NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2021

by | Jul 3, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The Lightning are on the verge of winning their second straight Stanley Cup, the Wild re-sign Joel Eriksson Ek, the Kraken could spend to the salary cap this summer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens with a 6-3 victory in Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay is now one victory away from winning their second straight Stanley Cup and the third in franchise history.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson (NHL Images).

Tyler Johnson scored twice, Ondrej Palat collected two assists, Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for the win. Phillip Danault, Nick Suzuki and Corey Perry replied for the Canadiens while Carey Price allowed five goals on 29 shots.

Lightning winger Alex Killorn missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He remains day-to-day.

Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme returned behind the bench for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 in the semifinal. He criticized the Quebec government’s decision to limit attendance to 3,500 fans in the Bell Centre while a much larger number would be following the game outside the arena.

The Lightning can sweep the Habs and claim the Cup in Game 4 on Monday night in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning once again feasted on the Canadiens’ mistakes, converting turnovers into goals and keeping the Habs on their heels throughout this contest. Their depth in talent is making the difference in this series and the Canadiens have no answers.

It was an impressive run for Montreal but midnight is tolling on their Cinderella story. They had to win Game 3 and were instead beaten soundly by a superior opponent. Tampa Bay is just too powerful. History is also against the Canadiens as only one team in NHL history (the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs) has overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Final to win the Cup.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed center Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42 million contract. The annual average value is $5.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eriksson Ek, 24, is completing a two-year bridge contract with an annual cap hit of $1.487 million. He earned that big raise with a breakout performance this season with a career-high of 19 goals and 30 points in 56 games. A solid two-way center, he also finished fourth in voting for the Selke Trophy.

The Wild now has $16.8 million in projected cap space for 2021-22. Next on their list is signing Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov and 20-goal scorer Kevin Fiala.

THE ATHLETIC: Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said he’s told general manager Ron Francis he can spend up to the $81.5 million salary cap if necessary to build a contending roster for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken’s expansion draft is July 21. They have a 48-hour interview leading up to that period when they can interview pending unrestricted free agents on other clubs. They can also make trades now with any club.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks will announce the name of their Abbotsford, BC AHL affiliate on July 9.


  1. After maf and the knights bowed out I ran out of teams to cheer for. I just hope that if Montreal loses the fans don’t harp on things like the ltir stuff or the tax stuff. Of all teams the Canadians have no room to whine about advantages other teams have. From the old Quebec French draft rule thingy to the inherent advantage of being an original 6 team they’ve had/have there own legs up.

    • Name some players from the “old Quebec draft rule” that played for the Habs.

      Jean Ratelle?
      Pit Martin?
      Rod Gilbert?
      Dave Keon?

      It’s mythology, the Habs developed their own farm system and bought players, just like the Boston Bruins bought Bobby Orr at at 14, all it cost was a roof and a 5 y/o car for his father.

      Do some homework

      • So Boston fans also can’t complain about other teams exploiting the system. Thanks for the insight.

      • Robert Gordon Orr is God Carey Price not so much.

    • Chrisms, not much homework required.
      MTL had the most money and used it to set up a feeder system 2nd to none. Dominant in their backyard of Quebec.
      The draft rule was only for a short period to compensate the team as they had the most to lose from the current draft system because of above.
      Was also right around the first expansion which put all of those teams a serious disadvantage.

      Short article below which makes the same argument HF30 does, accurate but also built a serious advantage due to revenue advantage.

      The argument that an original 6 team can’t complain about the tax advantage is kind of bogus though. The league changed the rules to remove the advantage for the Original 6 when new teams came in. If they don’t address this one after they implemented the cap? Bitch away IMO, but there is more to it than just the taxes, but it is an advantage that teams can’t control. Can SJ just pickup and move to FLA or NEV? Nope. Worthy of discussion, just not sure that is a can you want to open.


      • Well said, Ray. There are, today, definite MAJOR advantages related to location that must be addressed, as well as loopholes in the cap system that are, in effect, defeating the purpose of the system.

      • I was referring to the overall history and mystique of the original 6 as a recruiting advantage. It’s one of the unchanging advantages that teams can have based on location. Taxes is another. Size of the local market another. Weather is another. There are some things that are just there. There is no validity to saying your team lost because the other team had these advantages.

        And teams will try to use the system to their advantage. The French Canadian thing is one example. Ltir another.

        Hell. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that the pens meticulously tanked in 84. And again in 05.

      • Fair point on Original 6 Chrisms. The tanking comment included.
        Tanking doesn’t guarantee a cup, as there is some luck involving the lottery and the players available that season, but not tanking and picking in the top 3 almost guarantees you won’t win one. The history is difficult to dispute.
        In a year or 2 my B’s will need to make that same decision.

  2. Wow

    Glad I didn’t put any money on last nights game

    With the strong performance that didn’t go their way game 2; I really thought game 3 would be a Habs “V”

    The two quick goals took the air out of their sails though

    Can they come back?? …. been done before; but I think no in this case

    Just a quick thing about all the talk re the “big Clydesdales”…… just for ships ‘n giggles I did the quick math….. Bolts big 4 are basically the same size. Habs big 4 avg 6’ 3 1/2” ; 225 lbs. Bolts big 4… avg 1 lb more (226) and 6’ 3”

    Simpson also keeps mentioning how big Vaz is. He’s the same height as Price and they differ by only 5 lbs

    Refs letting the little stuff go again….. could have called too many men twice on Habs and 3 times on Bolts; and I counted 8 “creative” offensive picks (with contact, so that’s technically interference)… Kuch 2, Stammer 1; Perry 1; Staal 1 ; Gallagher 1; Tiffoli 1; Coleman 1 …..8 … 4 apiece

    So that “letting it go” was basically even; but could have lead to more goals and then explosive reactions by the penalized team that got scored on

    Price and Vaz had a goal they want back; and Price was let down a few times by his teammates

    The fact that Kuch is only in the company of Mario and Wayne re only players with B2B 30+ point playoffs, says it all

    Every team would want a Gallagher on it…. the P & V , energy, and enthusiasm says it all

    Gut feeling…. next goal determines winner in Game 4….. so for Habs sake…. they need to shoot shoot shoot

  3. Habs are done This will be Tampa’s final year for the cup with expansion, the cap to even win Lord Stanley twice is an amazing Achievement. Tampa too many layers.

  4. Interested to see which 2 core Tampa players will not be back to try for 3rd Cup.
    McDonagh+Johnson perhaps.

    • Do not think any team taking Johnson from bolts without a very nice sweetener. Bolts will be a much weaker team next year but still very good. They will probably lose goodrow. Coleman. Savard and whom ever kraken pick If no one takes. Johnson. Then palat. Or something like that will also be gone

      • Tampa cannot protect all that D…Krakken will get a top 4 D from them

        unless yes tampa sends Ronnie a bonus to take Johnson and not a D

      • It is not certain that the Bolts will be a “much weaker team.” They have become adept at developing players, drafting low for half a dozen years. They’ll have Vasy. Barre-Boulet, Joseph, and Colton are ready to play now. There will be a fill-in or two from the “quality veterans who have not won a cup and want to make a run” club. They certainly have the assets to configure the expansion draft if R. Francis wants to play. Biggest issue is the quality minutes of the Goodreau-Coleman pair as defensive and penalty killing third liners; that will be the toughest replacement unless there is cap magic. I might forgoe one skill player to resign the pair if I had that choice.

    • Hi ds et al

      He has to move Johnson; has an opportunity with Krakken

      It will cost a pretty penny tho; AND BrisBoise still needs to dump another big Sal

      I’ll give it a shot…

      For GMRF to take Johnson….

      Kicker of McD AND Colton

      As at now… Bolts $5.1 M over, 4 to sign

      Above move…. a little over $6 M in space to sign/bring up 6

      Raddysh to replace TJ’s spot… will come in at $800 K
      Foote will bump up at <$1M

      So $4.3 M – $4.5 M to fill 4 spots

      So…. could be done

      GMRF might ask for another piece … Katchouk ? Finley? Next years 1st

      If Bolts turnover is TJ; McD; Colton….

      They are still a very good team; and 3peat is NOT impossible

      BrisBoise has been very adept at his moves… I think he can “geddderrrdone”

  5. John Cooper is the real coach of the year for what he has done with TBL.

    The Habs have enough core young talent and young enough coach to come out stronger from this Cup run.

    I like Ducharme but he will spend the summer picking apart this series and learning his lessons from the spanking he got from Cooper.

    There will be questions all summer about lineup choices, but I prefer to think the Habs braintrust knows more than we do.

    LTIR, taxes, language, advantages of other teams or disadvantage to Habs has never been part of my lexicon and won’t miraculously appear.

    • Props on your last sentence there.

  6. Montreal is a defensive team, they just can’t shut down everything Tampa has to offer.

    Going into last night game Phillip Danault was leading all forwards in ice time; after last night game Suzuki Had passed him with 18:50 minutes to to Danault 18:45

    Danault 1g 3a 4pts -1 in 20 games.

    Yes Danault can shut down the best of them but he isnt a goal scorer, he offer very little offense.

    When your chasing the game don’t you want guy who can put the puck in the net on the ice?

    Montreal only had Suzuki and Toffoli in the top 10 in scoring 9th and 10th, you have to go way down to 26th spot to see Perry.

    Toffoli has not scored in 7 games.

    Give Montreal credit they design a system that works best for the players they have, it has got them into the Stanley Cup finals.

    When your best shut down guy can’t score and your chasing the game, don’t you look at other options?

    • Not sure they have any other options, Caper. The guys in the press box aren’t better.

      Their only real option is better puck management all over the ice. The Habs repeatedly fail to get the puck out of their own zone, they don’t retrieve the puck in the Bolts zone, and they give up odd man rushes (last night featured a 2 on 0).

      Price has been getting criticism from Hrudy on his play, and he has not been spectacular. But he sure hasn’t been given the support Vasilevski has.

      • LJ,

        The Habs can copy TBL and themselves from the opening ten games of the season.

        TBL frequently keep Kucherov and often 2 men up really high and either dump or stretch pass, creating a break or forcing D to stay up high instead of pinching.

        The Habs did it with regularity to start the season with subsequent two on one or none off the rush goals.

        TBL scored a number like that in the series.

        Its one of the many adjustments needed.

        I watched the game on NBC last night, amazing how much more love they give the Habs than SN.

    • The Canadian division was a joke.Is this the best they have to offer,a potential sweep in the finals.All their statistics are tainted in my estimation.They look like AHL teams while the other divisions are playing in the NHL.Toronto should be ashamed of themselves,the table was set for them with this alignment.Edmonton with 2 of the best forwards in the world and MVP S,can t win a series.

      • So Steve R, what you are saying is the West is a bigger joke then and the best they could do was lose to the joke CDN div?
        Just want to understand your point.

  7. The Lightning may look different next year but my money is on Julien Brisebois … he plays chess while other managers play checkers …

    • Al Murray : look at the number of below-second-reound draft choices and undrafted free agents on this team; it’s more homegrown than most and Al was an Esposito hire who has been here running scouting through the full build-rebuild cycle and what is about to be a third cup. They won’t be drafting this year, again….and already have picked up their fast scoring if smallish free agent scorer
      (al la St Louis, Johnson, Marshessault, Gourde) all FAs

  8. By the Way — the Kraken CEO came from the Lightning Organization — I expect if there is a mutually beneficial hockey deal it can get done leaving many knashing their teeth.

  9. As i said before the Canadian division was awful.This is the best they have to offer.It looks like a sweep is evident.Toronto should be ashamed in themselves.Edmonton with 2 of the best forwards in all of hockey can t win a series.All their statistics are tainted because they played in the AHL,while the other divisions played in the NHL.

    • Did you pass out through the series when Habs beat the Knights, Steve?

      You’ve heard of the Knights, haven’t you? The team that beat a good Minnesota team and then one of the Cup favourites called the Avalanche? The team that the Habs beat to get to the finals?

      The Habs earned their way into the final based on merit. The Bolts are a better team now than they were when they won the Cup last year. That the Habs are playing their worst hockey of the playoffs against the best team in the league is a reflection of just that. Your comment about the Canadian division are both vapid and irrelevant to the playoffs.