NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2021

by | Jun 3, 2021 | News, NHL | 54 comments

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Golden Knights, the Canadiens beat the Jets in their second-round series opener, the Sabres win the draft lottery, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mikko Rantanen’s overtime power-play goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights and a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Brandon Saad and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado while Alec Martinez and Reilly Smith replied for Vegas. Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves. Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Golden Knights’ net after being the backup in Game 1.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t happy with the officiating on the slashing call on Rielly Smith that led to Rantanen’s PP goal. “Just a soft call”, he said, going on to accuse the Avalanche players of embellishment throughout the game.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Eric Staal had a goal and an assist while Carey Price made 27 saves for the win. Their victory, however, was overshadowed by a dangerous hit by Jets center Mark Scheifele on Habs center Jake Evans as the latter was scoring an empty net. Evans was stretchered from the ice while Scheifele received a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was out of character for Scheifele, who has no history of supplemental discipline. He let his emotions get away with him and could face a suspension. Evans, meanwhile, was evaluated by the Canadiens’ medical staff. John Shannon reported he was back at the team hotel following the game, where he was described as doing fine, alert but shaken.

It should be noted that Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers protected the prone Evans during the ensuing scrum. He also called for additional medical attention for the fallen Hab. “In a situation like that, you don’t want anyone falling on top of him,” said Ehlers. “I was just trying to keep everyone away.”

Winnipeg center Paul Stastny missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo left the game early in the first period with a lower-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres won the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday. The expansion Seattle Kraken won the second-overall pick while the Anaheim Ducks will select third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could select University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power. He’s listed as this year’s top prospect by NHL Central Scouting.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan defended his team’s top-four players during the club’s end-of-season press conference. He did, however, acknowledge the club lacked a “killer instinct” that must be addressed.

SPORTSNET: Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s doing “really well” in his recovery from the traumatic head injury suffered during Game 1 against the Canadiens. Tavares missed the rest of the series with a concussion and a knee injury. He said he has no memory of the incident and doesn’t intend to watch the replay.

TSN: Leafs winger Mitch Marner denied a report that he refused to play a goal-line role on the club’s power play. “It’s a complete lie,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Marner, Tavares, Matthews or William Nylander to be traded this summer if Shanahan’s comments are anything to go by. However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation among the Toronto media. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck’s status for Game 3 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning remains uncertain. He was still being evaluated yesterday following his ankle-to-ankle collision with teammate Warren Foegele in Game 2.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Craig Smith could return to the lineup for Game 3 tonight against the New York Islanders. He missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury suffered during the previous game.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said he’d be comfortable returning with the same group of players next season. He defended beleaguered starting goaltender Tristan Jarry, lauded the coaching staff and expects core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke intend to bring some size and toughness to the line next season. There will be some changes but those will likely involve their secondary players. They could also acquire an experienced backup as a mentor for Jarry.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Kevin Hayes underwent successful sports hernia surgery last week. His expected recovery period is five weeks.



  1. Scheifele… he plans from the red line. full speed replay looks better than the camera from the corner where you see the elbow drop and he leave his feet a bit..
    If he gets 3 games where does that leave his team?

    • That was vicious and deserves a significant suspension, but, after Reaves received a paltry 2 game ban for his vicious actions, it’s difficult to predict what the league might do with Scheifele.

      • I think he gets 2 or zero…

      • Parros will fine Evans for hitting Scheifele with his head.

      • Hi Whalercane

        I know I should be posting that your statement was inappropriate with Evans being injured …. but in all honesty …. you had me laughing …. Parros …. just has no clue (cite ANY ruling on Wilson) …. and your statement just presents how I feel about nut-case Parros …. no clue at all

      • thanks for noticing, Pengy. I felt bad when I was writing it, but DPS rulings are so ridiculous, I had to go there.

        I know it’s been mentioned a million times, but who puts a goon in charge of safety?

        Even if the rulings are surprisingly correct (assuming it ever happens), just the fact that they are issued by Parros automatically makes them suspect. Pretty unfair for the NHL to even put him in that position. Not that he does himself any favors, of course.

      • I am a little reluctant to call out Parros solely. He is a cog in a whole system. It still boggles my mind that the aggressor gets represented by the PA and the League is sort of advocating for the victim…..all while having a vested interest in keeping star players playing…NHL is a gate-revenue enterprise after all.

        Scheifele should be gone at least this series and part of the next, if the Jets go on.

      • If Parros has been meting out “justice” to coincide with League desires to keep its “stars” in the game – and thereby keep his cushy job – then he has no balls. Had he been consistent in his decisions, the League would have exposed itself and its vested interests had they fired him.

      • Maurice says the hit was clean… and good on Evans for taking the punishment to score.

        It’s not only sticking up for his player… he is sending a message. That’s hockey… and in the same situation, expect the same response. No easy goals.

        First thing you learn as a kid… keep your head up.

  2. Without Scheifele The jets are done so are the knights, Bye Vegas so long b’s if Rask starts tonight. Swayman is the only way b’s get to the next level.

    • Hi RWM

      Knight’s are in no way done

      They have yet to play at home; completely dominated last night’s game; hit 7 off the iron (any one goes in…. that’s a Knight’s victory) and lost solely due to horrific reffing ; repeat…. horrific reffing

      They play like last night back in the desert… series tied 2-2 going back to Altitude with momentum in their favour…. different outlook on series then

      I would not at all be surprised if head of officiating changes out at least one (and perhaps BOTH) of the refs. Never should a reffing crew determine the outcome of a game; let alone a playoff game; and worst still… in OT on a stupendously wrong penalty call…. it was stomach turning to see

      • Avs fans were also furious with the officiating. The Knights had a power play late in the 3rd, but failed to capitalize. Grubauer was the difference.

  3. Very unnecessary play by Scheifele. A tad late. A little dirty even.
    Atta boy to Ehlers. That’s an incredible show of sportsmanship.

    I’m still dreaming of a Boston vs Montreal finals.

    • Thinking of Evans and wishing him a full and quick recovery. point of contact is the issue I see. He hit him shoulder to chin and that is suspendable. If the contact is through the body and not resulting in injury the conversation would be very different… something about how ‘a Jets star and leader is setting the tone for game 2’

  4. Kudos to Nikolaj Ehlers. That is a class act move to protect an injured player.

    Also, while Shanahan’s comments do seem to support the top four players, it would be wise to take a serious look at a possible trade to improve week areas. I suggested it before and I still think a Marner for Jones type deal is something they should consider.

    • Lm outlook… seismic!!!!

      That said…. GMJK won’t be taking on a $10.9 M Cap hit winger ; not at all

      He more than assuredly would take on a $7M winger…. but Dubas is hinting again that he’ll stick with 1/2 cap on 4 Fwds…. to me it is in no way a winning formulae

      Someone here posted the other day a proposed trade that had WW and two more (I can’t remember who but maybe it was Envall and Sandin ???) for Jones

      If that was the trade… I’d do it for sure…

      Leafs top 4 of Brodie, Muzzin, Reilly , and Jones…. that’s 50 + minutes of EVERY game with fantastic D; and Holl who is very solid; completely makes bottom pairing truly sound….. AND $3M + freed up in Cap (don’t forget that Hyman will get a big raise AND Leafs need to acquire another goalie)

      So MM to Jackets…. IMHO…. not happening

      Jackets=Leafs trade with key players in trade being Jones anfpd WW …. 👍👍👍👍

      • No idea on how top part got cutoff

        Opening from above should have shown

        “ Hi TFV

        Jones on Leafs D…. fantastic …. massive improvement…. seismic shift in cup probability outlook… seismic!!!!”

        Not sure what happened

      • Pengy,

        I proposed Nylander, Engvall, Sandin for Jones.

        I think it gives TML a solid 1D and frees some money for Dubas to work with to sign him long term.

        CBJ get a good return for a player they might lose a year from now. A D and C with potential and a scorer.

      • Thanks HF30

        I couldn’t remember who posted it

  5. *weak areas

  6. I wonder when the speculation will start about whether or not Buffalo should trade the # 1 pick for a combined wealth of established players/prospects/picks? It’s pretty much inevitable as some will surely say they really can’t wait for the big Michigan D Nolan to make his way to the NHL (he’s due back at Michigan this year).

  7. An overtime power play in the playoffs. There’s a referee who could be suspended.

  8. This was a blatantly predatory hit that calls for heavy punishment,

    Scheifele was frustrated most of the game and had been on the edge of losing control frequently and took it out on Evans.

    It’s tiresome to hear the excuses, arms down, left his feet after, elbow rode up when it is clear that he came from a long way,made 0 attempt to stop the goal and achieved his goal.

    Kudos to Ehlers and the linesman for giving cover to Evans.

    If Scheifele isn’t suspended a staged fight won’t be the reprisal.

    • That should be at least an 8 game suspension. If Scheifele gets off with just a couple of games, it’ll confirm the leagues worst kept secret. That DOPS is a joke.

      Shanahan is correct that the Leafs lack a killer instinct. The killer instinct must come from the top players and it hasn’t. And they haven’t shown it. They’ve come to accept losing and don’t seem to have the necessary drive to win the Cup. I remember watching guys like Lafleur, Robinson, Gretzky and Messier during their championship years. They all had a fierce desire to win. When the chips were down, you could count on those guys to make a big play. I don’t see it in the Leafs’ core. I’m not saying that any of them should be traded and I don’t think any of them will be, but a similar flop next year will have consequences.

      • predatory hit , reckless and dangerous. I hope the kid is ok. I do not believe Scheifele has previous suspension history therefore I predict 2-3 games. Thinking he will need to drop the mitts with Anderson.
        I am sure Ducharme will order the top 4 D to not engage in a scrap , they need them on the ice during the playoffs. I guarantee you Scheifele’s back will be sore from the constant cross checks,
        Evans will always remember what he did on his 25th birthday … team won , scored a goal and spent the night in the hospital feeling like he had been hit by a truck.

      • We talk about how the playoffs is a different game and you want players to go all out and Scheifele did. Do you think he’d of been this aggressive in the regular season, I don’t. Scheifeles hit was a dangerous one and deserving of a penalty and maybe even a game even though Evans wasn’t aware of the hit coming since he was watching his puck go in the empty net. I can’t help but think if he got up after the hit we would have people cheering the hit clean or not…it wasn’t btw. But I wouldn’t give him anything more than a game if anything. Evans got knocked the f out from the hit, if he wasn’t I still think there ought to be supplemental punishment just to get blindside hits out of the game. Thank god he’s ok and just knocked out.

  9. Just asking, the hit was dirty yet when is it ok to skate with your head down in hockey? If one says yes the whole game of hockey will change.

    • I’m thinking even you, cutting around the net, trying to control the puck on your stick and trying to put the puck into the net would have your head down?

    • Just asking How many games have been won/tied with 57 sec left and down 2 goals? Right…plenty of time…Price turns into pumpkin and sieve at 19:56 of all playoff games. Way to victim blame, you right, absolutely Evans fault’ Scheifele deserves a medal, ticker-tap parade, and a street named after him for his heads up hockey play.

    • Blackwalnut, the whole game has already changed. It happened when we learned what happens to peoples brains as a result of head trauma. We are seeing exactly the same rule changes in the NFL. No targeting of the head or smoking players in a “vulnerable” position.
      It is called – Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
      Al players should have their heads up, but the responsibility for not drilling a vulnerable player now lies with the guy who is doing the hitting. He needs to keep his head up too and make the right decision.

      We now know more than we did, so the game has changed. CTE destroys lives, we know that now.

  10. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said he’d be comfortable returning with the same group of players next season.

    The absolute definition of insanity. Keep doing the same thing while hoping for a different result.

    If I were Mark Scheifele I would not be looking forward to dropping the gloves with Josh Anderson or Ben Chiarot … his only hope is that Corey Perry gets to him first, as Perry can’t fight his way out of a paper bag …

    Shanahan should have just said nothing about moving guys … it’s disingenuous and means very little right now … I know he shrunk in the playoffs but I’d take Marner any day of the week on my team …

    • Hextall and every other team exec. out to say we are going with our guys. It’s part of being a team you have to support them and give them their props, deserving or not, because you have to face it, the team you have is the guys you got and until you can upgrade your team when the occasion allows it and considering the number of days in a season and the number of trades you see during the season tells you that even with 30 potential partners, trades are far and few between.

  11. The hit was definitely clean in my opinion was it necessary nope I don’t get how people say he came from other end of rink duh they all did. I slowed it down 10 times his elbow is down he never left his feet and it wasn’t hit to head. I think he will get one game series will get real dirty let the games begin.

    • Obe, agree he didn’t target the head etc or leave his feet until after contact. But coming from a distance matters with the call. The rule is pasted below from the book as I had to look it up too.
      I set the over under at 3 games and would take the under as he doesn’t have a history of this.

      Every physical player is going to have at least 1 or 2 questionable hits in his career. Just gonna happen in this game. And I would bet Scheifele won’t do it again. He isn’t a Kadri or Wilson who don’t seem to catch on or don’t care. This one was nasty because of the speed and force of the hit. Hence why I think he gets suspended and why he should IMO.
      Was he trying to hurt him? I dunno what he was thinking. Definitely made a bad decision in the moment once he realized he couldn’t stop the goal and he will pay the price.

      Rule 42 – Charging
      42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player
      who skates, jumps into or charges an opponent in any manner.
      Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of
      distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A
      “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal
      frame or in open ice.

  12. That hit looked awful; atrocious; sickening

    I really really hope he is OK

    This will be a stiff suspension for sure…. just note though…. had that been Wilson … Parros would have fined him another $5K (their budz din’t forget….LOL)

    Great goaltending by CP & CH

    Habs deserved the win; Jets looked rusty

    Knights v Avs

    Just finished watching now. By far the most exciting game I’ve watched in a while… great hockey and to top it off … Colour by Galley instead of Maguire …. wow wow wow….. unbelievably better to listen to. It’s literally like night and day. Maguire is repetitive; anal; droning. Galley exciting and insightful.

    Agree fully with Cassie…. under no circumstances do Avs deserve to get to OT let alone win … 7 off the iron … SEVEN …. that’s 7!!!!…. any of those iron and in instead of iron and out…. game over. First Avs goal…. clear goaltender interference by Ratenen (not in the goal itself but on the same shift) that should have immediately stopped the play and Avs should have been on PK…. instead play/shift goes on ; and they score

    Then in OT….. I have absolutely never seen such an erroneous and unbelievable “slash” called. This is OT where in almost every game ….. most “questionable” calls are let go … Refs “tend” to put their whistles away

    This was definitely not a slash…. a stick tap …. ON A STICK (not a hand or player’s body) BTW…. and Rantenen had ONE (1) hand ;very loosely BTW; on his stick ; AND Smith had toe of his own stick pointing down … this is NOT a slash in pre-season; exhibition; early season; mid season; early in game; first shift of game 25 in season ; in junior; in international play; in house-league…. and it is miraculously called early in OT in a game that Avs had no right of getting to OT…. b…r…u…t…a….l

    Again…. 7 off the iron; no call on goalie interference (Ratenen) … which should have been a PP for Knights…. seconds later a goal; outshoot Avs 41-25 (and wayyyy more lopsided than that 5 on 5); Ratenen one hand loosely on stick tapped by Smith and stick dropped…. egregious and stupendously wrongly called as a penalty…. and it’s Rantenen that scores the OT winner …. two hands on his stick there BTW

    This game; IMHO; should absolutely have gone to Knights

    Series should be 1-1 going back to the desert

    • 2-0 Avs in the series – good. Vegas down 0-2 – even better.

    • Pengy but it’s not!

      Was the call soft yes, did Reilly need to slash the stick no.

      If your going to slash someone stick you put yourself at risk of a call.

      as far as your other non call cooments you sound like Pete Deboer, begging for mercy.

      • Hi Caper

        There was no slash…. no slash at all

        His stick was parallel to the ice; just above his knee; blade down and he tapped down (maybe 2” – 4”) on Rantenenn’s stick. This move is done on 50% of all own zone face-offs by all teams , every game; and was done several times by both teams throughout this game …. the difference… one hand very loosely on stick; and massive embellishment

        Under no circumstances is that a penalty… pre-season 5 minutes in or any game … Let alone in OT

        I cede your take on other calls re “Pete Deboer, begging for mercy.” The reffing was one sided… it happens to all teams here and there

        The OT call was incredulous… are the ghosts of O’Halloran and Furlatt speaking through these refs

        At the very least, Welkom I’m sure; will have a serious and protracted discussion with them

        They are there to call a consistent and fair game and not to make an atrocious mistake that hands victory to a team that was unbelievably outplayed; and; per Cassie Campbell-Pascall… Avs did not deserve to even get to OT

  13. The Jets were plain out flat, the 1st line was the only line that had anything going at all.

    It’s not a matter of if Scheifele gets suspended it’s a matter of how many games.

    Hope Evan has a speedy recovery.

    The hit can be a series changer, emotionally and with Winnipeg best player (outside of Hellebuyck) suspended for 5 games?

    The hit didn’t need to happen and shouldn’t have happened.

  14. Lost in the shuffle was the Habs domination of the Jets in all three zones and the final score wasn’t indicative of the game.

    The Suzuki goal was sick,, I have no doubt that Hellebuyck will be on his game and return the favour.

    It’s only one game and the Jets didn’t show up, next game will show if it was rust or the Habs are built to play pretty much any way you want.

    • Yes habfan30 it was all Canadians, the game itself was boring and extremely sloppy.

      Suzuki goal was sick and Montreal earned the win.

      The rust was showing for Winnipeg and hoping for a more entertaining game 2

    • I wouldn’t call it domination at all. Jets were rusty, Helly was not on his game with rebounds leading to 3 of the 4 goals. He doesn’t give up rebounds when on his game.

      The Jets scored 3 goals against a stingy team and that is usually enough for them to win the game. Habs were noticeably fading late in the second and generally throughout the third… looked like the tired team. The first period goals scored while Winnipeg was shaking off the rust was the difference.

      The Demelo injury on the first shift was significant as he has been the steadiest defensive player on the Jets all year and pairs well with Morrissey. Easily as significant as any Sheiffele suspension.

      I haven’t heard what kept Stasny out – hopefully he is back for game 2.

      Jets will win game 2 – guaranteed – or beer is on me.

  15. Shame of the pens goalie situation is that desmith is a really solid backup. Essentially he might get the boot cause Jarry screwed up.

    • So, Chrisms, you think Pittsburgh will be looking for a starter?

      • I repeat – Ottawa has a guy named Murray they can have – 2 Cup rings – for a 2nd round pick

      • I think they might look for a 1a 1b type of tandem.

        And George you gotta deal if you hold 2.75 mil and take Jarry back. 👍

      • Well, that would put an immediate end to THAT speculation. Oh well, maybe Seattle plucks him off the unprotected list….

  16. Predict 4 game suspension, the hit was clean, unnecessary and clearly a charge. It was a frustrated player taking it out at the wrong time in the wrong way.

    Curious as why all the hate for Vegas? See it a lot all over, is it because they have been so good from day one and everyone is jealous of their success? Just wondering

    • Well, for some of us who are fans of previous expansion teams, comparing what Vegas got (and what Seattle will get) to the crap unloaded on the others, yeah, there’s some “jealousy” involved. I know, I know – Vegas and Seattle coughed up a lot more for their franchises when you look at the amounts involved – but 20-30 years ago what those shafted franchises paid was still hefty in terms of the times.

  17. So the league & the union believe the players should handle these situation amongst themselves.

    At some point this philosophy is going to lead to crippling or fatal result.

    Then what will the league & union state???

    It’s all on the players, they took it too far???

    Bettman has done this league well, but that will be his legacy once it happens.

  18. A judicial system is built to protect the society as well as the perpetrators. If the society is dissatisfied with sentencing the perpetrator is put at risk. Anything less than 3 games will put Scheiffle at risk of being unable to have a full career.

    • Hi Jorge

      In theory yes

      But in practicality… it doesn’t happen

      If it did…. Wilson’s “full career” would have been over for a long while

  19. Until they put in Swayman I won’t be watching.I know what the outcome will be. I’ve seen it for over a decade It’s the annual Rask meltdown and it ain’t pretty. I’m taking my niece to Dairy Queen feel like a Banana Split I think two banana Splits and We’ll wash it down with a generous helping vanilla cake. The b’s cannot win a cup with Rask

  20. Poor first time offender Scheifele will get maximum a 5 game suspension, his coach and troglodyte fans claiming it was a clean hit and just play on.

    The claim that he stopped striding and “glided” into him tells you that he chose to not change his trajectory.

    He chose not to sprawl and try to block the wraparound,

    He chose not to dive and try to whack at his stick.

    He knew it was a goal and chose to run him.

    Meanwhile Evans career could possibly be over with this third concussion.

    One thing I don’t want to see is a staged “code” fight, karma will be either Tatar or Lehkonen who replace him to pot a few goals.