NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2022

The offseason questions facing the Penguins and Stars plus the latest on the Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PENGUINS AND STARS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the Pittsburgh Penguins face some big decisions regarding Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. They are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July and there’s little chance all three will return. Wyshynski predicts only Letang will be back.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Other pending UFAs include Rickard Rakell, Evan Rodrigues and Casey DeSmith. Their restricted free agents include Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel wonders if the Penguins will let Malkin and/or Letang to depart via free agency and what effect that might have on captain Sidney Crosby. He also mused over whether they’ll invest a long-term commitment in the 30-year-old Rust, who missed two chunks of this season to injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will determine which UFAs return next season. Cap Friendly indicates they have $54.1 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Re-signing Malkin and Letang will eat up a big chunk of their available cap dollars. Rust is due for a significant raise over his current $3.5 million.

Of those three, Letang could be the most vital given his value as a puck-moving defenseman. Malkin’s injury history and at times erratic performance in recent years could make him a risky investment unless he’s willing to accept a substantial pay cut.

It might be possible to sign Letang and Rust. However, that will still eat up a lot of cap space, especially if Letang insists on at least maintaining his current $7.25 million annual average value.

The Penguins could bring back DeSmith if they don’t see any suitable backup options in the free-agent market. I expect they’ll re-sign Heinen but Kapanen seems a likely trade candidate given his struggles during his tenure in Pittsburgh.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton believes the Dallas Stars’ offseason priority is signing restricted free agent forward Jason Robertson, who’s coming off his entry-level contract. Having tallied 79 points this season, the 22-year-old sophomore is a star in the making. Goaltender Jake Oettinger is also completing his ELC and looks to be their starter going forward. They’ll have to determine who becomes his backup if Braden Holtby departs via free agency.

Shilton also wonders whether pending UFA John Klingberg stays or goes. General manager Jim Nill didn’t move him at the trade deadline given his value on their blueline and now the two sides must see if they can reach an agreement on a new contract. Nill must also address his roster’s scoring depth issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill could attempt to lock up Robertson and Oettinger on long-term deals with affordable annual average salaries. Their agents, however, could seek bigger bucks on shorter terms to bring their clients up to their UFA eligibility.

It seemed Klingberg and the Stars were about to part ways in January after he publicly expressed his unhappiness over the pace of his contract negotiations. However, both sides seem to have resolved that rift at least for the remainder of the season.

There was speculation earlier this season that the 29-year-old Klingberg sought a long-term deal worth between $7.75 million and $8.5 million annually. That, however, could prove too expensive for Nill’s liking but we’ll see how things go between now and the start of the free-agent market on July 13.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan doesn’t believe the Maple Leafs should make major changes in the front office, behind the bench or on the roster despite another first-round playoff exit. He points to their 115-point regular season, as well as pushing the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the limit in that opening-round series as justification for giving them another chance.

General manager Kyle Dubas will have around $8 million in salary-cap space to work with unless he moves some players. Koshan suggested Alex Kerfoot and Justin Holl as trade candidates. Dubas must also find a way to shed backup goalie Petr Mrazek’s $3.8 million cap hit.

Re-signing pending UFA goaltender Jack Campbell is the priority, followed by defenseman Mark Giordano if he’s affordable. There doesn’t seem much chance of bringing back Ilya Mikheyev. If Jason Spezza’s playing career is over, Koshan recommends hiring him for an off-ice role.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens also believes Holl could be shopped this summer. It remains to be seen if they can afford to sign Giordano and pending UFA forward Colin Blackwell. It remains to be seen if the aging Spezza fits into their on-ice plans. Stephens suggests there’s a real possibility Mrazek returns with the Leafs this fall while Campbell ends up signing elsewhere.

THE SCORE: John Matisz believes Mrazek, Kerfoot, Jake Muzzin and Pierre Engvall are four Leafs worth monitoring during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could surprise us by making major changes this summer. Like most observers, however, I don’t see that happening following the season they had.

Re-signing Campbell is their priority because they’ll have a difficult time finding a suitable replacement via this summer’s trade or free agent markets. Doing so, however, will eat up a big chunk of that $8 million in cap space, leaving little for the rest of the roster.

Moving out Mrazek, Kerfoot, Muzzin and Holl would clear over $14.9 million from the Leafs’ books. However, that’s easier said than done. Kerfoot ($3.5 million) would be the easiest to move as his cap hit and two-way skills would be enticing in the trade market. Holl ($2 million) might draw some interest from teams seeking affordable blueline depth.

Mrazek’s injury history and inconsistency are a tough sell. Muzzin’s age (33), injury history, cap hit ($5.625 million) and no-trade clause are significant sticking points.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

The Flames and Rangers advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 7 on an overtime goal by Johnny Gaudreau to win their first-round series four games to three. Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist while Tyler Toffoli also scored for Calgary. Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov replied for Dallas while Jake Oettinger made 64 saves in a losing cause. Stars center Roope Hintz was a late scratch with an upper-body injury while Flames defenseman Chris Tanev missed this game with an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 6.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames will face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first “Battle of Alberta” playoff series since 1991.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau silenced critics of his previous postseason performances by stepping up with his best playoff game in his career. The 28-year-old left winger leads the Flames with eight points in seven games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was superb in this series, finishing with a 1.53 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

Oettinger, however, was outstanding, with a 1.81 GAA and .954 SP. He was the reason the Stars pushed this series to overtime in Game 7 and came close to pulling off the upset. The 23-year-old has emerged as a franchise goaltender.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted his club to 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their first-round series, eliminating the Penguins four games to three. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves for the Rangers, who will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Jake Guentzel, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues replied for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell returned from injury for this game. Crosby picked up an assist and Jarry made 26 saves. Forward Brian Boyle missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some controversy prior to Zibanejad’s game-tying goal in the third period as teammate Alexis Lafreniere wrestled the helmet off the head of Penguins defenseman Marcus Petterson. The incident was uncalled by the on-ice officials.

Under NHL rules, Pettersson had to immediately leave the ice as he cannot play without a helmet, leaving the Penguins scrambling to replace him and creating that scoring opportunity for Zibanejad. The Penguins were upset over that uncalled infraction, which was yet another in a seemingly endless parade of botched or missed calls by NHL officials throughout the first round.

Nevertheless, this was a hard-fought victory by the Rangers. The aging Penguins pushed them to the limit, doing so with key players sidelined at various stretches during this series. Shesterkin shook off a couple of shaky performances and was the difference-maker in Game 7 while Panarin, Zibanejad and Kreider stepped up when it mattered most.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17 with the Florida Panthers facing off with the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the St. Louis Blues.

The Carolina Hurricanes meet the New York Rangers while the Calgary Flames battle the Edmonton Oilers starting on May 18.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was hampered through this season by a hip injury that caused him to miss the first two months of this season. It’s the same hip he had surgery on in 2015 and there’s some concern it could prove career-ending.

Capitals winger Tom Wilson could be facing off-season surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in Game 1 of their series against the Florida Panthers. Meanwhile, winger Carl Hagelin hopes to continue his career following an injury suffered in practice in March that nearly cost him his left eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Backstrom intends to explore all his options in hope of being physically comfortable to play again. The 34-year-old center had 31 points in 47 games and six points in as many games against the Panthers.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brendan Smith each received fines from the NHL department of player safety for their actions in Game 7 of their first-round series. McAvoy was fined $5,000.00 for tripping Hurricanes rearguard Brady Skjei while Smith was tagged for $2,000.00 for tripping Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment could miss Game 1 of his club’s second-round series against the Lightning with an unspecified injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

The Panthers eliminate the Capitals while the Rangers and Stars extend their respective first-round series to Game 7, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, Bruce Boudreau returns as Canucks coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: For the first time since 1996, the Florida Panthers are advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime goal lifted Florida to 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 to take their first-round series four games to two. Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots for the win. Washington’s T.J. Oshie scored to force overtime in the third period after his Capitals squandered 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verhaeghe was the Panthers’ most valuable player in this series, leading them with six goals and six assists for 12 points and tallying three straight game-winning goals.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin shared the view of his teammates that they gave away the series after blowing a 2-1 series lead and failing to hold leads in the final three games. “It’s on us. It’s on me, on Backy (Nicklas Backstrom), on Osh (Oshie), on Carly (John Carlson), it’s on everybody. Kind of a f**ked up situation,” said Ovechkin.

The absence of power forward Tom Wilson was another contributing factor to the Capitals’ loss. He was sidelined by a lower-body injury in Game 1 and never returned to the series.

There will be a seventh and deciding game in the opening round series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each scored twice and Adam Fox collected four assists in Game 6 as New York rallied to beat Pittsburgh 5-3. The Penguins led 2-0 after the first period but fell behind 3-2 before Evgeni Malkin tied it before the end of the second. Kreider got the game-winner late in the third and Andrew Copp added the insurance goal. Game 7 goes Sunday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby missed this game with an upper-body injury and remains questionable for Game 7. Rickard Rakell remained out of this contest as he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered in Game 1.

With starter Tristan Jarry finally healthy, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan must decide if he’ll put him in for that final game or stick with Louis Domingue, who’s carried the load since taking over for a sidelined Casey DeSmith during overtime in Game 1. Jarry is the better goalie but he hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in mid-April. Domingue’s done his best but he has given up some questionable goals for the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars ensured there will be a seventh game against the Calgary Flames with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of their series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 36 shots, Roope Hintz got a goal and an assist and Miro Heiskanen scored the game-winner for the Stars. Flames defenseman Michael Stone had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Calgary for Game 7 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars got it done by outshooting the Flames 30-20 in the final two periods and another outstanding performance by Oettinger, especially in the third period. Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov could face supplemental discipline after he laid out Stars forward Luke Glendening with an elbow to the head.

HEADLINES

NHLPA.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the 2022 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award as this season’s most valuable player as voted by the NHLPA membership.

THE PROVINCE: Bruce Boudreau will return next season as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Boudreau explained the delay in exercising the option year of his contract was due to personal arrangements, including the well-being of his 90-year-old mother in Toronto.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl could be nursing an injured right ankle or knee as he and his teammates prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of their opening-round series tonight.

CAP FRIENDLY: A $100K performance bonus for Tyler Bozak has pushed the St. Louis Blues salary-cap bonus overage to $1.1 million. Bozak could earn another $150K bonus if the Blues reach the conference final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonus overages are applied to next season’s salary-cap payroll.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2022

The Avalanche swept the Predators, the Penguins take a commanding series lead over the Rangers, the Flames and Panthers even their series 2-2, the Islanders fire Barry Trotz, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche has marched on to the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 4 of their first-round series, sweeping the latter in four straight. Valeri Nichushkin snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period and Nathan MacKinnon added the insurance goal. Cale Makar and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and two assists for the Avs while Yakov Trenin tallied twice and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators played the entire series without starting goaltender Juuse Saros, who was sidelined late in the season by a lower-body injury. Even if he’d been healthy, he probably wouldn’t have prevented the sweep. The Predators struggled down the stretch and were no match for the powerful Avalanche, who await the winner of the Minnesota Wild-St. Louis Blues series.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins rode a five-goal second-period outburst to a 7-2 drubbing of the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang each had two points for the Penguins. They hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the series and can wrap things up in Game 5 back in New York on Wednesday night. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin gave up six goals on 30 shots and go the hook following the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have lit up Shesterkin over the past two games, tallying a combined 10 games against the presumptive favorite to win this year’s Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie. However, this was a complete team defeat by the Rangers, who have been neutralized at both ends of the rink by a veteran Penguins club with more in the tank than most observers (like me) believed when this series began.

An overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe carried the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 to tie their first-round series at two games apiece. It was Verhaeghe’s second goal of the game. Sam Reinhart tied the game late in the third for the Panthers. T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov replied for the Capitals while Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers outshot the Capitals 32-16 and seemed on the verge of stealing this one before Reinhart sent the game to overtime. The series returns to Florida for Game 5 on Wednesday. Florida coach Andrew Brunette wasn’t happy with Oshie for what he felt was a targeted hit to the head of Panthers forward Sam Bennett. There was no call on the play. Bennett remained in the game and got the primary assist on the winning goal.

The Calgary Flames burned the Dallas Stars 4-1 in Game 4 of their series. Johnny Gaudreau scored on a penalty shot in a three-goal third-period for the Flames. Stars netminder Jake Oettinger turned in a 50-save performance in a losing cause. The series returns to Calgary for Game 5 on Wednesday tied at two games apiece.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary’s margin of victory would’ve been much wider if not for Oettinger, who did everything he could to give his club a fighting chance. The Flames dominated Dallas in this contest. The Stars made it interesting when Tyler Seguin scored on the power play late in the third to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-1 before Mikael Backlund put the game out of reach.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders fired head coach Barry Trotz yesterday. “I believe this group of players needs a new voice,” said general manager Lou Lamoriello. “This is not negative on Barry Trotz. He is a tremendous human being.” Assistant coaches Lane Lambert and Mitch Korn remain under contract for next season, though Trotz’s replacement will have a say over whether they’ll return for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a stunning move by Lamoriello. Under Trotz, the Islanders went to the Eastern Conference Final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2021. A season-opening five-week road trip while awaiting the opening of their new arena followed by a COVID-19 outbreak contributed to their failure to reach the playoffs this season. Nevertheless, the Isles GM felt his aging club needs a new bench boss going forward.

Changes could also be coming to the Islanders roster. Lamoriello indicated he’s like to bolster his blueline’s offense and he could make a trade involving his forwards. For now, however, whoever replaces Trotz and where the former Isles coach ends up are the hot topics of speculation. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill update.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman, Nashville Predators’ Roman Josi and Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar are the finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as this season’s top NHL defenseman. The winner will be announced later in the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprises there. All three are worthy nominees. Hedman won the award in 2018 and Josi in 2020 while Makar was a finalist last season.

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held at 6:30 PM ET on Tuesday. The Montreal Canadiens have the best odds at 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5), Seattle Kraken (11.5), Philadelphia Flyers (9.5) and New Jersey Devils (8.5).

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala is struggling to replicate his regular-season production in his club’s first-round series with the St. Louis Blues. The 25-year-old winger had a career-high 33 goals and 85 points this season but has managed only an assist in four games thus far against the Blues.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have parted ways with Pierre McGuire after only nine months in his role as senior vice president of hockey development.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire, a long-time TV hockey analyst and a former NHL general manager was hired by late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk last year. He still has two years remaining on his contract. General manager Pierre Dorion had no comment, which probably speaks volumes for his opinion of McGuire’s contributions.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks signed pending unrestricted free agents Alexander Barabanov and Jaycob Megna to two-year contract extensions. As per Cap Friendly, Barabanov’s annual average value is $2.5 million with a 10-team no-trade list while Megna will earn $762,500 annually.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault underwent successful surgery on his right wrist last Friday. He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

The Avalanche take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Predators while the Capitals, Penguins and Stars go up 2-1 in their respective first-round series. Check out the details plus the latest news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of sweeping the Nashville Predators following a 7-3 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Their win, however, was overshadowed by an eye injury suffered by goaltender Darcy Kuemper as he left the game late in the first period when the blade of Predators center Ryan Johansen accidentally poked through the protective cage of his mask.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (NHL Images).

Pavel Francouz replaced Kuemper and made 18 saves for the win. Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and set up two others while Cale Makar had three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully, it appears Kuemper’s injury wasn’t as serious as feared as Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the netminder could potentially return for Game 4 on Monday in Nashville. He also absolved Johansen, calling the episode an accident.

Penalties proved costly for the Predators in this contest as the Avalanche went four-for-seven on the power play. Up three games to none, they can wrap up this series in Game 4.

Alex Ovechkin scored and collected an assist while goalie Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for his first playoff win to defeat the Florida Panthers 6-1 and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson each collected two points. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers. Game 4 is Monday night in Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, Samsonov admitted feeling emotional as Washington fans chanted his name. He also commended his teammates’ solid defensive play in this contest, which has been a significant factor in both Capitals’ wins in this series.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to down the New York Rangers 7-4 to take a two-game to one lead in their series. Three unanswered third-period goals by Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter put the game away for Pittsburgh. Carter and Evan Rodrigues each tallied twice while Penguins third-string goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 32 shots. Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That game was certainly a wild ride for fans of both clubs. The power play made the difference for the Penguins, going two for three with the man advantage. The two clubs clash again in Game 4 on Monday in Pittsburgh.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski scored two goals, including the game-winner to lead his club over the Calgary Flames 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 39 shots for the win while Miro Heiskanen chipped in two assists. Flames forward Elias Lindholm netted his team-leading second goal of the series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the second straight game Pavelski tallied the winning goal. At 37, he continues to defy Father Time while playing a key role as a top-line forward for the Stars. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau had a great chance to tie the game 3-3 late in the third but Oettinger stopped his breakaway scoring chance.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Jordan Binnington could see his first start of this postseason as his St. Louis Blues face off against the Minnesota Wild this evening in Game 4 of their first-round series. Ville Husso was between the pipes for the Blues in the previous three games.

Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich could also make his debut in this series after being sidelined since January by a wrist injury. He would replace Torey Krug, who left Game 3 with an injured leg and is expected to miss some time.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could shake things up for Game 4 today against the Boston Bruins. Derek Stepan could replace a sidelined Jordan Martinook while Max Domi or Martin Necas could take a seat in favor of Steven Lorentz.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will make an announcement on Tuesday regarding the future of his hockey career. The 42-year-old hasn’t played since the 2020-21 season and is the all-time NHL leader in games played with 1,779. He spent 21 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were a betting man I’d say Marleau will be officially announcing his retirement. If so, it’ll be interesting to find out if he intends in staying in the game in some capacity, perhaps in a front-office role with the Sharks.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks parted ways with five of their amateur scouts on Friday. Former NHL players Pat Conacher and Ted Hampson.

NJ.COM: Former NHL forward Jay Pandolfo was named the new head coach at Boston University. He played for BU in 1995, helping them win the national title before going on to a 15-year NHL career, including 13 seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Friday that Russian prospects will remain eligible for selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. It remains to be seen if Russia will be invited to participate in a potential World Cup of Hockey before the 2026 Winter Olympics. The NHL suspended business ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

The Bruins bounce back against the Hurricanes while the Leafs, Oilers and Wild take 2-1 leads in their respective first-round series. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 to pick up their first win of the series. The Hurricanes now hold a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each had two points while rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff victory. Game 4 will be on Sunday, May 8.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reunited “Perfection Line” of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron made their presence felt in this contest. Swayman showed no sign of nerves stepping into this contest after being the backup in the first two games.

There was a scary moment for NHL off-ice official Joe Foley as a pane of glass was accidentally knocked loose by Bruins fans and fell on him while he was working in the penalty box. He was taken off on a stretcher and sent to a local hospital for observation, where he is reportedly all right and is expected to recover.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell made 32 saves to help his club hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 in Game 3 of their opening round series. They led Tampa Bay two games to one. Pierre Engvall collected three assists while Ilya Mikheyev tallied twice for the Leafs. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. The two clubs square off in Game 4 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning cut Toronto’s 3-0 lead to 3-2 early in the third period but Campbell’s goaltending and Mikheyev’s two late goals sealed the win. The Leafs’ depth players stepped one as their big guns (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares) were held to just one assist in this contest.

The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick from Evander Kane in their 8-2 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 to go up 2-1 in their first-round series. Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored two goals and an assist while Mike Smith turned in a 44-save performance for the win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got the hook after giving up four goals on 17 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a narrow 4-3 loss in Game 1, the Oilers have outscored Los Angeles 14-2 over the next two games. This series will be over quickly at this rate if the Kings fail to neutralize the Oilers’ offense. They’ll get the opportunity in Game 4 on Sunday.

Minnesota Wild netminder Mark-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to backstop his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 to go up two games to one in their first-round series. Jordan Greenway opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the first period. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ banged-up blueline suffered another blow as defenseman Torey Krug left the game with a lower-body injury. They were already playing without Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy as both are sidelined by upper-body injuries.

HEADLINES

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Friday and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. With starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured foot, the Penguins will turn to Louis Domingue in Game 3. Domingue replaced DeSmith during their series-opening 4-3 triple overtime win over the New York Rangers. The series is tied at a game apiece with Game 3 on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

TRIBLIVE.COM: In other Penguins news, winger Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) will be a game-time decision for Game 3. Winger Rickard Rakell (upper-body injury) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body) are listed as day-to-day.

ESPN.COM: Nashville Predators starter Juuse Saros has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Ingram is expected to get the start for the Predators, who are down 2-0 to the Avalanche in their first-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ingram made 49 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2. He must maintain that level of performance and hope his teammates’ popgun offense can improve if the Predators are to get back into this series.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. It’s uncertain if they’ll start Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov in goal tonight for Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.

THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will undergo further tests and research to attempt to address a nagging back injury that hampered his performance this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: cited Cap Friendly indicating only six teams (Bruins, Lightning, Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, and Winnipeg Jets) will have the full $82.5 million salary-cap payrolls to spend in 2022-23. Fourteen clubs will be affected by performance bonuses exceeding this season’s $81.5 million cap and being applied to next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Click on the link above for the full list. It ranges from as low as $25K (Avalanche) to as high as $1.25 million (Vancouver Canucks).

OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there isn’t a “for sale” sign in front of the Senators. There was speculation the club could be sold following the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March. Bettman said it will be up to Melnyk’s daughters what they wish to do but indicated the club isn’t on the market and there are “no problems”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are being by a three-man group that has had a hand in running the club for several years. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

TSN: Speaking of Bettman, he said former NHL coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t approached him about returning behind the bench. Quenneville resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers last fall for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ mishandling of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against a former video coach in 2010. Part of the conditions surrounding any plan for his return to the NHL coaching ranks is approval from the league commissioner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were recent rumors Quenneville was either contemplating a return or that a club was interested in hiring him.

NHL.COM: The dates for the announcements of the NHL Award finalists have been released, starting with the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday, May 9. Click the link for the complete list. The winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.