NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

by | Jun 29, 2021 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The Lightning thump the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, expansion and NHL draft TV info announced, information on special events for 2021-22 revealed, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts broke the game open in the third period as Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up Steven Stamkos for the fifth goal. Brayden Point had three assists on the night.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

It was a rough game for Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. He skated away with a bloodied head after tangling with Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

Canadiens winger Joel Armia took a private jet from Montreal to Tampa Bay to rejoin his teammates after emerging from COVID protocol on Monday. He had been held out of the lineup after entering the protocol on Sunday. His spot in the lineup for Game 1 was taken by Jake Evans, playing his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in Game 1 of the Habs second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominating performance by Tampa Bay from start to finish. Despite the score being 2-1 after two periods, there was a sense that it was a matter of time before they blew the game open.

The Canadiens seemed tentative through much of this contest as they struggled to adjust to the Lightning’s game plan. This series will be over quickly if the Habs fail to find a solution.

Poor puck management proved costly for the Canadiens. The Lightning’s first three goals came from offensive-zone turnovers. Lightning coach Jon Cooper also used his home-ice advantage of having the last line change to good effect in keeping the Point line away from the Canadiens shutdown line.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended the performance of the league’s officiating during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “It seems every season, it’s a playoff ritual for me to address some aspect of the officiating,” said Bettman. “Let’s be clear. Our officials are not only the best hockey officials in the world, they’re the best officials in any sport.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an annual playoff ritual because there’s an obvious difference over how games are called during the regular season and how they’re called in the playoffs. The commissioner, however, seems unconcerned that this is a growing issue for fans and pundits.

ESPN2, NHL Network and Sportsnet will broadcast the NHL expansion draft on Wednesday, July 21 at 8 pm ET. The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will be televised on ESPN 2, Sportsnet and SN NOW on Friday, July 23 at 8 pm ET.

The Vegas Golden Knights will host the 2022 NHL All-Star Game with the date to be determined. The 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. The 2022 Stadium Series game will be held Feb. 26 , 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville between the Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. The league also plans to stage a Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic game in March 2022.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2022 NHL Draft.

THE SCORE: The NHL’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remains “a work in progress,” according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. He suggested the continued uncertainty over COVID-19 and the games being held halfway around the world doesn’t make it necessarily an ideal Games to elect to go to. NHL participation remains contingent on negotiations with the International Olympic Committee as per the CBA extension agreement with the NHLPA.

YARDBARKER: The NHL confirmed the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division as part of its realignment with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The decision to move the Coyotes was made by the league board of governors in December 2018.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins star David Pastrnak and his family are mourning the heartbreaking death of their infant son on June 23. He was five days old.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Pastrnak and his family on their loss. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have hired the law firm Jenner & Block to lead an “independent review” of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich and the Blackhawks’ internal handling of those allegations.

SPORTSNET: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league only recently learned of the allegations, adding it will await the results of the independent investigation before deciding how to proceed.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara was honored at a ceremony celebrating his home country of Slovakia’s 28th anniversary “for extraordinary merits in the field of sports and for extraordinary dissemination of the good name of the Slovak Republic abroad.”

NEW YORK POST: ESPN has hired Chris Chelios to join fellow Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier as part of the network’s top hockey studio team.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken announced the Charlotte Checkers will be their AHL affiliate starting in 2021-22.

TSN: The Hockey Hall of Fame announced it is moving forward with its induction ceremony for 2020-2021 on Nov. 15.


  1. Bettman once again showing his disdain for the fans. As long as he keeps the cash flowing, why fix the problems?

    • That’s it exactly. No one believes his hogwash about caring about “our fans” except that they are cash cows.

  2. I don’t think calling the game differently in the playoffs is the problem its made out to be, not because it has always been this way but because players and coaches know it.

    The problem is lack of consistency and that’s on Bettman and the NHL executives. Players and coaches are forced to be tentative on account of not knowing what’s acceptable.

    The refs do handle this high speed physical game very well, as they are told . Players will take advantage of everything they can and they are more aggressive in the playoffs.

    As fans I think if there wasn’t a concentration on ticky tack calls, the “missed calls” wouldn’t bother us so much.

    Watching a guy get smoked in the boards by a questionable was it the shoulder or the head, and then get called for a horizontal stick…..

    Kucherov sold a glove to the shoulder as a shot to the head isn’t something I blame on the refs but I maintain a ref “in the sky” could eliminate that kind of thing.

    We’ll see what happens next game but Richardson/Ducharme were badly outcoached by Cooper last night on line matchups and systems.

    I fully expect system changes to take advantage of the extreme activation of TBL D. Cooper is a smart coach , credit where due.

    I fully expect tweaking of lines to get better matchups as well, mainly to get Lehkonen or whicheve of Armia or Evans to be on Kucherov.

    • Fully believe the Habs will make changes to their lineup.

  3. I was expecting much more this was one boring sloppy played hockey game. Biggest thing I learned is that Stamkos plays scared and is not worth anywhere near his contract I was shocked how little he accomplished out there. Hope it gets better than game one was a snooze fest.

    • Stamkos is playing not to get hurt. With Kucherov actually playing injured they have 2 lines with perimeter players… who are still scoring

  4. As much as I am rooting for the Habs it looked like men against boys out there last night …

    not that he would have made a difference but why didn’t Armia play? He flew there on a private jet, skated in warm ups and was ready …

    Stamkos is a coaster … I’ll bet Brisebois would love to get out from under that contract …

    and the Lightning are built to win several Cups if Brisebois can somehow keep the team together …

    • You’re bang on about the Stamkos contract. But with 3 more years to go at $8.5 per I’m afraid Brisebois is stuck with that one.

      According to CapFriendly he’s committed to 19 players and faced with a projected cap of $86,566,666, needing to shed $5,066,666 just to get the maximum. And that does not take into account what it’s going to cost him to re-up his 5 RFAs (Raddysh, Katchouk, Colton, Barré-Boulet and Foote) or any of his pending 10 UFAs he might like to retain (Gemel Smith, Goodrow, Coleman, Claesson, Savard, Schenn, Thomas, Borgman, Gibson, McElhiney).

      Barring another convenient high price tag going on LTIR – and it’s probably safe to say that none among Point, Hedman, Sergachev or Vasilevsky are going anywhere – his trade options appear to be a combination of at least two (1 just gets them to the cap max – at least 2 have to go to make room to re-up his RFAs and any UFAs he may wish to keep) of Palat ($5.3 mil and a UFA after next season), Gourde ($5,166,666 for 4 more years), Johnson ($5 mil for 3 more years), Carrick ($2,950,000 for 2 more years before becoming an RFA), and McDonough (32 y/o and $6,750,000 for 5 more years).

      Sure looks like “let’s get a back-to-back cup before the s*&t hits the fan”scenario.

      • Hi George

        McD and Gourde have full NTCs….however they can be exposed to Krakken; but can’t be shuttled to any other team w/o their permission …. and why would they give up that right??…. On current SC team (could be on a B2B SC team (if they win 3 more games); in a great city with great amenities and great weather; and tax free state; if move they have to uproot fam (not sure if they have one) and sell/buy/move residences

        Johnson HAD a full NTC last year (per CapFriendly that changed to 20 team trade list on 15/6/21) and BrisBoise had a big problem trying to (1) finally get him to give a list of 4 or 5 teams ; and then (2) actually move him

        BrisBoise is going to have to negotiate heavily with GMRF to take two (one unprotected and taken in draft; and one in compensation) in the Exp draft

        Maybe…. take McD, as part of deal; also get TJ (Pseudo home town…. Spokane) AND another piece (Colton?)

        That gets them in around $7 M to fill 6 spots

        McD a big loss; but can go Hedman and Serg as 1LD and 2LD

        Johnson …. no loss

        GMRF will be demanding a huge price-tag

        So to take both McD and TJ; the ask from Ronny might be 1st (‘22) , plus a roster prospect (Colton?), plus another prospect

        Krakken truly has the upper hand in this

        Stammer, Kuch, Hedman, Vaz…. full NMC; and no way should they even consider moving point…. so agree as you said…those are NOT options

      • Pengy, what I did was show the math problem facing Brisebois – what you have done is show just how difficult it’s going to be for him to negotiate his way through that mess. The Seattle draft might help alleviate some of his cap problems – but as you say, if something like that does happen it’s going to cost him big time.

        Yeah, they could pluck McDonough for some added icing, but at $6,750,000 for 5 more years, at the end of which he’s pushing 38 y/o, that’s a pending albatross who won’t be easy to move elsewhere, while Johnson is already an albatross with 3 years to go at $5 mil per.

        As I say – get that back-to-back cup and then prepare for some leaner years.

      • @George
        defenseman age better than forwards often and I think Ronnie would be thrilled to have McD to ground the defense even with the 5 years to go. He looks in prime shape this summer

      • ds, not if he had to take Johnson along with him.

      • Good and easy info there George…which isn’t exactly why the cap is bad for the sport. Those guys you mentioned were lower round picks, no one darts better than Tampa except those wings teams that found goal every draft in the worse rounds, but anyway, why sound a team, btw Ottawa can draft well too, be penalized for being successful at drafting star players regardless of where they’re drafted?
        I get a cap to stop rich teams from over bidding UFA so smaller markets can compete makes sense… why not apply a cap to traded or signed UFA only? This way a team that drafted its stars can keep them instead of what happened to the blackhawks and what we all know will happen to the bolts too, let’s not forget teams that got close only to break up what they did so far to be cap complacent? It’s also why hockey team dynasties are a thing of the past thanks to the cap as it sits.

      • Typo supposed to be IS not isn’t.

      • Agree, If all those kids develop as hoped, Ottawa will get one good kick at the can before Dorion is faced with the same math problem confronting Brisebois now. That’s the new NHL reality for sure, Ron. Right now Tampa – thanks exclusively to that Kucherov LTIR situation – is in position to win two in a row. They will need to be awfully lucky with some of their untested prospects to stretch that to 3.

      • @George
        Tampa will protect 3 D yeah?
        Krakken will get a good option whoever is exposed

  5. Hedman had a few rare misplays that the Habs almost capitalized on…
    You have to take those inches when Tampa actually gives them to you

  6. The skill level of Tampa was on full display; how quickly they move the puck, crisp and sharp. Skaters always moving in different directions yet they know were each other at.

    Montreal was outclassed last night but one game does not make a series.

    It appear after falling behind 4-1 the Canadians tried to goon it up and send a message for game 2.

    It seem by putting Stall, Perry and Anderson together for the last minute was in hope of creating a injury to a Tampa player.

    Montreal is 1-9 against Tampa in their last 10 meetings.

    Much was made about the Kucherov call and no it wasn’t a penalty; for that matter, the penalty drawn by Gallagher for the Canadians first PP was not a penalty.

    Play on. The Line of Suzuki, Toffoli, Caufield each a -3 needs to play better.

    • Pretty good summary Caper, but Staal, Perry and Anderson trying to goon it up and hurt someone? Seriously? Staal and Perry don’t fight. And it would be pretty obvious to them that their lineup can’t go toe to toe with Tampa in a goonfest.

      • LJ, goon is exaggerated but maybe the coach is trying to see if a heavy line of the 3 works or just go out and punish someone.

    • Caper,

      I happen to think that Kucherov got away that penalty called on Chiarot and it embarrassed the refs so they didn’t call the slash to the back of his legs and hands.

      The refs in this game were fine and had no impact on the game.

  7. Condolences and prayers out to Pasta and his wife

  8. Re Gary and

    ““Let’s be clear. Our officials are not only the best hockey officials in the world, they’re the best officials in any sport.”

    Mmmmm …. I can’t agree on that

    With HF30 on this

    I cede a somewhat “different” set of rules reg vs playoffs. Note… “somewhat”…. this should NOT be “dramatically” different…. and there has been some dramatic differences

    The big issue lies in 3 words…


    That inconsistency is not only series to series; game to game; stripes quartet to stripes quartet; regulation vs OT; but most importantly… there has been major inconsistencies IN the same game IN regulation or IN OT …. same 36 skaters, same game, same 4 men making calls…. oft major inconsistencies

    For that reason I can’t agree with….

    “ they’re the best officials in any sport.”

    • Like it or not Gary is right for the most part when he said about officiating. There is a vast difference between what it’s called in the regular season and what gets called in the playoffs and like it’s been said before I think everybody involved knows that and agrees that’s the way it is. Some calls are going to get messed some want some will get called because of favoritism someone that’s just the human element that Kari talks about. The other issue in regards to being the best officials yeah so far they haven’t taken any money to make sure one team wins over another like I’ve done in other leagues around the world. Is it perfect no far from it but still good.

      PS Galley and Simpson, if only a meteor!

  9. Re Play by Play and Colour…. I know they like to keep tandems together…. but they have to get Galley in there instead of Simpson

    Galley … energetic, knowledgeable, informative, on point, current…. Simpson…… not