NHL Playoffs: Golden Knights Let Down By Top Players
Latest on the league’s plans for the schedule and the draft, the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont cites Bruins president Cam Neely pointing out the NHL and its TV partners would have the opportunity of trying new camera angles if the schedule resumes without fans in arenas. That would include perhaps mounting some cameras in lower-bowl seats or along the top of the glass that surrounds the boards.
“Even closer to the action, league broadcast executives also have toyed with the idea of embedding cameras directly into the boards, or perhaps mounting them directly behind the boards with lenses shooting the action through small portals drilled into the boards.”
Another option could be mounting small Go-Pro cameras to players’ helmets, though the NHLPA would have to agree to it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a great opportunity to provide fans watching on television with some different angles they otherwise wouldn’t see. It would be a great way to give them the feeling that they’re in the game, especially for those who’ve never attended a live NHL contest.
I’m hearing of something of a potential turf battle brewing between NHL and NBA over having Vegas as a main neutral site for playoffs
— Adrian Dater (@adater) May 8, 2020
SPORTSNET: Mixed feelings persist among NHL executives over the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft before the resumption of the season. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was diplomatic when questioned about his take. “We’re just going to try to prepare as though it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s not going to be normal regardless of what it is, so we’re fine with whatever is decided.”
Player agent Allan Walsh, however, said most general managers he’s spoken with aren’t happy with the idea. “I have not talked to one GM who likes it, and I talk to almost all of them.” Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is among them. “I haven’t heard a good reason why we should do it prior to the end of the season if we do conclude the season over the course of the summer,” he said. Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake, however, indicated he and his staff are “quite comfortable with either scenario.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m against it, and not because I’m some old-school guy who’s against “outside-the-box” thinking. I’m against it because the league higher-ups believe it’s going to draw big TV ratings and generate excitement among sports fans heading toward the restart of the schedule. I doubt it, especially when the most exciting component of the draft – the possibility of a major trade involving established players – probably won’t be permitted.
What will generate fan excitement is training camp and exhibition games taking place leading up to the proposed resumption of the schedule in July. Save the draft for when the season is over.
Just talked to an NHL GM who said the league has been consistent in telling teams they will have at least one month’s notice for the draft. So right now, we’re looking at mid-June at the earliest — Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) May 9, 2020
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Today is the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the first Stanley Cup Final game I ever saw. I was seven-years-old at the time, and the only reason I got to see it was because it was an afternoon game. That goal was seared into my memory and made me a life-long Bobby Orr fan. He did many amazing things throughout his career and truly changed the game with his style of play, but it’s that goal everyone remembers. It wasn’t the prettiest goal Orr ever scored, but it’s certainly among hockey’s most memorable.
CALGARY SUN: Flames center Sean Monahan hopes the season resumes this summer. “Everybody is just looking forward to get back with one another and push each other to get to that end goal,” he said. That end goal being, of course, the Stanley Cup.
THE SCORE: If the league resumes play this summer, Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone will be ready to return from the lower-body injury that sidelined him before the schedule was paused by the pandemic.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang made an unspecified donation intended to provide meals to the Students and Families Food Relief Fund and the Knead Community Cafe in the Pittsburgh area.
Game recaps, players and rookie of the month for February, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist as the Washington Capitals edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Ovechkin has 45 goals on the season, moving into a second-place tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews in the NHL goal-scoring race. The Capitals (86 points) opened a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Wild (71 points), who remain one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Flyers jumped to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers. They scored three goals in the first period, two on the power-play and one shorthanded. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 26 shots in his first start since Feb. 3. The Flyers (83 points) opened a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers (74 points) are four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-3. Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray each had two points for the Jackets (78 points), opening a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the final Eastern wild-card spot. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who dropped into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Cam Talbot made 38 saves as the Calgary Flames blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0. Flames captain Mark Giordano collected three assists while Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist. With 75 points, the Flames moved one point ahead of the Canucks into third place in the Pacific Division. The Panthers (73 points) have dropped seven-straight games and remain five points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.
The Los Angeles Kings upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Calvin Petersen stopped 42 shots while Anze Kopitar scored two goals to snap the Golden Knights’ eight-game winning streak. With 80 points, the Golden Knights remain atop the Pacific Division. Earlier in the day, they revealed winger Mark Stone is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Cory Schneider turned in a 34-save shutout and Pavel Zacha scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak are the NHL’s three stars for February 2020. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes was the rookie of the month.
Chris Kreider sidelined with a fractured foot, the red-hot Golden Knights and Flyers continue their winning ways and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jakub Voracek tied a career-high with four assists as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 5-2, snapping the latter’s nine-game road winning streak. Claude Giroux also scored twice as the Flyers (81 points) moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly loss for the Rangers (74 points) as winger Chris Kreider suffered a fractured foot in the first period. They remain two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lengthy absence for Kreider could prove fatal to the Rangers’ playoff hopes. He sits third among the Blueshirts in goals (24) and provides a physical presence to their forward lines.
The Flyers vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins (80 points), who dropped a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson made 28 saves as the Ducks held on for the win. Jason Zucker scored both goals for the Penguins, who’ve lost five straight games.
Netminder Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots for his first victory with the red-hot Vegas Golden Knights by doubling up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Reilly Smith tallied twice for the Golden Knights (80 points), who’ve won eight straight and hold a six-point lead atop the Pacific Division. Vegas winger Mark Stone missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock kicked out 24 shots to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0, with Zach Parise scoring a goal and setting up two others. The Wild (71 points) are just one point out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Jackets have lost 10 of their last 11 games and cling to the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 76 points. Jackets winger Alexander Wennberg returned to action for the first time in 12 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These are two teams going in different directions. The Wild have won six of their last 10 and are rising in the Western standings, while the Blue Jackets are danger of tumbling out of a playoff spot.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fifth straight win by edging the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Avs goalie Pavel Francouz turned aside 45 shots while Tyson Jost tallied two goals. Colorado (83 points) moved three points ahead of the Dallas Stars for second place in the Central Division. Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho extended his points streak to 14 games. Carolina sits two points behind the Blue Jackets.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine remains doubtful for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Laine took a shot off his foot in Wednesday’s win over Washington. X-rays revealed he didn’t suffer any broken bones.
SPORTSNET: Oilers defenseman Mike Green will be sidelined three-four weeks with a knee injury.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders loaned winger Josh Ho-Sang to the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Sources also say the Islanders will play all their playoff games this season and next at Nassau Coliseum, as well as their entire 2020-21 regular-season schedule. The Isles are expected to begin playing in their new arena at Belmont Park in 2021-22.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The AHL approved the transfer of ownership of the San Antonio Rampage to the Golden Knights, “as well as the relocation of the franchise to Henderson/Las Vegas.”
Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrei Vasilevskiy reach goaltending milestones, plus updates on Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Elias Pettersson, Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in a 7-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Fleury picked up his 460th career victory to move past Henrik Lundqvist into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Mark Stone led the way offensively with two goals and three assists for the Golden Knights (63 points), who moved within two points of the first-place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division. Max Pacioretty also tallied twice for Vegas.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Vasilevskiy set a club record with a 17-game points streak. Victor Hedman collected three assists for the surging Lightning (73 points), who sit five behind the first-overall Boston Bruins. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh left the game after being struck on the right leg by a shot from Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
Jeff Petry scored in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Carey Price made 35 saves for the Habs (59 points), who’ve won six of their last eight games and sit five points behind the Panthers and six out of a wild-card spot. Montreal defenseman Shea Weber missed the game with a lower-body injury. He’s on injured reserve and expected to miss a week.
The Detroit Red Wings edged the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Larkin also scored twice in regulation. With 54 points, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are fading. They’re 11 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and 10 behind the third-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
New York Islanders rookie Kieffer Bellows scored the first two goals of his NHL career in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Isles overcame a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered goals. They sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 68 points.
MacKenzie Blackwood made 46 saves and picked up his first career NHL assist as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0. Miles Wood tallied twice for the Devils as the Flyers (65 points) slipped out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fifth win in their last six games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avs.
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each scored twice to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 65 points, the Hurricanes hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Winners of just two of their last 11 contests, the struggling Coyotes (61 points) are clinging to the first Western Conference wild-card spot.
Jusse Saros kicked out 37 shots to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, who are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Nashville captain Roman Josi collected two assists. The Flames were playing without captain Mark Giordano, who’s listed as week-to-week with a hamstring injury. The Predators are now one point behind the Flames.
Andrew Copp tallied the game-winner as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the Blues 11-game home points streak. With 59 points, the Jets are one behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Brad Hunt and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist. The Wild (56 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks played without leading scorer Elias Pettersson, who missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Timo Meier scored twice and collected an assist as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. The Oilers (62 points) are two points behind the first-place Canucks in the Pacific, but only three points ahead of the ninth-overall Predators.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook underwent successful right hip surgery on Thursday. He had surgery on his right shoulder in December and on his left hip last month. He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in September.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci will be out “for a while” with an ankle injury.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights purchased the American Hockey League team in San Antonio, Texas, and plan to move it to the Las Vegas area next season.
NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA will resume negotiations toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is due to expire in September 2022.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are seeking funding to stage an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium in 2021.
Updates on Connor McDavid and Mikko Rantanen, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said team captain Connor McDavid may not see any playing time during the pre-season schedule. The 22-year-old center continues to rehab a knee injury suffered during the club’s final game last season.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche will open training camp today without Mikko Rantanen. The 21-year-old forward remains in Finland awaiting a new contract with the Avs. Rantanen said he wasn’t panicking, adding he was prepared for this possibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As training camps open, several notable young restricted free agents like Rantanen remain unsigned. It’ll be interesting to see how long negotiations drag on and the effect upon their respective clubs’ training camp plans.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins yesterday announced head coach Bruce Cassidy signed a three-year contract extension worth $3 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. The Bruins made significant strides under Cassidy’ coaching, reaching the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed winger Kevin Fiala to a two-year, $6-million contract with an annual average value of $3 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a promising 23-goal, 48-point performance in 2017-18 with the Nashville Predators, Fiala’s production tumbled to 39 points split between the Predators and Wild. The 23-year-old must regain his ’17-’18 form if he hopes to ink a more lucrative deal in two years.
CALGARY SUN: After buying out Michael Stone’s contract last month, the Flames signed the 29-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $700K contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL CBA continues to reveal interesting surprises. For years, it was assumed a team had to wait a full year from the date of the buyout to bring back a bought-out player. Cap Friendly reveals that’s not the case. Apparently, that one-year wait period only applied to players receiving compliance buyouts in 2013 and 2014.
SPORTSNET: Former Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will work as a consultant with the St. Louis Blues.
TSN: Former Vancouver Canucks player Chris Higgins has joined the club as assistant director of player development. Dan Cloutier, meanwhile, resigned as goaltender coach after eight seasons.