NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2022

The Penguins and Lightning clinch postseason berths, Auston Matthews hits the 100-point plateau, NHLPA votes to release findings of Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and set up two others and Sidney Crosby had a three-point game as they led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. With the win, the Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points, securing a playoff spot for the 16th consecutive season. Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the season for the Islanders while teammate Brock Nelson collected two assists.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched a postseason berth by nipping the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Anthony Cirelli scored in overtime after Nikita Kucherov tied the game for Tampa Bay in the final seconds of regulation. Cirelli, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn finished the night with two points for the Lightning as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 98 points. Adam Henrique scored twice for the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals on 13 shots, marking the first time he’s gotten the hook since March 2018. He’s 0-3-1 in his last five starts.

John Tavares collected three assists while William Nylander, Michael Bunting and Ilya Mikheyev each scored two goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Washington Capitals 7-3. Auston Matthews picked up two assists to reach 101 points, becoming the third player in Leafs history to reach the 100-point plateau. The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. John Carlson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 92 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews sits fourth among this season’s points leaders and remains in first place in the goal-scoring race with 58. He joins Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour as the only Leafs with 100-point seasons.

St. Louis Blues forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas each collected five points in a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Tarasenko tallied a hat trick and two assists while Thomas had five helpers. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists while Jordan Binnington got the win with a 35-save effort. With seven straight wins, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division with 98 points.

Leon Draisaitl scored a hat trick and Mike Smith kicked out 30 shots as the Edmonton Oilers shut out the Nashville Predators 4-0. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two assists for the Oilers as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 92 points. The Predators, meanwhile, cling to the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 89 points.

An overtime goal by Frederick Gaudreau lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Wild while Jason Robertson netted both goals for the Stars. The Wild are tied with the Blues with 98 points but hold second place in the Central Division with a game in hand. The Stars, meanwhile, are tied with Nashville but hold the final Western wild-card spot because the Predators have more regulation wins.

The Vegas Golden Knights remain two points back of the Stars after snuffing out the Calgary Flames 6-1. Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson each had a goal and two assists while Logan Thompson made 35 saves for the win. The loss prevented the Flames from clinching a playoff spot. They remain in first place in the Pacific with 99 points, sitting seven up on the second-place Oilers.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller picked up five assists in a 7-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Quinn Hughes picked up three assists while Vasily Podkolzin and Alex Chiasson each tallied two goals. The Canucks remain in the Western playoff chase with 84 points, five behind the Predators and Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks captain Bo Horvat left the game in the second period after taking an Anton Stralman slapshot off his right ankle. He was seen following the game wearing a walking boot. No word yet on his status but his potential absence from the Canucks’ remaining games could be a big blow for their postseason hopes. Head coach Bruce Boudreau remains optimistic over his captain’s condition.

The Ottawa Senators netted three unanswered second-period goals to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2. Tim Stutzle led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists while Anton Forsberg made 40 saves. Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game with an injury following the first period after taking a shot to the mask. No further word on his condition following the game. With 95 points, the Bruins remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned in a 46-save shutout to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Moritz Seider, Adam Erne and Filip Zadina were the goal scorers. The loss leaves the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes just two points up on the second-place New York Rangers with 104 points.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche picked up their eighth straight win by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Pavel Francouz made 26 saves and Artturi Lehkonen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers in the overall standings with 114 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche need just two more wins to tie their single-season franchise record of 118 points.

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Alex DeBrincat collected three helpers as the Chicago Blackhawks snapped an eight-game losing skid with a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention. DeBrincat tallied the winning goal in the shootout as the Blackhawks handed the Sharks their eighth straight loss.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The NHL Players’ Association executive board voted yesterday to release the findings of an independent investigation into the association’s handling of former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against the club’s video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. PA executive director Donald Fehr was contacted twice about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich. Fehr said he couldn’t recall the conversations but didn’t deny that they had taken place.

THE ATHLETIC: Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek defended Ducks center Trevor Zegras’ lacrosse-style goals he’s scored this season, which drew criticism from some circles amid the widespread attention and praise those goals have garnered.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some “old school” critics can’t handle the fact that the game, like everything in life, is evolving and changing. Zegras’ goals aren’t against the rules and require a certain amount of skill to pull off. His critics accuse him of disrespecting the game or “hotdogging” but what he’s really doing is using creativity to score goals, which is what the game is about. Those supposed gatekeepers of hockey should be appreciative of Zegras’ skill and the positive attention it’s bringing to the NHL in its efforts to grow the game while entertaining the current fans.

ESPN.COM: Minnesota Wild center Ryan Hartman is flattered by the outpouring of donations to help him pay his $4,500.00 fine for recently flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane in a recent game. He indicated he can afford to pay off the fine and will donate the money sent by the fans to a pediatric hospital located two blocks from the Wild’s home arena.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former Minnesota North Stars forward Tom McCarthy passed away yesterday at age 61. McCarthy spent nine seasons in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1987-88, spending seven seasons with the North Stars and two with the Boston Bruins. He tallied 179 goals and 399 points in 460 games before injuries cut short his career, including a career-best 39 goals and 70 points in 66 games in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McCarthy’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

The Avalanche sets franchise records in a lopsided win over the Kings, Martin St. Louis clarifies his future plans with the Canadiens, the Flames are poised to clinch a playoff berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche set franchise records with their 53rd win of the season by crushing the Los Angeles Kings 9-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick and collected two assists, Cale Makar had a goal and three assists while Valeri Nichushkin and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each scored two goals. The Avalanche also set a franchise record with their 29th home victory, sitting on top of the overall standings with 112 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs’ franchise record for points in a season is 118 in 2000-21. With nine games remaining in their schedule, they can break that record with four more wins. The Kings, meanwhile, cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 88 points, holding a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Kaapo Kakko scored twice while Jacob Trouba and Barclay Goodrow each had two assists. With 102 points, the Rangers sit two points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers suffered their 40th loss of the season, marking the second time in franchise history they’ve reached that level. They dropped 48 games in 2006-07.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got two goals from Jack Roslovic and three points from Patrik Laine in a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis indicated he’d like to return behind the Habs bench following yesterday’s morning skate. He said he was brought in to finish the season and that’s where he was putting his focus, but added his goal would be to be back with the club next season.

St. Louis was clarifying earlier comments where he seemed to suggest he might not return after this season, raising some concern among Canadiens fans. He’s in his current position on an interim basis but general manager Kent Hughes recently said he’d like to keep him on as their full-time bench boss.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: The Flames can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have their hands full against a determined opponent battling for a wild-card spot.

SPORTSNET: The NHL department of player safety fined Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman $4,250.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct for flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman can afford that fine but that hasn’t stopped Wild fans (and Kane’s estranged wife Anna) from chipping in to an online fund to help him pay it off. I suspect he’ll donate that money to charity.

NEW YORK POST: Vitaly Kravtsov will not be joining the Rangers for the upcoming playoffs. However, he remains in good standing with the organization and plans are being made for him to come to New York this summer to get an early start on training camp. Kravtsov, 21, spent this season on loan to the KHL after refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov was a hot topic for early-season trade speculation. He could resurface in this fall’s rumor mill if he fails to secure a full-time roster spot with the Rangers. It’s also possible he gets traded during the offseason if the Rangers get a suitable trade offer.

NHL.COM: Boston’s Fenway Park will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 as the Bruins face off against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel makes the case for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting to receive votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy despite the 26-year-old rookie’s age and his previous (albeit limited) NHL experience with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I consider Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras as the front-runners for this award, with Seider my choice as rookie of the year.

I acknowledge Siegel’s point that Bunting had to rise to the challenge of dealing with the pressure of playing alongside superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in hockey’s biggest market. However, Seider and Zegras are already establishing themselves as invaluable players on rebuilding clubs lacking big-name talent.

The Leafs would still be a playoff club this season regardless of whether Bunting played on their top line. Seider and Zegras, however, are budding impact players already playing important roles on their respective teams.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Reese Johnson to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2021

Cale Makar sets an Avalanche record, Troy Terry’s point streak comes to an end, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice to become the first defenseman in Colorado Avalanche history to record multiple goals in consecutive games in a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators. Nazem Kadri had a goal and three assists and Andre Burakovsky collected three assists for the Avs. Zach Sanford netted a hat trick for the Senators in their first game since having three games postponed last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Senators defenseman Josh Brown left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling from the gate the Avalanche (19 points) have won five straight games to sit just two points out of a wild-card position in the Western Conference

The Nashville Predators nipped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on a third-period goal by Yakov Trenin. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Ducks winger Troy Terry was held off the score sheet, bringing his season-opening points streak to an end at 16 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic tallied his first two goals of the season and collected an assist in a 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jackets forward Max Domi scored and chipped in two assists and Vladislav Gavrikov also potted two goals. Tage Thompson scored twice for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending has once again become a weakness for the Sabres. Their 3.39 goals-against per game is the fifth-worst in the league.

The St. Louis Blues scored five unanswered goals to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron each had two assists and defenseman Justin Faulk scored his 100th career goal.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s shutout streak ended at 161:31 but he still made 30 saves for a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Danton Heinen and Jake Guentzel scored the only goals in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were questions about Jarry’s ability to carry the load as the Penguins’ starting goalie after a shaky 2020-21 performance. He’s silencing his critics thus far this season, sporting an 8-4-3 record with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts.

An overtime goal by Alexander Barabanov lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1, snapping the latter’s four-game winning streak. Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol following a positive test yesterday. Meanwhile, Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis played his 10th game of the season, activating the first year of his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Jarvis is staying put. The 19-year-old forward is playing well with four goals and six points in 10 games.

HEADLINES

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 21.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Kevin Hayes is listed as week-to-week after suffering a re-injury against Calgary on Nov. 16. He only recently returned from offseason abdominal surgery.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,250.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slew-footing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton.

The Chicago Blackhawks placed defenseman Riley Stillman (left knee) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

The Jets down the Leafs in their final regular-season game, Conference championship trophies won’t be awarded this season, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Ondrej Kase and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets ended their regular season on a high note by doubling up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Kyle Connor scored twice to finish the season with a team-leading 26 goals. The Leafs’ Auston Matthews was held pointless, finishing the season with a league-leading 41 goals.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs will have several days off before they begin their respective first-round series. The Jets face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday while the Leafs meet the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL won’t be handing out the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the conference champions this season. The Prince of Wales Trophy is usually awarded to the Eastern Conference champion while the Campbell Bowl is awarded to the Western Conference champion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bright side is we won’t have to listen to any of the superstitious nonsense over whether the winning teams will touch those respective trophies. Because, of course, everyone knows touching those awards could determine the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final (end sarcasm mode).

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The lack of a new contract for Alex Ovechkin isn’t bothering Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. He said he and Ovechkin are focused on the upcoming playoffs.

Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” Leonsis said, adding the team’s commitment to his captain is to continue to have great teams. “We’ll spend to the cap, we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on because that’ll be his legacy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is completing a 13-year, $124 million contract. He and Leonsis agreed at the start of this season to put aside contract discussions until after the playoffs are over. Based on Leonsis’ comments, it sounds like Ovechkin won’t be going anywhere.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase won’t be playing in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Washington Capitals tonight. Kase suffered an upper-body injury unrelated to the suspected concussion that sidelined him for all but three games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the issue, it sounds like Kase could miss more than just Game 1.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith left Friday’s practice early to receive medical treatment after making a routine save. It’s suspected to be a lower-body injury. The Penguins open their first-round series against the New York Islanders on Sunday.

TSN: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Artem Zub to a two-year, $5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zub, 25, joined the Senators as a free agent from the KHL and played well in his first NHL season. He finished with 14 points in 47 games and a plus-minus of plus-4 while logging over 18 minutes of ice time per game.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk declined to comment about lawsuits filed against five defendants by his traveling companions related to his Caribbean vacation last Christmas.

THE SCORE: cites a report by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating Alain Vigneault will return as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of returning coaches, Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed Rick Bowness will be back behind the bench with his club next season. Nill also said forward Roope Hintz will undergo surgery next week in New York to repair a groin injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

The Avalanche clinch a playoff berth, a big night for Jakub Vrana, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the second team to secure a playoff spot by doubling up the St. Louis Blue 4-2. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists for the Avalanche, who were playing their first game since their schedule was postponed by a COVID-19 outbreak last week. They sit two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Jaden Schwartz scored both goals for the Blues (44 points), who remain one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jared Bednar surpassed Bob Hartley as the Avalanche’s longest-tenured head coach with his 360th game. He’s now in his fifth season in that role and has done a magnificent job coaching this former bottom-feeding club into a Stanley Cup contender.

Two shorthanded goals by Sebastian Aho carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Carolina’s Martin Necas picked up three assists while Florida captain Aleksander Barkov scored twice. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 67 points, two up on the second-place Panthers. They also played without defenseman Brady Skjei as he remains sidelined indefinitely by a concussion.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 to sit one point back of the Panthers. Blake Coleman scored twice and Ondrej Palat netted the game-winner.

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored four goals to lead his club over the Dallas Stars 7-3. Thomas Greiss made 43 saves for the win. The Stars (50 points) remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. The Wings played without captain Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury) and announced Tyler Bertuzzi is done for the season with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews tallied his 34th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Mitch Marner scored twice and Nick Foligno collected an assist in his debut with the Leafs. Mark Scheifele had two points for the Jets, who lost center Adam Lowry following a headshot from Leafs winger Alex Galchenyuk. The Leafs played without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who’s sidelined for more than a week with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 63 points, the Leafs now hold a six-point lead over the Jets for first place in the Scotia North Division.

Shootout goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Capitals (64 points) hold a one-point lead over the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division.

Speaking of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger each had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, Kapanen returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins hold second place over the Islanders with 30 wins.

The Boston Bruins picked up their sixth straight win by beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist and Jeremy Swayman kicked out 29 shots. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division with 60 points, three behind the Islanders and eight up on the New York Rangers.

Two power-play goals by James van Riemsdyk powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. Brian Elliott made 33 saves for the Flyers (49 points), who sit three points back of the fifth-place Rangers in the East Division.

Matt Murray had a 31-save shutout as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist as the Senators have won four of their last five games.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Ryan Hartman to a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman accepted a slight pay cut from his currently $1.9 million AAV for the security of an extra year. Cap Friendly indicates the signing leaves the Wild with $59.6 million invested in 13 players for 2021-22.

TSN: Only four players were on the NHL’s COVID-19 list yesterday. Three of them were the Avalanche’s Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer and Mikko Rantanen. The fourth was the Devils’ P.K. Subban.

Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and NHLPA have given the International Olympic Committee until the end of May for a financial commitment for the 2022 Winter Olympics because they need to set their schedule for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken are being sued by Seattle’s Kraken Lounge for $3.5 million. The lawsuit alleges the risk of irreparable harm to their brand name due to the team’s name choice and plans to open the Kraken Bar & Grill at their planned training facility.