NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2022

The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron tallies his 1,000th career point, the Devils tie a franchise wins record, the Avalanches’ Cale Makar reaches a milestone for defensemen, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron collected an assist for his 1,000th career NHL point in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci each had two-point performances for the Bruins (17-2-0), who picked up their seventh straight win and sit atop the overall standings with 34 points. Nick Paul scored twice for the Lightning, whose record drops to 11-7-1.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron joins Raymond Bourque, John Bucyk and Phil Esposito as the only Bruins to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The 37-year-old Bruins captain is off to a good start to this season with 18 points in 19 games.

The New Jersey Devils tied a franchise record 13-game winning streak as they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Nico Hischier collected three assists while Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each collected two points for the 16-3-0 Devils, who sit two points behind the first-place Bruins in the overall standings. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for the Oilers as they slide to 10-9-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Devils are drawing considerable praise for their strong start to this season. However, not everyone thinks they’re going to make the playoffs. Sportsnet’s Keith Yandle is a doubter, citing their goaltending while suggesting they’ll start cooling off following the upcoming US Thanksgiving weekend. It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils can prove him wrong.

Oilers goalie Jack Campbell left the game in the second period after being clipped by the puck near his eye while sitting on the bench as a backup for Stuart Skinner. He left the bench and didn’t return. Head coach Jay Woodcroft had no update on Campbell’s condition following the game but Skinner told reporters Campbell had a bloody nose but was joking around and was otherwise okay.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar became the fastest blueliner in NHL history to reach the 200-point plateau in a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Makar opened the scoring to achieve the milestone in 195 career games. Meanwhile, Miko Rantanen scored the only goal in the shootout as the Avalanche improved to 11-5-1. Jason Robertson scored both goals for the 11-5-3 Stars.

Three unanswered goals by William Carrier, Reilly Smith and Alex Pietrangelo lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Pietrangelo finished the night with three points while Carrier tallied two goals as the Golden Knights remain atop the Western Conference with a record of 15-4-1. Quinn Hughes and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the struggling Canucks as they drop to 6-10-3.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their seventh straight win by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. Noel Acciari scored twice while Justin Faulk netted the winning goal in the third period. The surging Blues are now at 10-8-0 on the season while the Ducks are at 5-13-1. Colton Parayko returned to the Blues lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Anthony Beauvillier lifted the New York Islanders over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-2. Josh Bailey scored the only goal in the third period, setting the stage for Beauvillier’s game-winner for the Islanders (12-8-0). John Tavares and Auston Matthews replied for the 10-5-5 Leafs, who also lost defenseman Morgan Rielly to an apparent knee injury in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs went into this game with defensemen Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie sidelined by injuries. No word yet on how long Rielly could be out. He will undergo imaging on the knee today.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on a shootout goal by Cody Glass. Roman Josi and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist for the Predators (9-8-2)while Nick Bjugstad scored twice for the Coyotes as they fall to 6-9-3. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced winger Zack Kassian was moved to injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun made his much-anticipated season debut after being sidelined for weeks by offseason wrist surgery. The subject of considerable trade speculation stretching back to last season, Chychrun was held scoreless and took a minor penalty, finishing with a plus-minus of minus-1. He was credited with four hits, two shots on goal and two blocked shots while logging 23:04 of ice time.

Calgary Flames winger Blake Coleman commemorated his 400th career NHL game with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jacob Markstrom made 23 saves for the Flames as they improved their record to 9-7-2 while the slumping Flyers drop to 7-8-4.

The Winnipeg Jets blew a 3-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes late in the third period before going on to a 4-3 win as Josh Morrissey scored in overtime. Morrissey finished the night with two goals while Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and two assists as the Jets rise to 11-5-1. Jaccob Slavin, Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas scored in the final minutes of the third as the 10-5-4 Hurricanes pulled goalie Pyotr Kochetkov to go with six attackers.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves and Luke Kunin collected three assists in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Timo Meier tallied what proved to be the game-winner for the Sharks (7-11-3). Tim Stutzle replied for the 6-11-1 Senators.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich and Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 20, 2022.

ESPN.COM: Rookie center Matty Beniers is having a positive effect on the Kraken’s performance in their second NHL season. The 20-year-old’s 11 points have him tied with the Coyotes’ Matias Maccelli for the lead among this season’s rookie scorers. He’s also drawn praise from his teammates for his maturity and sociable personality.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens players are pushing back against some criticisms leveled at the club by former equipment manager Pierre Gervais in his recently-released biography. Gervais claimed former head coach Dominique Ducharme lost the room due to questionable decision-making while former general manager Marc Bergevin’s maturity issues lost him some respect among the players.

Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki and alternate captain Brendan Gallagher expressed their admiration for Gervais but disputed his criticisms of Ducharme and Bergevin.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2022

The Leafs honor Borje Salming, the Devils remain red hot, Cale Makar approaches a league record, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Jordie Benn completed the Leafs’ three-goal rally in the second period while Erik Kallgren made 27 saves to improve their record to 8-5-3. Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks as they fall to 4-8-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs honored Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming in a pregame ceremony. The 71-year-old Salming, who is battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), made the ceremonial puck drop assisted by his family following a video retrospective of his trailblazing 17-season NHL career, all but one of which was spent with the Leafs.

This was a touching, beautiful and heartfelt tribute by the Leafs to one of their greatest players. They also started the game with five of Salming’s Swedish countrymen – Kallgren, Timothy Liljegren, Rasmus Sandin, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall and Calle Jarnkrok – on the ice. That’s a testament to his legacy as a pioneer for Swedish (and European) players in the NHL.

Second-period goals by Jesper Boqvist and Dougie Hamilton lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes to extend their win streak to nine games. Tomas Tatar had a goal and an assist for the 12-3-0 Devils while Dylan Guenther and Clayton Keller replied for the 6-7-1 Coyotes.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar scored two goals while teammate Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists to down the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. The Avalanche’s record sits at 8-4-1. Jordan Staal scored for the 9-5-1 Hurricanes, who placed sidelined winger Teuvo Teravainan in injured reserve with an upper-body injury retroactive to Nov. 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is closing in on a potential NHL record. With 196 career points in 191 games, he is poised to become the fastest defenseman in league history to reach 200 points, a record currently held by Sergei Zubov with 207 games played.

Edmonton Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each collected an assist as their club doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Stuart Skinner picked up the win by kicking out 42 shots for the Oilers (9-7-0) while McDavid and Draisaitl extended their points streaks to 10 and 11 games respectively. Sam Bennett scored twice for the Panthers (8-6-1) while defenseman Aaron Ekblad returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a groin pull on Oct. 17.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron scored twice and Keith Kinkaid stopped 30 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Brad Marchand collected two assists for the Bruins as their record improves to 13-2-0. Tage Thompson had the only goal for the 7-8-0 Sabres, who played without captain Kyle Okposo due to what was described as “general soreness.”

The Ottawa Senators’ Claude Giroux collected three assists as his club snapped a seven-game winless skid by dropping the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the 5-8-1 Senators while Kevin Hayes netted the only goal for the 7-5-2 Flyers, who also lost defenseman Wade Allison in the second period with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Giroux’s first game in Philadelphia since they traded him last March to the Florida Panthers. The Flyers honored their former captain with a pregame video tribute.

An overtime goal by Mike Hoffman lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-4. Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and Kaiden Guhle each collected two points as the Canadiens improved to 8-6-1. Jason Zucker collected three assists and former Hab Jeff Petry had two points for the Penguins, who drop to 6-6-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuilding Canadiens continue to exceed expectations over a month into this season. They’ll likely return to earth as the season wears on but young players like Suzuki, Dach and Guhle continue to provide Habs fans with the hope that a better future might not be as far away as originally thought.

The New York Islanders nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on an overtime goal by Zach Parise. Brock Nelson tallied twice for the Islanders (10-6-0) while Joonas Korpisalo made 42 saves to help the injury-ravaged Jackets (4-9-1) steal a point.

Two unanswered third-period goals by Ivan Barbashev and Ryan O’Reilly lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, improving their record to 5-8-0. Jordan Binnington made 34 saves (22 of those in the third period) for the win. Reilly Smith and Phil Kessel replied for the 13-3-0 Golden Knights.

The Calgary Flames ended a seven-game winless skid with a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Elias Lindholm and Adam Ruzicka each had a goal and an assist for the Flames to boost their record to 6-6-2. Connor Hellebuyck made 32 stops for the 8-4-1 Jets.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros kicked out 34 shots as his club held off the New York Rangers 2-1. Juuso Parssinen and Mark Jankowski tallied for the Predators while Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers. Nashville’s record now sits at 6-8-1 while the Rangers are 7-6-3. Predators forward Yakov Trenin missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi tallied twice in a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, improving the Kings’ record to 10-6-1. Dominik Kubalik and Filip Hronek each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who fall to 7-5-3.

A goal by Jarred Tinordi late in the third period lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Tinordi had two goals on the night while Arvid Soderblom got the wing for the 6-5-3 Blackhawks with a 39-save performance. Troy Terry had a goal and an assist for the 4-10-1 Ducks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Cal Foote on Friday.

TSN: Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway and Lightning forward Pat Maroon were both fined for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from Aube-Kubel’s hit on Foote. Hathaway was tagged for over $4,000.00 while Maroon will pay over $2,700.00

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Lightning, they claimed forward Rudolfs Balcers off waivers from the Florida Panthers.










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 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2022

The Lightning defeats the Rangers to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Flyers and Golden Knights’ search for new head coaches and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the third straight year, the Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the Stanley Cup Final. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves as the Bolts defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take the series 4 games to 2. Frank Vatrano replied for the Rangers while Igor Shesterkin made 29 stops.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Lightning will face off against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 15, in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Experience, a commitment to defensive play and their best players stepping up were keys to the Lightning winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Those factors also enabled them to overcome a 2-0 series deficit against the Rangers.

The Bolts didn’t get rattled after dropping the first two games in New York. They effectively neutralized the Rangers’ top offensive players as the series went on, holding the Blueshirts scoreless in the final two games and limiting them to one goal in each of the final three games and just one five-on-five goal in the final four.

Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat rose to the occasion over the final four games. Shesterkin was outstanding for the Rangers, but Vasilevskiy won the goaltending duel.

The Lightning will also get a boost to their roster for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Center Brayden Point is expected to be ready to rejoin the lineup after being sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DENVER POST: Speaking of the Avalanche, Mike Chambers agrees with Wayne Gretzky’s opinion of Cale Makar as the best defenseman since Bobby Orr. “The closest player we’ve ever seen offensively and defensively that can make an impact on the game that much – probably Bobby Orr,” Gretzky recently said on TNT. He considered Makar to be the Avalanche’s best player on the ice during the Western Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar has been an impact player since his arrival with the Avalanche in the 2019 playoffs. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season and should be a perennial candidate for that award for at least the next 10 years.

Makar is a big reason why the Avs reached this year’s Stanley Cup Final and have a legitimate shot at dethroning the Lightning. He has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

DAILY FACEOFF: Sources tell Frank Seravalli that the Philadelphia Flyers have narrowed down their list of head coaching candidates. Former bench bosses Barry Trotz and John Tortorella are believed to be among the finalists.

YARDBARKER: cited Seravalli reported the Vegas Golden Knights have zeroed in on Bruce Cassidy in their search for a new head coach. Cassidy was recently relieved of his duties as coach of the Boston Bruins.

THE SCORE: cited NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky reporting New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald met recently with winger Jesper Bratt and the two sides are trying to get a deal done this summer. The 23-year-old Bratt is coming off a career-high 73-point performance. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald indicated his intent to pursue a long-term deal with Bratt during his end-of-season interview last month. The Devils GM could seek an eight-year deal while the winger’s camp could be looking for a raise of over $7 million annually.

TSN: The NHL Board of Governors is set to meet this Thursday in New York City.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2022

The Avalanche hold off the Oilers in a high-scoring Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, plus the latest on Igor Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jordan Binnington and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference Finals by holding off the Edmonton Oilers 8-6. Cale Makar lead the way for the Avalanche with a goal and two assists, J.T. Compher scored twice while Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists, Leon Draisaitl collected two helpers and Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Game 2 goes Thursday night in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar’s goal late in the first period generated some controversy when it appeared teammate Valeri Nichushkin was offside. However, the Oilers lost the coach’s challenge when it was deemed Makar didn’t actually cross the blueline and take possession of the puck until after Nichushkin tagged up. The Avs made it 4-2 on the subsequent power play and never trailed after that.

Both starting goaltenders didn’t finish this game. The Oilers’ Mike Smith was replaced by Mikko Koskinen in the second period after giving up six goals on 25 shots. Meanwhile, an upper-body injury forced the Avs’ Darcy Kuemper to leave the game soon after Smith’s departure. Pavel Francouz took over for Kuemper. Smith will likely return for Game 2 but Kuemper’s status is unknown at this time.

Give the Oilers credit for battling back after falling behind 7-3 late in the second period. Smith didn’t look sharp on the Avs’ first goal but wasn’t at fault for the other five that eluded him. His teammates struggled to defend against the Avalanche’s speed and puck-possession game, which at times turned the Oilers’ zone into a shooting gallery.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is looking forward to facing Tampa Bay Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy when the puck drops on the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday. Shesterkin was the Rangers’ regular-season MVP and he’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. However, he praised Vasilevskiy, calling him “the best goalie in the world right now.”

NHL.COM: Speaking of Vasilevskiy, he’s trying to become the first goaltender to backstop his team to three straight Stanley Cups since Hall-of-Famer Billy Smith with the New York Islanders in 1982.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should be an entertaining matchup between the two best goalies in the league. Shesterkin was 3-0-0 against the Lightning this season with a 1.30 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. However, Vasilevskiy has a well-deserved reputation for elevating his game in postseason competition, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy last season.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington admitted he threw an empty water bottle at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri following Game 3 of their second-round series. Binnington was upset with suffering a series-ending injury following a collision with Kadri earlier in the game. “I just felt it was a God-given opportunity,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A futile attempt at payback by Binnington, whose temper sometimes gets the better of him. The report noted the two players have a history. During a game in October, Binnington swung his stick at Kadri’s head but didn’t make contact.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said his club is considering all its options regarding the 2022 draft. He said they had not yet decided which player they’ll select but will reach a decision by July.

Hughes also said the club is still awaiting clarity on the status of Carey Price’s injured knee. He indicated the goalie has not seen additional doctors since visiting a specialist at the end of this season. They can place him on long-term injured reserve if they know he’s unable to play next season.

The Canadiens GM indicated they intend to soon finalize a new contract for head coach Martin St. Louis. He also shot down a rumor from a Russian media outlet claiming his club won’t be selecting Russian-born players in this year’s draft. (UPDATE: The Canadiens announced this morning that St. Louis signed a three-year extension)

NHL.COM: Speaking of the draft, the league released the draft order for selections 17 through 28. The final four positions will be determined by the outcome of the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens hold the first-overall pick after winning the draft lottery last month.