NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2022

The Colorado Avalanche are the 2022 Stanley Cup champions and Cale Makar is named playoff MVP. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions for the first time in 21 years. They defeated the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final to take the best-of-seven series in six games.

Colorado Avalanche win the 2022 Stanley Cup (NHL.com).

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist and Artturi Lehkonen tallied the game-winner as the Avalanche overcame a 1-0 deficit in the second period. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for the win. Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the postseason. The 23-year-old led the Avalanche with 29 points in 20 games. He’s the third defenseman in NHL history to win the Smythe and the James Norris Trophy as the top blueliner in the regular season, joining Bobby Orr (1970, 1972) and Nicklas Lidstrom (2002). He’s also the third defenseman to win the Smythe at 23 or younger, with Orr (1970) and Serge Savard (1969) as the others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Makar and to his Avalanche teammates for their well-deserved Stanley Cup championship. Their Stanley Cup parade in Denver will be held on Thursday, June 30, starting at 10 am local time.

SPORTSNET: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri revealed he suffered multiple breaks in his thumb in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals with the Edmonton Oilers. He returned to action in Game 4 of this series and scored the overtime winner. Kadri also had some choice words for his critics. “For everyone that thought I was a liability in the playoffs, you can kiss my ass,” he said.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has now won a championship in three professional leagues. He coached the South Carolina Stingrays to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup in 2009 and the Lake Erie Monsters to the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2016.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bednar’s first season behind the Avalanche bench in 2016-17 saw them finish with a league-worst record of 22-56-4, prompting some critics to suggest he was unsuitable to coach at the NHL level or not the right bench boss for a rebuilding club. The criticism resurfaced last year as the club failed to advance past the second round after winning the Presidents’ Trophy. However, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic stuck with him and was rewarded for his loyalty.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was unavailable to present the Stanley Cup after being diagnosed with COVID-19. It’s the first time since he became commissioner in 1993 that he hasn’t presented the Cup to the winning team. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly did the honors in his absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The presentation wasn’t the same without Bettman getting booed. In all seriousness, here’s hoping he makes a full recovery. The same goes to everyone else out there who’s also currently battling COVID-19.

It took only five minutes for the Stanley Cup to suffer some damage. Avalanche forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel accidentally dropped it as he was joining his teammates for the traditional post-game on-ice team photo, denting the base of the trophy.

THE DENVER POST: Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky revealed he broke his right thumb during Game 2 of the Cup Final, sidelining him for the remainder of the series. Winger Valeri Nichushkin played through an ankle injury that he suffered in Game 5. Team captain Gabriel Landeskog skipped all the postseason morning skates as he continued to recover from the knee surgery he underwent near the end of the regular season.

SPORTSNET: Lightning center Brayden Point missed Game 6 with what was called a “severe injury” by coach Jon Cooper. Point suffered a lower-body injury in Game 7 of the first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs and missed the next two series. He returned for two games in the Final before leaving the lineup again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooper described the number of injuries suffered by his players during this postseason as “mind-boggling”. Details should emerge in the coming days. He said they would’ve had half of their minor-league team playing if it had been the regular season.

THE SCORE: Cooper and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos dismissed the idea that their time as Stanley Cup contenders is over. “Who says we’re done?” he told reporters following the game. Cooper pointed out his club has been to six Conference Finals in the past eight years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on what moves general manager Julien BriseBois makes in the offseason. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumors update.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2022

The Avalanche are one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions, the Panthers name Paul Maurice as head coach, Ben Bishop is interested in joining Stars management, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche is one win away from winning hockey’s greatest prize following a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nazem Kadri scored in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri’s goal was controversial as the Avalanche appeared to have too many men on the ice. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper indicated his belief that the goal shouldn’t have counted during his brief post-game press conference.

NHL Hockey Operations released a statement following the game claiming the on-ice officials didn’t see a too-many-men situation on the ice at the time of Kadri’s goal. The call is not subject to video review.

It wasn’t the only goal that emerged from questionable circumstances for some fans. The Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli opened the scoring but the mask of Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper was knocked off prior to the goal. However, NHL Rule 9.6 (helmets) states that when a goaltender loses his facemask and/or helmet and the opposing team has control of the puck, play is stopped only when there is no immediate or impending scoring opportunity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a shame that such a well-played game would end in controversy. I don’t fault the on-ice officials as the rulebook leaves it up to their judgment to determine what constitutes a too-many-men situation. Calls can also sometimes get missed in the heat of the action and it’s not easy to see everything even with four officials on the ice. 

Nevertheless, it’s puzzling that this type of play isn’t reviewable. If it was, perhaps Kadri’s goal wouldn’t have counted.

For NHL fans of a certain age, this will be comparable to Brett Hull’s “skate in the crease” Cup-winning goal in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final. Should the Avalanche go on to win this series, some will consider their championship to be tainted.

Game 5 is Friday in Denver.

CBS SPORTS: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak left Game 4 in the second period after blocking a show by Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon. His status is unclear for Game 5.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers officially named Paul Maurice as their new head coach. Interim coach Andrew Brunette, who was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, has been asked to remain with the organization and could join Maurice’s staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get why the Panthers hired Maurice given his 24 years of NHL coaching experience with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. Brunette’s inexperience was apparent when the Panthers were swept from the second round by the Lightning.

Still, Brunette did a good job taking over behind the Panthers bench in difficult circumstances after Joel Quenneville stepped down last October, guiding them to their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. Unless there were issues among the players over Brunette’s coaching, he should’ve been given the opportunity to return behind their bench next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is interested in joining the club’s management in some capacity. He and the team are currently discussing a potential role for him within their front office.

SPORTICO: The Arizona Coyotes are pitching a $1.7 billion arena complex with the city of Tempe for a 46-acre property on a current landfill site. Earlier this month, the Tempe City council voted to move forward with arena negotiation talks with the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes reportedly hope to secure the go-ahead from the Tempe City Council to begin construction by the end of this year at the earliest. It could take three years before the arena could be ready for use.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks named Meghan Hunter and Mark Eaton as their new assistant general managers.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Connor Dewar to a two-year, $1.6 million contract.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils co-owner Michael Rubin is selling his stake in the franchise and his stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.