NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

The Avalanche crush the Lightning to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Nicklas Backstrom undergoes hip surgery, the Oilers are on the verge of re-signing head coach Jay Woodcroft, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche holds a 2-0 series lead in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final after drubbing the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 on Saturday. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar each scored two goals, Mikko Rantanen collected three assists while Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves for the shutout. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 starting on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the most lopsided Stanley Cup Final games I’ve seen. The Avalanche dominated the defending champion Lightning from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Their speed made the difference throughout this contest, leaving the Bolts chasing the game and struggling to keep up.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin (NHL Images).

Three years after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, Nichushkin had a career-best performance this season and is enjoying a solid postseason. In this series, he’s taken his game to a higher level, tallying two points in each of the first two games. Eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 13, Nichushkin is on his way to a lucrative new contract.

Following the game, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos called his club’s performance “unacceptable”. Head coach Jon Cooper said the Avalanche were playing at an elite level while his club was not. Andrei Vasilevskiy was in net for all seven goals-against but Stamkos and Cooper laid the blame on the poor defensive play in front of him.

Stamkos and Cooper said all the right things about the need for the Lightning “man up” and not give up. They’re capable of surmounting a 2-0 series deficit as the New York Rangers discovered in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rallying back this time will be far more challenging for the Lightning. They’re up against the most formidable opponent they’ve faced over the course of their championship reign.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. He faces a lengthy recovery process with no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom will likely miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season and could be sidelined for much longer. His absence leaves a big hole in the second-line center position.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have $8.9 million in salary cap space with Backstrom carrying an annual average value of $9.2 million. Management could place him on long-term injury reserve to exceed the $82.5 million salary cap in order to find a suitable short-term replacement or to address other roster needs. Should he return to action during the season, however, they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes and Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now reporting the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of removing the interim tag from head coach Jay Woodcroft’s job title. They’re expected to reach an agreement on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me unsurprised. Woodcroft did a fine job after replacing Dave Tippett behind the bench. Taking over a struggling Oilers’ team that was in danger of falling out of playoff contention, he coached them to a 26-9-3 record in their remaining 38 games and guided them to the Western Conference Finals.

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson has earned his degree in general studies at the University of Michigan. He’s fulfilled a promise to himself and Red Berenson, who coached Johnson at Michigan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a special season for Johnson. In addition to earning his degree and appearing in his first Stanley Cup Final, he also became the 21st American-born defenseman to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have dismissed Chris Brumwell, who was their vice-president of communications and community partnerships for the past nine seasons.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill is retiring on July 1 after 29 years with the organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2022

The latest on the Rangers and Lightning as the Eastern Conference Finals returns to New York for Game 5, ongoing fallout from the Oilers’ elimination from the Western Conference Finals, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers hope to regain the lead in the 2022 NHL Eastern Conference Finals on home ice as the series returns to New York for Game 5 tonight at 8 pm ET. They saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate as the Lightning won Games 3 and 4 in Tampa Bay.

New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil (NHL Images).

The Rangers haven’t lost on home ice since Game 1 of their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re also 3-0 in home games following a road loss.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers centers Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil will be game-time decisions. Strome has been sidelined since Game 3 with a lower-body injury while Chytil left Game 4 with an upper-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper hasn’t ruled out center Brayden Point for Game 5. He’s been working his way back into the lineup since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The presence or absence of Strome, Chytil and/or Point could affect the outcome of Game 5. While the Lightning has coped with Point’s absence, his return would provide them with a big boost. The Rangers, meanwhile, are still learning to adjust without Strome and Chytil in their lineup.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland revealed several of his players were coping with injuries during their playoff run. However, none of them are expected to undergo surgeries.

Holland confirmed forward Leon Draisaitl played with a high-ankle sprain suffered during their first-round series with the Los Angeles Kings. He still managed to finish the playoffs with 32 points in 16 games, including four primary assists in their 6-5 series-ending loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals.

Defenseman Darnell Nurse played the entire postseason with a torn hip flexor. Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was dealing with a shoulder injury but still managed 14 points in 16 games.

Winger Jesse Puljujarvi suffered a shoulder injury in Game 4 against the Avalanche and his recovery timeline is four-to-six weeks. Winger Kailer Yamamoto missed the final two games against the Avs due to concussion protocol.

Holland also indicated five-to-seven other Oilers, including goaltender Mike Smith, were battling injuries.

TSN: Holland also praised interim head coach Jay Woodcroft for doing a “fabulous job” in getting the Oilers to the Western Conference Finals. He intends to meet with Woodcroft next week to discuss his future with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should be a short conversation with Woodcroft getting the “interim” tag removed from his job title in the near future. He took over a club that was sinking in the standings and quickly reversed its fortunes, guiding them to a 26-9-3 record in their final 38 games and a second-place finish (104 points) in the Pacific Division.

THE DENVER POST: Ticket prices in Denver for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final are going for up to $1,000.00 on the secondary market, with some peaking at $10,000.00.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examines the trades by Avalanche GM Joe Sakic that helped turn his club into a Stanley Cup finalist. Among the noteworthy additions were Nazem Kadri, Devon Toews, Darcy Kuemper, Andre Burakovsky, Samuel Girard, Josh Manson and Arturri Lehkonen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic has made moves that will help his club now and over the long term. He’s proven to be among the savviest general managers in the league.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 3, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor roundup, Johnny Gaudreau’s on-ice success this season could affect his contract talks with the Flames plus Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau is among several notable bench bosses in line for new contracts.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently reported speculation that the Flames could trade Johnny Gaudreau over his contract status didn’t disappear until the March trade deadline passed. The 28-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer unless he and the Flames reach an agreement on a contract extension.

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

Flames general manager Brad Treliving wants to sign Gaudreau long-term but the winger’s performance this season will make him expensive to retain. He’s earning an annual salary-cap hit of $6.75 million on his current deal. Gaudreau currently sits fourth among the league’s leading scorers with 92 points (with over 70 of those points at even strength) and was named the league’s second star for March 2022.

Both sides are keeping mum on the status of their contract negotiations. Nevertheless, Macfarlane believes Gaudreau is in line for a massive raise on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How massive? It could be an annual average value of $10 million on an eight-year deal. Barring injury, Goudreau’s going to break his previous career-high of 99 points and could be in the range of 110 points before the end of this season. He’s appeared in all 68 games for the Flames this season, garnering praise from head coach Darryl Sutter for his checking and all-around performance.

Treliving wants to keep Gaudreau and by all accounts, he and his wife love Calgary and want to stay put. $10 million annually over eight years could be what it takes to get it done.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek listed 11 full-time or interim coaches are on contracts that expire at the end of this season. They include the Anaheim Ducks’ Dallas Eakins, Chicago Blackhawks’ Derek King, Detroit Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill, Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness, Edmonton Oilers’ Jay Woodcroft, Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, Montreal Canadiens’ Martin St. Louis, Nashville Predators’ John Hynes, Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Yeo, Vancouver Canucks’ Bruce Boudreau and the Winnipeg Jets’ Dave Lowry.

Marek expects this summer could be a turbulent one among the NHL coaching fraternity. Elliotte Friedman reported that Boudreau is on a one-year contract with an option for next season. If they don’t keep him, there’s a payment that goes to him. Boudreau can also opt out though he wouldn’t get that payment if he does.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how all these situations unfold.

Eakins was hired by the predecessor of the Ducks’ new general manager Pat Verbeek. He might have designs on bringing in his own bench boss. The Red Wings showed improvement this season but their second-half collapse has Detroit fans and pundits calling for Blashill to be fired. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman recently indicated he’ll meet with Blashill after this season to discuss his future.

The Blackhawks improved when King took over in November but their roster still needs work. Whether he’ll be part of the rebuild is anyone’s guess right now. Securing a playoff berth could earn Bowness an extension. The Oilers’ improvement since Woodcroft replaced Dave Tippett could turn him into their full-time coach next season.

Brunette’s done a fine job with the Panthers since taking over after Joel Quenneville stepped down last fall. A deep playoff run should ensure his return on a multi-year contract. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes recently said he’d like St. Louis to return as their full-time coach. The Predators’ better-than-expected effort this season could extend Hynes’ tenure behind their bench.

The Flyers’ sad decline this season could lead to a rebuild that probably won’t include Yeo. Boudreau’s done a good job with the Canucks since taking over from Travis Green last fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up the option year. Lowry could end up replaced if the Jets fail to reach the postseason.