NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2020

by | Sep 15, 2020 | News, NHL | 19 comments

The Dallas Stars are the Western Conference champions, plus updates on the Lightning, Islanders and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time in 20 years, the Dallas Stars are Western Conference champions and headed to the Stanley Cup Final. Denis Gurianov tallied an overtime power-play goal as the Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.

The Golden Knights held a 2-0 lead until Jamie Benn scored at 9:54 of the third period. Joel Kiviranta scored the tying goal on the power play at 16:13, setting the stage for Gurianov’s series winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series looked like it was heading to Game 6 when Reilly Smith made it 2-0 early in the third for the Golden Knights. Benn’s goal, however, shifted the game’s momentum. He finished this series with three goals and five points. This was the second straight series where Gurianov scored the series winner. He leads the Stars with nine goals in this postseason.

Penalties proved costly for the Golden Knights as the Stars tallied the tying and winning goals with the man advantage. The second one was a heartbreaker as rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud was called for delay of game after he inadvertently clearing the puck over the boards.

The Golden Knights head into the offseason with some issues to address. You can read about them in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was on the ice with half of his teammates for yesterday’s optional practice. He’s still not ready to play or participate in full practices but the club still hasn’t ruled out a possible return in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Stamkos might return if the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final against Dallas. The Bolts hold a 3-1 series lead over the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final with Game 5 tonight.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders head coach Barry Trotz could shake up his top line for Game 5 by making Brock Nelson the first-line center and moving Mathew Barzal into the second-line spot. He could also elevate winger Derick Brassard or center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a top-six role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out tonight what changes, if any, Trotz has in store for his roster. He must do something to counter the Lightning’s top line of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

THE SCORE: The NHL has recorded no positive COVID-19 tests for the eighth straight week.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames have made interim coach Geoff Ward their full-time head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there given the support Flames general manager Brad Treliving gave Ward throughout this season.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports NHL teams have until 5 pm ET on Oct. 7 to submit qualifying offers to their respective restricted free agents. The RFAs can begin signing them at noon ET on Oct. 9. Those offers expire at 5 pm ET on Oct. 18.

US HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Former NHL star and current University of Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Dean Blais, Jenny Potter and Jerry York among the class of 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees.


  1. When people look back a few years from now and see Stars winning the series 4-1 they will think that Stars dominated

    Well Stars did dominate…. for 7-8 minutes in the entire series

    Were it not for Khudobin… Knights sweep

    Knights completely dominated in every single aspect of the series (every single aspect) except for 7- 8 minutes in the third last night.

    Let’s just add to that..on Benn’s goal ; which effectively tipped the game’s outcome …. it came after a trip; a pick; and cross-check (same play only a couple of seconds before the goal) by 3 different Stars’ players that left two Knight’s on the ice unable to defend . If the refs had called any one of those three obvious penalties…. no goal… Stars on PK…. look out game 6.

    Tuch’s trip on Hintz… resulting in the tying PPG goal by Kiviranta; came after a blatant no call hook

    Unfortunately this is the second year in a row that reffing errors have ended a series for Knights.

    I’m not saying by any stretch that they come back and win game 6 AND 7… but this game was Knights’ for sure; were it not for those two gross errors above (Tuch doesn’t get penalty as Stars should have already been called for the hook; Knight’s then on PP; and no Benn goal as at least 1 of the three glaring penalties should have been called with Stars puck possession

    I really feel bad for Whitecloud (who played a very good playoffs)…. he is lowest payed player on roster and outplayed their highest paid D-man (who struggled tremendously in the ‘Nucks series as well as the Stars series).

    Zach Whitecloud look so utterly dejected at the end. It’s a play that happens to many many players…. this one , unfortunately for him; came in OT and resulted in the series winner

    I just can’t see Bolts caving to Stars. Stars getting past Avs was a huge surprise. Let’s call it a massive surprise. In the draft that I’m in… which now is nearing 4 decades with the same guys…. not one Star was picked before round 7. No guy had more than two Stars.

    To win my pool ; I’ve got to hope for low scoring games in SCF as I’m now down to 2 guys (Bolts) and one of my buddies who is right on my tail has 4 Bolts and Gurianov (picked in 9th [of 10] round).🤞🤞

    • Rough day to be you, Pengy.
      That makes all three of your favorite teams bounced in this years tournament.
      Without elaborating too much, it never ceases to amaze me how people watch the same game, yet see different things entirely.
      Looked to me like the way was being paved for Vegas. Especially during the Vancouver series.

      Mrs. ShoreOrrPark picked Dallas vs Philadelphia at the beginning of the playoffs. She’s pretty proud of herself for getting it half right.

      • Oh so true Shore Orr Park

        Congrats to Mrs. ShoreOrrPark

        According to Mrs. Pengy, I get nothing right 100% of the time.

        Holding out to win my pool. I had called VGK v Bolts in SC in Jan, but I had 8 Knights and 2 Bolts.

        # 1 Pengy son had Dallas beating Bolts in SC— he called that before puck dropped on first game of season. He was calling Big Ben to carry them though. If he gets the outcome he said he gets $1,000— made a 10 to 1 bet with $10 down to each of 10 of his buddies.

        Would it be wrong to ask for half the money since I taught him how to play and love hockey in the first place; and also taught him never to take a bet unless you get odds???

        Need low scoring short series for Bolts v Stars for me to win the pool I’m in.

      • Lol. Mrs. Pengy sounds like a fun wife.

        I sincerely hope that both you and your son win your respective pools.

  2. Wow. Like I said a couple of weeks back – don’t count out the Dallas Stars. 7 players in double-digits in playoff points – none of then named Seguin! – led by a D-man, and a game-stealing goalie who’s making a solid claim on the playoff MVP award.

    Did I think they’d win the series in 5? Yeah right – if I had that kind of prescience I’d be writing this from a mansion on Maui.

    • Hi George

      As I said… the shocker first was them beating Avs

      I don’t know if Knights could have come back from 3-1 to win the series; but refs did rob them of that chance last night. Always sad to see that.

      Game probably should have ended 2-0 (maybe 3-0 with an EN goal)… then perhaps Knight’s energized for game 6…. we’ll never know

      I seldom make predictions… but because I don’t see (excuse the pun) Lightning striking 3 series in a row (in favour of Stars)… Bolts in 5

      Would really have loved to have seen a Knight’s Bolts final…. and who would have accepted for Knight’s had they won? No captain !!!

      I would think of the AC’s they would have asked Smith to hoist it. It wouldn’t have been Schmidt after the rough outings in all games against ‘Nucks and Stars that he had

    • George O / Pengy…. George you are right don’t sleep on Dallas..damn they are playing well.

      I did pick Tampa but I pick Colorado in the west..

      Defense does win and that’s what Pittsburgh needs to get back to like 2016- 2017.

      ****Look I know Hockey buzz and Eklund aren’t 100 % reliable…..so I watched their hockey podcast. He (Eklund) swears that he has one good source that’s reliable and that the Pens have had conversations with Nashville about Malkin.. San Jose to some extent.

      Th deal was the Penguins wanted an impact defense man and a prospect for Malkin.

      Eklund says:

      Malkin has said that he wants to be the man and have his own team and that’s not happening with number # 87 on the team..

      Nashville is frustrated with their top guys and group and want changes.

      The deal was Malkin to Nashville
      Ryan Ellis to Pittsburgh plus a prospect…hell i would take the deal straight up..we need a top 4 guy with attitude, talent, character and grit on defense

      Imagine a top 4 of Ellis/ Letang/ Dumoulin Marino…sorry Pengy Pettersson goes to third pairing if we add Ellis.

      We have been trading Malkin for the last 5 years so who knows..how legit,…it’s groundhog day with Malkin rumors..

      Now might be the time..I would love Ryan Ellis we save $ 3 million and get 6 years younger…

      A better deal would be Malkin to Nashville.
      To Pittsburgh
      Ryan Ellis
      plus center 28 year old Calle Jamkrok
      $2 million
      His last five year goal totals 16, 15, 16, 10, 15 good third line center stats..

      This probably a pipe dream but i would do it Ryan Ellis is terrific and just what we need on defense..thoughts gentleman. Rutherford is a big game hunter…LOL

      • Malkin never has not never will want to be the man.

      • Hi BnG

        Before I got on to Lyle’s excellent site; I had followed Ehkland’s site for a while. When I realized that he was almost always completely wrong (and when I say wrong, I say waaaay wrong in his case) I stopped reading the site.

        Malkin move is highly unlikely; but there is no way he is moved unless a C plus is coming back.

        If Pens are on the fence w.r.t. McC at Centre; moving Gino for a D-man and nothing else…. does that mean Teddy Blueger moves up to 2C?

        The top for of Tanger, Dumon, Ellis , Marino would look great , but 3 righties in top 4; although not completely unheard of; is very rare.

        In addition, with Chrism’s , from all that I’ve heard, Gino does not covet the numero uno marquis ; but even if he did; that is Josi in Nashville.

        Gino would have to sign off on this anyway. Unless he has had a complete change in what he has conveyed for many years (liking Pitts) and a big demand to get more take-home (no .
        state tax in Preds land) then I don’t see him moving to Nashville

        If the miracle happens; a C comes back; so it is likely Duchene. Younger yes, but long contract, and numbers not even close to Gino’s.

        Again that still doesn’t solve Pens problems; which all lie with #3.

        The trade (if it every happens with Nashville) is completely moot; if #3 stays

        Buyout #3; then if Gino insists on moving to the country/western capital… then it would be Duchene (25% retained) plus Ekholm for Gino… that is a net increase of $250 K for Pens; but the only way I see anything happening.

        They use #3 buyout savings… Soucy

        Pens may also need to buy out Horny— as the some above saves no extra cash that Ronny and Mario have asked for

        Sid Guentz Kappy

        Duch Rusty Zuck

        McC Poulin Simon

        Blueger ZAR Turbo

        13th/14th– WBS grads or UFAs near league Min





        MM/TJ (yes I’d keep MM as e return right now is very low; and DeSmith as back up and Larmi in as back up if TJ or DeSmith goes down, is just too dangerous)

        Again, all starts with #3 being bought out

  3. Pengy I agree on that Benn goal and your observations of the plays that preceded the goal. Was there a trip, a pick and a crosscheck to the face? Yes. Were any illegal? Apparently not. These types of non-called plays like these are your crazy lucky or unlucky bounces of a puck that sometimes make or break a game. Hockey is 50% skill and 50% luck. If a team gets some lucky bounces and calls, they could beat a better skilled team – to me that’s interesting enough to watch.

    • Hi Ron

      Re “ Were any illegal? ”… can maybe let the pick slide … the other two …. especially the cross check to the face… were; are; always will be, illegal. The refs didn’t miss them as the one shot showed the ref looking right at the cross-check when it happened. He refused to call it (put his whistle away so to speak…. yet um… called a penalty later in period against Knights).

      He chose not to call it… cost the Knights; IMHO; that game

      I agree there are lucky/unlucky calls/missed calls… ebbs and flows… it is what it is… 3 on one play (two grossly obvious and definite penalties); not called… is bad if there was no resulting goal; they are horrific when they result in a goal… and cataclysmic if it leads to game and series clincher ….shame IMHO

      I don’t have any illusions that Knights winning last night (as they deserved to and should have) would for sure lead them to come back and win the series. Still a long shot . Long shot …. but possible. Now impossible because they (refs) refused to make either one of those calls.

      All the players want is consistency. Especially so in the playoffs and even more so in elimination games. Last night they didn’t get it.

      Teams have lost before when they should have won. Teams have dominated before and come up against a hot goalie. I just can’t remember ever a single team that had consecutive years of elimination caused entirely due to reffing errors.

      Last years little Joe debacle led to a rule change (review on a major); is it possible that another rule change can come out of this…. one-time per game review request on a goal that was preceded by an obvious penalty… overturned… no goal… upheld… 2 min bench minor. I doubt they will institute that change; burps if there ever was a warrant for the change; last night’s game would be the example to cite.

      • Pengy..what site where you talking about from Kyle? I believe Ellis is lefty..?

        Look we can go out and get a center…Haula. domi could slide in to malkins spot..younger cheaper..while jamkrok would be #3

        Look domi has 72 points two years ago malkin had 75 this year..3 points? Domi 25 malkin 35

  4. Knights got goalied – good! They goalied the Jets 2 years ago, so they can enjoy some of their own medicine.

    • Yep. All the “we wuz robbed” stuff aside, both teams entered the series with two clear goals – their skaters put more pucks in the opposing net and hope their goalies stop more rubber than the other guy.

      And Dallas did that – twice – against two pretty good and heavily-favored teams. You don’t “get lucky” and “get all the breaks” 8 times.

      • I should add that, judging by their play, cagey old veterans Pavelski, Perry and Comeau can obviously sniff one last great shot at glory while another veteran, Benn, is playing like a man possessed.

        Anyone already counting them out against Tampa – who SHOULD advance tonight although they better be ready for a top effort from the Islanders because an elimination game at this stage has usually proven to be a tough task – had better not bet the farm.

  5. The best team always doesn’t win look at last year Blues beat the Bruins and we all know who was the better team. Wouldn’t say Dallas got lucky never watched but usually you can win one by luck but not four. By the way the goaltending is part of the team.

  6. Chrisms… I kind of agree but behind he scenes Malkin is saying something different…You cant be the man when you have the best overall player in the game in front of you.. yes Overall.

    Mc kinnon seems to soon be the heir apparent not one dimensional McdAVID….

    Malkin would be the man in Nashville..

    • He’s not.

  7. Chrisms..And you know this how?