NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2020

Recaps of Friday’s action, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask opts out of return-to-play, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat opened and finished the scoring as he led his club to a 4-3 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Horvat’s game-winner came after the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz tied the game in the dying seconds of regulation. Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser each had two points, as did the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo and David Perron.

 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues outhit the Canucks 41-27 but struggled at times to keep up with their speedy young opponents. They’re also getting no production from sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. The Canucks have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on this series in Game 3 on Sunday.

Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0 to square their first-round series at one game apiece. Carey Price kicked out 30 shots for his second shutout of the postseason. Flyers winger Travis Konecny left the game in the third period after injuring his left foot blocking a shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Determined to win this game for sidelined coach Claude Julien, the Canadiens came out flying with a rare dominating performance. Flyers coach Alain Vigneault expressed his displeasure following the game over Habs interim coach Kirk Muller putting his top power-play unit on the ice late in the game. Muller said it was merely to give a little more work to his club’s erratic play with the man advantage.

Vigneault indicated he’d try to use that as motivation for his players in Game 3. If that’s his intended rallying point, the Flyers could be in worse shape than we thought. They’re a better team than what we’ve seen thus far in this series, but most of their scoring forwards have fired blanks thus far in this postseason. If those players don’t start scoring soon, the Flyers could be in big trouble against the underdog Habs.

Calgary Flames goaltender Cam Talbot made 35 saves to shut out the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 3 of their series, putting his club up two games to one. Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie were the goalscorers for the Flames, who hope to have sidelined winger Matthew Tkachuk back in their lineup for Game 3 on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced forward Austin Czarnik has returned home to attend to a personal matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot stole this one for the Flames, as the Stars dominated the play for most of this contest. They were also their own worst enemies, missing several quality scoring chances.

Three unanswered goals by Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, and Anders Lee powered the New York Islanders over the Washington Capitals 5-2, giving the Isles a 2-0 series lead. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied both goals for his club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were the better-disciplined team in this contest, as the Capitals were sloppy defensively and took too many unnecessary penalties. Without a better effort in Game 3, the Caps could fall into a hole too deep to climb out of against the determined Isles.

The Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 series lead over the Arizona Coyotes with a 3-2 victory. Andre Burakovsky snapped a 2-2 tie with 2:53 remaining in regulation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a disappointing defeat for the Coyotes, who had a strong bounce-back effort after being dominated by the Avs in Game 1. Game 3 now becomes a must-win for the Desert Dogs.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has opted out of participating further in the return-to-play plan. In a statement released by the team, Rask indicated he’s making the decision for family reasons. “I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.”  Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Rask’s priorities are in the right order, noting the goalie had a newborn baby daughter born just months ahead of the return-to-play in Toronto. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their starting goaltender is a significant blow for the Bruins in the midst of their opening-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Backup Jaroslav Halak will take over the starter’s role, and NBC Sports suggests Daniel Vladar will be Halak’s understudy.

Some will rush to criticize Rask’s actions, but we don’t know the full story other than it’s for family reasons. He may have found being isolated from his family for weeks simply too difficult to bear. The Bruins and the league are respecting his decision. We should too. 

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and New Jersey Devils blueliner P.K. Subban are the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins winger David Pastrnak didn’t practice yesterday and remains uncertain for Game 3 today against the Carolina Hurricanes. The 48-goal scorer was unfit to play in Game 2 following an apparent left injury in the previous game.

TSN: The Florida Panthers plan to interview former Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Mike Futa as they search for a replacement for former general manager Dale Tallon.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have let go of assistant coaches Paul McFarland and Andrew Brewer.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly hiring Seth Appert as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings have suspended the mascot actor who performs as team mascot Bailey. He is being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2020

The impact of the AHL’s season cancelation upon the NHL, the ongoing search for a solution to resume the season, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

HOW WILL THE AHL’S SEASON CANCELATION AFFECT THE NHL?

SPORTSNET: The American Hockey League (AHL) yesterday announced the cancelation of its 2019-20 season. The league is the primary feeder system for the National Hockey League.  AHL president David Andrews said the league couldn’t afford to complete the season without fans in the arenas. This will mark the first time since 1937 that the Calder Cup won’t be awarded to the AHL champion.

The American Hockey League canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Chris Johnston reported Andrews indicated there’s uncertainty over the league’s 2020-21 season. “The American Hockey League as it presently operates can not play in front of empty buildings for any sustained period of time,” he said. 

Andrews said the AHL will play next season, pointing out its value as a development league for the NHL. Johnston reports the prevailing opinion among NHL executives is that the AHL won’t return with all of its teams to start next season, which could result in some shared NHL affiliation agreements until things get back to normal.

Johnston pointed out that some AHL players could join their NHL affiliates. “The NHL is still actively engaged in trying to finish its season and teams believe they’ll return with expanded rosters of 30 players or more if it manages to restart. Those taxi squads will be essential to finishing out an expanded 24-team Stanley Cup playoff format that’s currently believed to be the favored option of the league.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin reports the AHL’s closure isn’t a harbinger of what could be in store for the NHL. “The NHL has far more resources at its disposal than the AHL and, under return-to-play scenarios, can ease back into competition by broadcasting the games on national TV. Given the ratings we’ve already seen for events such as the NFL draft, there’s an excellent chance the NHL’s empty-arena games would draw huge national audiences in Canada and the U.S. upon returning.”

Larkin also reported NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated there won’t be any need to make an exception to the rules to allow NHL teams to expand their rosters. That’s because it’s already permitted following the annual trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The AHL’s 2020-21 season will depend upon how long health restrictions remain in place in its respective markets. Because it is more reliant on gate revenue than the NHL, it could face significant challenges if the pandemic stretches into next season.

LATEST ON THE NHL’S ATTEMPTS TO RESUME ITS SEASON

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun interviewed Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk regarding his role on the NHL’s Return to Play Committee. “There’s a good mix of guys on each side, so no stone will be left unturned as we try to navigate the safest, best way to hopefully get things going again,” said van Riemsdyk. He indicated ensuring the health and safety for all concerned remains their primary focus.

JVR acknowledged whatever format the league chooses for its return probably won’t please everyone. He pointed out the difficulty of trying to find the right scenario given how quickly things can change throughout the pandemic.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith reports the NHL isn’t permitting teams to sign contracts with players for the current season. “After the NHL suspended its season amid the coronavirus pandemic in March, the league told teams that no contracts for draft picks or college, junior, or European free agents could be signed with a start date of the current season.” According to Gold-Smith, any contracts signed will be dated July 1 and take effect in 2020-21.

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings’ assistant general manager Michael Futa will be leaving the organization following the imminent completion of his contract. He played a key role in building the Kings’ championship rosters in 2012 and 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Futa is frequently mentioned as a candidate whenever a team is in the market for a general manager. Perhaps this decision means he’s finally about to take the plunge. The New Jersey Devils are believed in the market for a new GM.

JATKOAIKA 65: reports Florida Panthers center Henrik Borgstrom is reportedly talking contract with KHL club Jokerit. Borgstrom is a restricted free agent at season’s end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Borgstrom was once considered a promising part of the Panthers’ future. The 22-year-old center debuted in 50 games last season but saw action in just four games in his sophomore campaign. Perhaps Borgstrom’s rumored talks with Jokerit are being conducted with the Panthers’ blessing. They’ll still hold his NHL rights beyond next season. Spending a year back home in Finland might help get his career back on track.

TSN: To celebrate their 25th anniversary next season, the Colorado Avalanche are considering playing a handful of games in the old Quebec Nordiques jersey. The Nordiques were relocated to Denver and renamed the Avalanche following the 1994-95 season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy unveils his final rankings for the top 120 prospects in this year’s draft.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2018

Latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson plus the latest on the Capitals, Golden Knights, Penguins, Hurricanes and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET/ARIZONA SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is off the trade market. After weeks of speculation over his future, Ekman-Larsson and the Coyotes are nearing agreement on an eight-year contract extension. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July 2019, meaning he cannot officially sign his new deal until July 1, 2018. The new contract would go into effect for 2019-20.

The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly closing in on a contract extension for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been speculated Ekman-Larsson’s new deal could be worth around $8.25-million per season. That could be used as a comparable by Washington Capitals blueline John Carlson, who’s due to become a UFA on July 1. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup parade takes place today.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights will host a celebration for their fans in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday evening.

BSN DENVER:  The Colorado Avalanche are interested in re-signing pending UFA goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Sources say there’s been recent contract discussions between the two sides.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:  Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said he’s not buying out any of his players. There was speculation little-used defenseman Matt Hunwick might be a buyout candidate, but the savings ($708,333 per season for the next four seasons) would be meager.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks prospect defenseman Olli Juolevi will undergo back surgery and is expected to require four-to-six weeks of recovery. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have named Jeff Daniels as an assistant coach.