NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Hurricanes, the Vezina Trophy finalists are announced, the 2021 Draft Lottery goes tonight, an update on Jack Eichel and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A third-period goal by Anthony Cirelli was the game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Alex Killorn opened the scoring in the second period for the Lightning. Andrei Svechnikov got the Hurricanes on the board late in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the win as the Bolts were outshot 32-15. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck left the game with an injured right leg following a second-period collision with teammate Warren Foegele. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said it didn’t know the extent of Trocheck’s injury but indicated it didn’t look good. An update could come later today.

Losing their second-line center would be another blow to the Hurricanes’ forward lines. Winger Nino Niederreiter is out for the series with an undisclosed injury suffering in practice before Game 1.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

Speaking of Andrei Vasilevskiy, he joins Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche as this year’s finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the fourth straight season Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist, winning the award in 2018-19. It’s the first time Fleury and Grubauer have been honored.

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery goes tonight at 7 pm ET at league headquarters. The Buffalo Sabres have the best odds of winning after finishing with the worst overall record, followed by the Anaheim Ducks. The expansion Seattle Kraken has the third-best odds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Draft will be held virtually on July 23-24. Follow the link above for full details on the lottery rules and this year’s top prospects.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has reached the end of the rehab period for the herniated disk in his neck. If he still wants the neck surgery that team doctors haven’t been comfortable with, he has the right to take the team to arbitration. If he doesn’t agree with the arbiter’s decision, he can ask for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The surgical procedure Eichel prefers has never been done before on an NHL player. The team doctors’ preference is for continued rehab. It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds if Eichel feels he hasn’t made much progress with his current treatment.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted goaltender Tuukka Rask has been battling nagging injuries. However, he doesn’t feel there’s any reason to believe Rask won’t be ready to play against the New York Islanders tonight in Game 3 of their second-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask appeared to struggle during the Bruins’ overtime loss in Game 2. If that continues in Game 3 we could see backup Jeremy Swayman for Game 4.

TSN: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in Game 2.

WINNIPEG SUN: The province of Manitoba will allow 500 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers into the MTS Centre tonight for the Winnipeg Jets’ opening game of their second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin said he suffered a sprained shoulder during his club’s series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Teammate Joel Eriksson Ek played through a knee injury suffered in Game 6. The duo won’t require offseason surgery.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a one-year, two-way contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Connauton will earn $825K at the NHL level. He spent most of this season on the Panthers’ taxi squad, seeing action in seven games.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins have given teams around the league permission to speak with former general manager Jim Rutherford before his contract with them expires at the end of June. Rutherford stepped down as GM in January for personal reasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

Golden Knights and Lightning take commanding series’ leads while Leafs and Islanders get big wins to tie their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 35-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Fleury moved into a tie with Curtis Joseph for third place among the all-time playoff shutouts leaders with 16. Nicolas Roy scored twice and Mark Stone tallied a shorthanded goal. The Golden Knights can wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday in Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An apparent game-tying goal by the Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek was overturned on a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Eriksson Ek also had a goal overturned in Game 3 as offside on a coach’s challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 lead in their series with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each collected four points while Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 41 shots. Panthers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up five goals on 19 shots. Game 5 goes Monday in Sunrise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst-officiated game of these playoffs thus far. The Athletic’s Joe Smith pointed out this game took an ugly turn after Kucherov left the game with a leg injury from a slash by Panthers’ winger Anthony Duclair and teammate Mikhail Sergachev was shaken up following a blindside hit by Patric Hornqvist.

Smith also noted the game finished with 26 penalties and five misconducts, many of which stemmed from a brawl late in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper struggled to keep his emotions in check talking about the officiating during the postgame press conference. No word following this game over the conditions of Kucherov and Sergachev.

Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 to even their first-round series at a game apiece. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two points while Jack Campbell made 22 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff win. Jesperi Kotkaniemi replied for the Canadiens. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was evenly matched but Toronto blew it open in the second as the Canadiens spent most of that frame on the penalty kill. The Leafs adjusted well to the Habs’ physical play while bringing their speed and offensive depth to bear.

The New York Islanders squared their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory. Ilya Sorokin got the nod as the Islanders’ starting goalie over struggling Semyon Varlamov and turned aside 29 shots for the win. Isles winger Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are doing a fine job shutting down the Penguins’ top line. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each have just one point in this series. Meanwhile, a banged-up Evgeni Malkin has two assists in as many games but was also held off the score sheet in Game 4.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager said team captain John Tavares suffered no structural damage to his head, face, neck or spine after being accidentally struck by the knee of Canadiens winger Corey Perry in Game 1. However, he has a concussion and also a sprained knee. He’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for goaltender interference against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during Game 4 of their first-round series.

The league also fined Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin during Game 3 of their first-round series.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo remain doubtful for Game 4 today against the Colorado Avalanche. Blueliner Vince Dunn’s status is also uncertain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined in Game 4 by a high hit to the head by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Kevin Hayes will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery next week in Philadelphia. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars promoted Rich Peverley to Director of Player Personnel. He’s served as their Player Development Coordinator for six years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Panthers, the Penguins and Golden Knights tie their respective series, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominees are announced, the Red Wings re-sign Jeff Blashill and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves to backstop the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 3-1. Tampa Bay leads the series 2-0. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning while Mason Marchment replied for the Panthers. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vasilevskiy was the difference maker as the Lightning took an early 2-0 lead. The Panthers outshot the Bolts 24-13 over the second and third periods but could only get one shot past the former Vezina Trophy winner.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 37 saves as his club held on for a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders to even their series at a game apiece. The Penguins got first-period goals from Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter while Josh Bailey replied for the Isles in the second period. The series shifts to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid bounce-back effort for Jarry following his shaky performance in Game 1. Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov looked rusty in the early going as he returned to action after missing a week with a lower-body injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 34 shots and Alex Tuch scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights tamed the Minnesota Wild 3-1 to tie their series 1-1. Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas while the Wild’s Matt Dumba opened the scoring. The series moves to Minnesota for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strong goaltending was the theme for the winning teams on Tuesday. Fleury also played well in his club’s 1-0 overtime loss in Game 1.

The Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in their second-to-last regular-season contest. Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko made 38 saves while Brock Boeser, Tyler Myers and Travis Hamonic each had a goal and an assist. The two clubs will play their season finale tonight.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares are among this season’s 31 nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings agreed to a contract extension with head coach Jeff Blashill. Details were not released. Blashill’s current contract was to expire at the end of this season. Meanwhile, the Wings announced captain Dylan Larkin is recovering from an undisclosed injury and is expected to be ready for the start of 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings also revealed assistant coach Dan Bylsma won’t be back. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman believes the club’s improvement this season earned Blashill at least another year behind the bench.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks have informed GM Jim Benning will return next season.

THE PROVINCE: There’s speculation former Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin could return to the club in front-office roles. Meanwhile, there’s still no indication if head coach Travis Green will receive a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The news of Benning’s return won’t please his critics. Meanwhile, uncertainty remains over Green’s future in Vancouver. Benning signaled his intent in January to sign Green to a contract extension but he’s gone quiet in recent weeks about those negotiations.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Young Canadiens Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Alexander Romanov and Cole Caufield will be scratched from Game 1 of their upcoming series-opening game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme wants to go with a more experienced lineup to open the series but benching those kids isn’t sitting well with Habs fans on social media. Their unhappiness will grow if that veteran-laden lineup drops Game 1 to the Leafs.

Speaking of the Canadiens, the province of Quebec will be easing some COVID-19 restrictions later this month. As a result, the Habs could have 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre for Game 6 against the Leafs on May 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming there is a Game 6. The Leafs are the heavy favorites in this series. Most experts predict they’ll eliminate the Habs in four or five games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon will miss Game 3 tonight against the Washington Capitals with an injured hand. He’s listed as day-to-day. Blueliner Kevan Miller suffered a cut in Game 2 but will be in the lineup for tonight’s contest.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have parted ways with Scott Gordon and Kerry Huffman. Gordon was head coach of their AHL affiliate while Huffman was the assistant coach.

THE QMJHL: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced Guy Lafleur’s No. 4 will be retired across the league starting next season. Lafleur wore that number when he starred with the Quebec Remparts from 1969 to 1971 before becoming the first-overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971 draft.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman and NHL player agent Gilles Lupien passed away yesterday from cancer at age 67. He won two Stanley Cups with the Habs in 1978 and 1979, playing 226 career NHL games.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 13, 2021

The race for the Presidents’ Trophy goes down to the wire, the Jennings Trophy winners are revealed, the Rangers fire head coach David Quinn, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights maintained their lead atop the Honda West Division and the overall standings by blanking the San Jose Sharks 6-0. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 19-save shutout and Dylan Sikura scored twice in the Golden Knights’ regular-season finale.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

A hat trick by J.T. Compher carried the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-0 romp over the Los Angeles Kings. Phillip Grubauer kicked out 18 shots for his seventh shutout of the season. The Avalanche sits two points behind the Golden Knights with a game in hand. They can take over first place and win the Presidents’ Trophy with a win against the Kings tonight.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso made 31 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. David Perron had a goal and two assists. The Wild have finished third in the West while the Blues are fourth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs await the outcome of tonight’s Avalanche-Kings game to find out whether they’ll face the Avs or the Golden Knights in the opening round of the upcoming playoffs.

Connor McDavid collected two assists as his Edmonton Oilers nipped the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on an overtime goal by Dominik Kahun. McDavid has 104 points in 55 games. Nick Suzuki scored twice for the Canadiens.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on an overtime goal by Josh Norris. Toronto’s Auston Matthews tallied his 41st goal of the season. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made 24 saves in his first game since March 19 recovering from a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs will face the Canadiens and the Oilers meet the Jets in the opening round. One of those series is expected to begin next Wednesday while the other could begin the following day.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner are this season’s winners of the William M. Jennings Trophy as the primary goalies on the team allowing the fewest goals in the regular season. They gave up 124 goals.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers followed up last week’s front-office purge by firing head coach David Quinn after three seasons. Chris Drury, their new general manager, is expected to hire a more experienced NHL coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post’s Larry Brooks cites sources claiming Gerard Gallant is the favorite. He won the 2017-18 Jack Adams Award for guiding the Golden Knights into the playoffs during their inaugural season.

SPORTSNET: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said captain Jack Eichel has not requested a trade. He said he wants to move ahead with players who want to win and be part of the Sabres’ organization, and that includes Eichel.

Adams admitted the Sabres have little interest in Eichel undergoing cervical disk replacement surgery because it’s never been done on an NHL player before. He said the team’s and Eichel’s doctors have agreed the best option is continuing a conservative rehab approach over surgery. The two sides also agreed to wait until early June to determine how to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s comments on Monday about his medical situation, the state of the Sabres and his future sparked considerable trade speculation. Adams’ remarks won’t put a damper on that chatter.

Eichel’s not the only Sabre expected to be a fixture in the rumor mill.

Winger Sam Reinhart declined to comment about his future entering the offseason as a restricted free agent who’s also one year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Meanwhile, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen admitted he wouldn’t object to getting traded.

CALGARY SUN: Flames center Sean Monahan has been shut down for the remainder of their schedule as he will undergo hip surgery in order to be ready for the start of training camp in the fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan faced criticism from fans and pundits over his performance this season. Perhaps that gets dialed back now that it’s been revealed he was hampered by an injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Gordie Howe’s family presented San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau with a stick from Howe’s 1,767th and final NHL game. The stick was in the Hockey Hall of Fame and will be replaced by one of Marleau’s from his record-breaking 1,768th game. The Howe family requested the Hall remove Gordie’s stick and present it to Marleau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A classy gesture by the Howe family.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Luke Henman of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada is the first player ever to be signed by the Seattle Kraken.










Lightning’s Vasilevskiy Continues To Steer Towards Another Vezina Trophy

Lightning’s Vasilevskiy Continues To Steer Towards Another Vezina Trophy

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

The Jets clinch a playoff spot, T.J. Oshie get a hat trick the day after his father’s passing, Marc-Andre Fleury and Anze Kopitar reach milestones, the Blues salute David Backes and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets became the third team in the Scotia North Division to clinch a playoff spot by blanking the Calgary Flames 4-0. Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the shutout, Blake Wheeler collected his 800th career point and Mark Scheifele got his 500th career point. The win moved the Jets into third place in the division with 59 points, two up on the Montreal Canadiens.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they failed to secure a playoff berth by falling 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators. Erik Brannstrom collected three assists and Shane Pinto tallied his first NHL goal as the Senators have won seven of their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 57 points, Montreal still holds a 10-point lead over Calgary, though the latter has a game in hand. The Flames playoff hopes, however, are now hanging by a thread.

Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie (NHL Images).

T.J. Oshie scored a hat trick the day following his father’s death as the Washington Capitals doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2. Oshie’s performance, however, was overshadowed by several brawls between the two clubs in the fallout over Capitals winger Tom Wilson receiving a fine for roughing Pavel Buchnevich and injury Artemi Panarin in the previous game between the two clubs. Wilson left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury while Buchnevich received a major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking Capitals winger Anthony Mantha in the face.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Oshie and his family. His hat trick was a fitting honor to his father and a better story than that clown show of a game. With the win, the Capitals regained first place from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the MassMutual East Division with 73 points and hold a game in hand over the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars playoff hopes suffered another blow as they fell 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Cernak had a goal and two assists for the Lightning, putting them into a tie with the Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division. Both clubs have 75 points but the Lightning holds second place with a game in hand. With 56 points, the Stars remain four back of the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Meanwhile, the Predators dropped a 4-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and collected an assist for the Jackets.

Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 490th career victory as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Pietrangelo. Fleury moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice for the Wild. The Golden Knights (76 points) maintained a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division.

As for the Avalanche, they blew a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks. Tomas Hertl scored twice and Evander Kane collected three assists for the Sharks. With 72 points, the Avs are one point ahead of the third-place Wild.

The St. Louis Blues failed to clinch a playoff spot in the West Division following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Troy Terry tallied the winner in the shootout. During the game’s first timeout, the Blues honored Ducks winger David Backes with a video tribute commemorating his 10 seasons in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes, 37, is in the final season of his contract and is expected to retire.

Anze Kopitar collected his 1000th career NHL point to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Sean Walker collected three points and Gabriel Vilardi tallied twice for the Kings to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have been eliminated from postseason contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar’s been a model of consistency for the Kings throughout his 15 NHL seasons. He has 50 points on the season, marking the 14th time he’s reached that plateau.

HEADLINES

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Foligno is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss tonight’s game against the Canadiens and likely Saturday’s contest as well.

CBS SPORTS: Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle suffered an undisclosed injury during Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils and should be considered day-to-day.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere received a two-game suspension for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Mark Friedman.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan is recovering from triceps surgery three weeks ago. An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Ryan hopes to remain with the Wings. Meanwhile, teammate Tyler Bertuzzi underwent back surgery last Friday and is expected to be fully recovered in time for next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed goaltender Anton Forsberg to a one-year, $900K contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk will become the lead NHL game analyst for Turner Sports. He’ll join Kenny Albert as Turner’s top team on TNT when the network’s seven-year contract begins next season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported if the Seattle Kraken select a player in this summer’s expansion draft who received a bonus on July 1, they will have to re-pay that player’s previous team. The Kraken must also draft at least $48.9 million under the salary cap.

FLYERS ALUMNI: tweeted the passing of former NHL player Jim Johnson at age 78. Johnson spent eight seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Flyers and Los Angeles Kings from 1964-65 to 1971-72. An original member of the Flyers, he spent nearly five seasons with the club. In 302 NHL games, Johnson had 75 goals and 186 points.

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