NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2024

by | May 31, 2024 | News, NHL | 21 comments

The Panthers are poised to eliminate the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, the latest on the Oilers and Stars, the Stanley Cup Final schedule is revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers are within a game of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final following their 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. Gustav Forsling, Anton Lundell, and Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers after Chris Kreider opened the scoring for the Rangers. Alexis Lafreniere got the Blueshirts to within one goal with 50 seconds remaining in regulation but they couldn’t get the equalizer before time expired.

The series returns to Florida for Game 6 on Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm EDT.

Florida Panthers forward Anton Lundell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Florida dominated New York five-on-five for the third straight game. Kreider’s goal came shorthanded but the Panthers successfully killed off all three of the Rangers’ power-play opportunities.

Lundell’s strong all-around play in this postseason is drawing comparisons to teammate Aleksander Barkov.

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin was once again his team’s best player, kicking out 34 shots and allowing them to get back into the game. Kreider (one goal, one assist) and Zibanejad (two assists) picked up their first points of this series but Artemi Panarin was held off the score sheet. Those three have just one goal between them in this series.

Filip Chytil returned to the Rangers lineup for this contest while Blake Wheeler was a healthy scratch.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Gerry Moddejonge believes this postseason could be Connor McDavid’s best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup with the Oilers. He and his club are two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final following their convincing 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, tying that series at two games apiece.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moddejonge acknowledges winning this series doesn’t equate to a certain Stanley Cup championship. However, he also points out that losing this series means they’ll have no chance of winning it this year. He believes McDavid’s chances of winning the Cup decrease year by year.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Pete DeBoer didn’t have a firm return date for Chris Tanev. “He’ll see the doctor, we’ll take some pictures today, and cross our fingers” said DeBoer on Thursday.

The 34-year-old defenseman was seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot as the club returned to Dallas for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final scheduled for Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t sound good, though it could also be a precautionary measure. We’ll find out before game time if Tanev will suit up.

NHL.COM: The 2024 Stanley Cup Final begins on Saturday, June 8, at 8 PM ET. Follow the link provided for the full schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If required, Game 7 will be held on Monday, June 24.


NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin has won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Slavin previously won the award in 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lady Byng Trophy is also sneered at by hockey fans who mistakenly equate “gentlemanly conduct” with a lack of physicality. In fact, it honors players who play a disciplined game at a high level. Recent winners include Anze Kopitar, Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, and Ryan O’Reilly.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings named Newell Brown as an assistant coach on head coach Jim Hillier’s staff. He has a combined 27 years of coaching experience in the NHL, with his latest being a three-year stint as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks.

TSN: Former Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Mike Yeo was interviewed by Ottawa Senators general manager Steve Staios for a role with the Senators coaching staff. Yeo spent two years with the Canucks before stepping down earlier this week to pursue other opportunities.


  1. Fla. is beating up NY like they did to Boston! Bennet is getting healthy which helps their cause! Remind me of Vegas last year,big tough,physical all over the ice! And getting great goaltending although you just hear about IGOR in the series!

    • Igor is being outshot, out chanced , and standing on his head by what 2-1, 3-1 differential?

      The Panthers generally are a much better constructed team. Take Bobrovsky out of the equation, Florida is still leading this series. Take Shesterkin out and this series was over in 4.

      Bobrovsky gave up 5 in game 3 on 23 shots for a .763 sv%

      Igor worst in this series was 4 against and an .892 sv% same game.

      Bobrovsky has not exactly needed to be brilliant in this series, Shesterkin has had to be brilliant to give them ANY hope.

      Bobrovsky’s biggest fear in this series is a bad bounce soft dump and chase that takes an odd bounce? Because NY certainly isn’t making life hard on him.

      • Where s Panarin been?You mentionedFox being hurt,is he also?

      • Panarin overall has had a good playoff run. 14 points in 15 games. The soft dump and chase game NY is playing doesn’t exactly fit panarins style does it?
        He’s also being smothered whenever he has the puck. But what has that done? Opened up Laffrienere a lot more to do his thing.

        What else you got? Wanna jump back on the referees are just handing New York every game?

        Or that NY is just the luckiest regular season team ever?

      • Curious SR,

        Who are you a fan of? Toronto I believe?

  2. Not sure why Laviolette isn’t shaking things up more. That 1st pp unit needs a change. Zibanejad out , Laffrienere in.

    Fox is beyond injured, he’s skating on one leg and is a shell of himself. This is beyond maintenance days off from practice / a day or two off from game action. It looks pretty severe and maybe time to shut him down.

    Move Jones in Fox out. 4 minutes of Rempe per game to appease the fans? Why? Othmann in Rempe out. Zibanejad has been beyond awful. And I’m not talking about his lack of production, I mean generally. Somehow Wheeler is getting the blame for Zibanejad’s lazy turn over that lead to the OT goal in game 4?

    Overall effort just looks plain lazy most of the time across the board. Soft dump and chase, lose possession, rinse and repeat? I don’t know, maybe it’s time to change that idea?

    Why on earth are you pulling Shesterkin with about 3 minutes left when you can’t control the play or keep possession? Duh! Who didn’t see that coming?

    Your top players are almost invisible in this series. And the bottom 6 ? Cullye, Rempe, ? Yikes, Kakko? Awful!

    I’d blow up these lines for game 6. At this point what, do you have to lose?

    Bring in Berard, Othmann, Karlsson. Scratch Wennberg, Kakko and Rempe.
    Because, why not?

    • This series was a physical mismatch from the get go! NYR built for regular season, not playoff hockey! Games are not as close as the scores because of 31!

      • I’d disagree with NY being a “regular season team”. I mean, they’re in the ECF’s! Lol.

        A healthy Fox and better coaching is the difference here. They’re taking a much better coached / constructed team to 6, at least.

        This is not Toronto, Tampa (before they were winning cups) etc.

        Regular season teams get bounced in the 1st round, 2nd if they’re lucky.

        A healthy Fox and a better deadline , say Buchnevich or Vatrano and this team is over the hump.

      • Agree Captain, not having Fox is huge. Especially a team like Florida who puts so much pressure on you in your own end.

        Even if he was healthy, most of his plays would be safety first as you simply don’t have the time. But not all of them, and being able to leave your zone with control and speed is how you get to their end and get more rush chances which are harder to defend and for a tender to stop.

        What the Rags need is exactly what he brings. When he can move and buy himself some extra time.

        Not saying they would beat the Panthers for sure, but their odds would go up quite a bit IMO.

        I know the saying that injuries are not an excuse for losing. I agree they are a reason.

        The Rags are a team built for the playoffs, so are the Panthers, same with both teams in the west. All 4 of these teams have had consistent playoff success over the last 2-3 years.

        The Rags coaches obviously don’t trust Rempe to have him on the ice, so ya WTF are you doing? He isn’t deterring anything. That whole theory makes no sense.

      • Agree Ray,

        Using depth players as an excuse is just an excuse. Vesey Wheeler, Chytil etc. You lose guys like Fox, Mackinnon, Makar, Mcdavid, Mathews, Pastrnak and it’s a game changer.

        If you could find THOSE type of replacement players on your AHL squad, it would eliminate those pesky 8-10-12 million dollar contracts all together no?

        I’ve been saying since the Washington series (right here) that Trouba and Fox are 100% playing injured. And is Lindgren ever healthy? I also said as the playoffs go on it will become more and more problematic. So I was saying it while they were winning.

        I don’t know many teams that can afford to not have 2 top 4 d-men not at 100%.

        Their breakouts are non existent. They look to want to play safe after they get scored on. I don’t think the most die hard Panther fan, or biggest Ranger critic out there can deny NY was more than fine last night until the game was tied. Then back to the “safe” soft dump and chase BS.

        I’m still scratching my head at “regular season team” 2nd ECF in 3 years? They must be the luckiest team EVER!

        But it’s just more of the same, from the same people who use officiating and Bettman’s love of NY as the only reason NY has made it this far.

      • Ya CO, plenty of folks are on the win a cup or you suck train.

        Like how Holland articulated it when he first got to Edmonton. The goal is to build a sustainable winner that gets to the playoffs every year, and get more chances to win it all.

        Obviously you add where you can every year, but don’t sell all your future, as some years, things just don’t break your way. Like injuries, bad bounce in double OT against another really good team, bad calls at the wrong time, whatever.

        A lot has to go right to win it all, keep giving yourself a legit shot, and your doing your job.
        Said by a guy who has been in this a very long time, won his share, and lost his share.

        Ex Bruin pick Lindgren is a guy who puts his body on the line. Also seems like a guy that will have a permanent limp and perhaps some joint replacements at a young age.

      • Ray valid point on Fox, if you remember back in the Boston series, when Lohrei was able to carry the puck and skate out of his own end, was when Boston was able to put pressure on the Panthers.

        Fox is definitely injured and as CO points out, don’t know why Laviolette has not got Kreider, Panarin and Zibanejad away from the Barkov line. The absolutely shut them down. Do something, because doing nothing isn’t working.

      • True that Caper, they had last change last night too.

      • Caper,

        This is a lot like Gallants refusal to make game adjustments in 22 ECF’s against Tampa. Like exactly the same.

    • Captain Obvouis,I ama Boston fan mainly but I love hockey! Have been a big supporter of Kreider and Vesey and I thought the hit on Vesey was a cheap shot!The Rangers were possession type team all year! Why the change in style!You have to admit that success in the playoffs goes to the most physically talented teams like Vegas last year and Fla. this year!

  3. Great insight by Moddejonge in pointing out that if the Oilers lose the series they have no shot at the Stanley Cup. Why didn’t any of us think of that. No wonder those guys get paid big bucks to write about hockey.

    Moddejonge doesn’t explain why McDavid’s chances decrease every year so I imagine that it’s simply a mathematical equation. The fewer yers a player has left, the less a chance of winning it all. All in all, not a very insightful column.

    • Edmonton journalists had to come-up with something quick after being admonished by Bieksa for being too hard on Nurse 😉

      • Surprised to Dale Hunter on the list and not Cam Neely

      • Where do you see Hunter’s name when you click on the link above?

  4. I hope the thoughts that, among UFAs who might be pursued by Staios for the Senators’ D is Chris Tanev.

    Nothing against the guy as a player – he’s tough enough, can skate well and is a shot-blocking machine. But he’s also frequently out of the line-up with injuries directly related to the way he plays the game.

    And that, in a nutshell, describes a D who once played here – Anton Volchenkov. Always hurt and never around when you needed him most.