NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2022
The Hurricanes and Rangers prepare for Game 7 in their second-round series, Jason Spezza retires, plus the latest on the Avalanche, Oilers, Lightning and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers have the heart and fortitude to pick up their first road win in their second-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. He also believes the club’s identity stems from goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who has garnered a growing edge over the Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta as this series progresses.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin sees no point in dwelling on his club’s loss in Game 6 when they have a good opportunity in front of them in Game 7. “Looking back at the Boston series, no one really talks about the fact we lost three on the road. You talks about the fact we won the series,” said Slavin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes haven’t won on the road in this postseason but they’ve also never lost on home ice. If that trend continues, they’ll defeat the Rangers tonight and advance to meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Finals.
On the other hand, the Rangers’ have ridden Shesterkin’s solid goaltending and a never-say-die attitude to push the favored Hurricanes to a seventh and deciding game in this series. They could pull off the upset if Shesterkin continues to shine and Raanta struggles as he did in Game 6.
TORONTO SUN: Jason Spezza announced his retirement on Sunday after 19 seasons as an NHL player to become a special assistant to Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Duba. Spezza spent the past three seasons with the Leafs. He began his career with the Ottawa Senators in 2002-03, spending 11 seasons with them before moving on to the Dallas Stars for five seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Spezza in his new role. His best seasons were with the Senators, helping them become one of the dominant clubs in the league between 2002-03 to 2007-08, culminating in reaching the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.
Spezza holds the Senators’ single-season record with 71 assists (2005-06) and tallied 87-plus points in three seasons between 2005-06 and 2007-08. He is second all-time among Senators scorers with 251 goals, 436 assists and 687 points.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Leon Draisaitl was a dominant force in the Edmonton Oilers’ second-round victory over the Calgary Flames. He set an NHL record for most assists in a playoff series with 15 and accomplished this while playing with a suspected ankle injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl’s accomplishments have been overshadowed by the scoring of Connor McDavid and Evander Kane. With the focus on those two, he’s been able to thrive with his playmaking skills.
THE DENVER POST: Bo Byram has established himself as the Colorado Avalanche’s No. 3 defenseman in this postseason, filling in for the sidelined Samuel Girard after he suffered a season-ending sternum injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a difficult season for Byram as he’s had to battle back from concussion symptoms that limited him to just 30 games during the regular season. Finally healthy, he’s showing the skills that enticed the Avalanche to select him fourth overall in the 2019 draft.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Still awaiting the winner of the Hurricanes-Rangers series, the Lightning are simulating games in practice in anticipation of the start of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The long layoff gives the Lightning’s banged-up players an opportunity to heal and return to action. However, the downside of that layoff is the risk of getting stale from a lack of serious game action. We’ll find out on Wednesday how much of an effect it’ll have on the Lightning’s performance.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Top NHL prospect Shane Wright will meet with the Canadiens at this week’s NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo. After that, he’ll be flown to New Jersey to meet with the Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens hold the first-overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft and are expected to select Wright. However, the Devils must be prepared in case the Habs choose someone else.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz interviewed with the Red Wings regarding their vacant bench boss position. He’s also met with the Winnipeg Jets, Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights. Trotz has reportedly told those interested clubs he won’t make his decision until he’s sure it’s the right one for himself and his family.
SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knights goalie Laurent Brossoit recently underwent hip surgery. The club is hopeful he’ll be available for the start of next season.