NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

The Panthers win the Presidents’ Trophy, Hurricanes goalie tandem Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta win the Jennings Trophy, Dustin Brown announces his retirement following the playoffs and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history by blanking the Ottawa Senators 4-0. With 122 points, the Panthers hold the NHL’s best record this season. Spencer Knight turned in a 27-save shutout performance while Carter Verhaeghe tallied twice.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta kicked out 27 shots while Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes have won six straight. Raanta and Frederik Andersen won the William M. Jennings Memorial Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (202) this season. Earlier in the week, the Hurricanes clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division. Devils winger Andreas Johnsson missed the game with a non-COVID illness.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser scored twice, including the overtime winner, as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Before the game, Los Angeles winger Dustin Brown announced he’ll retire following the playoffs. The Kings clinched a playoff berth several days ago, sitting third in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown captained the Kings to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. A versatile and physical forward, he’s spent his entire 18-season career with the Kings, scored 325 goals and 387 assists for 712 points in a franchise-leading 1,296 regular-season games.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Linus Ullmark stopped 37 saves to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Bergeron also became the fourth player in franchise history to score 400 career goals. The Bruins hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 107 points.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov’s 46th goal of the season came in overtime to snuff out the Calgary Flames 3-2. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 40th of the season, joining teammates Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm in the 40-goal club. The Flames clinched first place in the Pacific Division earlier this week (111 points) while the Wild sit two points ahead of the third-place St. Louis Blues with 111 points. Both clubs will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Lindholm are the first Flames trio to reach 40 goals in a season since Theo Fleury, Robert Reichel and Gary Roberts did it in 1993-94.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Predators defensemen Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist while David Rittich made 42 saves for the win. The Predators (97 points) hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first Western wild-card berth with both clubs having one game left. The Avalanche hold first overall in the Western Conference with 119 points.

The Edmonton Oilers nipped the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Zach Hyman. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid collected an assist for his league-leading 123rd point while Noah Gregor scored two goals for the Sharks. The Oilers recently clinched a playoff spot and sit second in the Pacific Division with 102 points.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist as his club upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. With the loss, the Lightning (108 points) failed to clinch third place in the Atlantic Division, sitting one point ahead of the Bruins with both clubs having a game remaining.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal collected three assists as his club upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. The Capitals (100 points) recently clinched the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Hundreds of hockey fans, hockey personalities and journalists paid their final respects to Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy yesterday during a funeral service north of Montreal. Bossy passed away from lung cancer on April 14 at age 65.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Mike Bossy. He was one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history and a key part of the New York Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty from 1980 to 1983.

WINNIPEG SUN: TSN broadcaster Dennis Beyak will retire from his role as the Jets play-by-play man. He held that job since the club relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Jeff Greenberg as their associate general manager. Greenberg, 36, is an assistant general manager with MLB’s Chicago Cubs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2021

The Colorado Avalanche clinch the Presidents’ Trophy, the opening-round schedule of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs is released, plus the latest on Nikita Kucherov, John Carlson, Patrick Marleau and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Tyson Jost scored twice for the Avalanche, who’ll face the St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the upcoming 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche win the 2020-21 NHL Presidents’ Trophy (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Avalanche on winning their first Presidents’ Trophy in 20 years.

Speaking of the Blues, they completed their regular-season schedule by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to thump the Minnesota Wild 7-3. David Perron, Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou each scored two goals. The Wild will face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round.

The Calgary Flames downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Earlier in the day, the Canucks confirmed sidelined center Elias Pettersson (upper-body injury) will miss their remaining games of this season but he’s working hard on a healthy return for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks still aren’t revealing the details of Pettersson’s injury but it’s believed to involve a wrist or hand.

The full schedule for the opening round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs was released Thursday.

It kicks off on Saturday, May 15 with the Boston Bruins facing off against the Washington Capitals. Sunday, May 16, sees the New York Islanders squaring off against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Tampa Bay Lightning tangle with the Florida Panthers, and the Minnesota Wild squaring off against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Monday, May 17 features the Nashville Predators facing the Carolina Hurricanes while the St. Louis Blues meet the Colorado Avalanche. Wednesday, May 19 sees the start of the Winnipeg Jets-Edmonton Oilers series while Thursday, May 20 features the start of the Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs series.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov practiced with their teammates on Thursday and are expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 of their series against the Panthers. Stamkos missed the final 16 games of the regular season with a lower-body injury while Kucherov missed the entire season following hip surgery on Dec. 29.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson said he’ll be ready for his club’s upcoming series against the Boston Bruins. He missed the final two games of the regular season with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Patrick Marleau plans to return for a 24th NHL season and isn’t ruling out coming back to the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 41-year-old Marleau set the NHL record this season for most career games. This season was also statistically the worst of his career with just nine points in 56 games. If the Sharks don’t bring him back he could end up seeking a training camp tryout with another club.

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Tyler Toffoli has embraced life with the Montreal Canadiens following his tenures with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks. He cited the Montreal fans and the atmosphere at the Bell Centre among his reasons for signing with the Canadiens last fall and looks forward to when fans can return to the building.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli said he wants what Montreal fans want: winning the Stanley Cup. He praised his teammates, singling out Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. He also revealed he thought he would re-sign with the Canucks last fall but they never made him a contract offer.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have received permission to interview former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant for their vacant head-coaching job. Meanwhile, Brian Leetch resigned as the Rangers’ hockey operations adviser.

Former New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has taken on a coaching and advisory role with the club. Boychuk’s career was prematurely ended by an eye injury last season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks are being sued by a former player for alleged sexual assault in 2010 by their former video coach.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2020

Sabres captain Jack Eichel grows weary of constant losing, four regular-season awards are handed out, the latest updates on the league’s return-to-play format, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EICHEL AND RISTOLAINEN TIRED OF LOSING IN BUFFALO.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are growing weary of missing the playoffs. Eichel, a five-year NHL veteran who has yet to make a post-season appearance, said he’s “fed up with the losing”. Ristolainen, a seven-year veteran, said he’s never been part of a winning culture in Buffalo. Both players, however, praised first-year coach Ralph Krueger and his staff for the improvements the club made this season despite missing the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have been mismanaged for years, and it’s taking a toll on Eichel and Ristolainen. While I don’t believe Eichel will demand a trade in this off-season, his patience probably isn’t limitless. He could decide his NHL future lies elsewhere if the Sabres fail to improve over the next couple of seasons.

Ristolainen, on the other hand, could be playing elsewhere whenever next season begins. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.

FOUR NHL AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED.

NHL.COM: With the regular season over, the NHL released a list of four award winners. Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is the winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s points leader (110). Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak share the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the leading goalscorers (48 each).

Bruins goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak share the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (174), while the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best overall record with 44 wins.

UPDATES ON NHL’S RETURN-TO-PLAY FORMAT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL told the NHL Players’ Association that Phase 3 of its return-to-play plan, which includes training camps, won’t begin before July 10. The league hopes to begin Phase 2, which includes small group workouts at team facilities, as early as next week.

TSN: Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top health official, said proposals are being reviewed from sports leagues (including the NHL) to resume play, but the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place for now. Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver are among 10 cities on the NHL’s shortlist of two host locations for its 24-team playoff tournament. Many NHL players are still in Europe and the United States.

Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning suggested holding training camps in the United States because of Canada’s current border guidelines. Many players, such as Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and goalie Frederik Andersen, are working out in the US and won’t be in a big hurry to return to Canada and undergo a 14-day quarantine before they can resume training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The United States deemed professional athletes and their training staff as essential workers, making it easier for players in Canada and Europe to travel into that country for training camps.

Darren Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA are negotiating to push the June 1 deadline for signing entry-level players to July 1. There’s also a debate between the league and the PA over allowing players recently signed to entry-level contracts (such as Montreal’s Alexander Romanov) to take part in the playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To no one’s surprise, the league is against it while the PA is for it.

Bob McKenzie reports Alexis Lafreniere, considered to be the top prospect in this year’s NHL draft, is considering all his options for next season. That could include perhaps playing in Europe if the NHL, AHL, or CHL 2020-21 seasons haven’t begun by this fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he does play in Europe this fall you can bet his contract will contain an out-clause enabling him to return to the NHL whenever the puck drops on the ’20-’21 season.

LeBrun reports the seven teams not eligible to participate in the 24-team playoff format can begin making trades with each other. He points out non-playoff clubs usually wait until closer to the draft to begin dealing, but if there’s a fit among those seven teams for whatever reason, they can go ahead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on this later today in the Rumor section.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers rookie winger Kaapo Kakko might not be able to participate in the playoff tournament. Kakko is a type-1 diabetic and has a higher-than-normal risk of contracting COVID-19. Rangers president John Davidson said they’ll listen to their medical people to determine if Kakko will be able to play.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported collective bargaining talks between the league and the PA are expected to ramp up enough for the latter to form a negotiating committee. Ryan Miller and Ron Hainsey remain active from the 2012-13 version.

Costs for COVID-19 testing during the playoff tournament could cost as much as $3 million.

Friedman thinks there’s a decent chance the tournament could be re-seeded following the qualifying round instead of going to a bracket format.

The New Jersey Devils are believed to be considering at least four candidates for their head coaching job. Current interim coach Alain Nasreddine, along with Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, and John Stevens, are believed to be in the running.

The Chicago Blackhawks could be making some cuts to the professional scouting department.

TSN: Player agent Mike Liut is advising any player who’ll listen to review their disability insurance before they return to the ice.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights announced their new AHL affiliate will be named the Henderson Silver Knights.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect center Josh Norris, 20, was selected as the AHL’s rookie of the year for 2019-20.