Penguins win opening game of the Stanley Cup Final, Blues to bring back Ken Hitchcock and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Nick Bonino’s late goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary opened the scoring in a first period dominated by the Penguins, but the Sharks rallied to tie the game with a strong second-period performance on goals by Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Sharks goalie Martin Jones was the star of the game for the Sharks. He made 38 saves, including 17 in the final period, to keep his club in this game when they were being dominated at times by the Penguins.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins forward Bryan Rust is listed as day-to-day after receiving a head-high hit from Sharks winger Patrick Marleau in the third period. Marleau received a two-minute penalty. Rust left the ice, returned later for one shift and then left the game for good. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan called it a blindside hit and believes the league will look at it.
CSN BAY AREA: Marleau said he doesn’t believe he’ll receive supplemental discipline for that hit on Rust. “I just tried to keep everything down. I didn’t want to get too high on him,” said Marleau. “I kept my shoulder in and elbow in, and everything in.” Marleau is a former two-time finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins dominated the first period with their speed and looked like they would skate the Sharks out of the building. The Sharks, however, rallied well in the second as the Pens seemed to sit on their two-goal lead. The Penguins, however, regained their bearings and made a stronger effort in the third. It will be interesting to see if the Pens keep the throttle down throughout Game 2 and how the Sharks cope with it.
The hit on Rust was from the blindside, but I don’t believe it was predatory. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what the league’s department of player safety thinks about it. As Marleau has no history of dirty play, I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing comes of it. Here’s hoping Rust isn’t seriously hurt and returns to action soon.
STLTODAY.COM: League sources say the St. Louis Blues have agreed to a one-year contract extension with head coach Ken Hitchcock.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues wasted little time bringing back Hitchcock. Considering he guided the club to their first Western Conference Final appearance since 2001, that’s not a surprising development.
CBS SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said a decision on NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics will be made by the end of this year. Insurance and transportation costs remain the sticking point. A definitive word on league expansion will be made before the NHL Awards on June 22. He also said former LA Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, selected for Russia’s World Cup of Hockey roster, won’t be allowed to participate as he remains suspended by the NHL over his domestic violence arrest.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Bettman also said there’s currently no process in place to sell the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s been over a year since the club hired a firm to examine possible options to sell to new owners.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Former NHL player Tom Lysiak has died of leukemia at age 63. He played “13 seasons in the NHL with the Atlanta Flames and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 292 goals and adding 551 assists over 919 games.” He was also the father-in-law of San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Lysiak’s family and friends. There’s also an unconfirmed report claiming Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish has passed away. Truly a sad day for hockey.