NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2024

by | May 18, 2024 | News, NHL | 25 comments

The Panthers and Stars advance to the Conference Finals, the Maple Leafs hire Craig Berube as head coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers are heading to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year after defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 in Game 6 of their second-round series, taking the series four games to two. Gustav Forsling broke a 1-1 tie with 1:33 remaining in the third period. Anton Lundell also scored for the Panthers and assisted on Forsling’s goal while Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for the win. Pavel Zacha scored and Jeremy Swayman stopped 26 shots for the Bruins. It’s the second consecutive year they’ve been eliminated by the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Florida did a superb job smothering Boston’s offense in this series. After a series-opening 5-1 victory, the Bruins scored two goals or less in each of the next five games. The Panthers’ penalty-killers limited their opponent to one power-play goal in the series.

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov briefly left the game in the third period after blocking a David Pastrnak shot with his left hand. He returned and completed the game, telling reporters afterward that he “felt great”.

Brad Marchand’s return to the lineup for Game 6 couldn’t prevent the Bruins’ elimination. If not for Swayman’s outstanding goaltending, this series wouldn’t have gone as long as it did. Bruins fans chanted his name in gratitude, moving the 25-year-old to tears. He wasn’t helped by his penalty killers, who gave up six goals in this series.

The Panthers will face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 1 in New York on Wednesday, May 22, at 8 pm EDT.

Dallas Stars forward Matt Duchene (NHL Images).

Dallas Stars forward Matt Duchene scored in double overtime to lift his club to a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of their second-round series, eliminating the Avs in six games. Stars captain Jamie Benn tied the game in the third period after the Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on Mikko Rantanen’s second-period goal. Jake Oettinger finished with 29 saves for the Stars while Avs goaltender Alexandar Georgiev turned aside 36. The Stars advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive year and await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Vancouver Canucks series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dallas appeared to score in the first overtime but Mason Marchment’s goal was overturned following a league-initiated review after it was initially waved off. The claim was Duchene interfered with Avalance goalie Alexandar Georgiev but the Stars forward was outside the crease and was bumped by Avs defenseman Cale Makar. Despite winning the game and series, the Stars remained puzzled by the call.

The Stars got the win without center Roope Hintz. He missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury.

Roster depth made the difference in this series. Colorado Hockey Now’s Evan Rawal indicated four Avalanche forwards had more ice time in Game 6 than the Stars’ forward leader in ice time. The Avs couldn’t match the Stars’ overall depth in this series.


TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs announced Friday that Craig Berube is their new head coach. Berube spent five seasons with the St. Louis Blues, coaching them to the Stanley Cup in 2019. Fired by the Blues in December, Berube becomes the 40th head coach in Leafs history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube has a reputation as a straightforward, no-nonsense bench boss with little patience for players who don’t adhere to his game plan or put in a full effort. It will be interesting to see how well the Leafs players react under his guidance.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers need more production from captain Connor McDavid and winger Zach Hyman to stave off elimination tonight in Game 6 of their second-round series with the Vancouver Canucks. McDavid has one assist in his last three games while Hyman has been held off the score sheet over the same period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Give credit where it’s due, the Canucks have done a good job shutting down McDavid and Hyman. It’s not because of a lack of effort by those two.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet said it would be a stretch to expect Thatcher Demko to return to action in Game 6. Demko’s been sidelined by a lower-body injury following Game 1 of their first-round series with the Nashville Predators. Arturs Silovs is expected to get his ninth straight start for the Canucks.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers hope their layoff until Wednesday’s start of the Eastern Conference Finals will benefit sidelined forwards Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler. Chytil played in Game 3 but missed the remainder of their series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Wheeler was taken off long-term injury reserve after participating in full practices with his teammates this week.

CAP FRIENDLY: The 2024 second-round pick the Carolina Hurricanes sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Jake Guentzel trade does not become a first-rounder because Carolina failed to reach this year’s Stanley Cup Final. The Hurricanes also retain their 2025 fifth-round pick.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils signed enforcer Kurtis MacDermid to a three-year contract extension with an average annual value of $1.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is in response to the Rangers, a close division rival, having Matthew Rempe on their roster. He’s also well-liked by his teammates.


  1. Boston had the best goalie in the playoffs and the weakestDefense and forward groups!It will be interesting to see who they add and subtract in the off season! Safe to say it will be a much different looking team next year!Subtractions might be 1,12,21,48,28,61,94, 74 on the fence ! Additions?

    • If Boston perceives those you number (I have NO clue as to who wears what number – lol) as weak links needing to be replaced, I’m sure the other GMs share that assessment, and will likely be looking elsewhere to bolster their own lineups. Or, if seeing one or two as possible projects, won’t exactly be offering anything substantial in return.

      Last night, after Boston’s elimination I tried hard to stay awake through that whole Dallas-Colorado marathon … but at some point I woke up with the bedroom TV still on and the game obviously long over, so I didn’t know who won until around 7:00 am this morning after I had my first cuppa (NOT Tim Horton’s).

      • I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means….I don’t think Bettman has an agenda (other than to make money and grow the game)…I don’t think the refs call games for a certain team to have an advantage, and I don’t think professional sports are rigged…. however, that call in the first overtime for goalie interference makes me question my beliefs…I agree with all of the commentators, beside Lundqvist, that there is no way that was goalie interference and that the league somehow wanted to give the Aves another chance. I mean a McDavid/McKinnon WCF would be pretty star studded…….. just saying

      • Don’t let the incompetence of some on-ice officials and those running the video reviews turn you into a conspiracy theorist. There’ve been bad or questionable calls in the postseason for some time now.

      • Anyway, so far in these playoffs picks I’m running 8-3

  2. Well, that was a fun season to watch and cheer for my team. I do believe they exceeded expectations yet again.
    Thanks for the parlay all year, fellas!

  3. Re-Leaf

    Leafs announced Friday they hired former St. Louis Blues Coach Craig Berube as their New head coach.
    Berube was the best person for the leafs job, he is a no nonsense Coach….
    But he has his hands full on a re-tool on the Fly, with the 2X$11.M dollar players they want to replace

    Muskoka Mitch should be traded out by the NHL Draft, a !st line Scoring RW should be in Demand
    A trade involving 4 or 5 peices for a Starting Goaltender Like Nashvills Saros or Boston Ullmark, hopfully Woll Grows out of his injurys

    John Tavares has a $11.M NTC he will Not Wave,😲

    Some re-tool for the 2025 & the rest of the re-tool for 2026 Season
    1/Starting Goaltender✔️
    2/ 2 Top 4 D/men A RD & LD/man✔️
    3/ Rebuild the Top 9 over 2 years✔️
    4/ Add some young Talent from the Farm✔️

  4. I believe there are only 3-4 teams that do not need to make some significant off season moves if they keep the same personel!Dallas,NYR,FLA.Vanc. Everyone else should be very active making for an interesting off season!

  5. Blown call on goalie interference for sure

    Add insult to injury; review committee couldn’t see that Duchene was fully outside crease until Makar pushed him in???? WTF?

    I don’t have vested interest in the series; so from an “outside” viewer, bad call.
    Rectified later though with Dallas win

    Berube coaching Leafs… double stab to heart for me. We didn’t get him and the hated Leafs did. 100 thumbs down

    Re”The 2024 second-round pick the Carolina Hurricanes sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Jake Guentzel trade does not become a first-rounder because Carolina failed to reach this year’s Stanley Cup Final. The Hurricanes also retain their 2025 fifth-round pick.”

    Again, just reiterating the pummelling Wadell did to Dubas on that trade

    The trade ended up flipping Guentzel for Bunting and space; plus a 2nd that “may” have a few games starting in 26/27

    The other “prospects” will be in AHL (at best) for their careers

    F$&@k’n Dubas

    end of rant

    • However, Guenther wound up helping Carolina to do zilch, so whatever they gave up for him was a waste. Carolina wou ld have won round 1 with or without Guentzel, so what good did the trade accomplish ?

      I admit I know little about the prospects Carolina gave up except their stats. 2 of the 3 seem to have had pretty good seasons though.

      Guentzel might have helped the Pens to the playoffs,where they would have been first round fodder anyway. And he is a UFA, so maybe he signs in Pittsburgh.

      • Hi Iago

        Yes Guentzel would have got them (Pens) to playoffs; and Pens would have got at least 2 home playoff games

        And they would have still been able to offer him an 8 year extension

        And, in the Stanley cup playoffs; anything can happen

        The return they (Pens) could have got with any other GM (not named Dubas) at the helm; would have been at least twice as good

        Bunting and a “maybe” (late 2nd) for Guentzel; just atrocious

        Re Canes giving up an asset and a maybe just to get ousted round 2; well a TDL trade is always a gamble…. You can be heavily favoured; and add; only to be ousted early…. Look no further back than the spring of ‘23 for that

        Many many teams were interested in Guentzel. Many would have paid much more

        Dubas only went to Wadell as he had a familiar (Leaf ) face that Dubas wanted(Bunting) ; literally giving Wadell the upper hand in the trade

        Wadell knew this and asked Dubas to bend over

        Dubas did and loved it

        Completely beaten up by a far superior GM

  6. Tonights Oil & Canucks game

    The Oilers need production from the 3rd line,
    Hopfully we see some line up changes to the 3rd & 4th lines
    Adam Henrique? injured & Sam Gagner, Sam Carrick
    Connor Brown, & Corry Perry & Ryan McLeod

    make a couple of changes to the 1st & 2nd lines
    Canucks have dont a good job of shuting down the 1st line of Nuge, McDavid & Hyman
    Swap out Nuge for Kane on the 1st & 2nd lines
    Put Warren Foegele back on the 2nd line with Leon & Nuge

  7. Florida should ask the league if they can play their games at the TD Garden 6-0 is very impressive.

    The lack of any type of playmaker for the Bruins was very noticeable.

    I would’ve moved Lohrei to the top PP unit he has vision and willing to make some moves.

    The fact the Boston fans were chanting Sway–Man after the game, is all you need to know about the Bruins.

    This was a bonus season, no draft picks so going as far as they did, doesn’t hurt in that regard.

    my pre playoff finals of Dallas vs NYR is still in play.

    • We both have that projected final.

      The road for Dallas is a lot easier than that for NYR. Their series with Florida looks to be a heavy-hitting, grinding series – probably 6 or 7 games.

      Vancouver – if they win – will give Dallas a tougher series with their deeper D and better goaltending than that of Edmonton. And you can be sure the Dallas braintrust is busy studying every aspect of how Vancouver has covered McDavid and Draisaitl.

      • I had Canes Oilers, no prize for Ray.

        Ya, better than expected season for the B’s. Still have the culture and grit, need some more players.

        With the B’s out, go Oil.

        I think Mr McDavid has a big game tonight. There’s a guy that might be playing with something. He isn’t shooting and methinks the Nucks have noticed that too. Especially on the PP when he drives to the middle and dishes, the threat of the shot has to be there to make it effective. Same for Bouchard if they collapse down low. Let er rip

        Or maybe McD is just trying to be too perfect, who knows, but they need him at his best. Now or never.

  8. I was told the return for Jake Guentzel wouldn’t be underwhelming. Spoiler alert: It is.

    • Wow. Is it ever! A 2024 2nd round pick that projects to be somewhere in the 25 range, a D (Ty Smith)_ taken in the 1st round in 2018 by NJ and, 6 years later, all of 123 NHL games under his belt – most with NJ, a collection of previous 2nd/4th round picks not generating any excitement anywhere – so far anyway – and Michael Bunting!

    • So very right Brock

      You give Dubas an F grade on that…. Well my assessment has an F in it too. A big F (there are other letters in the word though)

      Dubas literally has done nothing right for Pens; losing every trade; overpaying and over-terming useless UFAs; letting cheaper and far superior UFAs get snatched up by opponents

      Waddel absolutely kicked the living sh$#&t out of Dubas. Most media had pegged the expected return at : 1st, plus Roster top 6; plus prospect

      Got the Roster top 6 (only because Waddell didn’t want him); 1st became a late 2nd; and zero prospects (note: “prospect “ infers at least some probability of future NHL play… what Dubas got…. Count that at zero NHL games)

      Then there is giving Graves tooooo long a term

      Then there is the acquisition last summer of aging and weak declining production depth Fwds/4th liners ; overpaying them AND giving them term (need only cite Accairi to prove my point)

      Then total roster make up last summer (when he wasn’t sure of when Guentzel would return ; so only guaranteed 5 top 6 forwards); Dubas completely ignored the huge need for a true 3rd line; and signed many many 4th liners

      Trades: Nylander (better than Bemstrom ) AND a 6th for Bemstrom…. Lost that one

      Pitlick for a CONDITIONAL 7th????

      Friedman for Rathbone ?????

      The real big loser trade… Karllsson. Grier had public stated “I don’t really want to retain more than 30%”; later he admitted that he might have to retain as much as 40% (acknowledging that publicly means he was willing to take more)…. Then the deal came with Grier getting away with only retaining 13%; and Dubas had to retain 25% on Petry

      Pens got Karllsson with only 13% retained; Hamaliuk (likely a career in ECHL; maybe AHL; Pitlick (who was traded for a CONDITIONAL 7th); and had to retain 25% on Petry

      So basically with 25% retained on Petry…. Karllsson effectively came over at full whack for 23/24 plus nothing else

      For that “privilege” Dubas gave up


      5 roster spots, replaced by 1; with a $10 M cap hit for 3 MORE years (after this year) at $10 M cap, for 34 year old (next week) who had his peak performance in 22/23; basically did about 50% of his 22/23 production in 23/24; and who had a ton of turnovers and was not very good (in relative terms) on the PP (one of the key things he was brought in for)

      So a massive loss in that trade

      Waiting until after the season to fire Rierdon ; when Dubas should have booted him in January; February at the latest

      Signing poorer, older, weaker and smaller UFAs for more than younger, better, stronger UFAs were going for at the time last summer (will just give 1 example to make this hit home….Geekie 6’3” ; 205; at the time 24… 2 yrs $2M…. Dubas instead gave 3 (three )years at $2 M (60% raise BTW) to 5’10” , 200 , soon to be (at that time) 32 year old Accairi who was (at that time ) on a 1 year prove me contract and had instead (of proving anything) showed 3 straight years of decline

      Dubas has done an absolute F%+&#k-up of a job as Pens GM

      • I’d say Bunting is a borderline top 6 player, he’s definitely a third liner on a deep team. He’ll be 29 in September and hasn’t even play 300 games yet. The best players from his draft year have played 500+ already.

  9. This is the Canucks’ second year under GM Patrick Allvin and the realistic expectation was to challenge for a wildcard playoff spot. The Canucks have exceeded the expectations of the Management Team and the fan base. I’m sure they’d like to win it all but their window is just opening so there isn’t a tremendous amount of pressure to win it all. Failure to do so won’t result in massive personnel changes.

    On the other hand, the Oilers came into this season with a “cup or bust” mentality. They put so much pressure on themselves they had an abysmal start to their season. Now they’re down 3 games to 2 and facing elimination against a team nobody thought would be here. They must win 2 straight games against a team they have won only 2 of 9 games against this season. Failure to advance will result in significant changes to the Oilers’ personnel. The pressure must be tremendous.

    • Big roster changes in store for Edmonton for sure Gored 1970, nit made any easier by the fact that they face 48% of their cap devoted to 5 players (not as bad as Toronto’s 62% – but still constricting).

      Their 2 RFA decisions are non factors – both will likely start in the minors – but replacing – or even re-signing some of – those 10 UFAs is going to present some major challenges for Holland. And he still has Campbell and his $5 mil cap hit with Pickard among the 10 UFAs.

      • One more year, George, then Tavares comes off the books. By the way, watch for him to have a big year under Berube.

      • George,
        The Two Players the Oilers need to move 1st

        1/ Trade the $9.M dollar man Daniel Nurse before his NMC kicks in July 1st

        2/ Trade out Jack $5.M dollar Jack Campbell or buy him out, ??
        Maybe a prospect, & 2nd round pick and Campbell to a team like Chicago or San Jose with $40.M in Cap space❓

        After that

        LW Warren Foegele
        Re-build the 2nd d paring after the trade

        Move Ryan McLeod to the wing in the bottm 6
        teach him how to Shoot 0 points in 10 Playoff Game’s…❗️😳
        use him as part of a Jack Campbell trade??

      • Williew

        Number 2 on your list should be number 1

        I personally like Nurse but acknowledge his Cap hit is prob $2M high

        Campbell’s $5M cap hit is $5M too high