NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2021

The Golden Knights advance to the semifinals, the Hart Trophy finalists are revealed, the Blue Jackets hire a new head coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are heading to the semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs after eliminating the Colorado Avalanche with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of their second-round series. Alex Pietrangelo snapped a 3-3 tie late in the second period with what proved to be the winning goal, with William Carrier and Max Pacioretty putting the game away in the third period. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar missed practice due to an irregularity in his COVID-19 test result but was cleared to be behind the bench for Game 6.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex PIetrangelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ depth made the difference as they overcame a 2-0 series deficit with four straight victories. They were built for the heavy going of playoff action and it showed as this series progressed. The speedy Avs were outstanding during the regular season and made short work of the struggling St. Louis Blues but they couldn’t match the Golden Knights’ grinding physical style.

The Stanley Cup Semifinals schedule indicates the Golden Knights will face the Montreal Canadiens beginning Monday, June 14 in Las Vegas. The Tampa Bay Lightning will square off against the New York Islanders on Sunday, June 13 in Tampa Bay.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy.

THE ATHLETIC: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton had some choice words for the Tampa Bay Lightning in his end-of-season press conference on Thursday. “We lost to a team that was $18 million over the cap or whatever they are,” he said. Hamilton’s Hurricanes were eliminated by the Lightning from the second round in five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton wasn’t far off in that assessment as Cap Friendly shows the Lightning used $17.3 million in long-term injury reserve this season, in part because top-line right winger Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million) missed the entire regular season recovering from hip surgery. That gave Bolts management sufficient cap relief to maintain their roster, including the addition of defenseman David Savard at the trade deadline.

Critics accused the Lightning of gaming the system but what they did is allowable under the collective bargaining agreement. As long as a team can prove to the league that a player cannot play during the regular season for medical reasons, they’re allowed to keep them on LTIR until the playoffs, when the cap no longer applies. That rule is applicable for all NHL teams.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Brad Larsen has been named their new head coach. He spent the past seven years with the club as an assistant coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting move by the Jackets in promoting from within rather than looking outside their organization for a new bench boss. His familiarity with the players and the team could make for a smooth transition as the Jackets prepare for what could be a roster rebuild after several notable players departed via trades and free agency in recent years.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames hired Kirk Muller as an associate coach. Muller held the same title with the Montreal Canadiens until relieved of his duties in February.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Thursday. His recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has denied allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in 2017.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Devin Shore to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday worth $1.7 million. The annual average value is $850K. On Thursday, forward Gaetan Haas signed a five-year deal with EHC Biel in Switzerland. He spent the past two seasons with the Oilers.

NHL Awards: Draisaitl Captures Hart In Predictable Fashion

NHL Awards: Draisaitl Captures Hart In Predictable Fashion


2020 NHL Awards: Hart, Norris, and Selke Finalists

2020 NHL Awards: Hart, Norris, and Selke Finalists


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2020

Hart Trophy Finalists revealed, plus the latest on Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Toews, Carter Hart, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


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.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is among the finalists for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

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.


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.

NHL Unfinished Business: Main Individual Awards

NHL Unfinished Business: Main Individual Awards


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2019

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’s three-point performance helped the Colorado Avalanche edge the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in Game 2 of their second-round series (Photo via NHL Images)

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.