Nazem Kadri’s history-making day with the Stanley Cup, a look at the Islanders’ future top blueline tandem, Hampus Lindholm’s offseason home was destroyed by fire, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
TSN: Nazem Kadri’s day with the Stanley Cup was a history-making one as he became the first Muslim to bring hockey’s holy grail to a mosque. The event took place on Saturday in Kadri’s hometown of London, Ontario.
Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).
Kadri, 31, is the first Muslim player to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Colorado Avalanche in June. He recently signed a seven-year contract with the Calgary Flames. Kadri thanked his family and supporters. “I’m very appreciative, very privileged, and honored to be the first-ever Muslim to bring the Stanley Cup to the mosque,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri played a key role in the Avalanche’s march to the Stanley Cup. He continues to be an inspiration to Muslims who wish to take up the sport of hockey.
NEW YORK POST: The duo of Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov could one day become the New York Islanders’ top defense pairing. They’ve never met as Romanov was acquired in a trade last month from the Montreal Canadiens. Both recently signed new contracts with the Isles.
“The little I know watching him play, he’s obviously a talented player,” said Dobson of Romanov. He skates really well and he’s got a physical presence out there and a high compete level.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dobson enjoyed a 51-point breakout performance last season as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the Isles. Romanov is more of a physical defensive rearguard but can contribute offensively. The Isles will have a solid defense for the next several years if Dobson and Romanov gel as a blueline tandem behind the top pairing of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech.
SPORTBLADET: Hampus Lindholm’s off-season home in Sweden was recently destroyed by fire. The Boston Bruins defenseman was not at the house when the blaze erupted and no one was hurt. Police are investigating arson but it’s believed the fire started in a side building in a battery charger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm also said he was appreciative of the Bruins for reaching out and offering their help.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: After being bought out by the San Jose Sharks, Rudolfs Balcers is looking forward to joining the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers. He netted a career-high 11 goals last season and believes he could’ve reached 20 with the opportunities he was given with the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Balcers could have a chance to tally 20 goals this season if he’s given the right role with the high-scoring Panthers.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Sharks, former director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr has joined the Seattle Kraken as an amateur scout.
The Rangers stave off elimination, the Panthers and Flames take 3-2 leads in their opening-round series, the Calder Trophy finalists are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Rangers avoided elimination from their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-3 victory. Filip Chytil snapped a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal early in the third period while Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as the Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit in the second period with three straight goals. Jake Guentzel tallied twice for the Penguins. Game 6 is in Pittsburgh on Friday with the Penguins holding a 3-2 series lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over this game was the departure of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the second period after receiving an unpenalized elbow to the head by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Until that moment, the Penguins were controlling the game with a 2-0 lead. The Rangers tallied three straight times after Crosby’s departure.
Crosby has a well-documented history of concussions. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said he was still being evaluated. It would be a significant blow for the Penguins if their captain is sidelined from this series.
Sullivan was obviously displeased by Trouba’s actions during the postgame press conference but maintained his composure. “Did you see the hit?”, he said when questioned by a reporter. “You probably have the same opinion as I do.”
The Florida Panthers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-3 in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Carter Verhaeghe lead the way with two goals and three assists while Claude Giroux netted the insurance goal and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots. T.J. Oshie tallied twice for the Capitals, who are on the brink of elimination as the series returns to Washington for Game 6 on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During a post-game interview, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said his club gave this game away. He’s not wrong. They seemed to have this game under control early in the second period up 3-0 but soon gave up three unanswered goals in that period that shifted the momentum in the Panthers’ favor.
Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of their series. Calgary forwards Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and an assist. Stars netminder Jake Oettinger made 29 saves. With the win, the Flames hold a 3-2 lead and can finish off the Stars in Game 6 on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have been the better team for most of this series. Oettinger is the reason the Stars have won two of five games thus far. He leads all playoff starters with a .956 save percentage while his 1.63 goals-against average is tied for second with Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. Unless he gets more goal support from his teammates, however, this series could be over on Friday.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider are the finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have promising NHL futures. Seider is considered the favorite, leading all rookies in ice time per game (23:02) and power-play points (21) while finishing fourth in scoring with 50 points.
SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy anticipated Hampus Lindholm will return to action for Game 6 against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The defenseman has been sidelined since Game 2 following a bit hit from Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse received a one-game suspension by the department of player safety for head-butting Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault in Game 5 on Tuesday. Oilers winger Zack Kassian, meanwhile, received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking Kings defenseman Sean Durzi.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nurse’s undisciplined actions could prove costly to his team. Down three games to two and facing elimination by the Kings, the Oilers enter the most crucial game of their season without their best defenseman.
THE PROVINCE: Bruce Boudreau is expected to finalize details of his return behind the Vancouver Canucks’ bench by as early as next week. Hired in December with the Canucks at the bottom of the standings, the club went 32-15-10 under Boudreau’s coaching and narrowly missed the postseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern Boudreau could hit the open market this summer if he declined the option year in his contract by the June 1 deadline. President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford recently said the club wanted to bring him back under that deal.
NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks announced Joel Bouchard has been relieved of his duties as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Assistant coaches Daniel Jacob and Max Talbot were also let go. Meanwhile, Ducks assistant coach Geoff Ward has left the club for personal reasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before heading to San Deigo, Bouchard spent three seasons as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval. It’ll be interesting to see if he ends up returning to the Canadiens’ organization in some capacity.
The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Predators while the Panthers, Rangers and Stars even their respective series at a game apiece. Check out the details and other news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 2-1 to give them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring for the Avalanche while Yakov Trenin replied for Nashville. Predators goalie Connor Ingram made 49 saves.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ingram this could’ve been another blowout loss for the Predators. They must get their offense going as the series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 or risk getting swept by the powerful Avalanche.
The Florida Panthers evened their first-round series with the Washington Capitals at a game apiece with a 5-1 victory. They got three unanswered second-period goals by Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe while Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the win. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The suffocating defense that worked so well for the Capitals in Game 1 vanished in this contest. They also missed rugged winger Tom Wilson as he was sidelined by a lower-body injury. All five Panthers’ goals came at even strength. This series shifts to Washington for the next two games.
New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2, squaring their opening-round series at one game apiece. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the win. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as this series heads to Pittsburgh for the next two contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins need more from their secondary scorers. Almost all their goals in this series have come from the Crosby line. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury. Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Ryan Lindgren were also sidelined by injuries. Goodrow (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.
The Dallas Stars got a 29-save shutout from Jake Oettinger to blank the Calgary Flames 2-0, tying their first-round series 1-1. Joe Pavelski and Michael Raffl were the goal scorers. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Stars thanks to young Oettinger’s goaltending. He’s tied with Markstrom for the best goals-against average (0.50) thus far among postseason netminders.
TSN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in Game 2 of the first-round series on Wednesday. Marchand’s teammate Derek Forbort also received a $5,000.00 fine for high-sticking Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out of Game 3 on Friday. The club also confirmed Jeremy Swayman will get the start in that game.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates today but his status for Game 3 is uncertain. He left Game 2 after being shaken up in a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak.
THE SCORE: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes the Bruins are deliberately targeting his goaltenders. “It can’t get any more obvious,” he told reporters following Game 2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL headquarters could issue a warning to both clubs about running goalies. Brind’Amour could also get a call about his comments.
NHL.COM: Center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of this year’s top prospects. Left winger Jural Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland is the top European skater.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirmed Lindy Ruff will return next season as head coach. The announcement comes a day after they announced they were parting ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have added Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to their scouting department.
The Hurricanes take a 2-0 series lead over the Bruins, the Lightning, Oilers and Wild tie their opening-round series, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes became the first team in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs to open a 2-0 lead in the opening-round best-of-seven series with a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pyotr Kochetkov made 30 saves in relief of an injured Antti Raanta for the win in his first-ever NHL playoff game. Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter each scored twice for the Hurricanes. Patrice Bergeron scored both goals for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Hampus Lindholm following a thunderous hit from Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta was sidelined in the first period following a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak. His status, and that of Lindholm, remains uncertain as there was no update on their respective conditions following this game.
Dominated by the Hurricanes for lengthy stretches in the first two games, the Bruins have been forced to play catch-up thus far in this series. I expect Jeremy Swayman to replace Linus Ullmark in goal for the Bruins as the series shifts to Boston for the next two games.
The Canes, meanwhile, will be hoping Raanta or sidelined starter Frederik Andersen will be ready for at least backup duty in Game 3. Third-stringer Kochetkov played well in Game 2 but they’re running out of healthy netminders with NHL experience.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and three assists as his club held off the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3, tying their first-round series at a game apiece. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points for the Leafs while teammate Michael Bunting scored in his return to the lineup after being sidelined by injury on April 23. The series moves to Tampa Bay for the next two games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning rebounded well from their lopsided loss in Game 1. They made the Leafs pay for their undisciplined play in this contest, going three for seven on the power play.
Speaking of bounce-back performances, the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Los Angeles Kings 6-0 to tie their opening-round series 1-1. Mike Smith picked up the shutout with a 30-save effort while Evander Kane scored twice and collected an assist. Games 3 and 4 of this series will be played in Los Angeles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers blew this one open with three goals in the second period, outshooting the Kings 19-9 in that frame. They remain lethal with the man advantage in this series, going two for four on the power play for the second straight contest.
Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a hat trick and teammate Joel Eriksson Ek tallied twice in a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, tying their series at one apiece. Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots for the win. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov continues setting franchise records for the Wild. He became the first player in team history to record a postseason hat trick.
St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo left the game after being struck in the head by a puck in the first period. Blues rearguards Marco Scandella and Nick Leddy missed Game 2 with injuries while sidelined Scott Perunovich won’t be ready for Game 3.
NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty are among this season’s 32 players nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award is presented annually to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.”
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson (lower-body injury) is a game-time decision for Game 2 of his club’s series with the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins announced goaltender Casey DeSmith (undisclosed injury) and winger Rickard Rakell (upper body) are listed as day-to-day. Each remains under evaluation. The Penguins recalled netminder Alex D’Orio from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Penguins starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured right foot, Louis Domingue will get the call for tonight’s game if DeSmith isn’t cleared to play.
TSN: Don’t expect any change to the current NHL playoff format. League commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday dismissed the notion of expanding the format, claiming the current one creates greater competition and more meaningful games during the regular season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league’s expansion to 32 franchises has some pundits calling for an expansion from the current 16-team setup to 20 or 22 with a “play-in” round. The only way I see Bettman changing his mind is if it can be proven that expanding the format will bring about a significant increase in revenue. Any change to the current format will have to come from a majority of the NHL board of governors.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils parted ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine. No word on the future of head coach Lindy Ruff, who has a year remaining on his contract.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former NHL player Mike Ribeiro has been charged with sexual assault stemming from two incidents last June in East Texas. He was arrested on April 28 and released the same day on a $200,000 bond.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Frans Nielsen intends to retire after he plays for Denmark in the upcoming 2021 World Championships. The 38-year-old center spent 15 seasons with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings and was bought out of the final year of his contract with the Wings last summer. He spent this season with Eisbaren Berlin, helping them win the German DEL championship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nielsen was considered a solid two-way center during his playing prime. He finished with 167 goals and 306 points for 473 points in 925 NHL contests. Best wishes to Nielsen in his future endeavors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman John Carlsonwas injured in the final minutes of the game when he crashed into the end boards following a cross-check by Stars captain Jamie Benn. No update on his status following the game but Capitals coach Peter Laviolette considered it a dirty hit by Benn. We’ll find out soon enough if the league agrees with him.
PUCKPEDIA: has the full breakdown of Hampus Lindholm’s eight-year contract extension with the Boston Bruins. He gets an average salary-cap hit of $6.5 million with a full no-movement/no-trade clause in the first five seasons followed by a 15-team no-trade list in the final three.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers placed defenseman Aaron Ekblad on long-term injury reserve. He’s expected to miss the remainder of the regular season with an apparent leg injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will provide the Panthers with some salary-cap flexibility to add another player before today’s trade deadline if they wish. They acquired Robert Hagg yesterday from the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul had a career-high 11 goals with the low-scoring Senators. Joseph is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but he likely would’ve become a UFA as the Lightning might not have qualified his rights. He’ll be much more affordable than Paul for the Senators to re-sign. Some observers wonder if the Lightning will put Paul with the recently acquired Brandon Hagel to form a new energy line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars made this move because backup Braden Holtby remains sidelined by a lower-body injury and Anton Khudobin recently underwent season-ending hip surgery.
The Winnipeg Jets have brought back forward Mason Appleton by acquiring him from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round pick. The Kraken had selected Appleton during last summer’s expansion draft.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Reports indicated the Coyotes have acquired the rights to college prospect Jack McBain in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022.
A record-setting night for Filip Forsberg, the Bruins attempt to sign recently-acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm, Tyler Bertuzzi speaks out about trade rumors, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg tallied his franchise-record 211th career goal (and tied his single-season personal best of 33 goals) in a 6-3 defeat of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Predators captain Roman Josi collected three assists to become the first NHL defenseman since Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis in 1990-91 to reach 75 points in 60 games. Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored twice and teammate Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist in his return from a two-game suspension. With 76 points, the Predators hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the first Western Conference wild-card berth while the Leafs (83 points) remain one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.
Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs winger Ondrej Kase left the game in the second period after taking an elbow to the head by Predators forward Matt Duchene. He has a history of head injuries and there was no immediate update about his condition.
Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Rangers when Mika Zibanejad snapped a 1-1 tie with just 16 seconds remaining in the game. Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for the win as the Rangers completed a sweep of their season series against the Lightning. The Blueshirts sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby enjoyed his 87th career multi-point game with two goals to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Coyotes forward Clayton Keller scored to extend his points streak to eight games. The Penguins sit two points ahead of the Rangers for second place in the Metro Division and are three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got a 38-save performance by goaltender Logan Thompson (19 of them in the third period) in a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist for Vegas (72 points) as they opened a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card berth. The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 76 points.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Oilers tallied four unanswered third-period goals to overcome a 3-2 deficit and pick up their fifth straight win, sitting two points behind the Kings in third place. Evander Kane scored twice for the Oilers while Jesper Bratt netted two goals for the Devils.
The Calgary Flames dealt a blow to the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff hopes by beating the latter 5-2. Matthew Tkachuk led the way with a goal and two assists for the Flames, who sit atop the Pacific Division with 84 points. The Canucks sit five points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 67 points.
Late goals by Ryan Hartman and Jordan Greenway lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Cam Talbot made 21 saves for the win as the Wild have victories in four of their last six contests. They sit one point behind the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division with 76 points.
The Columbus Blue Jackets got two-point performances from Patrik Laine, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Gustav Nyquist and Emil Bemstrom to hold off the Blues 5-4. David Perron had a hat trick for St. Louis.
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson tallied a hat trick as his club doubled up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Isles, who’ve gone 5-0-1 in their last six games. The Stars are three points out of the final Western wild-card berth.
Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 29 saves for his first win since Nov. 27 in a 5-1 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Jake Evans had a goal and an assist while Cole Caufield extended his goal streak to four games.
A four-goal outburst in the third period carried the Seattle Kraken over the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Yanni Gourde tallied twice for the Kraken.
TSN: The Boston Bruins are reportedly attempting to sign Hampus Lindholm after acquiring him yesterday from the Anaheim Ducks. Pierre LeBrun reports it’s believed to be an eight-year contract extension that could be completed Sunday. Chris Johnston followed up indicating the annual average value is $6.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a reasonable cap hit for Lindholm. His current annual average value is over $5.2 million. He might’ve received more on the open market this summer.
The contract term was a sticking point in Lindholm’s contract talks with the Ducks and led to his trade to Boston. Signing an extension with the Bruins gives him an extra year on his contract he otherwise wouldn’t have received in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The full details of Claude Giroux’s trade to the Florida Panthers sees the Flyers receive winger Owen Tippett, a conditional 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick. The Panthers also received minor-league forwards Connor Bunneman and German Rubtsov and a 2024 fifth-round pick. The Flyers retained 50 percent of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The details of the trade tended to dribble out during the course of the evening. You can read my reaction to the trade at this link.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi dismissed recent trade rumors, making it clear he’s committed to the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi is replying to a recent rumor claiming he’d welcome a move to another club. General manager Steve Yzerman has made no comment about Bertuzzi or any of his other players as Monday’s trade deadline approaches.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter received a one-game suspension for slashing Washington Capitals Axel Jonsson-Fjallby on Friday.