NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Predators while the Panthers, Rangers and Stars even their respective series at a game apiece. Check out the details and other news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 2-1 to give them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring for the Avalanche while Yakov Trenin replied for Nashville. Predators goalie Connor Ingram made 49 saves.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ingram this could’ve been another blowout loss for the Predators. They must get their offense going as the series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 or risk getting swept by the powerful Avalanche.

The Florida Panthers evened their first-round series with the Washington Capitals at a game apiece with a 5-1 victory. They got three unanswered second-period goals by Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe while Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the win. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The suffocating defense that worked so well for the Capitals in Game 1 vanished in this contest. They also missed rugged winger Tom Wilson as he was sidelined by a lower-body injury. All five Panthers’ goals came at even strength. This series shifts to Washington for the next two games.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2, squaring their opening-round series at one game apiece. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the win. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as this series heads to Pittsburgh for the next two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins need more from their secondary scorers. Almost all their goals in this series have come from the Crosby line. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury. Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Ryan Lindgren were also sidelined by injuries. Goodrow (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.

The Dallas Stars got a 29-save shutout from Jake Oettinger to blank the Calgary Flames 2-0, tying their first-round series 1-1. Joe Pavelski and Michael Raffl were the goal scorers. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Stars thanks to young Oettinger’s goaltending. He’s tied with Markstrom for the best goals-against average (0.50) thus far among postseason netminders.

HEADLINES

TSN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in Game 2 of the first-round series on Wednesday. Marchand’s teammate Derek Forbort also received a $5,000.00 fine for high-sticking Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out of Game 3 on Friday. The club also confirmed Jeremy Swayman will get the start in that game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates today but his status for Game 3 is uncertain. He left Game 2 after being shaken up in a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

THE SCORE: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes the Bruins are deliberately targeting his goaltenders. “It can’t get any more obvious,” he told reporters following Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL headquarters could issue a warning to both clubs about running goalies. Brind’Amour could also get a call about his comments.

NHL.COM: Center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of this year’s top prospects. Left winger Jural Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland is the top European skater.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirmed Lindy Ruff will return next season as head coach. The announcement comes a day after they announced they were parting ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have added Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to their scouting department.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2022

Mason Marchment has a 6-point night in a big Panthers win, more changes to NHL COVID protocols, the 3 stars of the week revealed, the wild re-sign Jordan Greenway and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers winger Mason Marchment scored two goals and set up four others in a six-point performance as his club doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-4. Teammates Anton Lundell collected five assists while Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick and chipped in an assist. Patrik Laine scored twice for the Jackets while Elvis Merzlikins was pulled after giving up seven goals on 25 shots. The Panthers regained first place in the overall standings with 69 points.

Florida Panthers winger Mason Marchment (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets received bad news yesterday as defenseman Jake Bean is expected to be sidelined for four weeks with a groin injury. Bean already tallied career highs with four goals and 15 points this season.

Auston Matthews netted a hat trick during the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 comeback win over the New Jersey Devils. The Leafs overcame a 4-2 deficit with four unanswered third-period goals. Mitch Marner extended his goal streak to six games with a goal and two assists while Leafs goalie Jack Campbell was pulled after giving up three goals on nine shots. They remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin missed this game with a concussion and is expected to remain sidelined for the remainder of this week. Devils coach Lindy Ruff missed this game and will miss the rematch tonight due to the recent passing of his father. My condolences to Ruff and his family.

An overtime goal by Tim Stutzle lifted the Ottawa Senators over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Goaltender Matt Murray picked up the win with a 37-save performance while Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot each had two points. The Oilers (47 points) sit one point behind the Calgary Flames in the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for his first win since Dec. 30 in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Brock Boeser tallied his 12th goal of the season as the Canucks (46 points) sit two points back of the Flames.

The Detroit Red Wings nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jordan Oesterle scored in overtime while Dylan Larkin netted his 23rd of the season. Rickard Rakell replied for the Ducks, who sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 55 points.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league and the NHL Players Association yesterday announced an update on their COVID-19 protocols. Among the notable changes is the removal of “enhanced measures” as they revert back to start-of-season protocols, removal of daily testing for fully-vaccinated individuals, removal of the requirement to test close contacts, and updated recommendations for the type of masks and steps to reduce community exposure.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen, and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 30.

DAILY FACEOFF: The skills competition for the upcoming 2022 NHL All-Star weekend in Las Vegas will feature events on the Las Vegas Strip and in the Belaggio Fountains.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed winger Jordan Greenway to a three-year, $9 million contract extension. The 24-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a nice little pay bump for Greenway from the $2.1 million annual average value of his current deal. This also fits comfortably within the Wild’s salary-cap payroll for 2022-23. Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have $69.4 million invested in 13 players next season with Kevin Fiala, Alex Goligoski, and Kaapo Kahkonen among their notable free agents.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Danton Heinen is listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury.

GOPHNX.COM: Arizona Coyotes center Johan Larsson could be facing surgery for a nagging groin injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Former Blackhawks Marian Hossa, Ed Olcyzk and Patrick Sharp will be part of the advisory committee that will select the club’s next general manager.

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs head coach Mike Nykoluk passed away at age 87. He spent 17 seasons as a player in the AHL but briefly played for the Leafs in 1956-57. He was their head coach from 1980 to 1984. As an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, he was part of their Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. He was also an assistant coach with the New York Rangers before joining the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Nykoluk’s family, friends and to the Leafs, Flyers and Rangers organizations.










Laviolette Latest To Find A Ride On NHL Coaching Carousel

Laviolette Latest To Find A Ride On NHL Coaching Carousel










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2020

Updates on the Return-to-Play plan and CBA extension, the Devils officially announced Lindy Ruff as their new head coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY PLAN & CBA EXTENSION UPDATES

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the return-to-play plan and CBA extension could be ratified by Friday night. The results of the NHLPA membership vote will be completed by 6 pm ET while the NHL Board of Governors will hold a conference call at 4 PM ET.

The NHL & NHLPA could ratify the return-to-play plan and CBA extension later today (Image via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The BoG call is expected to be a rubber stamp. Despite several recent reports of player unhappiness leading up to this week, media consensus is the PA membership is expected to vote its approval.

McKenzie wonders if there will be a big spike in positive COVID-19 tests as Phase 3 commences Monday with mandatory training camps at NHL facilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve repeatedly said Phase 3 will determine if Phase 4 (the playoff tournament) takes place. McKenzie points out the league has a fighting chance to pull this off once the teams are quarantined in Edmonton and Toronto. Getting to that point, however, could be a challenge.

During Phase 4, the Eastern Conference clubs will be housed at Hotel X on the CNE grounds and the Royal York in downtown Toronto. In Edmonton, the Western Conference teams will be housed at the JW Marriott alongside the arena and the Sutton Place hotel downtown.

The playoff games are slated for 12, 4, and 8 pm local time daily, but McKenzie indicates the Edmonton schedule could be tweaked more depending on the needs of broadcasters.

Some teams are leaning toward bringing three goalies to the tournament but more are considering bringing four. They’re also mulling whether to bring 31 players or reduced those numbers to allow for an extra staff member or two.

DEVILS HIRE RUFF AS HEAD COACH, MAKE FITZGERALD THEIR FULL-TIME GM

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils made it official yesterday, announcing Lindy Ruff will become their new head coach starting next season and removed the interim tag from general manager Tom Fitzgerald’s title.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ruff is known for his defensive systems, but those expecting a boring trapping style could be in for a surprise. “We played a super-fast possession type of game, which is the same type of game I’d like to bring to this Devils team with a lot of puck pressure using the skills we have to own the puck,” he told NJ.com. “And I want a team that can dominate with speed and possession, but at the same time knowing that defending is a passion that we’re going to have.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2020

The tentative schedule for the rest of this season, more tidbits from the CBA extension, Devils to hire Lindy Ruff as head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY AND CBA EXTENSION NEWS

TSN: Frank Seravalli provided updates to the tentative key dates for the NHL’s return-to-play plan.

More details revealed of the NHL-NHLPA return-to-play plan & CBA extension (Image via NHL.com).

July 13 remains the start date for training camps under Phase 3. On July 24, teams will travel to their respective hub city for the playoff tournament under Phase 4.

July 25: Exhibition games begin

July 30: Qualifying round begins

Aug. 9: Opening round of the playoffs begins

Aug. 23: Second round begins

Sept. 6: Conference Finals begin

Sept. 20: Stanley Cup Final begins

Oct. 2: Last possible game of the Cup Final

Oct. 6: 2020 NHL Draft. The draft must be held following the end of the playoffs and before free agency begins

Oct. 9: Free Agency begins (or seven days following the end of the Stanley Cup Final, whichever is later)

Nov. 17: Training camps open for the 2020-21 season

Dec. 1: 2020-21 regular season begins

All dates are subject to change.

The NHL and NHLPA also have an agreement to abandon the return-to-play plan if the number of players opting-out on a team- or league-wide basis adversely affects the integrity of the post-season.

COLORADO SPORTS NOW: Adrian Dater reports the opt-out deadline has been extended to Monday night (July 13).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most observers doubt a large number of players will opt-out. We’ll know for certain by Monday night.

Bob McKenzie reports the summary of the memorandum of understanding lists Edmonton and Toronto as the host cities for Phase 4. The Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto and the Western Conference clubs in Edmonton. The Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final will be held in one host city but that has yet to be determined.

The final paycheck for 2019-20 that the players deferred will now be used to pay down escrow.

The late start of the 2020-21 season means the players will receive one paycheck in the fall.

ESPN: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL is working on its US broadcast plans for the 24-team playoff tournament. The qualification and round-robin games will be shown locally on regional sports networks. Discussions are ongoing over how many of the games will be shown nationally on NBC Sports Network.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unsubstantiated rumors suggested the games would be televised on pay-per-view. That’s not happening because of existing television contracts in the United States and Canada.

THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Jason Kay cited reports of an Edmonton hospital effectively shutting its doors because of a full-facility COVID-19 outbreak. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said “at this point” he doesn’t expect it’ll affect the league’s hub city announcement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think it’ll affect things as long as there’s no indication it could spread into the proposed secure area of The Ice District in Edmonton.

Some interesting CBA extension tidbits were revealed:

Frank Seravalli reports the one-week interview period for unrestricted free agents before the start of the free-agent market has been eliminated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it’s back to general managers working the phones with player agents trying to hammer out new contracts. I’m pleased with this development, as it will bring back the intrigue and excitement that was disappearing from the start of the free-agent period Because of the interview period, we knew where most of the top UFAs were going a day or two before the market opened. Now, it’s back to the good old guessing game as it should be. 

The maximum entry-level base salary will rise to $950K for 2022-23 and 2023-24, then to $975K for 2024-25 and 2025-26, and $1 million for 2026-27. Entry-level bonuses will also increase.

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports trade conditions that make it harder for a player to re-sign with the team that acquired him won’t be allowed. For example, if a player is traded for a third-round pick but it becomes a first if the player signs with his new club.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports clubs that have a performance overage for this season will have the option to evenly distribute it between 2020-21 and 2021-22 (50 percent each season).

IN OTHER NEWS…

NORTHJERSEY.COM: cites NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reporting the New Jersey Devils are expected to name Lindy Ruff as their new head coach. Ruff is an assistant coach with the New York Rangers and is the former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars. The Devils are also expected to make interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald their full-time GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ruff’s hiring is garnering mixed reactions from Devils fans. Supporters cite his experience and success in Buffalo, while detractors consider him the wrong coach for a rebuilding club. 

Fitzgerald earned his opportunity as the full-time GM, going a good job in difficult circumstances on short notice following the midseason firing of Ray Shero.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports Chris Pronger has stepped down as the Florida Panthers senior VP of hockey operations to focus on his family’s high-end travel agency business.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo cites a source reporting Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin is willing to sign prospect Kirill Kaprizov for 2019-20 and burn the first year of his three-year entry-level deal if Kaprizov is willing to do so. Under the terms of the CBA extension, he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the upcoming playoff tournament.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2020

Latest on potential hub cities plus updates on Oskar Lindblom, Ryan Graves, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

UPDATE ON POTENTIAL NHL HOST CITIES

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Minneapolis/St. Paul, Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Dallas were ruled out as possible host cities for the NHL’s 24-team playoff tournament later this summer. Six cities – Las Vegas, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles – remain in the running.

CNE Grounds in Toronto.

Toronto appears to be outside its western Canadian cousins. The city resubmitted its bid over the weekend, proposing a 40-acre Olympic Village-like bubble on the CNE Grounds where the players would have access to BMO Field, Coca-Cola Coliseum (home of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies), and the Toronto Raptors practice facility.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports New York City was under consideration as a hub city, but establishing and maintaining an appropriate quarantine bubble was unsustainable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Edmonton are said to be the favorites. The league is expected to make an official announcement by week’s end.

VANCOUVER SUN: The government of British Columbia confirms only NHL players and team officials will be part of the cohort quarantine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Families of players could travel to the two hub cities, but will remain separated by the quarantine bubble. How they’ll be able to spend time together is a concern among a number of players. It’ll be interesting to see how this issue is addressed if the next two phases of the return-to-play plan are approved.

SPORTSNET: Canucks general manager Jim Benning hopes to have all his players return to Vancouver this week in preparation for the start of training camp on July 10.

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo took to Twitter to report all the Minnesota Wild’s European players will be back in town by Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All 24 NHL teams participating in the playoff tournament expect their players to return to their respective team cities by Friday. That will allow a 14-day quarantine period before Phase 3 commences in two weeks’ time.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Over six months after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom resumed skating with several teammates. Lindblom is completing his treatments and isn’t expected to participate in the playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a good sign Lindblom feels strong enough to being skating again. It probably gave the youngster a tremendous physical and mental lift to return to the ice.

Some folks on social media questioned the Flyers allowing Lindblom to take part in small-group training. General manager Chuck Fletcher said every player and staff member must follow strict social distancing guidelines, pointing out the practice facility is a very safe environment. Lindblom also likely had his doctors’ approval.

SPORTSDAY: cites an interview Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns gave to The Athletic detailing his 22-month absence from the NHL as he recovered from head trauma. His journey included battling depression and suicidal thoughts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johns returned to the Stars lineup on Jan. 18, netting five points in 17 games before the schedule was paused by COVID-19. He’s the Stars’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves is so excited about returning to play that he drove 2,500 miles from Prince Edward Island to Denver. He chose to drive rather than fly as it would allow him to resume skating at the Avalanche’s practice facility soon after arrival. 

Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins center Nick Bjugstad (spinal surgery) could be ready to return to the lineup if the Penguins make a deep run in the playoffs.

TSN: Rimouski’s Alexis Lafreniere, Mannheim’s Tim Stutzle, and Sudbury’s Quinton Byfield top Bob McKenzie’s ranking of this year’s top prospects. The NHL Draft Lottery will be held this Friday. Depending on when the playoff tournament ends, the draft could be held in October or November.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports New York Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff is among the candidates to become head coach of the New Jersey Devils. Ruff spent 15 years as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and four seasons as the Dallas Stars’ bench boss.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks promoted Martin Madden as their new assistant general manager. Madden was their director of amateur scouting.