NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2024

by | May 7, 2024 | News, NHL | 35 comments

The Bruins defeat the Panthers in Game 1 of their second-round series, the draft lottery will be held today, Jets coach Rick Bowness retires, the Senators are poised to hire a new coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Jeremy Swayman kicked out 38 shots while Mason Lohrei and Jonathan Brazeau each scored their first NHL playoff goals for the Bruins. Matthew Tkachuk replied for the Panthers. Game 2 is Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers opened the scoring in the second period but the Bruins quickly seized contract soon afterward with goals by Morgan Geekie, Lohrei and Brandon Carlo. Brazeau’s goal in the third period put this out of reach.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (NHL Images).

Swayman was once again the difference for the Bruins. He’s their MVP thus far in this postseason.

Carlo missed practice yesterday as his wife gave birth to their son at 3 am back in Boston. The club flew him to Florida on a private jet in time to suit up for this game.

The 2024 NHL Draft Lottery will be held today at 6:30 pm EDT at NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. The San Jose Sharks have the best odds of winning (18.5 percent) after finishing last in the regular-season standings.

Boston University center Macklin Celebrini is the prize. Winner of the 2024 Hobey Baker Award, the 17-year-old is considered the top prospect in this year’s draft class.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Rick Bowness announced his retirement on Monday. The 69-year-old spent 38 seasons in the NHL in various coaching roles.

Bowness’ 2,726 games behind the bench as a head coach or assistant coach are the most by anyone in league history. He served as a head coach for this incarnation of the Jets over the past two years and one season with the original club in 1988-89. Bowness was also the head coach of the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness said he still loves the game and coaching but personal reasons were behind his decision. He took a month-long leave of absence earlier this season after his wife, Judy, was hospitalized by a seizure. Bowness also took some time away for a medical procedure. Here’s hoping he and his wife enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are expected to announce Travis Green as their new head coach by as early as Wednesday. He served as the interim coach of the New Jersey Devils after Lindy Ruff was fired in early March. Green was considered a top candidate for the full-time position but Devils management appears to be waiting for better options, allowing Green to speak with other clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green spent nearly five seasons with the Vancouver Canucks during a time of considerable upheaval in the front office as the club attempted to rebuild its roster. He faces the challenge of coaching a Senators club filled with good young players who have missed the playoffs over the past seven seasons.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe took full responsibility on Monday for his club’s first-round elimination by the Boston Bruins. In what many believe was his final press conference as Leafs coach, Keefe said he still believes in the team and in himself but admitted his fate was out of his control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keefe sounds like he knows he’s coached his last game with the Leafs. His fate could be decided later this week.

Leafs center Auston Matthews explained his absence from Games 5 and 6 of that series against Boston. He said he was “really, really sick” following Game 2 and tried to play through it during the next two games. “Then I took a weird hit and I couldn’t go any longer. That’s as detailed as I’m going to get into it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why Matthews appeared to be at half speed during Games 3 and 4. His illness contributed to the Leafs’ elimination by the Bruins.

Matthews’ teammate Mitch Marner said he wants to be part of the Leafs’ long-term plans. He has a year remaining on his contract.

I’ve expressed my love for this place, this city,” said Marner. “I grew up here. We’ll start thinking about that now and trying to figure something out.” He said it means the world to him to play in Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner also said he and his teammates are looked on as “kind of gods” in Toronto. That raised some hackles and criticism in Leafs Nation but he’s not wrong. The problem is that these “gods” keep coming up short after eight seasons of hype and expectation.

Marner’s teammates also came to his defense about the criticism of his play in recent years, expressing their hope that he’ll remain part of the team’s future. Whether management feels the same way remains to be seen. I’ll have more on Marner in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment CEO Keith Pelley, team president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Brad Treliving will meet with the media on Friday. The press conference was originally scheduled for Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact Shanahan is part of this presser suggests he’ll be completing the final year of his contract. His future beyond that remains in doubt and will hinge on the club’s performance in 2024-25.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forwards Evander Kane and Adam Henrique missed recent practices in favor of maintenance days to get healthy. Head coach Kris Knoblauch expects they’ll resume practicing on Tuesday and be ready for Game 1 of their second-round series against the Canucks on Wednesday.

Kane has been hampered by a sports hernia this season. Henrique suffered what appeared to be a leg injury during the Oilers’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks center J.T. Miller is expected to be matched up against Oilers center Connor McDavid in the upcoming series between their two clubs. He admitted it will be challenging to contain the Oilers captain. “He’s different than anybody,” said Miller. “You can play what seems to be a perfect shift and all of a sudden he’s gone.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That matchup will be a crucial factor in determining the outcome of this series.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings general manager Rob Blake shot down recent speculation suggesting his club should buy out Pierre-Luc Dubois. He said they have no intention of buying out the final seven seasons of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois had a disappointing first season with the Kings, ending up on their fourth line during the playoffs and finishing the regular season with only 40 points. The criticism of his play was justified but the notion of a buyout was absurd.

Whether at one-third or two-thirds of the remaining value depending on Dubois’ age during the buyout, it would count against the Kings’ cap for twice the remaining term. That means 14 years if they bought him out in June.


  1. Well, now, THAT was interesting. Florida opens the scoring midway through the 1st and probably many (me included) figured “here we go … the route is on.” But then a funny happened on the way to the final whistle. Within 5 minutes Boston’s secondary scoring – including big D Lohrei – had Boston in the lead and they never looked back from there. And when Florida did threaten (they did have 39 shots on goal) that brick wall Swayman got in the way. Caper, I may have been misguided in my 4 – 5 game Florida prediction.

    • GeorgeO, Florida was shaking off some rust, their first game in a week.

      When you get goals From Lohrei, Carlo, Geekie and Brazzeau you need to win that game.

      The way Swayman is playing i don’t see any game where the Bruins get blown out.

      Still my main concern with Boston is the faceoff. The finished the Tornoto series around 37% last night was slightly better at 41.3% it just kills anything. Got to get it closer to 50%.

      Florida will be better in game two but if goalie Bob plays the same way the Bruins could walk out of Florida up by 2.

      • True that Caper. Swayman may have made the save of the game in the first minute as FLA came out and pressed the B’s. Gave the B’s some time to gather themselves and start to push back.

        I though Bob was gonna roll too as the stoned us a few times early. The goals the B’s scored were good. Not really a soft one in there. Gotta hand it to your boy Lohrei, that was a great shot. FLA must have tried the same one, short side aim for his ear, 4 times. Couldn’t hit it. Lohrei did.

        If the B’s can get out of there with 2 wins, I will be pleasantly surprised. I fully expect FLA to come out flying and hitting everything that moves. Kinda what they do.

        George, not really misguided as FLA has the better team on paper by quite a bit, and dominate chances as a team. Usually a recipe for success. Unless they hit a tender who is on fire.

        Can Swayman keep it up playing every game? I would think we are gonna find out.

      • Ray, of the 58 times the Conn Smythe has been awarded to the most valuable player in the playoffs, a goalie has won 17 – or 29% of the total

        Crozier – Det; Hall – St. Louis; Dryden – Mtl; Parent – Pha (2 x); Billy Smith – NYI; Roy – 3 times – twice as a Hab and once with Col; Hextal – Pha; Ranford Edm; Vernon – Det; Ward – Carolina; Giguere – Ana; Thomas – Boston; Quick – LA; Vasilevsky – TB

        In comparison, a C has won 19 times, a D 12 times, a RW 8 times and a LW 2 times

      • Ya, it sure does happen with tenders in playoffs. Thomas won the Conn Smythe for the B’s in 2011 and deserved it. A repeat of that type of tending would be outstanding!

  2. All the Best to Boston

    Florida will be mind boggled facing Swayman ..

    As for Toronto it was mentioned Shanahan will most likely remain , which is a hindrance ..

    Hopefully Teliving is allowed to do his job …

    It’s not a major overhaul , but it will be interesting , if they remain with the present core

    Keefe will have no problem finding new employment if the axe comes down ..
    Ottawa should hold off with their decision , who coaches their team , as I feel Keefe would be a good fit … Winnipeg. As well

    • I do think it would be unfair to fire Keefe since he had no say in trying to flesh out a 23-man roster with 55% of the cap devoted to 5 players. That is all on management – Dubas has already paid for that quandary while Shanahan seems to be covered with Teflon.

      Looking back over old reports, many are of the opinion that his firing in 2021 was unfair as well and siply part of a general house-cleaning which also saw GM Jim Benning fired. And he hasn’t been back in the game anywhere since then.

      The Canucks were certainly a dysfunctional bunch in those days and all of the blame for that was deservedly laid at the feet of Benning, who assembled the roster.

      • You find it unfair to fire a head coach for not changing a power play that when 1-22 and haven’t ever been over single digit success percentage? Or what about the PK? Also a train wreck year over year. What about deployment of players? I think I saw he tried different line combinations throughout the season over 100x but barely if ever in the post season…he like to run his favorite horses. Those are all on the coach, not players or management as one can easily point out.
        Honestly, if the Sens had two goalies, one you’ve seen is very good and shows a lot of promise, but the coach goes with the more experienced but lesser goalie for 4 of the first 6 games, wouldn’t you be calling for his head after seeing what the younger goalie could of done if he was in net more?
        Ok what about the team not being able to show up in the biggest games? Heck, how about how they don’t show up when they play lesser teams?
        I do like Keefe but not enough to give him another shot at this team.

      • Keefe will probably get fired. Fair or unfair, doesn’t really matter, it is just what happens and will likely happen this time. Keefe knows that, as does every HC in the NHL.

        Leafs dealt with injuries with 2 of their top 4 that missed time. Plus perhaps Marner still hampered by one. Then Woll gets hurt.

        Some folks say injuries are not an excuse. I agree with that statement as I think they are a reason. Top players get hurt, you generally lose. Just like my B’s last year.

        What I do know, is that it will be easier to fire Keefe and replace him, than it will be to get a fair return for Marner with a year left, a NMC, in a cap world, with the sharks smelling blood in the water, and a fan base and media environment that demands it. If Treliving pulls it off, good on him. Might end up keeping him if the deal isn’t there, who knows. THAT would take stones.

        Good luck Brad.

  3. It’s a bit soon to say the Bruins will win the series as I remember they had a good first game against the Leafs and barely hung on to win in 7. However Swayman appears to be a difference maker and if he can continue to play at the highest level then the Bruins have a much better chance than I originally gave them credit for. As a lifetime Bruin fan, I must admit to being hopeful…

    • Paul H, when the dust cleared, the primary Boston scorers – Marchand, Pastrnak, Coyle and Zacha did not have a goal, but 5a – including 2 by Zacha.

      All the scoring came from their secondary offense – including D – with Brazeau, Geekie, Lohrei, Carlo potting the main goals, DeBrusk into an empty net and one assist from each of Frederik, VanRiemsdyk, Wotherspoon and Lohrei.

      That has to be encouraging. And as each game goes by I think the Bruins have themselves a gem in Lohrei. In addition to his intimidating size, he can skate and gets in on the offensive side of the equation with confidence.

  4. I have to say I liked Montgomery´s timeout. He called it at the right time and the team responded. I felt during the season there were games he should have done that. I also liked the heavy line-up on the power play at the end. Telling the Panthers you want to start your cheap crap we´re right here.

    • Agree on the timeout and Brazeau scoring was neat – he’s come a long way since he played with the Marlies.

  5. Marner’s comment regarding gods is spot on. The Leafs toy with their fans as Zeus et al did with the Greeks.

    • Agree 100% Everydayboots. As a fan of the game in general, and just two pro teams over the past 7 decades +, one element of the fan base I could never understand is the one that puts players on some sort of pedestal, fawning all over them as if they were “gods.”

      From my perspective, pros are paid – very very well in comparison to Joe Public – to do one job. Win. If they can’t do that with any consistency – or stop doing so at the level expected and remunerated for – then look to move them out any way possible.

      That is what professional sports is all about. No one should be considered “untouchable” in terms of trades. In my view anyway. I fully subscribe to the adage “what have you done for me lately?” That certainly has been applicable to coaches and GMs over the years who, if they don’t win, are quickly jettisoned. Why should the players not be held similarly accountable?

      • George if everyone can do that one job, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, right? Everyone can flip burgers but not everyone can skate like the wind and blast a puck +85mph.

        I don’t like it when people who overlook the fact that much of what we experienced in youth these guys gave up to be these “gods” and to be paid as such. This is true for doctors, engineers, artist both visual and not. And the kicker is, we get to enjoy what they do because of their skills and dedication to being their best.

        Unless anyone can do what they do, no one should say they make too much. Would you say Apple makes too much money for making electronic devices? Sort of the same thing, no?

      • Where, exactly, do I say they “make too much.”

        They make what they demand and the team agrees or make what the team offers in the first place.

        What I’m talking about is that element of the fan base that fawns all over them like they were the second-coming.

      • @Ron would I say Apple makes too much… uh… F&*K YES. But it is what it is.

      • Hell, so does Rogers and Bell with their combined monopoly ,,, but again, it is what it is.

      • Sorry George you’re right you never said too much but that was the sediment I felt by your words “pros are paid – very very well in comparison to Joe public”.

        But I think you’ll have to agree Joe public (and his family) didn’t make the same sacrifices these pros made.

        Lastly, as a child or even young teen, you never pretended or fantasized being on your favorite team with your favorite players and winning the Stanley Cup? Were your hero’s not god like to you? It was for Tavares, right?

      • No, I never engaged in fantasy.

        And how do YOU know that “Joe Public And His Family” never made the same sacrifices these pros made?”

        Define “sacrifice”

    • Fans tend to live vicariously through their team, their top players, and yes they get treated like gods and lift the hopes and aspirations of the fanbase and the fans……and when they fail/fall it’s a bitter disappointment to the fans.

      Sport encourages the colosseum vibe and fans act accordingly, wearing war paint, chanting, cheering, booing.

      People don’t live vicariously through their doctors, accountants, civil servants, bus drivers who are all professionals and not one will be seen as a god and nobody would feel impacted by their departure.

      • I always pretended I was playing with my favorite players, and against the dreaded Habs when I was a boy.
        I never pretended to be my idols(and they truly were to a young me) but I imagined I stood with them.
        I was a weird child who won many cups on the ponds. All of the hockey gods would be there.
        Mitchell’s statement is accurate.

      • HF30. Just imagine if the billions of dollars invested in sports entertainment somehow was diverted into health care. I’m waiting for the day when major sponsors put their money in hospitals and healthcare. The Scotiabank Oncology ward awaits. The professionals who are dedicated to improving the overall quality of our lives deserve to be seen as gods.

      • Your post made me smile, SOP. Brought back some of my own memories.

        My Dad was a Leafs’ fan, as was I as a kid.

        Then I got better 😉

  6. Best wishes to Bowness in retirement. Good coach and good hockey man. Still remember him benching Neely, Oats and Bob Sweeney back in the day, thought that was great!!!

  7. Shanahan needs to be shown the door. Maybe they’ll hire him in Pittsburg.

    • My prediction is that Shanahan will announce his retirement on Friday and some time in the next couple of days Treliving will relieve Keefe of his duties.
      Might be wishful thinking though.

    • Pittsburg is in Kansas. What would they do with Shannahan there?

  8. Bennett into Swayman game 2?
    Bruins never cease to amaze me. on paper not this good…on the ice what team play

    and yes Toronto. paid the kid gods before they won a playoff series…..set the tone. Shanny and coach should be gone

    • The Panthers play different when Bennett is out creating havoc. Both him and Tkachuk will be in the blue paint as often as they can.
      Then we’ll see about this Maroon fellow. I’m hoping for what I perceive to be justice if that is indeed the case.

  9. As a team thru the season and playoffs thus far the Bruins are below 50% in team faceoffs and their top 2 centers are way below that, they got bye in the Leafs series but that will become more of a issue in this series …Watching the game last night the Panthers did try to set a physical tone but got pushback by the Bruins… Panthers have nobody to match up with Maroon and he makes every other Bruin play bigger and tougher … a game within a game …. One more if I may the Bruins really need to do a better job getting the puck out of their D zone Panthers with non stop forechecking ..Sway played as good as a goalie could

  10. I have no idea how to feel about Green being hired as the coach. I have no idea what his style is but it seems like he has had very little success anywhere else, and 4 years is quite the contract to hand him…

    I was really hoping for Berube or ANYONE with a proven track record. But it is what it is… I am definitely not suddenly filled with excitement for the next season in Ottawa.

    • Heh. I initially felt the same way … but I did a bit of digging and came across a LOT of opinions that Green was unfairly tarnished with the same brush as Benning, who was solely responsible for assembling that legendary dysfunctional Canucks roster. But wh en they finally fired Benning, Green was caught up in the housecleaning frenzy.

      If it turns out he doesn’t have what it takes, Staios will have to explain his choice to Andlauer. We should get some idea early as to how the roster responds to his approach.

      • yeah, you have a point. And he was assistant to Ruff and took over a floundering team when Lindy was fired.

        Well… we will see. He seems to be very good in AHL etc.