NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2023

by | May 25, 2023 | News, NHL | 41 comments

The Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final, Stars captain Jamie Benn is suspended for two games, the finalists for general manager of the year are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers are going to the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal with 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 36 shots as the Panthers win the Prince of Wales Trophy for the first time since 1996.

Florida Panthers pose with Prince of Wales Trophy (NHL.com).

Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin left the game early in the first period with an apparent concussion after a hard hit by Panthers forward Sam Bennett behind the Hurricanes net. He was sidelined for the remainder of the game with a suspected concussion. Following the game, Slavin said the hit was clean.

Slavin’s teammate Stefan Noesen suffered an upper-body injury in the first period. He returned in the second period but was not on the bench for the third.

The Panthers await the winner of the Western Conference Final. The Vegas Golden Knights hold a 3-0 series lead over the Dallas Stars and can close out the series with a win tonight in Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-earned win by the Panthers in both this game and in a series where each game was closely contested and decided by one goal. Bobrovsky and Tkachuk were their dominant players but this sweep of such a strong opponent was definitely a team effort. Captain Aleksander Barkov tied with Tkachuk for the club lead in points (five) in this series while forwards Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart and Bennett each had three points.

This was the third time dating back to 2009 that the Hurricanes were swept in the Conference Final. However, this one probably hurts the most. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes they deserved better and he has a point. The Hurricanes controlled the play but were stymied offensively by Bobrovsky’s goaltending. Losing Slavin in Game 4 was a big blow to their blueline.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn received a two-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone in Game 3 of their Western Conference Final series.

Benn’s teammate Max Domi was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Stone in the third period of that game.

Evgeni Dadonov is doubtful for Game 4. The Stars winger suffered a lower-body injury in Game 3 and didn’t return.

SPORTSNET: Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts issued an apology to the Golden Knights after fans littered the ice with debris late in the second period of Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fallout from the Stars’ horrible performance in Game 3 will have consequences for tonight’s game against the Golden Knights. They must now try to avoid elimination without their captain, whose undisciplined antics have taken him out of this series at a crucial time when they need his leadership and experience the most.

NHL.COM: Jim Nill of the Stars, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers are this season’s finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This award, like all NHL individual awards except for the Conn Smythe Trophy, is based on regular-season performance. Thus, I think Sweeney will win it because of his club’s record-setting performance with 65 wins and 135 points.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced that Kyle Okposo has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Okposo, 34, served as the Sabres captain last season. In 75 games, he had 11 goals and 27 points.

Okposo also earned the Rick Martin Memorial Award, “presented to the player who fans believe best embodies what it means to be a Sabre through on-ice excellence, resilience, and dedication to the community.”

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Playing for Sweden at the IIHF World Championship, Sandin was injured following a knee-on-knee hit by Team USA’s Michael Eyssimont, who was ejected from the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are probably breathing a sigh of relief that it was much worse. Sandin is expected to play a big role among their top-four defensemen next season.


  1. Benn’s 2 game is not nearly enough, and is a joke, as is his statement about his actions. Offering such a lame and unapologetic explanation should earn him another 2 games. It sounds like we should expect additional viscious moves by this overpaid goon.

  2. Congratulations, Florida. Cinderella team? Yes, but how much? We’ll see when they face Vegas. I’m not predicting that one because my brain says Vegas is the better team, but my heart wants Florida to win.

    • With you there. In fact, anyone but Vegas.

    • My sentiments exactly Paul.

  3. NJ’s Fitz not being a finalist for GM of the year is crazy to me.

  4. Hang Sweeney s award with the banner proclaiming the best regular season in the history of the NHL!

    • Why would they want to hang a Montreal banner in the Gardens?

      The Bruins did have a fantastic season with a 65 12 5 135 pts record, scoring 305 while giving up 177. But that was over an 82-game schedule which, on a % points basis works out to an 0.823 record.

      In 1976-77, when the season was 80 games, the Habs finished with a 60 8 12 132 pts record, scoring 387 while giving up 171, and on a % points basis that works out to an 0.825 record.

      • Ah George, I remember those good old days!

      • I don’t know if it’s fair to compare the game to another era. Besides games played, style and rules where also different. I think any accomplishment is worthy in its own right. No one can take away what either team has done because in their own way it’s incredible and worthy of acknowledgment or praise however it seems fit. Like after all it looks like the difference as you worked out seems to be 2/1000th of a percentage point. 🤗

      • You’re absolutely right … the purpose of my post was to refute the contention that Boston’s great season represents “the best regular season in the history of the NHL!”

        Over an 82-game schedule in the history of the NHL? – absolutely!

        By what margin is immaterial, really. But without that games-played qualification the statement in question is not accurate. That’s all.

      • There was no OT back in 1977. Or Habs would have picked up at least 8 more points.

    • GeorgeO whether you like it or not, it’s the best regular season in the history of the NHL.

      No other team had more wins or more points.

      In the end who gives a flying F. It’s a meaningless record. Wins you F all.

      Whoopi Do, we had a historical regular season! and went golfing after round one.

      Before Boston was on pace for the record, i had no idea of who held it; in two years you can ask that question on here and most will have to look it up including me. ( No i won’t, because this season was the upmost of a failure i’ve ever witness).

      • Don’t get your knickers in a lump – technically, yes, it’s the best season ever … based on an 82-game schedule. Period. That’s all I was pointing out to Steve R.

        Hell, way back in 1943-44 when the season was 50 games, those Habs finished 38-5-7, which is still the record for 50 games played.

      • Lol GeorgeO, all good, I’m still pissed at the missed opportunity. I put the loss on Jim Montgomery and Patrice Bergeron.

      • Habfan30, I will put it to you this way.

        The Montreal TSN announcer during game 82 this season said:

        Doing what Boston has done in the cap era blows away what Montreal had done.

        Remember back then, the only way a player left their team was if they were traded.

    • The Boston record comes with an asterisk.

      The 1976-77 Habs got 132 pts with 2 less games and more importantly no overtime and shoot outs.

      Man for man ( 9 Hall of Famers ) the 76-77 Habs blow away the Bruins.

      That team also won the Stanley Cup, the second of 4 in row.

      • Ah HF30, I remember those good old days!

      • Not only did they win the cup that year, they did it by sweeping St.L 4-0 in the quarter-finals, beat the NYI 4-2 in the semis, and then swept Boston 4-0 in the finals, scoring 53 goals and giving us just 23 over 14 games played. Add that to their seasonal record and they wound up with 72 wins – 10 losses – 12 ties.

      • Ah George, I remember those days!

  5. I’m for either vegas or Florida. But it will be funny to see the reaction of those who erroneously believe that vegas was given too big an advantage in the expansion draft.

    • I guess we forgot to check with you before forming an opinion.

      • It’s ok. Now you know for next time George!

      • Nah. I still prefer my own opinions.

      • Don’t we all.

    • Oh, no, Vegas wasn’t given too many advantages in the expansion draft. Neither Minnesota nor Columbus, the last expansion teams before Vegas, have ever made it past the 2nd round of the playoffs after 23 years. But Vegas made it to the Finals in it’s first year of existence. Completely fair….to dumb people and Vegas fans.

      • Vegas should have been allowed to pick third liners and at best the number 4 d man on any given team. No way should that have created the team that’s been so successful. But a brilliant gm that took advantage of other teams cap issues as well as aggressive trades and signings plus let’s call it creative navigating of their own cap is what put vegas where they are. The nhls expansion draft rules had nothing to do with it.

      • Bingo Chrisms! It’s really the hard cap that has allowed Vegas and now Seattle to come into the league and compete right away; much more so than the draft rules. So many teams are strapped for cap space that it’s easy to pluck very solid players from them if you have room for their salaries.

      • Cheese with that wine?

      • Here’s fact. Bettman has been trying to prove that hockey will thrive in the desert for years (see Coyotes). But, contrary to popular belief, he’s not stupid and knows that it’s easier to prove hockey will thrive in the desert when the arena is full because the team’s winning. So, he changed the expansion draft rules to give Vegas the best chance to ice a winning team. He’s admitted it.

      • Maybe the rules were modified because of the lack of success of previous success of teams? Why would the nhl not learn from previous expansion drafts and alter their plans accordingly? It doesn’t change the fact that teams only had to expose bottom six forwards their 4th best and down d men and their backup goalies. Bettman didn’t swing deals for karlson marcheswhatever maf etc. in no way shape or form were they gifted a cup contending team. So you have to wonder what’s really driving people’s vitriol?

      • Jealousy Chrisms…

      • Maybe dubs. Frustration? Spite? Or do people honestly think it would have been better if vegas wasn’t competitive?

    • well it was better than the wild and the jackets since those two had to pick from the same pool. And Vegas sure is missing the player they had to give to the Kraken. Oops my mistake they were exempt from that. Any team that made it to the finals should not be exempt in my book. I’m a lifelong season ticket holder of the Jackets. But at least we only dropped one spot in that circus they call the draft lottery instead of 2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Chicago you win because it’s been years since you have won. Columbus it’s only been 23 years for you. So just pay your dues. Bit I’m not pissed much.

      • Sounds like proof to change what wasn’t working before. All expansion teams added after the OG six were built using similar drafts as Minnesota and Columbus….some came from defunct or minor leagues even.

        It’s too bad it took them this long to get it but in part, a big reason is simply the cap handcuffed a lot of unsuspecting GMs and these teams saw ways to exploit that. What’s that saying, you close a door a window opens…that’s the cba for you.

  6. Paul Maurice, Bruce Cassidy and Pete Deboer knowing as a few Pr@*Ks of coaches to some players and two of them are about to meet in the Stanley Cup finals.

    Today NHL GM seem to give to much credence to the players exit interviews, and not enough to the on ice success of the team.

    • Ah, I remember the old joke, purportedly about Scotty Bowman:

      (paraphrasing, since I can’t remember it exactly)

      for 364 days a year, the players hated his guts. And on the 365th day they picked up their trophies.

      • Yep. That was Steve Shutt who pointed that out.

        He was on 5 cup winners under Bowman and later observed that Montreal players hated him for 364 days a year, and on the 365th they got their championship rings.

  7. Calgary Flames 🔥 fans crying in there Beer last night watching the game when Matthew Tkachuk 😇 scored with 4 seconds left…👌

    • No love for Bennett? He’s been great all playoffs creating space for things to happen. I credit him for a lot of the success they are having; he’s the perfect crafty/dirty player you win with.

      • Yup. Love Sam Bennett.

      • Sam Bennett will go down as I lived by the sword and died by the sword…NHLPS would roll they’re eye’s if he got his head ran through the glass…”Looked good to us play on”