NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2020
The Canucks eliminate the Blues while the Flyers send the Canadiens packing. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: There will be new Stanley Cup champs in 2020 as the Vancouver Canucks eliminated the defending champion St. Louis Blues with a 6-2 victory in Game 6 of their first-round series. Jacob Markstrom got the win with a 34-save performance while Tyler Motte scored twice and Brandon Sutter collected three assists. Jaden Schwartz tallied twice for the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues couldn’t contain the speedy young Canucks, who chased goaltender Jordan Binnington from the game after leaping to a 4-0 lead. It’s the first time the Canucks have won a playoff series since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. It also provides a considerable confidence boost to their young core led by Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser.
St. Louis coach Craig Berube cited a lack of energy among his players for their demise. Perhaps it was challenging for the Blues to regain their championship mojo after such a long layoff due to COVID-19. Whatever the reason, the Canucks were the better team throughout most of this series and deserve to march on.
The Philadelphia Flyers also advanced to the second round as they hung on for a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of their first-round series. Michael Raffl’s goal early in the third period held up as the winner as Carter Hart kicked out 31 shots for the Flyers. Nick Suzuki tallied twice for the Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart made the difference for the Flyers in this series, sporting back-to-back shutouts and bouncing back well from two lopsided losses. He’s looking more and more like the true starting goaltender they’ve lacked since Ron Hextall was in his prime 30 years ago. While many of the Flyers’ leading scorers were shut down in this series, Jakub Voracek proved to be a Hab killer with seven points.
The lowest seed in the Eastern Conference when return-to-play began, the Canadiens exceeded expectations by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifier and pushing the favored Flyers to six games in this series. Goaltender Carey Price was outstanding, captain Shea Weber was a force on the blueline and youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi gave a tantalizing glimpse of their potential. They have nothing to hang their heads over.
The second-round match-ups and schedule have been released. In the Western Conference, the Canucks will face the Vegas Golden Knights while the Dallas Stars tangle with the Colorado Avalanche. Over in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers face off against the New York Islanders while the Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Boston Bruins in a rematch of their 2018 second-round series.
ESPN.COM: The NHL issued a statement Friday condemning what it called an “insensitive and insulting” comment by NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury during Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. As Milbury and fellow analyst Brian Boucher was discussing the merits of the NHL playoff bubble, Milbury said, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.” The league communicated its concern to NBC. Milbury issued an apology on Twitter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As ESPN’s Emily Kaplan noted, this isn’t the first time Milbury’s made insensitive comments about women during telecasts. Forbes.com’s Kim Elsesser pointed out his remarks have no basis in fact. She called them “reductive, diminishing the role of all women to a distraction. It implies there are only drawbacks of having women around.”
Milbury’s comments were the latest in a long list of stupid things he’s said over the years. This one might be the last straw. He was removed from Friday’s telecast and it remains to be seen if he’ll be back.
#CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen said that C Brandon Dubinsky “most likely” won’t be able to play again because of his chronic wrist injury. Not a surprise, really, but straight from the GM.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 21, 2020