NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2021

by | Jun 20, 2021 | News, NHL | 17 comments

The Islanders hold off the Lightning for a Game 4 victory, Jaccob Slavin wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, plus an update on Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders tied their semifinal series with the Tampa Bay Lightning at two games apiece by holding on for a 3-2 victory in Game 4 on Saturday. Second-period goals by Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Matt Martin gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead but the Lightning made it interesting with third-period tallies by Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson.

New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (NHL Images).

Bolts defenseman Ryan McDonagh had a glorious opportunity to send the game to overtime in the dying seconds with a spinorama backhand but Isles blueliner Ryan Pulock blocked it in the crease to preserve the victory. The series returns to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Monday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard and read some hockey fans criticizing this series as boring because both sides are playing a tight-checking defensive style. This contest, however, was anything but dull. The Islanders controlled the second period and seemed on their way to a blowout victory but the Lightning battled back in the third for a nail-biting finish.

Point remains the Lightning’s most dangerous scorer. He’s this postseason’s goal leader (12) and has scored in seven straight games.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin is this year’s winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. He took just one minor penalty in 52 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lady Byng Trophy tends to be the NHL’s least-appreciated award for honoring the somewhat quaint notion of “gentlemanly play”. It draws derision from those who believe hockey players aren’t effective unless they’re rough and tough on the ice.

I would argue, however, that this award deserves more respect. In a sport where physicality is so prized, a player performing well at the highest level with a disciplined style that avoids costly penalties is worthy of commendation and acclaim.

Slavin is considered among the NHL’s best all-around defensemen. He has four 30-plus point seasons on his resume and regularly leads his club in ice time, blocked shots and takeaways while garnering a total of just 60 PIMs over six seasons. That’s the kind of skilled, cool-headed, big-minute rearguard every team wants on their blue line.

Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Dominique Ducharme will be isolated from his team for 14 days after testing positive for COVID-19 just hours before Game 3 on Friday. Assistant coach Luke Richardson has taken over for Ducharme, who will still consult with the players and coaching staff between games via Zoom meetings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not the first time the Canadiens have had to adjust to an absent head coach. Former bench boss Claude Julien returned to Montreal for heart surgery following Game 1 of their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers last August. Ducharme can return behind the bench on July 2 if the Canadiens should advance to the Stanley Cup Final.


  1. Matt Martin is an absolute beauty. That was another great game to watch.

  2. Matt Martin also has more goals in the last two playoffs than Mitch Marner has in his career.

    • Love Matt Martin, wish he had played like that with the Leafs.

  3. Whoever wins game 5 isles/Tampa wins series if Montreal wins tonight Bye Vegas Mcfees a jerk looks good on him.

  4. Yesterday I posted about how not calling obvious penalties in the playoffs and OT was consistency and how it has always been, right or wrong.

    Then the ticky tack call on Hedman with their tender pulled. Shows I have no idea what I am talking about.

    • It’s game by game , series by series , minute by minute at times . Some games there is 6-7 pp and things are called , some games you can two hand a guy in the face and it’s not getting called . A guy flips it over the glass and it’s called every time though , because it’s in the rule book , has to be called ?? How does this make any sense ? Again , I don’t expect perfection , don’t want technology taking over , but if they can’t manage to call the obvious and egregious ones at a much higher rate , at all times of the game , in both reg season and playoffs , something has to be done . A lot of these calls are not missed , they are seen , and not called , big difference . Set the standard all year in the regular season , and follow through with it in the playoffs , where everyone knows what is and isn’t a penalty . This would be allowing the players to decide the outcome. Rant over

    • Ray Bark,
      I’ll preface my comment by saying that officiating has gotten to the point where fans without skin in the game recognize its a problem.

      While the game is played by bigger faster players on better, lighter pads, sticks and skates it appears that tumbling is part of training.

      Players fall to the ice with a tap to the leg or skate, a tap on the hand or stick sends it flying, the mere touch of the stick on the hip becomes a screwdriver. Refs have to immediately decide if the reaction is real.

      Add to that the players and coaches screaming about the calls while the jumbotrons are playing the infraction.

      Sometimes I have the feeling that the ticky tack calls are made because they are irrefutable, as the announcers say, a horizontal stick touching will always be called.

      • I was watching the end of the Bucks-nets game last night after the Isles game ended. At one point, a Nets player grabbed and held one of the Bucks from behind. The Bucks player got the foul for trying to get loose. So congratulations NHL refs. You have company in your incompetence.
        Were at the point now where national media figures who are hesitant to criticize are commenting on how bad the officiating has been. Something must be done. Thankfully it didn’t matter, but that non-call on Perry being slashed in the face is scandalous.
        Check out the satirical website thebeaverton.com. They have a funny bit of satire about a murderer getting off because the eyewitness was an NHL referee.

    • Gotta love those guys who show up for the “I told you so’s” which are so obvious and similar to making a 6 inch putt but are no shows when they told you but they’re wrong.

  5. If you look at the history of Lady Byng winners its quite a list of notable names anybody would want on their teams, known for their toughness and discipline.

    Stan Mikita won it twice.

    1966-67 12 PIM
    1967-68 14 PIM

    Prior to that

    1963-64 148 PIM
    1964-65 154 PIM

    i picked him for those who are nostalgic for the “good old days of physicality”

  6. I watched Stan Mikita when he was in Junior A. There and his first few years in the NHL he was anything but a Lady Byng trophy candidate. There were many seasons when he was widely known as a spearer and hacker. Until the small man earned his space.

    As you many of you know, I hate the way the Leafs are structured and personality of the team. Shanahan wants to know where the Leaf killer instinct is. It is Long Island. Lou took it with him when Shanahan decided that the future was milinieal, statistical, and Lady Byng like.

    It is on you Shany. Hire managers, coaches, and players who think and play like you did when you were winning gold medals and cups, or resign.

    • I wonder if Tavares, who has been home the past two years while the Isles have played playoff hockey, is rethinking his decision to sign with the Leafs.

      • Actually LJ, it’s been 3 years.

  7. People that think this series is boring are fly by night NBA fans or college football fans. All about show and offense. They likely enjoy all-star games and home run derby too.

    • Hey AZHockeynut, have you heard anything regarding the Yates new bench boss? I heard they are looking at Hakstol, the Leafs current assistant coach who was tasked at defense and former Flyers bench boss. I can see a fit given the team and him. The last assistant coach didn’t do too bad in Ottawa. Thoughts?
      Trolls need not to reply. We are aware how smart you are and bad the Leafs and their players, coaches fans are. K k ?

  8. Enjoyed the Isles/Lightning game last night. That third period was outstanding. I was thinking how much the Isles miss having Anders Lee in the lineup. His presence would certainly ignite their offence. I wonder if there’s any chance he could return, if they make the Cup final?

  9. I not only agree with the value of the Lady Byng trophy, I also find it special that Slavin, effective a player as he is was only the fourth defenseman to win it. Other than Brian Campbell winning the award 11 years ago for the Panthers, you have to go back 62 years to Red Kelly being the last one to win it as a defenseman. Kelly won the award 3 times at the position for Detroit and remarkably 60 years ago he did it playing center for Toronto