NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2022
The Lightning are on the verge of their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final plus the latest on Evander Kane, the Avalanche’s injured players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight year after downing the New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Ondrej Palat broke a 1-1 tie late in the third by deflecting Mikhail Sergachev’s screened point shot past Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Brandon Hagel added the insurance goal into an empty net. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves for the win. The Lightning can wrap up the series on home ice in Game 6 on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the tightest-checking game of this series with the outcome in doubt before Palat netted his second straight game-winner. Both goaltenders were outstanding but Shesterkin had no chance on Palat’s goal. It was the Rangers’ first loss on home ice since Game 1 of their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There’s no question the Lightning have shaken off their slow start to this series and now hold the momentum returning to Tampa Bay for Game 6. Their championship experience and disciplined play have made the difference over the last three games. We’ll find out on Saturday if the Rangers can find a way to overcome this deficit and force a seventh and deciding game in New York.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Evander Kane appeared to bid farewell to Edmonton after posting a gracious thank-you to the Oilers and their fans on Instagram yesterday. In his statement, Kane said he was grateful “to have had the opportunity to play with such a committed, hardworking and loyal group of men.” He called the team a “first-class organization” and thanked them “for giving me the opportunity to play for such a historic franchise.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An optimistic will say Kane is leaving the door open for a possible return. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but this looks like he’s saying goodbye. The 30-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news on some of their sidelined players ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper said he’s fully recovered from the upper-body injury that forced him out of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers and sidelined him for the remainder of that series.
Forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano suffered broken thumbs during that series. However, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is optimistic they could return at some point during the Stanley Cup Final. The Avs are awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals.
THE SCORE: Bruce Cassidy was as surprised as everyone else when he was recently fired as head coach of the Boston Bruins. Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Cassidy said he was told by management that his job was safe during his end-of-season interview.
Cassidy might not be unemployed for long. He revealed he’s already spoken with a number of teams. “I want to get back to work. Hopefully, it’s a really good fit – best fit possible,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers say that this doesn’t reflect well on Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who visited Cassidy at home to deliver the bad news. I’ve heard it suggested that Sweeney was forced into firing him by team president Cam Neely.
Whatever the reason or whoever was behind it, this story only adds to the sense of offseason upheaval and confusion swirling about the Bruins of late.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs are seeking a new goaltending coach after parting ways with Steve Briere on Thursday. He’d held that role since 2015-16.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders have relieved assistant coaches Jim Hiller and John Gruden of their duties.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly asked the Canadiens for permission to speak with assistant coach Luke Richardson.
THE PROVINCE: The Blackhawks have also asked the Vancouver Canucks for permission to meet with assistant coach Brad Shaw.