NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2021

by | Jun 24, 2021 | News, NHL | 24 comments

The Islanders force Game 7 against the Lightning, Patrice Bergeron wins the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: There will be a Game 7 in the semifinal series between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal gave the Isles a 3-2 victory in Game 6, tying their best-of-seven series at three games apiece. Game 7 is Friday evening in Tampa Bay.

New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (NHL Images).

The Lightning took a 2-0 lead on goals by Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli. Point extended his goal streak to nine straight games and leads all postseason scorers with 14 goals.

Jordan Eberle got the Isles to within one in the second period. Scott Mayfield tied it at 11:16 of the third, setting the stage for Beauvillier’s overtime heroics. Mathew Barzal collected assists on the Eberle and Mayfield goals.

It was a costly loss for the Lightning as leading scorer Nikita Kucherov left the game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury following a cross-check by Mayfield. It happened in full view of the officials but no call was made. Bolts defenseman Erik Cernak missed this game with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That missed penalty call (the latest in a long string during this postseason) was the only blight on what was otherwise an entertaining Game 6 between these two clubs. If that becomes the final game played at Nassau Coliseum it was a helluva way to go out.

It was a solid response by the Islanders after being thumped 8-0 in Game 5. It appeared they were on their way out after falling behind 2-0 but they showed a lot of character and determination battling back for the win.

Not to take anything away from the Islanders’ performance but the Lightning felt the absence of their leading scorer and best shutdown defenseman in this game. No word as of this morning whether Kucherov and Cernak will be back for Game 7.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is this year’s winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed John Sedgwick, their VP of hockey operations and legal affairs, to a three-year contract extension, sparking speculation general manager Marc Bergevin could get a similar extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin has a year remaining on his current contract. I daresay an extension is likely after the Canadiens’ surprising run to the semifinal this spring. It’ll become a certainty if they eliminate the Vegas Golden Knights tonight and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports a former team marketing official with the Chicago Blackhawks said the alleged sexual assault of two former Blackhawks players by a former video coach in 2010 was an open secret among staff both within and outside the club’s hockey department. One of those players has filed a lawsuit against the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have declined to comment because of the ongoing lawsuit. The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers believe the allegations over how the club handled the sex abuse complaints could cast a stain on its championship legacy from 2010 to 2015. Former team president John McDonough and current general manager Stan Bowman are among the club officials linked to this purported incident.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, their Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Pat Foley will be retiring at the end of 2021-22 after 39 seasons in the job.

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has resigned as the executive director of the Senators Community Foundation.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson announced his retirement yesterday. In 12 NHL seasons with the Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs, he tallied 30 goals and 138 points in 629 games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, scoring the overtime time in Game 2 of the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gunnarsson and his family in their future endeavors.



  1. I always felt that Gunnarsson was an underrated and underappreciated contributor for the Blues/Leafs. Strong on shot block and positionally. Great teammate too. Hate to have it end on an injury.

  2. How a cross-check that caves a guy’s ribs in is not a penalty just boggles the mind.
    Playoff officiating remains a joke.
    Why not just re-write the rule book for the playoffs? Make it official.
    Send out a press release – Breaking News – The NHL does not care.

    • I think the big question for game 7 is….which Lightning player will the Islanders try to take out next ?

    • the unwritten rule of crosschecks below the neckline are accepted?
      I remember the Sharks run against the Pens. Burns was merciless with them and never a single call.

      • Same thing when the Pens & Preds played for the Cup, Ekholm swung his like an axe for 6 games …

      • The cross check, punch to the face, a 5 on 3, does anyone at any time know when a penalty is going to be called?

        Entertaining game yes and by far the worst I seen Valilevskiy play. Couple of soft goals.

        Who is in nets for Vegas tonight?

      • As one analyst tweeted last night, cross checks like the one given to Kucherov happen 20 times a game, and go unpenalized.
        I guess after all the debate about Kucherov spending the season on LTIR, many will find it to be poetic justice if the Lightning have to play without him in the seasons biggest game.

    • It’s not even his ribs. He was hurt in the check on Barzal. Either his shoulder or wrist.

  3. Cross checking in front and close to the net has always been accepted, its the price to pay for interfering/blocking the goalies sight.

    the cross checking that is usually called is a version of boarding and hitting the numbers.

    The hit on Kucherov wasn’t hard compared to what has been going on all playoffs and he may have gotten hurt when he got up and hit Barzal.

    Full credit to the Islanders to come back from a thumping and down 2-0 to win the game.

    • Mayfield hit Kucherov with a solid hit to the lower back….it was a hard hit. Back in April, Jamie Benn hit Dylan Larkin with a cross check to the back of the neck while Larkin was still bent over from the waist after a faceoff. Larkin missed the last 12 games of the year….was still wearing a neck brace 6 weeks later, and was told not to even swing a golf club until August or September. Benn could have paralyzed Larkin. Are we waiting for a catastrophic injury before we clamp down on this ?

      • Don’t have to wait, I have known several retired players who at 40 had back and hip issues that were clearly trauma related- and the concussion issues are also well known.

  4. Chara is the best cross checker in the league!
    Lauzon is getting up there. Just keep it below the shoulders.

  5. SOP and Ray Bark, confirmed Bruins fans: no woo hoos for Bergeron winning the Messier award? A great player and class act who overcame becoming a Bruin … (no, I shouldn’t post that … where is that damned delete button 😉 )

    • Ha! Bergy is the best. He was robbed of the Selke again this season. Voted as the most complete player in the entire league by his peers. A very young 35 years of age.
      I couldn’t stand Messier, and could list at least 20 better leaders of men who have played in the NHL. He got a prediction right. Woo hoo.

    • How about this LJ:
      They should name it the Bergeron award when he retires.
      Or Chara Award.
      Or some other great Bruin.
      Then keep giving it to Bruins.

      • Well Ray, I have heard better ideas from you. And yes SOP, Bergeron is the real deal. Him, Crosby and the Bruin that is harder to admire were one of the best Iines I’ve ever seen when they played for Canada at the last Olympics.

      • Good ole Ray he’s almost never right

      • Ya, me and you don’t agree much Rick, I may be one of the few that admit it when I’m wrong on here.

    • My favourite player in the NHL – Patrice Bergeron.

  6. It’s interesting to see the character of past clubs – especially ones that use the “win at any expense” philosophy like the chicago blackhawks cover up.

    And now when it comes to light, their organization including the administration and players who are still connected with the game practice looking the other way.

    Wouldn’t it be fitting if every time Patrick Sharp and Ed Olczyk spouted “When I was with the blackhawks, the organization where everyone including myself covered up the sexual assault of our players … “

  7. I suppose dirty hits can make players heros ever since Clarke & the Summit series; in that vein Phil Espisoto on Lightning Radio did give Mayfield first star; his beef was the idiot calls leading to the five on three, and the blatant hook that permitted the first Islander goal. If the claim is “cross checks like that happen all the time” the so do all the other plays, the random few of which are called for no discernable reason. The Islanders did what the “had” to do, a big part of it was great hockey, but I believe some of it was coached intent to injure — easy to stop by calling the first after the whistle hit of the series and maybe the second.

  8. For those of you who may not have looked, the ref team in the NYI/TB game last night included Chris Lee.

    Again: this is a “referee”?

    imo this guy is both a danger to player safety and a disgrace to hockey.

    • I think hockey fans would rather watch highly skilled hockey players do magic things on the ice, and let WWE fans go to smackdown to see the stuff Lee and the NHL dinasours thinks hockey should be. Applauding the injury of a player as “doing his job” hasn’t “grown the game”. And won’t.

      • Richard at the end of the day, is there really a difference between the WWE fan and islander fan?