NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2022
An update on Zdeno Chara, Bruins finalize contract extension for GM Don Sweeney, Alex Ovechkin scored in pro soccer debut, the latest on Ondrej Palat and Andre Burakovsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara’s agent said his client intends to make a decision about his NHL future in September. The 45-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with the New York Islanders, setting the league record for most career games by a defenseman with 1,680. He had 14 points and was a plus-8 in 72 games with the Isles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara is no longer the perennial Norris Trophy candidate he was during his playing prime. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if a club signs him to an affordable one-year contract as a third-pairing blueliner if he decides to return for one more season. His preference would likely be to skate for an Eastern Conference club.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cites the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald reporting the Bruins have finalized the contract extension for general manager Don Sweeney.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Bruins fans who are regular commenters to this site will have some interesting takes on this news. The deal hasn’t been officially announced yet though that could be coming at some point this week. I’ll post the details when they appear.
Under Sweeney’s management, the Bruins reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2020. However, the club has declined over the past two seasons, raising questions about his efforts to maintain a contender. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy raised eyebrows around the league and the ire of Bruins fans.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: It turns out Alex Ovechkin is also a scorer in professional soccer. Signed to a one-game contract with FC Moscow Dynamo, the Capitals captain scored a goal against FC Amkal in a Russian Premier League friendly.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Ondrej Palat’s performance in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs could help him cash in as an unrestricted free agent next month. Coming off a 49-point performance in 77 regular-season games, Palat leads the Lightning with 11 postseason goals and three game winners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palat is completing a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.3 million. If he and the Lightning fail to reach an agreement on a new deal, he’s bound to draw plenty of interest from contenders looking for a clutch player like him. He leads all active players with 12 playoff game-winners.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said winger Andre Burakovsky (hand injury) remains day-to-day but didn’t rule him out for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night in Tampa Bay.
PUCK PEDIA (via KUKLA’s KORNER): listed several upcoming key NHL offseason dates, starting with the first contract buyout window opening on July 1 and closing on July 12. July 11 is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to restricted free agents. July 12 is also the deadline for teams to sign their pending unrestricted free agents to eight-year contracts. July 17 is the deadline for players to file for arbitration, which starts on July 27.
SIRIUSXMNHL host Jonathan Davis reports the Vegas Golden Knights have hired Sean Burke as their director of goaltending. Burke held that position with the Montreal Canadiens.
TWINCITIES.COM: The NHL is experiencing significant growth among female and young fans. 37 percent of its fans are female, a growth of 26 percent in that demographic since 2016. Nearly 40 percent of its fans are under 50.
NHL.COM: The Chicago Wolves defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-0 in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals, winning the series in five games to become champions of the American Hockey League. The Wolves are the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes while the Falcons are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues. Wolves winger Josh Leivo was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time the Calder Cup has been awarded since 2019. Congratulations to the Wolves on their championship run this season.