t remain unemployed for long. Detroit and Montreal are already being mentioned as possible destinations by some on the Twittersphere, though his inability to speak French could make the latter an unlikely destination as a head coach.

DeBoer guided the Sharks to the 2016 Cup Final and the New Jersey Devils to the 2012 Final. He guided the Sharks to two seven-game series victories over the Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche before falling to the St. Louis Blues in last spring’s playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get his new club back among the Cup contenders.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2019

Eric Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury reach career milestones, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal scored to pick up his 1,000th career point, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied a hat trick while Jonathan Toews collected three assists. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Wild.

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal netted his 1,000th career point in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

Marc-Andre Fleury moved into 14th place for all-time games played among NHL goalies (821) backstopping the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas winger Max Pacioretty scored twice and added two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canucks placed winger Sven Baertschi on waivers.

Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee faces supplemental discipline for interference on Jets center Mathieu Perreault. The injury-ravaged Flyers have dropped four of their last five games.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice to lead his club over the Detroit Red Wings 4-2, snapping the latter’s two-game win streak.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recently teamed up with sponsor and equipment maker CCM to announce a donation of 87 sets of hockey gear to participants in three programs administered by Hockey Nova Scotia.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar will miss the next two games with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting former San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is willing to entertain offers for coaching jobs this season. “Sometimes coaches wanna take time, maybe the rest of the season before they come back,” Friedman said. “The word is … that, depending on the situation, Peter DeBoer is willing to listen and will consider coaching this year. But again, it depends on the situation.”

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres sent struggling Casey Mittelstadt to their AHL affiliate in Rochester. The 21-year-old winger had been a healthy scratch in three of the Sabres’ last four games.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former NHL winger Vladimir Tsyplakov has died at the age of 50. The cause of death was not revealed. Tsyplakov played nearly five seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and nearly two seasons with the Sabres. He netted 170 points in 331 NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Tsyplakov’s family, friends, and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2019

Game recaps, the Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer, Forbes releases its annual evaluation of NHL franchises, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: T.J. Oshie scored two goals as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2. John Carlson scored the game-winner, snapping a 2-2 tie in the third period. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 26th goal of the season,

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied twice in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after being sidelined for three games. The Avalanche are unbeaten in their last eight contests (7-0-1). Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers.

An overtime goal by Ben Chiarot lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators made things interesting by overcoming a 2-0 deficit. Max Domi collected two assists while rookie goaltender Cayden Primeau picked up his first NHL victory. Brady Tkachuk picked up two points for the Senators. The Canadiens played without Matthew Peca. They also placed center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (upper body) on injured reserve.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday fired head coach Peter DeBoer and three of his assistant coaches. Bob Boughner takes over for DeBoer on an interim basis.

San Jose Sharks fire head coach Peter DeBoer (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are struggling to score and the defense hasn’t played well, but poor goaltending is the real reason DeBoer lost his job. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have been terrible, sporting the league’s third-worst goals-against per game (3.42). Boughner might improve their defense, but I doubt he’ll be able to elevate the goaltending.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Speaking of coaches on struggling teams in danger of losing their job, Jeff Blashill’s performance is under the microscope as the Red Wings approach the longest losing skid in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The record is 14 straight games. The Wings are in a death spiral, sparking comparisons to the “Dead Things” of the early-’80s. General manager Steve Yzerman’s been patient, but one wonders how much longer he’ll wait before shaking up the coaching staff.

FORBES.COM: For the fifth straight year, the New York Rangers top the magazine’s annual evaluation of NHL franchises. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins round out the top five. The Arizona Coyotes came in last in the rankings.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lapointe is undergoing treatment for oral cancer. A team statement indicates this form of cancer has a high cure rate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to “Pointu” for a speedy recovery.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks due to a dislocated rib and broken cartilage.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski will work his 2,500th NHL game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.

THE SCORE: The Colorado Eagles’ equipment manager had been placed on administrative leave after former NHL player Akim Aliu revealed he attended a team Halloween party in blackface dressed as Aliu. The incident took place in 2011.










With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?

With Babcock Fired, Which NHL Coaches Are Next on the Chopping Block?