NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2023

The Leafs avoid elimination by the Panthers, the Oilers tied their series with the Golden Knights, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs staved off elimination in their second-round series with the Florida Panthers with a 2-1 victory in Game 4. William Nylander and Mitch Marner scored while Joseph Woll made 24 saves for the Leafs. Sam Reinhart replied for Florida while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots. Game 5 goes Friday in Toronto with the Panthers up three games to one.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the best defensive effort by the Leafs in this postseason. They didn’t get rattled when the Panthers cut their lead to 2-1 in the third period and gave as good as they got with their physical play. Woll handled himself well in net in a must-win game while Nylander and Marner silenced their critics (for one game anyway) with their play.

The Edmonton Oilers evened their series with the Vegas Golden Knights at two games apiece with a 4-1 win. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, Connor McDavid collected two assists and Stuart Skinner kicked out 25 shots for the Oilers. Nicolas Roy replied for the Golden Knights. The series returns to Vegas for Game 5 on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominant win by Edmonton in a game that got increasingly nasty as it went along, especially in the third period. The clubs combined for 111 minutes in penalties.

Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo got a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a lumberjack-style slash on Leon Draisaitl, prompting Oilers captain Connor McDavid to call for Pietrangelo to be suspended for a deliberate attempt to injure.

Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse could face a one-game suspension after receiving an instigator penalty for starting a fight with Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague in the final minute of the game. Golden Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson each received misconducts as did Oilers forwards Evander Kane and Kailer Yamamoto.


NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak are the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award for the NHL’s outstanding player as voted by the fans.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Various sources report the Philadelphia Flyers intend to hire Keith Jones as their new president of hockey operations. Jones played three of his nine NHL seasons with the Flyers and is the lead color analyst for their TV broadcasts. He has no front-office experience.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones has carved out a long, successful career as a hockey broadcaster and maintained ties with the club. However, his lack of front-office experience could become an issue as the Flyers attempt to rebuild.

This move also confirms that Daniel Briere will become their full-time general manager. Unlike Jones, Briere worked within the Flyers organization since 2017.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed goaltender Arvid Soderblom to a two-year contract extension. The average annual value is $962,500.

TSN: A study of NHL players shows that enforcers who spent a lot of time in fights during their playing careers die 10 years younger than their fellow players. Researchers at Columbia University in New York reached that conclusion after studying data from over 6,000 players from 1967 to 2022.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2021

The latest on Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe reports Patrik Laine danced around the trade talk swirling about him since September during a press conference yesterday.

That’s not something I think about. I only care about what’s going on today. I don’t worry about tomorrow,” Laine said. “Right now I’m here. I’m excited to play. I’m in good shape. I’m going to be a new player this year. And (I) just want to play well. That’s going to be best for both parties. What happens in the future, that’s not even my call. I’m going to work hard every night and that’s all I can do.”

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Laine also brought up the old saying about how even Wayne Gretzky got traded, going on to say trades are part of the business. He said he’s not worried about the speculation and is focusing on doing his job.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS/WINNIPEG SUN: Mike McIntyre and Paul Friesen believe Laine wants to be traded based on his comments yesterday. McIntyre points out it was the winger’s agents who publicly suggested trading their client would be mutually beneficial. Friesen feels there’s no other way to interpret Laine’s comments, adding the winger has gone from fan-favorite to pariah.

Both pundits pointed out Laine’s unhappiness over his role with the Jets. He prefers playing on the first line but has been relegated to second-line duty. McIntyre also noted that Laine and team captain Blake Wheeler don’t often see eye-to-eye, with Laine a laid-back, easy-going person while Wheeler is more intense.

Laine could be in Winnipeg for a while. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is three years away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Friesen feels this is about business, unlike Evander Kane’s trade request three years ago which appeared to be more about Winnipeg itself.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if the relationship between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pierre-Luc Dubois can be mended following reports the young center sought a trade despite signing a two-year contract with the Jackets last week.

Campbell considers this a frustrating situation since no one can figure out why Dubois feels he needs a change of scenery. “Is it the GM? Is it the coach? Is it the market?” He points out the youngster bought a condo in Columbus last August so he apparently wasn’t looking to leave back then. However, something changed after entering into contract negotiations with GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who insisted those discussions weren’t acrimonious.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun weighed in on the Laine and Dubois situations. He believes Laine could be in the $9 million range in an arbitration case if he has a huge goal-scoring season. The Jets would prefer to deal with his situation before then.

LeBrun cites sources saying Philadelphia, Carolina and Columbus had spoken with the Jets about Laine but nothing came of it. “At least not yet.” He feels Cheveldayoff would’ve moved the winger if he’d found a good deal.

An obvious solution would appear to be swapping Laine for Dubois. However, the sticking point would be whether either player would be interested in long-term commitments with their new teams.

The Jackets have more time to work something out with Dubois given his recent new contract. The flat salary cap for next season would also be a factor, especially in Laine’s case where he’ll be due a substantial raise.

LeBrun feels both clubs could wait until the summer to sort out these situations. However, he doesn’t rule out one or both considering a move at the April 12 trade deadline if they’re out of playoff contention by then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hunker down, folks, you’re going to be hearing a lot of media chatter this season over Laine and Dubois in the rumor mill. And for good reason. Both are talented young players who’ve yet to reach their playing prime. Every team in the league would love to have them on their rosters. Only a handful, however, will have the roster need, the tradeable assets and the cap space to acquire them.

We can’t rule out an in-season trade of Laine and/or Dubois but it seems unlikely. They’re invaluable right now to their respective clubs’ playoff hopes this year. Their salaries and the high number of clubs with limited cap room likely means it’ll take a dollar-for-dollar swap to make it happen. That could prove tricky to do even at the trade deadline.

Offseason moves seem more likely at this point. That’s when more clubs are willing to deal and usually have more cap space to work with. The flat cap for next season will remain an issue but there could be a few more teams with cap space and the willingness to make it happen.