NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2018
Capitals force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final, Islanders to hire Lou Lamoriello, Wild name Paul Fenton as their new GM, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: There will be a seventh and deciding game in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final. Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 24 saves in Game 6 to carry his club to a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. T.J. Oshie scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom had two assists and Devante Smith-Pelly scored a goal, had five hits and two blocked shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After dropping three straight games and facing elimination, the Capitals regained their mojo with a combination of a renewed emphasis on physical play, shutting down the Lightning’s lethal power play and getting contributions from their secondary scorers. The stage is set for Game 7 on Wednesday (8 pm ET) in Tampa Bay, with the winner advancing to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final.
Speaking of the Stanley Cup Final, it will begin on Monday, May 28. If the Lightning win the Eastern Conference Final, the series opens in Tampa Bay. If the Capitals win, it’ll start in Las Vegas. All start times will be 8 pm ET.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello is expected to take over the New York Islanders’ hockey operations within the next several days. Sources also confirmed Lamoriello met with Islanders captain (and pending free agent) John Tavares last week, “clearly in anticipation of assuming control of the Islanders.” No word on what this means for Isles general manager Garth Snow.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Lamoriello is still under contract with the Leafs, this move obviously has their blessing. He could take over as president of hockey operations but the anticipation is he’ll also take over Snow’s position.
As Staple pointed out, the fact Lamoriello also reportedly met with Tavares indicates the Islanders owners are intent on retaining their captain, who could depart this summer via unrestricted free agency. I’ll have more on Lamoriello joining the Islanders later this morning in the Rumors section.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday announced former Nashville Predators assistant general manager is taking over as their new GM.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this move by the Wild. Fenton’s been a prized target for clubs seeking new management for several years. He played a key role in the Predators rise in recent years to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Wild, forward Charlie Coyle recently underwent surgery on both wrists to repair tendon damage to both wrists that had troubled him since January. He’s expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp in September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those injuries account in part for the decline in Coyle’s production this season and his inability to score in this year’s playoffs.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL: Golden Knights merchandise is now the top seller for all US-based NHL franchises.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Matt Moulson is the latest NHL player putting his house on the market, seeking $1.1 million for his Amherst, NY home.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt this means Moulson is going to be traded. He spent last season with the AHL’s Ontario Reign in California and is likely to finish the final season of his contract there.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues’ arena has been renamed Enterprise Center.