NHL Betting: A Quick Update On The Other NHL Awards
Lightning edge Islanders to take 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final, Bruce Cassidy wins the Jack Adams Award, GM of the Year finalists announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored with 8.8 seconds remaining in regulation as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Islanders winger Matt Martin opened the scoring in the first period but Victor Hedman tied it before the period was over.
This was a close-checking, physical contest. Lightning winger Alex Killorn was ejected early in the first period for boarding Isles center Brock Nelson, who left the game under concussion protocol but returned to action. Martin and Luke Schenn received fighting majors early in the second period. Martin and Pat Maroon received roughing minors later in the period.
It was a costly victory for the Lightning as first-line center Brayden Point left the game in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury. Head coach Jon Cooper said an update on Point’s condition could be revealed on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a heartbreaking loss for the Islanders. They rebounded well from their 8-2 blowout loss in Game 1 and did a good job for the most part shutting down the Lightning’s offense until Kucherov struck in the dying seconds. They outshot the Bolts 13-4 in the first period and 28-21 overall.
However, the Isles couldn’t get more than one puck past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and failed to capitalize on four power-play opportunities. They now find themselves in a deep hole against a very talented club approaching Game 3 on Friday night.
Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins is the 2020 winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. He guided the Bruins to this season’s best record as they were the only club to reach 100 points, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for their efforts.
Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders, and Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars are this year’s finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.
TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is still targeting an 82-games schedule for 2020-21. However, he admitted the projected start date of Dec. 1 appears less likely. They’re also hoping to have fans in the stands when they reopen but can’t guarantee that’ll be the case. Daly also doesn’t think it would be a problem if the league staged games next summer, pointing to how well ice conditions held up in the bubble cities of Edmonton and Toronto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a miracle, next season won’t open on Dec.1. Or Jan. 1. And I have my doubts it’ll start on Feb. 1. My guess is we’ll see a shortened schedule between 50-60 games starting in mid-February at the earliest, with the playoffs running into late-July.
THE SCORE: NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire is no longer in the running for the Arizona Coyotes’ vacant general manager position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several folks on Twitter yesterday observed McGuire almost always seems to be in the running for a GM job and always seems to be the first one eliminated from the competition.
Meanwhile, Arizona Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan reports former Coyotes captain Shane Doan isn’t under consideration for the job. He cites several sources suggesting the club believes Doan, who works for the NHL, had a hand in the sanctions the league handed the Coyotes for violating fitness testing rules for draft-eligible players. However, there’s no indication Doan was involved in the league’s decision.
THE ATHLETIC: Dan Hinote is expected to join the Nashville Predators as an assistant coach.
Sharks and Hurricanes win Game 1 of their respective second-round series, Jack Adams Award finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brent Burns had a four-point performance (one goal, three assists) while teammate Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist (his 100th career playoff assists) to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of their second-round series. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks forward Kevin Labanc’s game-winning tally was a thing of beauty, dodging a hit from Avs winger Mikko Rantanen near the Colorado blueliner and firing a high wrister past netminder Philipp Grubauer.
The Carolina Hurricanes drew first blood in their second-round series with the New York Islanders as Jordan Staal’s overtime goal gave them a 1-0 Game 1 victory. Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek made 31 saves for the shutout while Isles goalie Robin Lehner also kicked out 31 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a one-goal playoff game, this one was rather entertaining. There were some good scoring chances, several flashy saves, and some big hits in this contest. The Islanders didn’t look too rusty from their 10-game layoff while the Hurricanes had little difficulty adjusting to a new opponent after ousting the Washington Capitals less than 48 hours prior.
Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders are this year’s finalists for the Jack Adams Award, “given annually to the coach voted as the best in the NHL.”
THE SCORE/TSN: Boston Bruins pesky left winger Brad Marchand wasted no time trolling Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Cam Atkinson and Riley Nash. Marchand broke Atkinson’s stick in Game 1 by stomping on it during a faceoff. “I think he was trying to dull my blade there,” Marchand said. He chided former teammate Nash following Game 1 for his hit on David Krejci that sidelined the Bruins center with an upper-body injury. “I don’t think he had a hit in two years with us.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, at least he’s not cheap-shotting someone or licking an opponent’s face.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed center Jordan Weal to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens acquired Weal from the Arizona Coyotes before the February trade deadline. This is the second re-signing in as many days of a depth forward they traded for this season, having inked Nate Thompson on Thursday to a one-year contract. Both are reasonable short-term signings.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Igor Ozhiganov is likely to return to the KHL next season. The Leafs remain interested in re-signing him.
CBS SPORTS: Former NHL winger Jannik Hansen is hanging up his skates. He spent nearly 13 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks – all but two with the Canucks – from 2006-07 to 2017-18. In 626 NHL games, the 33-year-old tallied 109 goals and 147 assists for 256 points, as well as seven goals and 19 points in 70 playoff contests. He spent this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow.
Bruins eliminate Leafs, second-round playoff schedule revealed, Jack Adams Award nominees and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins tallied four unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-4 in the seventh and deciding game of their opening-round series. Rookie winger Jake DeBrusk scored twice for Boston while teammate Patrice Bergeron had a three-point game. Leafs forward Patrick Marleau scored two goals in a losing cause. The Bruins will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After taking 2-0 and 3-1 series leads, Boston almost blew this one. Despite the Leafs obvious weaknesses (which I’ll get to in a moment), the Bruins’ inconsistent play saw them enter the third period of Game 7 down 4-3 before their four-goal outburst saved their season. Goalie Tuukka Rask was erratic, the defense was sloppy and their secondary scorers disappeared for long stretches. They must address these issues if they’re to succeed against the Tampa Bay Lighting in the second round.
Lots of Leafs fans are making defenseman Jake Gardiner the scapegoat for this defeat. He had a horrible game, on the ice for five of the Bruins’ seven goals. However, it’s unfair to pin this solely on him. This defeat was a team effort, starting with those two blowout losses to open this series. Goalie Frederik Andersen was hot and cold, forwards Auston Matthews and William Nylander were non-factors in many games and Nazem Kadri’s undisciplined play in Game 1 cost him a three-game suspension
Once again, the Leafs overall defense was their Achilles heel, finishing the opening round with the second-worst penalty kill and giving up the third-most shots-against per game. Until the Leafs address their defensive issues, they won’t become a Stanley Cup contender.
The full second-round schedule has been released.
Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche, Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins and Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights are this year’s nominees for the Jack Adams Award.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bednar and Cassidy did a fine job with their respective clubs this season, but I believe Gallant deserves this award. He took an expansion roster and turned it into one of this season’s top teams.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin (lower-body injury) and Carl Hagelin (upper body) will miss Game 1 of their club’s second-round series against the Washington Capitals.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Despite suffering “a tear in his pelvic area, fractured ankle, pulled groin, busted mouth (twice) and the torn ligament in his thumb” during this season, Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds missed only seven games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL had a “toughest player” award, Simmonds would win it this season. That litany of injuries also explains why he was struggling earlier in the season, which briefly gave rise to trade speculation. He still finished with a respectable 24 goals and 46 points.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw underwent surgery on his left knee Wednesday. His recovery period is expected to be six months.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is believed to have suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of this season.
SPORTSNET: NHL Hall-of-Famer and former Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is expected to return to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts as coach and general manager. He previously held those roles (and was also a part-owner) from 2005 to 2013.
TWINCITIES.COM: Nashville Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton is considered the front-runner for the Minnesota Wild GM position.