2020 NHL Awards – Calder Trophy, Lindsay and Adams Award Finalists
Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.
NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.
WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.
SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.
Bruins edge Blue Jackets in overtime, Blues down the Stars, Ted Lindsay Award finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Charlie Coyle scored the tying and winning goals as the Boston Bruins edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime to take Game 1 of their second-round series. Seth Jones collected two assists for the Blue Jackets, who overcame a slow start following a 10-day layoff to take a 2-1 lead before Coyle sent the game into the extra frame.
It was a costly win for the Bruins, as center David Krejci is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after leaving the game in the third period following an open-ice hit by Jackets forward Riley Nash.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It took a period for the Jackets to shake off the rust but once they did you could sense the flow of the game shifting in their direction, especially after they overcame a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead. Expect a more consistent effort from them as this series goes on. Losing Krejci, who centers the second line, could be a serious blow for the Bruins if he’s sidelined for a lengthy period.
Vladimir Tarasenko’s two-goal performance powered to the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in the opening game of their second-round series. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 27 saves, including 16 in the final period as the Stars pushed for the equalizing goal. Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza scored for the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko was an offensive force in this game, driving to the net and driving the Stars defense to distraction. Binnington looked shaky at times in the opening-round series against Winnipeg but he returned to form in this contest.
NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski remains day-to-day with a head injury and is considered unlikely to skate in Game 1 tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. He didn’t practice with his teammates yesterday.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The league has apologized to the Vegas Golden Knights over the controversial penalty call on center Cody Eakin that resulted in Pavelski’s injury during Game 7 of their opening-round series. Officials assessed Eakin with a five-minute major for cross-checking though replays showed Pavelski got hurt when his head struck the ice and not from Eakin’s stick. The Sharks scored four goals on the ensuing power play which turned the tide of the game.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov are this year’s finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, “presented annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association.”
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman “will undergo surgery on his right knee Monday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and be out a minimum six months.”
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed fourth-line center Nate Thompson to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Habs have had preliminary discussions with Jordan Weal’s agent J.P. Barry. The pending UFA has interest in staying. We’ll see if they can get a deal done or not. https://t.co/yuQdNzIaJi
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 25, 2019
Playoff game recaps, Lindsay Award nominees revealed, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights continue to roll in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring four first-period goals on route to a 7-0 beat-down of the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of their second-round series. Having swept the Los Angeles Kings from the first round, the Golden Knights have yet to lose a playoff game.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for the shutout while Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith each collected three points. Sharks winger Evander Kane could face a suspension after he was ejected for cross-checking Vegas winger Pierre-Marc Bellemare in the head.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks were expected to match Vegas’ speed but they looked a step behind throughout this game. Their defensive game was horrific. They’ll need a much better effort in Game 2 on Saturday.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge the Washington Capitals 3-2 in the opening game of their second-round series. Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin tallied for the Capitals. Game 2 goes Sunday afternoon in Washington.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s the Penguins’ message to the Capitals in every playoff series:
NHLPA: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid are this year’s finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award. This award is handed out annually “to the most outstanding player in the NHL,” as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.”
SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings forwards Dustin Brown (left shoulder) and Trevor Lewis (right hand) underwent surgery to repair their respective injuries. Both are expected to be fully recovered before training camp in September.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier played the season with a chronic left wrist and hand injury requiring two-to-four weeks of treatment. Forward Pavel Zacha injured a ligament in his right thumb and wrist near the end of this season. Neither player will undergo surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league shouldn’t be too harsh on Marchand. That’s probably the only way he knows how to show affection. (Just kidding!)
CALGARY SUN: Calgary city council will vote next month on a measure to start a committee to reopen arena talks with the Flames.
Game recaps, injury updates, Lindsay Award finalists revealed & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Ryan Ellis and James Neal scored and Pekka Rinne made 32 saves as the Nashville Predators edged the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in Game 4 of their second-round series. The win gives the Predators a 3-1 series lead and the opportunity to wrap things up in Game 5 on Friday in St. Louis. Ellis currently has a seven-game point streak on the go.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and Mats Zuccarello scored a goal and set up another to give the New York Rangers a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their second-round series. The Senators now hold a 2-1 lead in the series. Senators forwards Zack Smith and Bobby Ryan left the game with injuries. An update on their status for Game 4 could be revealed today.
TRIBLIVE.COM/SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary will miss Game 4 of their series against the Washington Capitals with concussions. Both were injured in their club’s Game 3 loss to the Capitals.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC: Capitals defenseman Matt Niskaken won’t be suspended for his cross check on Crosby that resulted in the latter’s concussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is facing some media criticism over the poor quality of playoff officiating resulting in injuries to stars such as Crosby. While I agree that what qualifies as a penalty in the regular season tends to go uncalled more often than not in the postseason, there’s little pundits and fans can do about it. This has been going on for years and it’s obvious that not even losing someone like Crosby to injury will do anything to change it.
Sure, the league deserves its share of criticism, but the NHL Players Association has seemingly done little to pressure the league into ensuring the players are protected and the rule book is enforced throughout the regular season and playoffs. Don’t expect Crosby’s injury to spur any significant improvement.
Crosby, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns are finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award honoring the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the players.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to a seven-year, $31.5 million contract. The annual average value is $4.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are puzzled over why the Leafs invested in such a lengthy deal for a rookie blueliner. The Athletic’s James Mirtle breaks it down, citing the 24-year-old’s arbitration rights and the fact he was only two years away from unrestricted free agent status. To keep the salary reasonable, the Leafs opted for term. Time will tell how well this deal pans out for the Leafs.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson revealed the difficulty he had playing this season while his mother was dying of cancer in Finland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Too often we forget pro athletes are human beings who must deal with the same real-life personal difficulties and tragedies as the rest of us. My condolences to Ekman-Larsson and his family.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella underwent surgery on his left hip and is expected to be ready to go for next season.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Charges against Sabres left wing Evander Kane stemming from an incident in a Buffalo-area bar last June were dropped as part of a plea agreement approved last October.
ESPN.COM’S Craig Custance reports the NHL sent a memo to the 30 clubs listing the players considered exempt from the expansion draft. Among the notables are Chris Pronger, Dave Bolland, Johan Franzen, David Clarkson, Nathan Horton, Pascal Dupuis, Ryane Clowe and Mikhail Grabovski.
Lightning put Islanders on brink of elimination, Lindsay Award nominees revealed and more in today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines. (more…)