NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2023

by | May 24, 2023 | News, NHL | 14 comments

The Golden Knights are one game away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final, the Flames officially introduce Craig Conroy as their new general manager, former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is moving on, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Final following a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, taking a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (NHL Images).

Vegas got three first-period goals by Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev and William Carrier to take an early stranglehold on this game. Alex Pietrangelo made it 4-0 in the second period. Adin Hill stopped 34 shots for his first career NHL playoff shutout.

Stars captain Jamie Benn received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking Golden Knights captain Mark Stone at 1:53 of the first period shortly after Marchessault’s goal. Goaltender Jake Oettinger was pulled following Carrier’s goal. The Stars also lost winger Evgeni Dadonov to a lower-body injury following a collision with teammate Roope Hintz.

Stars forward Max Domi received a 10-minute misconduct for cross-checking Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague with 26 seconds remaining in the second period. Unhappy Dallas fans littered the ice with debris, forcing officials to send both teams to the dressing room until the ice was cleaned up. Golden Knights netminder Hill was showered with popcorn as the teams returned to finish the period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Star imploded early in this game and never recovered. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong as the Golden Knights swiftly took advantage to take what should be an insurmountable lead in this series. Their frustration from the previous two games boiled over in this contest, all but scuttling any hope they had of reaching the Stanley Cup Final

Benn’s undisciplined penalty and ejection following Marchessault’s game-opening goal seemed to rattle his teammates. Everything devolved after that with Domi’s stupid penalty and Dallas fans showing their displeasure by littering the ice marking an ugly climax to a crappy night for the Stars.

The Stars defended Benn’s action following the game by claiming he “made a mistake.” No, this wasn’t a mistake. He’s not some inexperienced youngster who let his emotions get away from him. It was a boneheaded move by a veteran player and team captain who’s supposed to know better. He hurt his team at a time when they needed his leadership. It’ll be interesting to see if Benn received supplemental discipline from the league.

Meanwhile, Stars coach Peter DeBoer must decide if he’ll go with Oettinger for Game 4 or with backup Scott Wedgewood. Pulled three times in this postseason, Oettinger’s best save percentage in this series was .892 in Game 1.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, received solid goaltending from Hill, picked apart a Dallas defense in disarray and quickly capitalized on their opponent’s many mistakes. They can put this series away in Game 4 on Thursday in Dallas and return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2018.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames yesterday formally introduced Craig Conroy as their new general manager. They also introduced Dave Nonis as senior vice-president of hockey operations and assistant GM, promoted Brad Pascall to VP of hockey ops and assistant GM, and promoted Chris Snow to VP of data/analytics and assistant GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Conroy offered up no timeline for when he’ll name the Flames new head coach but indicated it’s high on his priority list. There’s a report suggesting former New York Rangers bench boss Gerard Gallant could be a “prime candidate” for the job. For now, Conroy’s immediate focus is on amateur scouting meetings ahead of the upcoming NHL Draft Combine (June 4-10).

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas released a statement yesterday declining to get into the details of his recent firing. Instead, he thanked the organization for the opportunity to work with them over the past nine seasons. He offered up no information about his future plans, concluding his statement by saying he and his family “will roll from here.”

The Maple Leafs have given the Pittsburgh Penguins permission to speak with Dubas regarding their vacant general manager position.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of which, former Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka has emerged as a “strong candidate” for the job. Dubas, however, is considered the front-runner. The Penguins have reportedly informed “multiple candidates” that they were no longer in the running.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas’ sudden availability had a significant effect on the Penguins’ search for a new general manager. It was rumored for weeks that he was their preferred choice if he and the Leafs failed to agree to a new contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s soon announced as their next GM.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a source close to the St. Louis Blues is dismissing rumors of general manager Doug Armstrong becoming a candidate for the Leafs GM job. The “high-ranking source” said all of the talk “seems to be fabricated.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong has declined to comment on these rumors which have originated in the Toronto media. He would make a prime candidate for that job but this speculation seems to be based more on pundit musing than any hard fact.

Some Toronto talking heads think the Blues might let Armstrong interview for the job if the Leafs were to ask permission or if he told Blues owner Tom Stillman that he was interested in that role. So far, however, there’s no indication that either situation has unfolded.

It wouldn’t make sense for the Blues to let Armstrong go at this stage of the offseason with the draft and free agency a little over a month away. He’s also two years into a five-year contract which lacks an “out clause” allowing him to move on to other management jobs elsewhere.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said he’s optimistic that team captain Aleksander Barkov will be in the lineup for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Final with the Carolina Hurricanes. Barkov left Game 3 on Monday with a lower-body injury but Maurice indicate his absence was “as much precautionary as anything sinister.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The New Jersey Devils will host the Philadelphia Flyers as part of the 2024 NHL Stadium Series at Metlife Stadium next February.


  1. Boy, did I miss on the WCF. I thought that, at the least, Dallas would put up more of a fight. Florida v Vegas for the Cup?

    Is Calgary joining the Rangers and Jackets for the Retread Coach Merry-go-round?

    With how often they’re wrong, one would think that the Toronto hockey media would learn to sit back, shut up and wait to see what happens.

    Well, if nothing else, the Jackets are being ignored by the national media.

    • Yeah, I had Dallas as my dark horse team when the playoffs began … talk about a roster suddenly acting like a deer in the headlights!

      When was the last time both semi-finals went 4-0? Lyle? Any idea?

      • The last time was in 1992 when it was the Prince of Wales and Campbell Conference. Penguins over Boston in four while the Blackhawks swept the Oilers.

      • Thanks Lyle.

        And that year, I see, Pittsburgh then swept Chicago in 4

      • That was a great year.

  2. I am hoping that Benn receives a well deserved significant fine and suspension after his viscious use of the cross check yesterday. Unfortunately, the NHL itself is partially responsible for this incident, since this is not the first time Benn has done the exact same thing. He put Dylan Larkin in a neck brace for 2+ months about 2 years ago by cross checking Larkin to the back of the neck, for which he received not a penalty, fine, suspension, or even a reprimand. And I have watched Benn deal out multiple viscious cross checks since injuring Larkin, and has consistently attempted to injure players by his intentional dirty play. I hope the NHL hits Benn hard for this, including a suspension that extends into next season. Maybe this might get his attention.

    • Give up hope. Petriangelo got a 1 game suspension for the same offense. Until the Department of Player Safety actually cares about player safety, these things will continue.

  3. I’m just embarrassed for this team and its fans. Complete meltdown, starting from the top. As Jamie Benn enjoyed a fantastic comeback season, it was all for not. He’ll only be remembered this season for that STUPID play in game 3, costing his team a chance to play in the Finals….Even as a Stars Fan I think he should get 3-5 games, if not more…. you could even see Stone put his hand up, like “Dude, I’m in a vulnerable position, and I’m already down, please don’t hurt me”. Just embarrassing!

    • So Dreger asks his “sources” in ST.L regarding a rumor that his ilk are “reporting” Armstrong is being looked at for the vacant GM job knowing that he’s under contract, no out clause, and no other indication that any of it being true?

      Isn’t that the arsonist way of reporting? If you cant find a story, make one up! All of these “insiders” suck. The catch phase that should sound your BS alarm is the line that’s a form of “what I’ve been hearing” or “from what I’ve been told by (usually an unnamed source)”, nothing that they would commit to regarding the crap that’s about to come out of their talking heads. I guess it’s too much to be loyal to the fans that read their crap with insightful reporting since that involves hard work and time when they can just retread old thoughts or take a hit off a pipe and dream up some crap that is totally insulting (to our intelligence) tele novella like stories to the fans to read instead.

      I guess that’s what’s nice about thinking for yourself and expressing it here, we might not be right but we are definitely not making our point in hopes of receiving the most likes or page views or comments.

  4. Lyle, Wow you did not hold back on your assessment of the stars. With that said, it was bang on.

    The only defense I would offer Benn, is the crap officiating throughout the playoffs he probably thought if anything he get a 2 minute minor for cross checking.

    Domi, idk what he was thinking.

    The cup is going to Vegas and what I party it should be.

    • I wouldn’t be so quick to award the Cup to Vegas? Florida is definitely capable of bringing it home. In case you haven’t been watching, they do everything well. Will see but I wouldn’t start scheduling a parade just yet

      • I schedule it after the first round.

      • The kind of relentless, in-your-face, 4-line consistent hockey and goaltending Vegas will face against Florida they haven’t even remotely seen yet .

    • Any team capable of defeating the 3 teams (after defeating Carolina) with the most wins in the Eastern Conference is not to be taken lightly.