NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2024

by | May 23, 2024 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The Panthers take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, the latest on the Stars and Oilers ahead of the Western Conference Final, the Devils and Kings hire new head coaches, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers blanked the New York Rangers 3-0 to take Game 1 of the 2024 NHL Eastern Conference Final. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 23-save shutout and Matthew Tkachuk opened the scoring with what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe each finished with a goal and an assist, with Verhaeghe’s goal the result of an accidental deflection by New York winger Alexis Lafreniere into his own net. Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves for the Rangers.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Game 2 is in New York on Friday, May 24 at 8 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers’ strong defensive play made the difference in this contest. They kept the Rangers from registering shots on goal for long stretches, especially in the second period.

The Blueshirts didn’t look sharp in this game but we can expect a more determined effort from them on Friday. That could include boosting their physical play by inserting hulking forward Matt Rempe into the lineup.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Adam Henrique could return to the Oilers lineup for Game 1 or 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars. Henrique missed all but one game of their second-round series with the Vancouver Canucks dealing with a suspected ankle injury. He’ll bring invaluable secondary scoring and depth to their special teams.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger left practice on Wednesday with an illness. However, head coach Pete DeBoer is confident Oettinger will be good to go for the first game of the Western Conference Final tonight in Dallas at 8:30 pm EDT. Sidelined Stars Roope Hintz (upper body) and Jani Hakanpaa (lower body) remain day-to-day.


NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Various reports indicate the Devils have hired Sheldon Keefe as their new head coach. It’s believed he’s signed a four-year contract.

Keefe was the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs for five seasons until fired earlier this month. He guided them to a regular-season record of 212-97-40 but won only one playoff series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumors of Keefe being hired by his old buddy, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas, to replace Mike Sullivan, enabling Sullivan to be hired by his old friend, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald.

Keefe has a proven record of working well with a team carrying plenty of offensive talent. However, his efforts were hampered by the Leafs lack of reliable goaltending and blueline depth. He faces the same issues in New Jersey but Devils management will attempt to address those problems.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings removed the interim tag from Jim Hiller’s job title, making him their full-time head coach. He took over on Feb. 2 after Todd McLellan was hired with the Kings in danger of falling out of playoff contention. Hiller righted the ship as the club went 21-12-1 in 34 games, clinching a playoff berth but getting eliminated from the opening round in five games by the Edmonton Oilers.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames and assistant coach Marc Savard mutually agreed to part ways after one season. His responsibilities included running the power-play, which finished as the league’s seventh-worst.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ David Alter cited rumors linking Savard to the Maple Leafs as a possible assistant coach to their new bench boss, Craig Berube.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Kings have granted the Sharks permission to speak with Marco Sturm as part of their search for a new head coach. Sturm coached the Kings AHL affiliate and began his NHL playing career with the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eishockey News recently indicated Sturm was interested in the Sharks coaching job.

THE ATHLETIC: The Penguins are looking into having Jaromir Jagr return to the club in an official capacity. Jagr spent his first 11 NHL seasons with the Penguins, winning five Art Ross Trophies and helping them win two Stanley Cups.


  1. Well, great game and win for Bobrovsky and Panthers.

    In my heart I’m cheering for Panthers (because as a Pens fan, I like many, don’t like Rangers); but my wallet is cheering for Rangers as I’m loaded with Rangers in my pool,

    Sadly, I don’t even get credit for Lafraniers goal.

    Logic had me thinking relatively low scoring ; but Rangers over Panthers.

    I certainly didn’t foresee a reasonably tagged softie by Shesterkin ; an own goal by Lafrenier; and Bobrovski making so many tremendous saves

    If Rangers lose tomorrow night; that will be a very steep road to climb. I need a bounce-back 7-1 V by Rangers (he says laughing)

    Tonight, logic (and odds) has Stars over Oilers.

    I’m not as familiar with Western teams as I am with Eastern teams; and I believe each team has but one former Penguin; so I’m not really vested in that series. Oilers only have just one of our countrymen (Ryan); Dallas has 5 (Robertson, Pavelski, Smith, Suter, Oettinger); so, I guess (?) I’m cheering for Dallas? In my best Will Farrell voice , reading off the prompter “questionably” and with true “uncertainty” :
    “I’m Ron Burgundy?”
    So in that tone —- “I’m cheering for Dallas?”

    In that series it really depends on what “team” shows up. Dallas has more depth and generally balanced. However, Oilers at their best; are better than Dallas at their best. If Oilers can play a full game like they did for the first 50 minutes in game 7 vs Canucks; then Oil can take it tonight.

    If Henrique plays; that’d be a good boost. His production with Oilers was not what he did in Anaheim; but he was adjusting to his new roll; new system and apparently was playing through injury.

    Knoblauch re Henrique playing:

    “We believe he’s really close and we’re expecting him early in the series, whether that’s Game 1, 2 or 3, but we’ll definitely be seeing him at some point”

    And I think he practised with team yesterday; so ????

    Regardless of outcome; the game should be fast paced and entertaining

  2. Glad Keefe not coming to Pens

    We do need a new coach though!

    Jagr coming to Pens in an official Capacity!

    Well, I guess Jagr in, Carter out does improve the team even though they get older🤣

    Jagr as player/coach ? 🤣

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing Keefe guiding New Jersey to the playoffs and, maybe, eliminating Toronto from the playoffs. That just might be enough to convince Toronto ownership that the Shanaplan is a mistake.

    • If that happens, Paul, Shanahan is as good as gone. The Leafs won’t renew his contract after that.

    • But they wouldn’t meet until the east finals unless one is a wild card and the other a division winner. Would be a hilarious story, but not likely. The east will continue to be wide open next year though I think. Definitely a potential rebound for NJ, maybe some reversion in Carolina, Boston, and/or Toronto? The funniest part of Keefe’s new gig would definitely be if NJ succeeds in landing a reliable goalie, which he never got in Toronto.

    • What an odd thing to say. Still hanging around with that little black cloud, eh? Weird way of thinking/live by. Surely hoping bad will on others isn’t a sign.

      • I’m a long time supporter of underdogs. Toronto may be the biggest underdog in North American sports. Seeing Shanahan continue the disappointment and pain of Leafs fans due to his ridiculous “building” a team for the high scoring 80’s has been irritating. The only team I want to win the Cup more is my hometown Blue Jackets.

      • Why would Shanahan building a high scoring team like the eighties be irritating. Goals are what the fans want and who in the f^#k are you to speak for me or any of the Leaf fans. You don`t know squat about how fans from other teams feel or think

      • Maybe the Leafs are a little ahead of the curve? Meaning the game hasn’t changed as fast as Dubas and maybe Shanahan thought it would. But it is changing, just slower.

        Some writer on SN suggested that. Thoughts?

        Speaking of the Leafs adding more skill, they were worse scoring points from the D-core than any of the 8 teams remaining in RD 2.

        Good teams, including in the playoffs, have D that move the puck and add offense. So maybe it isn’t as much about 80’s style, as it is about resource allocation, which many people on here advocate.

        That particular stat suggests they need another offensive D-man, or a higher end one. Usually have to draft a Makar/Bouchard/Hughes type. Or by committee like FLA. Not many bruisers on that blue line, but they all play hard and tough. The only guy they drafted, and has been with them since is Ekblad. Kulikov too but he is well travelled. They have multiple guys that skate and have hands.

        Montour will be a UFA I think, shoots right. Maybe he hits the market.

      • Why don’t you call him a troll, Yogi? That seems to be your epithet for anyone not bleeding blue & white who dares to comment on the Leafs. Don’t look now but I seriously doubt Lyle has a restriction that only allows comments n a given team by registered fans of that team. You don’t like Paul’s comments? So what? Have you ever looked in a mirror? Who the f”ck died and elected you King S:>t Of Turd Island?

      • Yogi, I’m too polite to say what I’m thinking, so I’ll ask you a question. Are you happy with the Leafs always being a one and done team? If so, I apologize for thinking that you might be disappointed with how your team has been failing. Especially when the Jackets knocked the Leafs out of the expanded playoffs in 2020.

      • How do you consider Toronto underdogs? The have wallets deep enough to sign the players essentially all signing bonus. They have tons of players aching to play for them (results being what they are plus the lingering question of should the shouldn’t they) but Tavares signed under market to play for them. They players get more sponsorship money. They are the least underdog team in the league. Your team is possibly the most underdog. Maybe second to now Utah.

      • Most definitions of “underdog” is an entity “not expected to win.”

        I would think that, after 57 years of not even reaching the Cup finals – despite all the things you point out – they’ve earned the title.

  4. waiting for news that Dubas is signing Jagr to a 2 year $10M deal, he sure loves collecting old vets

    • 1 year $900 K, replacing $3.1 M Carter.

      Pens older, but better!

  5. Jagr still living in Czech. Maybe a European scout? An ambassador of sorts to help lure European free agents?

  6. Keefe to NJ is a good move, NJ have a good Team But they need a Real starting goaltender
    to fget them over the Hump….. They also have $19.M in Cap Space….

    Posible Trades for a Starter..

    NJ 10th pick over all & a Prospect like Stillman or Foote for Saros….❓
    This would help the Preds re-build at # 10 pick they could get a very good player…


    NJ 10th pick over all & a Prospect for Ullmark, Boston will move him at or Before the Draft June 28th ❓
    This may help them trade for a player they need like a #1 centre or top 6 Scoring winger….🤔

    • Saro s ,Ullmark,Markstrom,where do they go,and what does the return look like!

  7. In an article this morning Garrioch lists the 6 ex-Senators still in the cup chase

    Zibanejad – 3g 11a 14 pts in 10gp
    Ceci – 2g 1a 3 pts in 12 gp
    Connor Brown – 0g 1a 1 pt in 6 gp
    Matt Duchene – 2g 4a 6 pts in 13 gp
    Tarasenko – 2g3a 5 pts in 11 gp
    Dadonov – 3g 3a 6 pts in 13 gp

    Quite frankly, the only one I’d like to see back in Ottawa is Zibanejad.

    Wonder how many ex-Bruins, Penguins, Leafs, Red Wings, Canucks etc. are still in the hunt.

    • Nothing triggers more mixed emotions that watching your team’s ex-players in the finals,
      especially if you knew they were good but they were cap casualties, or you traded them too young for cannon fodder.

      • Some of these were trades, some left via free agency, but these ex-Leafs went elsewhere to win a Stanley Cup:

        Vincent Damphouse; Phil Kessel; Tomas Kaberle; Nazem Kadri; Dave Andreychuk; Alex Steen, Lanny McDonald; Tyler Bozak; Curtis McElhinney, Luke Schenn, Erik Gustafsson.

        Still in the hunt this year for the top prize: Zach Hyman; Jimmy Vesey; Cody Ceci; Mason Marchment

    • George O, i see 4 ex-Bruins

      Tyler Seguin
      Craig Smith
      Ryan Lindgren
      Blake Wheeler

      Although i picked Dallas over the Rangers in the cup finals, i wouldn’t mind seeing Blake Wheeler win a cup. He got traded to Atlanta in 2011 the season the bruins won the cup. Hopefully he can get into the lineup and bring some physicality. Wheeler gave it all to the Winnipeg Jets.

    • I believe just Rodrigues;



      Ruhweedel(don’t think he dresses??);

      Domingue (don’t think he dresses??);

      Pouliot ; (don’t think he dresses??)