NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2019
Steve Yzerman named Red Wings GM, Blues push Jets to the brink of elimination, Hurricanes even their series with the Capitals, Sharks stave off elimination, Lady Byng Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say I’m surprised by this announcement. Yzerman stepped down last fall as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning to return home to Detroit. Holland is signed through 2019-20 and gave no indication he was stepping aside but I think it’s clear that was the Wings plan all along.
Yzerman returns to the Wings with a stellar reputation for building the Lightning into one of the NHL’s top teams. He takes over a roster stocked with promising young talent. It’ll be interesting to see what moves he’ll have in store to advance the Wings’ rebuild.
One thing Yzerman won’t be doing is replacing the head coach as Jeff Blashill was re-signed earlier this month to a new contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yzerman was consulted on this before Blashill was signed.
NHL.COM: A three-goal third-period comeback lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets and a 3-2 lead in their opening-round series. Brayden Schenn’s game-tying goal was a controversial one for Jets’ fans as it appeared the net was dislodged by Schenn’s teammate Oscar Sundqvist as the puck crossed the goal line. Video review determined Sundqvist was checked into the net by Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and allowed the goal to stand. The Blues can close out the series back in St. Louis for Game 6 on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Jets after it appeared they were cruising to victory entering the third period. It’s the second time in this series they’ve blown a lead in the third. This one could prove the most costly.
The Carolina Hurricanes squared their opening-round series with the Washington Capitals at two games apiece with a 2-1 victory in Game 4. Teuvo Teravainen’s tiebreaker later in the second period held up as the winning goal. Petr Mrazek made 30 saves for the Hurricanes. It was a costly defeat for the Capitals as winger T.J. Oshie left the game with an upper-body injury in the third period after being checked from behind by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele received a two-minute boarding minor penalty but it remains to be seen if he’ll face supplemental discipline. Further details on Oshie’s status could be released today but the early word is he could be sidelined for some time. The injury overshadowed what was a solid effort by the Hurricanes in neutralizing the Capitals offense for the second straight game.
The San Jose Sharks staved off elimination with a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Tomas Hertl scored twice, Joe Pavelski and Erik Karlsson each had two-point performances, and Martin Jones made 30 saves in a bounce-back performance. The series returns to Las Vegas on Saturday for Game 6 with the Golden Knights holding a 3-2 series lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was Jones’ best game of the series. He’ll need two more like that for the Sharks to have a shot at winning this series. Their blueline was also improved as this was the first time since Game 1 that they didn’t give up a goal in the first five minutes.
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are this year’s finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded each year to the player “voted to best combine sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.”
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois is standing by head coach Jon Cooper after his club was swept from the opening round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning re-signed Cooper a month ago to a multi-year contract extension. “If I hadn’t re-signed [Cooper] when I did, I’d be looking to re-sign him now,” BriseBois said. “There’s no point looking for the next [Cooper] when I have the original and I like the original and I have faith in the original.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand why some unhappy Lightning followers were calling for Cooper to be replaced but that wasn’t going to happen. They aren’t going to fire a guy they just re-signed, especially after he coached them to a record-tying 62-win season. By the sound of things, BriseBois isn’t about to make any drastic moves regarding his club.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has declined an invitation to join Team Canada at the upcoming IIHF World Championships, opting to use the extra time to rest and heal from a long season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say I blame Crosby. He’s played a lot of hockey since his last appearance at the Worlds in 2015.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel will suit up for Team USA at the Worlds.
SEATTLE TIMES: NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke admitted costs to renovate KeyArena are expected to top $900 million and will push back the opening date to June 1, 2021. The delay isn’t expected to affect the debut season of Seattle’s NHL expansion team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over $900 million for an arena renovation project? Good thing this is privately funded or city taxpayers would have a fit.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Christian Folin to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K.