NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2017

by | May 26, 2017 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin pose with the Prince of Wales Trophy after defeating the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.

Penguins returning to the Stanley Cup Final plus updates on the Ducks, Blues and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the second straight year and the sixth time in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the Stanley Cup Final.

Chris Kunitz scored twice, including the winner in double overtime, as the Penguins edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. Justin Schultz also scored for the Pens while Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel tallied for the Sens.

The defending champion Penguins will face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Monday in Pittsburgh. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Penguins for becoming the first defending champion to return to the Final since the 2009 Detroit Red Wings. Kudos as well to the Senators. Despite their heartbreaking defeat in this game, they proved a handful for the Penguins, pushing them to the limit in this series. Hopefully their performance in this year’s playoffs will be something they can build upon for next season. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen will undergo major shoulder surgeries that will sideline both for months. Lindholm is expected to require four-to-five months of recovery, while Vatanen could  be out longer.

Meanwhile, goaltender John Gibson suffered a hamstring injury, forwards Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves had high-ankle sprains, defensman Kevin Bieksa suffered a torn MCL, forward Nate Thompson suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle while winger Jared Boll had a bad back. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries to LIndholm and Vatanen raises questions over the effect upon the Ducks’ expansion draft plans. It’s rumored the Ducks could trade Vatanen, rather than risk losing him for nothing to the Vegas Golden Knights. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston points out an injured player can still be traded so this news might not affect the Ducks’ plans. 

TSN: Speaking of the Ducks, contract extension talks with blueliner Cam Fowler are expected to resume next week. Fowler’s a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency. Talks have reportedly gone well thus far. 

Meanwhile, contract discussions between the Montreal Canadiens and the agent for goaltender Carey Price could also resume next week. Like Fowler, Price is a year away from UFA eligibility. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler and Price cannot be re-signed until July 1 of this year. 

STLTODAY.COM: Forward Steve Ott is ending his 14-year NHL playing career to join the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: Hall of Famer Larry Robinson is leaving the San Jose Sharks to seek work with another organization closer to his home in Bradenton, Fla. For the past three seasons, he was the Sharks director of player development.

SPORTSLOGOS.NET: Over a dozen NHL teams, including the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators, are expected to undergo some minor uniform changes for next season.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres signed Russian defenseman Victor Antipin to a one-year, $925K contract. 

MLIVE.COM: Full season tickets are now available for the Detroit Red Wings’ inaugural season in the Little Caesars Arena.



  1. 7th game – conference finals – double-OT – not too shabby for a “bubble team.”

    • Not bad at all George, would have been nice to see Ott in the final. Just think if Ott made the final Bettman would of been jumping of the nearest highchair in a suicide attempt or pulling his hair out over his falling U.S. t.v. ratings

      • In the end, though, the Pens had Crosby and Malkin and damned few teams (if any) can boast that kind of 1-2 punch. AND they did it without a pretty good D pf their own in Letang.

        But it’s a good base from which to move forward for Ottawa. Be interesting to see what tweaks are made by Dorion in the off-season. Depending upon who they wind up losing in the expansion draft (probably a D), the only roster spots to be filled from regulars this year will be Neil and Kelly who have both played their final games in Ottawa – if not the league, as well as Wingels who won’t be re-signed.

        Pyatt, Stalberg and Condon – all UFAs – will be re-signed, and even if they lose a D in the draft they have young guys like Chabot and Harpur ready to start learning the ropes at the NHL level and will still have all but one of Methot, Wideman, Claeson and Borowiecki – none of whom hurt them defensively under Boucher’s system.

        My one hope is he now introduces a bit happier medium between a system of total D and one incorporating a swifter transition game.

      • George Ottawa’s problem or one of them was they couldn’t score on the power play. They squandered a no. of opportunities. You’d think with Karlsson running the show their power play would be their strength

      • After he bought up all the unsold seats for the sens home games.

        Not boring!

      • Very true Yogi. And what’s worse is, when Boucher got his first job in Tampa Bay his reputation in the Q was a PP specialist coach!

  2. @Lyle the prescription to quit ad is causing problems. Pulling it back to the top.

  3. Ottawa made it ridiculously close and wore the underdog label well. I was really hoping they would win partially to have an unexpected Ottawa-Nashville final, but also because Ottawa had so many great stories to me.

    MacArthur and Anderson faced so much adversity this year, and to come back and play so well would have been very nice to see. Karlsson was firmly planting that he isn’t just one of the best defensemen in the league, but maybe people should really consider if he isn’t the best player in the league, and that elite defenders maybe deserve a little more consideration for the Hart given their impact on the game. Even Bobby Ryan turning it around for the playoffs is a nice story.

  4. @Striker,

    I saw your post yesterday about the news regarding Lindholm and Vatanen’s injuries. It’s a lot to consider when thinking about Anaheim’s plans, as well as the teams interested in one of their defensemen. I’ve been thinking about it, and it is a very difficult wrinkle to throw in last minute. Here are some of the thoughts I had anyway.

    1) This hurts Vatanen’s value. If he is to miss a significant portion of next year, and likely not be at peak performance for awhile after getting back, some teams may worry next year is a bit of a write off. For a defender with 3 yeas left until UFA status, it will hurt his value at least somewhat in some teams assessment.

    2) Lindholm’s value is less effected. Although Anaheim was never trading him, it’s worth noting that he has more years left, apparently a shorter recovery window, so teams would view him as a more long term asset, and likely wouldn’t let an injury slow down the bidding were he made available.

    3) If Anaheim decides to change things up with who they trade, and trades a defender like Manson, they then start next season with 3 of their current top 4 out of the line up, which is something I don’t think a team that views itself as a contender wants to do, given that a bad losing streak to start the season can wreak havoc on where you end up in the standings in a tight Pacific Division.

    4) Would these implications effect how they deal with Vegas? Would they now be more willing to pay an even bigger premium to keep their D intact?

    5) Given that they now have a short time to adjust their strategy, is Anaheim prone to make a mistake going forward?

    I think trading Vatanen still makes the most sense, I just see the return being less if he is going to miss months of next season. I could be wrong, but with Vatanen having 3 years left on his deal, and now looking a little more like a talented but injury prone undersized defender, it will likely effect the bidding.

    I honestly think now the price will be more polarizing and will be a gamble. Meaning that teams will likely be offering prices where if Vatanen continues to be injury prone, they will have overpaid, or if he shakes that persona and plays as he can for full seasons, he will be a very good value for what was paid.

    As mentioned, it’s a pretty rare scenario that we cannot likely figure out until it happens, since there is no real precedent for this type of scenario.

    • I haven’t fully wrapped my head around it yet. The only part I’m certain about is it will effect Vatanen’s value in trade. How much? Not certain it will be all that significant. Simply a supple & demand issue, there is far more demand thatn availability. This type of Dman is rarely available & being injured is often when they can be had. I don’t think the dynamics of where we are & what needs to happen for all these teams changes with Vatanen’s injury.

      I assume he will still be the player traded but it may take out a couple of the teams I mentioned looking for Dman as they have significant playoff aspirations & his delay could hamper those aspirations but most should still be willing to bid.

      All we know so far from what Murray shared is Lindholm 4 to 5 months Vatanen longer. Krug’s projection original was 4 to 6 months. The general timeline is 6 but these athlete’s are so fit most heal very quickly.

      Tons of players have undergone this procedure. Krug did last summer & got back in time to start the season. He started slowly but still managed to finish tied for 7th in scoring last season for NHL Dman.

      A terrible wrinkle for Anh as teams will try to rack them over the coals because of it. Whether or not it effects his value will be determined when the time comes but it’s certainly going to be a significant part of any trade discussion & teams are going to at least ask for maybe even demand a discount whether Anh has to pay it is yet to be seen.

      • I think he still makes the most sense, but as you said it’s just how much it effects things. Just and odd scenario with no real precedent, so given that and a tight timeline it could lead to something weird happening (not sure what) if someone over/under reacts.

        If he is traded for any decent value at all, it will be hard to determine how much of an effect it had since we don’t know the exact value he could have gotten without the injury. Chances are the value is still similar, and we will never know if a team would have offered a little more without the injury. The only way I think we will really know is if he goes for a value that was completely unexpected, one way or the other.

        I think the biggest team it could effect is Tampa. Just the more I think about it, they are the team that is probably the most concerned about not maxing out the value he gives on the term he has left. They are the most competitive team of the teams looking, probably have the most willingness to part with a very high end forward, but probably also the most concerned with having a good start next season. I am not saying they will be out of the running, but I do think it’s entirely possible they are a team that wouldn’t overpay if the return is Vatanen.

    • Olli Maatta had surgery to repair a torn labrum at the end of the season 2 years ago. He was back by early November but then he got cancer. The cancer has no relevance but my point is its the same surgery(torn labrum) that Vatanan and Lindholm are having. It’s a pretty common sports injury(pitchers and quarter backs very common). I don’t think it would chance very many teams away.

  5. I really wanted the Senators to lose (maybe more than I wanted the Pens to win) because I don’t want to see the speed and skating game that the Hawks and Pens have made popular to devolve into 90’s Devils hockey again and because their owner is a tool, BUT…

    How can you not pull for Craig Anderson? What a series, what a season. Best to him and his family.

    Same for MacArthur. Gotta pull for a guy who loves hockey as much as he does, much like Letang, where most would have hung up the skates by now.

    Guy Boucher (and his Bond villain press conferences) is one of the best coaches in the league and an even better character.

    But mostly Erik Karlsson. Wow.

    Honestly, his first two Norris trophies were a JOKE. An absolute joke. The “best defenseman” in the NHL had to be hidden in his own zone. When the other team needs a goal and WANTS you on the ice…you are NOT the NHL’s best defenseman. Not even close.

    But, credit to Boucher and to Karlsson for buying in, he has totally changed his game and has because a complete player and force at both ends of the ice. Top 5 player in the NHL now easily.

    Now..on to the Preds. If Sully can find enough band aids and duct tape, we might be able to get this job done.

    • I think the Devils are still playing that style of hockey. Ha-ha!

  6. That was a terrific game 7. Senators are a very good team that has wonderful team chemistry going for it. Wish you could have advanced to the finals

  7. this a question- at what date can teams start trading players again ?

    • @crazy canuck:Summer player movement begins June 15 or 48 hours after Stanley Cup final