NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2021

by | Jun 25, 2021 | News, NHL | 49 comments

The Canadiens advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the Seattle Kraken introduce Dave Hakstol as their first head coach, the latest on Nikita Kucherov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens are heading to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993. Artturi Lehkonen’s overtime goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 to win their best-of-seven series four games to two. Habs goalie Carey Price made 37 saves for the win.

Montreal Canadiens pose with Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in six games (NHL.com).

Montreal captain Shea Weber opened the scoring in the first period but Vegas winger Reilly Smith quickly tied it. The Canadiens regained the lead in the second on a Cole Caufield goal but Alec Martinez tallied the equalizer in the third period.

The Canadiens were presented with the Clarence Campbell Bowl, usually awarded to the winner of the Western Conference Final. It’s the first time in franchise history they’ve won this award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Canadiens for once again defying the odds and the doubters with another series victory over a very talented opponent. They’ve reached this point thanks to Price’s goaltending, a superior penalty kill, and a strong five-man system based on solid defensive play and a speedy transition game. They’re playing very well and deserve to be where they are.

The Golden Knights’ failure to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year could bring about some roster changes in the offseason. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

The Canadiens now await the winner of tonight’s Game 7 between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is slated for Monday, June 28.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken yesterday announced Dave Hakstol as their first head coach in franchise history. The former coach of North Dakota in the NCAA, he’s was the bench boss of the Philadelphia Flyers for over three seasons. Hakstol spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hakstol was rarely mentioned in media speculation as a candidate for the Kraken coaching gig. As the Times observed, he did have connections with the Kraken front office. He worked with general manager Ron Francis during their tenure with Team Canada at the 2019 World Championships. Jason Botterill was the GM of that squad and now works as an assistant general manager with the Kraken.

NHL.COM: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s status for Game 7 against the Islanders remains unknown. He left early in Game 6 with an undisclosed injury following a cross-check from Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield and hitting Mathew Barzal as his shift was ending. He’s this postseason’s leading scorer with 27 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played with Kucherov throughout the regular season so they shouldn’t have much difficulty adjusting without him. Still, the potential absence of their leading scorer could be a crucial factor tonight.

ESPN.COM: Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier will join ESPN as a studio analyst beginning next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if he’ll accept cold calls

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings signed Blake Lizotte to a one-year, $800K contract extension.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed center Rhett Gardner to a two-year deal worth $1.5 million.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports Dallas Stars assistant coach Todd Nelson will have a third interview with the Arizona Coyotes for their head-coaching position. More talks could also be in store with Ottawa 67s coach Andre Tourigny.

St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn and Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach are no longer in the running for the job.


  1. Congrats to all in La Belle Province and to you Lyle; and to all Habs fans everywhere

    Great win

    Montreal goes nuts 👍👍👍

    How in the hell did Lou get GM of the year over Bergevin

    The votes (if I understand it correctly) were AFTER round 2

    Both Isles and Habs known at that time to be in semis

    Isles were in Semis last year; Habs were last team making the ‘21 playoffs

    Habs, no ifs and or buts, most improved club; moves done by Bergevin got them there….. in the last 9 months…


    That’s building a winner

    Zacjac (not much of an impact)
    Coburn (3games)
    Timoshov (1game)
    Greene (not much of an impact)

    How does Lou’s moves even come close to Bergevin’s; AND…. Lou’s team was in Semi’s last year

    Habs went through a metamorphosis

    Isles “tweaked” their roster

    Habs were lowest ranked team in this year’s playoffs…. And got to semis (at time of vote)…. Now in SCF


    If they can do a recount in the dessert to try and flip the election 🤓🤪…. can GMMB ask for a recount?

    GMMB, can you please spend this summer counseling the “boy wonder” in LeafLand as to how to build a winner. That would be greatly appreciated…. Thanks

    Habs in SCF twice in 28 years;

    Leafs ; once in 5 1/2 decades 😡💩🤬

    Since Leafs last SC… Habs have won 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 …. 10…. TEN ….that’s T….E….N


    Since Leafs last cup….

    all of the expansion franchises of that following year….’67-‘68 (save for the defunct Golden Seals) have won the cup

    Habs …. 10 cups
    Pens ….. 5 cups
    Oil…. 5 cups

    Helllllllooooooo McFly

    For about the same Cap hit…

    Leafs….. 4 Fwds

    Habs…. a spectacular “stands on his head” goalie in Price; 2 strapping and Stalwart RDs (Weber and Petry) and their 3 highestCap Fwds (Gallagher; Anderson ; Toffoli)

    Oh …. And Bergevin has a good cupboard of prospects ; AND 11 pics (including a first and 2 seconds) in this years draft

    Leafs…. A 2nd; 5th; 6th this year; 1st; 2nd; 7th next year

    Drafting last year…. Leafs don’t need offence …. Absolutely need D….. Dubas picked Rodion…. While Habs; Rangers; Jersey picked AFTER Leafs and got Guhle; Scneider; Muckhamadullin !!!!

    I’d like a Leafs cup for my 70th B-Day…..that’s only 10 years away !!!!

    • I think the most significant moves MB made were firing CJ and KM and hiring Sean Burke. The players didn’t respond immediately, but they’ve been executing the coaching system perfectly since the series with the Leafs (which is all that matters).

      • Thanks EDB

        Also significant moves

        That just adds to my list of reasons for why GMMB should definitely have won over GMLL

      • Maybe this helps explain it


        In other words, not so much who he brought in this past season, but rather, a monumental change in “culture” after getting Trotz, Pageau and others in his first years there building to where they are now.

        As the old Knight Templar said in that Indian Jones film, “Shanahan chose badly.”

    • Hilarious summary, Pengy, considering Marc Bergevin should have been fired long ago according to many, many Habs fans. Outhouse to the penthouse in one month.
      The Canadiens team deserves credit and congratulations – they have played better and better throughout the playoffs and they have a chance to do something historic.
      Good for them.

      • BCLF,

        As a diehard Habs fan, I have supported Bergervin right up until the end of this season & the beginning of the first round against the Leafs.

        I was convinced by the end of game four of the the first round that his decision to give Ducharme the head coaches position was a desperation move to save his hide & that it absolutely time for a change in philosophy.

        Well, I am happy to admit that I am gleefully eating crow today.

      • How ironic it would be if the Habs meet the Lightning and lose the series because of a goal scored by Mikhail Sergachev. Maybe, those who didn’t vote for Bergevin were thinking of the trade for Jonathan Drouin, and of how good the Habs would be if they had Sergachev as a fifth defenseman.

    • Respectfully you forgot …getting rid of Domi….or on the other side….getting rid of Tavares

      • 😂

      • AZHockeyNut, Lou didn’t get rid of Tavares, he offered him $12M/year to stay in Long Island. He left for TOR anyway for $11M/yr.
        He get’s zero credit for that.

        Also we have no idea how the Isles would be doing with him.

    • Pengy: you are 60 and you have sooo much energy early in the morning.

      Joe’s black rifle coffee?

      You’re a sport for congratulating an arch rival.

    • I feel sorry for you, Pengy ! But let me tell you, in this outfitter camp where I work, on an island on a lake, North of the 50th, we had a full moon, winds that flied like Cole Caufield, our national holiday, and we were all screaming around a 15 dollars bluetooth radio ! me-mo-ra-ble.
      man, that felt like Rocket Richard’s days 🙂 I almost expected the analyst to describe an Elmer Lach’s goal 🙂
      pretty sure the ghosts have finally moved from the old Forum, to the Bell Center 🙂 4 more wins, and, poor you, that’ll be….E-L-E-V-E-N 🙂

      • Sounds great Mr Pilon.
        What Lake?

  2. Price, & Only Price brought them to this point.

    • Definitely hard to disagree, but a definite honorable mention to the kids (Caufield, Kotkaniemi, and Suzuki). The couple games at the start without the first two in the lineup they looked sluggish. The energy those guys have provided has added such a dangerous transition element to the Habs.

    • Yeah he scored a ton of goals and assists eh? Price has been a HOF player all of his career. The game keeps showing everyone it takes a whole team to win not just one guy or a generational talent etc….team first and only

    • I disagree that it has been only Price. CP has been excellent, not arguing that. I argue that he has made all the saves he is supposed to make and hasn’t had to make more exceptional saves than the guy at the other end of the ice. He has been a leader and steady hand – probably the Conn Smyth favourite – but the team has made Price’s job more predictable with tight checking and net front defence.

      Team effort.

  3. The entire Habs team looked really good last night until maybe the last 10 min of the 3rd. The series looked like it was going back to Vegas after the first minute of overtime. Overall, the Habs looked cohesive and commanding. After so many years of disappointment, I had my doubts, but I’m thrilled to see them in the finals.

  4. I was always a fan of Max Pacioretty, the man and the player and he showed character in the line shaking hands, taking extra time with his old centre, Danault and his old goalie, Price.
    Class act.

    I think DeBoer contributed a lot to this “upset” by panicking and making goaltending an issue.

    He wasn’t able to adjust to the Habs tweaks after game one as opposed to Ducharme’s calm hand.

    You have to appreciate a series like this where all the players left it on the line doing everything asked of them.

    Mark Stone said he wasn’t injured but I suspect in the next few days VGK will admit that he was.

    “Those four Clydesdales play a lot, and they play heavy.” Playoff D

  5. Montreal played very well and earned their place. Congrats to the Habs and their fans.

    Gerald Gallant is probably a happy man today.

    Vegas stopped playing their game and tried to play Montreal.

    When was the last hit a Vegas player threw?

    Their top 6 were absolutely invisible and looked like they didn’t try or care.

    How much is Mark Stone earning? He was brutal.

    The play of Vegas last night, how many times did I see them pass directly to a Montreal player.

    Agree that Deboer was out coached.

    What the Islanders and Habs are showing us, is you don’t need the best players to win.

    You need players committed to a system that works.

    The most skilled team left is Tampa; is it enough.

    • I guess we can put to bed the any division was weaker game 6 the habs put out Vegas and tb islanders series is going 7. Montreal has played the best defensive game in the playoffs by a long shot price has been good but that defense has been amazing and the forwards coming back and helping out.

  6. Congrats to all the habs fans who are visitors here!
    Its an astonishing run.

  7. I remember all the talk about the north division and how whoever came out would be easily swept by whoever they faced and that would confirm how weak the division was. How is the north viewed now after this series ?

  8. Rick W Murray – I think a solid PK contributed just a tad – not to mention better OT performances – and isn’t a goalie an integral part of EVERY team? Price played like the highest paid player on the team, whereas Stone did not. At one time I commented that Stone and Pageau were the only lamentable losses from among the purge in Ottawa. But if that’s how he performs over 7 games in the clutch – well, thanks Mark for turning down that generous offer from Dorion.

    So much for your “Vegas in 4” Rick.

    Earlier in the playoffs there were a few comments to the effect that, after watching Vegas-Colorado compared to the “plodding” North Division games, the semi-finals would be a blowout.

    Different styles, different approaches. And it all lends credence to the oft-heard comment “just get there … once you’re in anything can happen.”

    And, as I said a few weeks back, a Habs-Islanders final would be the ultimate “holy crap” because NO ONE predicted that. Don’t count the Islanders out tonight – I’ve seen series with blowouts like that 8-0 s*&t-kicking many times over the years, followed by games in which the winning teams probably wished they had saved 4 or 5 of those romp goals.

    • That whole weaker division was baffling to me, how can anyone say a division is worse when they only played the teams in that division?

    • That whole weaker division was baffling to me, how can anyone say a division is worse when they only played the teams in that division?

      • I thought the same thing BB , just wondering how many of the posters here who disagreed feel now , or if the results did nothing to change there opinions .

      • I called it softer, not weaker. The hockey was akin to shinny all year. Few hits, loose checking, hockey without grit. The contrast when flipping channels from Jets&whoever to watching Vegas, Minnisota, St Louis, Islanders, Dallas (not so much Colorado) was significant. The number of hits, heaviness of hits, and space on the ice for making plays was not the same.

        Montreal was clearly the only team in the north built for playoffs when checks become tighter and space is more intensely contested. They benefited from a soft series vs Toronto that provided enough adversity for them to bond as a group, a joke of a series vs Jets and got to play a physically tired and emotionally spent Vegas team (likely injured too).

        They will have the same advantages in the final vs either Tampa or Islanders as both should be more spent than the Habs. 25 year Patrick Roy curse is done, Habs will win.

      • So 2.0, you don’t the Habs aren’t tired?
        No injuries?
        Not sure that is accurate.

        I can’t stand the Habs, but they are a physical, tough team that would be tough to play against in the playoffs. Been saying it all year as they played that way against the Oil. I saw that and went hmmm.. wouldn’t want to play those guys in a 7 game series.

        The North isn’t soft, and it isn’t the worst division either. Never was.

      • Of course the habs are tired. I saw Weber wearing a hand brace of some kind during the handshakes, Petry dislocated fingers are just a couple of the injuries we know about.

        My point is that they were not put through the meat grinder that Vegas went through because the North was a soft playing division. It helped Montreal stay healthier through the regular season and set them up well for the playoffs against non-physical opponents. Vegas went through more to get to the semi’s.

      • I’ve heard a few folks say the North is weaker or softer.
        So why are they softer than the other three divisions 2.0?

      • This is what “rationale” has boiled down to Ray – anything but acknowledging that they were simply a better-built team for the playoff grind.

    • What you will hear today from Murray & Pengy and others who emphatically predicted Vegas is … crickets … other than to write a book and congratulate them on their accomplishment.

      Marc Bergevin may look and dress like he was an extra in Saturday Night Fever but he put one helluva hockey team together …

      so what happens with Ducharme??? Clearly, Luke Richardson pushed every right button there was to push …

      • Ducharme remains hands-on despite being in self-isolation. He’s videoconferencing with the coaches and the players regularly going over strategy and game-day preparations. Obviously, it’s not the same as him being behind the bench, but it’s his system that got them into the Semis and out of Vegas early in that series with a 1-1 split. Richardson did a fine job maintaining that system and making tweaks where necessary.

    • I, in fact predicted Bos vs Mon for the cup. I was half wrong. As a Bruins fan it pains me to see the Habs there without us. It would have been an epic series.
      Go get it.

  9. Playoff success is often due to being hot and healthy. the Hab started the season this way and refound it for the playoffs.
    someone their system play is not as boring as other trap style teams

    • That Cole Caufield is pretty good eh

  10. Congrats to Habs hard to say as a Bruin fan but credit goes to a hard working team that for the most part plays the right way. Habs caught a bunch of breaks but most teams who win cup do. Price has been good but I agree one player can’t win a series. I still believe though the North division was horrible but they did beat Vegas I just think that Colorado series took everything out of Vegas. In a normal year with proper Divisions I’m not sure Habs make the playoffs but hey it is what it is.

    • I don’t think the bruins make the playoffs either the one line team doesn’t win and a weak defensive team with virtually no prospects coming up

  11. What supports that belief obe? Just the old eye test or do you have some way to show why you believe that

    • Probably due to the stubborn belief that a team “built for the playoffs” and which adheres religiously to a system whether in front or behind – much like the Islanders – can’t POSSIBLY be better than a flash and dance collection that thrills observers throughout seasonal games with free-wheeling blowouts against the dregs or teams experiencing a funk brought on by scheduling, travel, injuries, whatever.

    • Well just do the math look at winning percentage Of the Habs they don’t get in if normal year. I’m not discounting what they have done just saying they will have a tuff time making playoffs next year if divisions go back to normal.

    • Habs may have had more points in a normal year and alignment. Agree Atlantic better at the top of division, but not bottom. MTL different team this year as well.
      None of the crappiest teams are in the north. The B’s got to play BUF 7 times, plus NJ. TB had DET and CLB, the west LA, SJ, ANA and even PHX is worse than the year before.

      I would argue that CGY, VCR and even OTT are better than the ones I mention or at least most.

      Bottom line is we will never know as they didn’t play each other. Liked the North for a year, time to get back to playing everybody.

  12. Hakstol is a surprise for sure.
    Fired from the Flyers for late starts and weak efforts from his players… Dave’s gone, but the weak play and slow starts are alive and well on Broad Street.

    Go figure…

  13. Congrats to Montreal fans!

    I think Tampa or the Islanders may need to emergency loan Kreider for one shift in the finals.

  14. “Habs caught a bunch of breaks”

    For those who didn’t watch the game, there was an icing call on a puck that hit Lehner’s pad.

    Off the ensuing face off VGK had a clear shot from the slot on Price which he stopped with his shoulder, bounced to Gallagher who turned up ice , passed to Danault who passed to Lehkonen, who scored.

    It’s somewhat fitting that the Habs turned a blown call by the officials into the series winning goal.

    • Thanks for that link – some real eye-openers there and should silence “the North is softer” observations.