NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2017

by | May 11, 2017 | News, NHL | 15 comments

Sidney Crosby & Marc-Andre Fleury celebrate the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Game 7 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Penguins & Ducks advance to Conference Finals plus updates on Subban, Bishop & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 29-save shutout performance as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 of their second-round series. The Penguins march on to meet the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final starting Saturday. Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist scored the game’s only goals. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were on their heels in the first 10 minutes of this game but Fleury was solid and weathered the storm. His teammates regained their footing and slowly took over the game after that. Once again, the Capitals come up short in the playoffs after a strong regular-season performance. This could bring about some significant offseason changes in Washington. 

Andrew Cogliano and Nick Ritchie scored as the Anaheim Ducks overcame an early 1-0 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7 of their second-round series. They advance to meet the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Finals starting Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Ducks exorcised their demons of previous failure and frustration in Game 7 scenarios. The young Oilers have nothing to hang their heads over, pushing the experienced Ducks to the limit. They are a force to be reckoned with and will only get better in the coming years. 

The NHL has released the schedule for the Conference Finals. 

The league also announced Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban was fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment for an incident on May 2 against the St. Louis Blues. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Goaltender Ben Bishop is excited about joining the Dallas Stars and is hopeful of signing a new contract with them. The Stars acquired Bishop earlier this week from the Los Angeles Kings. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop and Stars GM Jim Nill are expected to start contract discussions soon. By the sound of things, a deal could be worked out well before July 1. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vegas Golden Knights could try to use their  window for signing free agents before the expansion draft to sign a player and flip him to another team. Doing so would mean relinquishing their selection from the free agent’s current team, though that could be beneficial for the Knights if the player is coming from a club with little quality talent to expose in the expansion draft. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Buffalo Sabres are expected to announce the hiring of Penguins associate GM Jason Botterill as their new general manager 

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks are reportedly close to re-signing forwards Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson to multi-year contracts. 



  1. Some day, likely in the far far future, there will be a Washington-San Jose final that will be fodder for endless columns and sports shows centering around the theme “the choking ends here.”

    • I feel for Washington and their fans. I don’t necessarily think last night was some sort of team choke, it’s just a situation where they didn’t have their best game. The games that should sting the most are a couple of earlier games in this series where they should/could have had the game based on their play. They controlled the play for much of the series, but ran into a hot goalie and needed a bounce or a break or two.

      In then end though, I do think Ovechkin just plain chocked, ran out of gas, let the pressure get to him, pick whatever saying you want, but he played terrible. There are games where he doesn’t score but at least he throws some hits and gets the team in, last night the only times I noticed him were on his one really good chance, and when he was giving the puck away.

      I don’t think a bad game should define a player as a whole, but Washington has some questions for the off season as their cap crunch and pleathora of RFAs and UFAs are going to all but guarantee they aren’t as strong a team next year. This comes in a year where I think we can probably safely say that Ovechkin is transitioning into more of a piece of a team than a focal point, so it will be interesting to see what they do in the off season.

  2. So the Pens saved their best game of the series for game 7. Fleury played great again, but the whole team weathered the early pressure, counter attacked, and completely overwhelmed and smothered the Caps in the 3rd.

    So the interesting debate would be; What do the caps do now?

    There is no doubt that they face challenges and will be hard pressed to ice as good a team next year as they did this year, but they do have the bones of a good team that will be left over. The question is, do you move on from some of it? and if so, who?

    The cap era makes it nearly impossible to pull off a full tear down quickly, unless your team wasn’t much to begin with. Obviously the caps will hold onto guys like Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, Johansson and Orlov. But what about the core?

    Ovechkin, Backstrom, Carlson, Niskanen, Holtby are their longer serving players that could provide value for a re-tooling. They won’t just blow it up, but they may start slowly peeling away at that core and replacing them with younger players to prolong their competitive years.

    Here are my thoughts;

    Holtby – I wouldn’t imagine he goes anywhere. The team will still be relatively competitive, so a goalie helps stablize the transition, while some teams are in need, there are enough goalies available that the market isn’t likely going to give a massive return. I think you just ride it out, as he has a reasonable cap hit and is a good goalie. However there are teams who need a goalie, and there wouldn’t be a better one available, so it could be explored.

    Niskanen – Teams are in need of top pairing RHD, and while Niskanen is a little older than some teams may want, his contract is pretty decent and he is a balanced enough D that he fits a lot of teams needs. He should fetch a good return, and fee up cap space.

    Carlson – He has one year left before walking as a UFA, he is young, so he should be a sought after commodity, and maybe the caps need to recoup value for an asset rather than letting him walk. Most likely they would only move one of Carlson or Niskanen (if either), so I guess it would depend on whether they want to talk extension with Carlson now.

    Backstrom – He likely has the largest trade value of anyone they could consider trading, with a great cap hit, performance is still at his prime level in both playoffs and regular season, and big #1 C’s are rarely available. For teams like Montreal, Minnesota, St. Louis, Columbus, Vegas, and pretty much any team willing to pay to instantly improve in that area, he should fetch a very good return.

    Ovechkin – Hard to imagine him traded, but his name and goal scoring would have value to teams looking to draw crowds. 33 goals is considered an off year, and he likely has 4 years of averaging near 40 a year left in the tank, so his contract length might not be a problem. If the caps are to move on though, do they hold back a little salary to maximize value? Or just want a clean break. Ovechkin would probably be a fit somewhere like Vegas as a ticket draw, but if Washington wanted value, making Ovehckin a $7M winger instead of $9.5 would be a huge attraction to teams who struggled to score, or need insulating players. Montreal, Florida, Ottawa (also an additional ticket draw), Rangers, Islanders, Minnesota, Edmonton or LA.

    Anyway, not saying that I think any of them would move, just seeing what people think in terms of who should move. I don’t think it’s plausible to just tear it down, but I think this should be a year where Washington starts it’s transition.

    • I think Ovechkin would be a good for for the Los Angeles Kings…. They play a big physical style and are in need of a scorer…and considering OVie 33 goals this year were a down year. he would be good with the Kings and Kopitar or Carter. Anybody any thoughts?

      Jake Muzzin a young controllable defense man and affordable and the Caps will lose Alzner and Shattenkirk this year and Carlson free agent next year.

      Jake Muzzin & Tanner Pearson and a couple picks for alex Ovechkin (maybe Washington retains $1.5 million in salary.

      Kings get their goal scorer Capitals get a young top 4 defense man??and some depth pieces.

  3. If not for MAF in that game particularly the first couple periods the Caps win that series, there was no “choking” a goalie stole game 7 for the Stanley cup champs. It happens. Still a ways to go but if the Pens end up winning a cup I could see MAF being in the conversation for the Conn Smythe and their fans seem only to quick to run him outta town for a young goalie with a fragility issue…seems kinda odd.

    • I don’t think anyone is trying to run him out of town, it is the whole no movement clause and being able to only protect one goalie thing.

      • It’s been just over a year and it’s been 4 injuries. a concussion, broken hand, and now 2 rather serious lower body injuries likely knee or groin….I’m not sure I’m scrambling to keep a goalie who can’t prove he can string together a season. In many ways I think he might be the one to move keep MAF let him play it out and see whatJarry has to offer. Murray potential doesn’t mean a thing if this as as durable as he gets.

      • You are oversimplifying it. There are so many factors. Murray better numbers younger successful at all levels cheaper. Also more valuable in a trade. A conn smythey maf? Experienced 2-3 cup winner definite good starter. Older more expensive streaky at times.

        You are so right that some people in the burgh want to run him out of town. It’s quite frankly embarrassing as a true pens fan.

    • Unfortunately, “choking” will stick when they continually run out stats showing their repeated departures from the playoffs in the Ovechkin era without once going to the dance. Yeah, it’s an unfair label that will take precedence in years ahead when listing their failures and I doubt anyone will point to this game or that game and the dominance of an opposing goalie. I’m sure some of San Jose’s failures can be attributed to similar circumstances – yet they are branded as a franchise that can’t get over the hump. Same with Anaheim had they lost yet another game 7 last night. It might still if they happen to lose to Nashville in a game 7.

      • Shticky…i am a huge Penguins fan and i agree with you maybe keep Marc Andre Fluery and Move Matt Murray who is almost as brittle as Kris Letang… you will get a good return for him..plus Tristan Jarry maybe be better than all of them and they drafted this 6 ft 4 swedish goalie last year who is supposed to be killing it and talented.

    • Agreed MAF was on fire…. the capitals did choke a bit in game seven although MAF was brilliant…you have won two in a row to even it at 3-3 and lose game 7 at home…. tough one

  4. Excited after that scare last night. Now the Penguins go on to face the worse team they will in this, or let’s be honest, last years playoffs. The Sens are as fun as the old Devils trap teams from the 90’s. Watch this be the team that beats them. And since someone asked MAF is not being run out of town so much as the team,even without expansion, can’t fit him under the cap. Extensions for Dumoulin, Shultz, and Sheary will cost beyond 10 million and the team is up against the cap as it is. It more than likely means Kunitz is not returning either. And there will be a need for ELC players on the roster next year.

    • You should probably have worded that as “the worst collection of so-called superstars they will face” – not “team” which, as you will discover, are two widely different things. Or maybe they should just forego the style they have to play to make it more watchable for the “homers.”

      • And it’s interesting to note that you were conspicuous by your absence over the past couple of games when it looked like your team may have shot its bolt. Winning makes gloating to much easier.

    • Yes they can. 2 mil is far from a cap issue so try again.