NHL Awards: Draisaitl Captures Hart In Predictable Fashion
Hart Trophy Finalists revealed, plus the latest on Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Toews, Carter Hart, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are this season’s finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the player adjudged most valuable to his team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three are also the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award honoring the most valuable player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.
LATEST NOTABLE PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NEWS
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has a small fracture in one of the fingers on his left hand but he doesn’t believe that will impede his play. He said the injury happened several weeks ago and it’s feeling much better.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nevertheless, you can bet opposing players will test that hand by firing more shots to his glove hand wherever possible.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews left practice early on Monday and was out for Tuesday’s scrimmages. Coach Jeremy Colliton said Toews was “unfit to participate”, citing league protocols.
Meanwhile, Corey Crawford’s chances of returning to the ice before the Blackhawks head to Edmonton on Sunday appear to be dwindling. Teams are allowed to bring 31 players to the upcoming playoff tournament. The club isn’t ruling out saving a roster spot for Crawford.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford hasn’t participated in Phase 3 training, sparking speculation he’s nursing an injury. Without their starting goaltender, the Blackhawks could face long odds of upsetting the favored Edmonton Oilers in their qualifying round tournament.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart left the ice during the first period of a three-period scrimmage yesterday and didn’t return. Because of league injury protocols, the Flyers provided no details for Hart’s departure. Local broadcaster Colby Cohen said he was told Hart experienced minor back spasms and could return in a day or two.
CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman returned to the ice Tuesday after missing a pair of practices to a leg injury suffered when he blocked a shot on Friday.
TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester won’t be traveling with the club to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament. He’s been sidelined since suffering a cardiac incident on Feb. 11 during a game with the Anaheim Ducks.
Speaking of the Blues, STLTODAY.COM reports Ivan Barbashev will miss one or two round-robin games and the start of the opening round of the playoffs to attend the birth of his child. He’ll have to test negative for COVID-19 four times in four days before he can rejoin his teammates in Edmonton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Capitals forward Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin will also be departing the quarantine bubble in Toronto to be with their wives when they give birth. They’ll have to go through the same testing before rejoining the Capitals.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports every player traveling to the bubble cities in Edmonton and Toronto for the upcoming playoff tournament must have three negative COVID-19 tests within a 48-hour period.
Hurricanes take 2-0 series lead over the Islanders, Avalanche ties their series with the Sharks, Hart Memorial Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 1-0 deficit with early third-period goals to defeat the New York Islanders 2-1 and take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter scored 48 seconds apart for the Hurricanes, who lost goaltender Petr Mrazek (lower body) and defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk (shoulder) and Saku Maenalanen (hand) to injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders outplayed, out-hit and out-chanced the Hurricanes throughout this game but managed just one goal and got caught napping on those Carolina goals. Hurricanes backup Curtis McElhinney, who replaced the sidelined Mrazek in the second period, made 17 saves for the win. It was a costly victory for Carolina. Mrazek is listed as day-to-day, Maenalanen requires surgery and is expected to be out 10-14 days, while Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour believes van Riemsdyk won’t be returning anytime soon.
Tyson Barrie had a goal and two assists and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 31 shots as the Colorado Avalanche edged the San Jose Sharks 4-3, tying their second-round series at a game apiece. Brent Burns scored twice and set up another for the Sharks, who weren’t happy over what they considered an icing that went uncalled led to Barrie’s goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche put forth a better effort in this contest compared to Game 1. As a result, they return to Denver for Games 3 and 4 having stolen a game from the Sharks in San Jose, giving themselves an opportunity to build some momentum heading into the third game.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, “given annually to the NHL player voted to be most valuable to his team.”
THE ATHLETIC/OTTAWA SUN: Frequent healthy scratch Alexander Wennberg skated for the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 of their series with the Boston Bruins. Ryan Dzingel, acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline, was a healthy scratch as he’s disappointed thus far in the postseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wennberg could be back in the Blue Jackets lineup for Game 3 tomorrow in Columbus. After tallying 12 points in 21 games with the Jackets (along with 44 in 57 games with the Senators), Dzingel went scoreless through five playoff games.
THE ATHLETIC: Bruins high-scoring winger David Pastrnak may be second on the club in scoring this postseason but he’s struggled with consistency thus far.
Jets down the Predators, Hart Trophy finalists announced, Evander Kane suspended. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor Hellebuyck made 47 saves backstopping the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their second-round series. Mark Scheifele scored twice and Blake Wheeler collected two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck flat-out stole this game for the Jets, who were outplayed and outshot by the Predators. They’ll need a better overall effort in Game 2.
New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should also bring an end to weeks of tedious debate over whether Edmonton Oilers star (and 2017 Hart winner) Connor McDavid should be a nominee. If you’re among those who believe he should’ve, don’t worry, he’ll likely be a frequent finalist (and winner) in the coming years. Now you can turn your focus toward more important matters, like what the Oilers intend to do to surround McDavid with the talent needed to turn the Oilers into a Stanley Cup contender.
San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane received a one-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights forward Pierre-Marc Bellemare in Game 1 of their second-round series.
The 2018 NHL Draft Lottery will be held tonight in Toronto starting at 7:30 pm ET. The Buffalo Sabres have the best chance of winning this year’s lottery, with an 18.5 percent chance.
CALGARY SUN: Brian Burke is stepping down as president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now Burke has time to devote to more important matters, like relearning how neckties work and taming his Sonic the Hedgehog hairstyle.
Speaking of the Flames, former NHL linesman Don Henderson has been ordered to pay $11,000.00 for costs in his unsuccessful lawsuit against former Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and the team.
USA TODAY: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand denied reports claiming the Bruins forward was asked by the league to stop licking players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has to be the silliest headline I’ve read this week.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and head coach Mike Babcock denied a report claiming a rift had emerged between the two during their opening-round series against the Bruins.
Todd McLellan will return next season as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. Assistant coaches Ian Herbers and Jim Johnson were relieved of their duties.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Jacob Josefson signed a four-year deal with Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League.
CANES COUNTRY: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck is set to sign with KHL team CSKA Moscow.