NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2024

by | Jun 2, 2024 | News, NHL | 54 comments

The Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Stars and Oilers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year, holding off the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to win the series four games to two.

Sam Bennett opened the scoring in the first period, Vladimir Tarasenko added the insurance goal in the third period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for the win. Artemi Panarin scored for the Rangers to make it interesting late in the third period while Igor Shesterkin stopped 32 shots.

The Florida Panthers are the 2024 Eastern Conference champions (NHL.com).

The Panthers posed with the Prince of Wales Trophy when awarded to them at the end of the game but didn’t touch it like they did last year. “We touched it last year and it didn’t work for us,” said Sam Bennett, referring to their five-game defeat at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. “So, we thought we’d try something different this year.”

Bennett and his teammates will get a six-day break as they await the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars. The Oilers hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up with a win on Sunday night in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers might be hoping to change their luck in this year’s Stanley Cup Final but they didn’t need luck to defeat the Rangers. Their experience, disciplined defensive game, and physical style made the difference in Game 6 just as it had in each of their three previous victories in this series.

The Rangers played better in the last two games but couldn’t mount sustained offensive pressure against Florida. The Panthers snuffed out their power play and neutralized scoring forwards like Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad. They also prevented the Rangers from generating offense from the blueline, though the Blueshirts were hampered in that department with defenseman Adam Fox hobbled by a knee injury.

Shesterkin was outstanding for the Rangers, giving his teammates a chance to win throughout this series whenever they fell behind. However, his teammates couldn’t match the Panthers’ heavy game.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers are on the cusp of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006.

Their offense has dominated this postseason. Connor McDavid (29 points), Leon Draisaitl (27), and Evan Bouchard (25) hold the top three positions among this year’s playoff points leaders, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied for fourth with New York’s Vincent Trocheck. Meanwhile, Zach Hyman leads all goal scorers with 13, followed by Draisaitl with 10 goals.

Their defense has a league-leading 46 points in this postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers sit second in goals-per-game average (3.59) and power-play percentage (34.7) only because the Colorado Avalanche ran up big numbers during their five-game opening-round elimination of the Winnipeg Jets. It’s also worth noting that their penalty-killing percentage (93.5) is first overall.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars hope their strong road record will help them in Game 6 as they try to force a seventh and deciding game against the Oilers. They tied with Florida for the most road wins during the regular season (26) and have six road wins in this postseason. They also need scoring from a power play that has gone 0-for-11 in this series.

Stars coach Pete DeBoer said Chris Tanev was sore following Friday’s game against the Oilers but he’s confident the 34-year-old defenseman will be ready to go for Game 6. Meanwhile, Stars blueliner Jani Hakanpaa didn’t make the trip to Edmonton as he recovers from a lower-body injury.


THE DENVER POST: Corey Masisak points out Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is poised for a big pay raise. He’s eligible next July to become an unrestricted free agent but the Avs can sign him to an extension this July 1. He will enter the final season of his six-year, $55.5 million contract with an annual average value of $9.25 million.

A comparable is Boston Bruins’ right wing David Pastrnak, who’s in the second season of an eight-year deal with an AAV of $11.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak noted that paying Rantanen $11.75 million on his next contract would be a raise of only $2.5 million annually from his current salary.

The Avs’ offer to Rantanen won’t exceed Nathan MacKinnon’s team-leading $12.6 million. As one of the NHL’s top right wings, he will likely get between $11.5 million and $12 million on his next contract.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Daniel Alfredsson is leaning toward returning to the Senators’ coaching staff next season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steve Warne cited The Athletic’s Mike Russo reporting that the Senators didn’t renew assistant coach Jack Capuano’s contract, which expires on July 1. Russo indicated that Capuano could be a contender to join the Minnesota Wild’s coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps ensuring that Alfredsson will be back with the Senators next season.


  1. The better team won. The better team is going to the Stanley Cup finals. Period.

    Sad for me as I was loaded with Rangers in my pool. Zero chance of winning now.

    If not for Shesterkin; this series wouldn’t have made it to game 6. Some might argue; not even until game 5.

    Out-hustled and out-matched. Looking at the series as a whole, it really looked like the Panthers wanted it more.

    Superstition???? Boy did Maurice make it very clear to Barkov, No touching of The Prince of Whales trophy THIS time

    It looked like it might happen by accident though. Okposo slipped a slight bit when getting ready for pic and steadied himself by grabbing table; fairly close to the trophy

    • If not for shesterkin? Thats kinda a weird thing to say. He’s on their roster and they depend on him.

      If not for Barkov, Panarin, Zibanejad and Kreider would have been much more effective. Rangers win on 5-6.

      See how silly that sounds?

      • It is irritating when we hear that kind of illogical observation, CaptainObvious. But we hear it with the conclusion of every series.

      • Jacob Trouba is dirty player gets away with so many cheap shots. Why the NHL doesn’t discipline him? Happy the Panthers won!

      • Crosby is pretty dirty too. That guy never gets disciplined. That’s why I’m glad his career will end on a rebuilding team!!

      • Yeah, and he’s the ONLY one in the league to which that description applies.
        Over the season he has 73 PIM – Tkachuk, for the other side, had 80 PIM. You think he’s an angel?

      • I hear your point CO. The goalie is part of the team as much as anyone and he’s in there every night.

        The reason why people always single out the goalie is because his job is different than the others. There’s only one goalie and he’s in for the whole game. Barkov and the others are part of a group of 18 skaters. The forward and defensemen have multiple responsibilities. The goalie has one job – stopping the puck. The skaters determine the flow of the game. The goalie doesn’t. And the goalie is unique in that a great game or a horrible game from him could directly affect the outcome and allow the team that had been outplayed to win or the better team to lose. You really can’t say the same for any skater. That’s why you hear analysts say “if it weren’t for the goalie”

      • George,

        While I truly mean that Crosby gets away with murder, I’m kinda just throwing shade back.

        Somehow, when Crosby slew foot’s a players, spears a player, takes off a finger of a player (wasn’t that a slash on an Ottawa player? Methot? ) WWE body slams a player, smashes the head of an opposing player repeatedly into the ice it’s somehow turned into “he’s just competitive / emotional “ by the fan base.

        “Nothin to see here people. Move along! “

        I’m still waiting for my favorite Pittsburgh fan who likes to nest comments in older posts to get away with it to chime in.

      • CaptainObvious, although we try and get our comments to fit in a certain slot, it doesn’t always work out that way unfortunately. My comment above about Trouba being “the only one on the league” was meant to follow under the post from Speed Kills.

        I guess I’ll just have to make sure I always include the name of the poster to whom I’m responding. Sory for the confusion.

      • I disagree

        I truly mean that with any other Ranger goalie in; I fully believe Panthers win in 5; perhaps in 4

        Shesterkin kept Rangers effectively “in” the series

        Setting aside the 5-4 game; Shesterkin was absolutely great. Spectacular in fact.

        He was sharp; determined; and put in yeomen’s work

        I can’t think of any other Ranger that I can attribute that to

        This id not a Pens fan speaking; it’s s guy that was loaded with Rangers in his draft pool (unfortunately it was a draft for skaters only, no goalies)

      • When I first saw your post

        “Crosby is pretty dirty too. That guy never gets disciplined. That’s why I’m glad his career will end on a rebuilding team!!”

        I thought you were actually comparing Crosby to Trouba

        Then I saw your response to George

        No challenge whatsoever from me regarding Crosby getting his share of non calls (Cite [as you have also pointed out] his Rag Doll; his Methot chop etc)

        Crosby like many high profile players seem to at times get away with things) trips; slashes; extra face washes at post whistle scrums ; punches in scrums post whistle; needing ; successive cross checks before they get a penalty)

        Crosby, McDavid, Mathews; Ovechkin; MacKinnon, Hughes; Tavares; JT Miller; Reinhardt; Kucherov etc , all get away with stuff. All of them.

        They aren’t however repeat head-hunters though like McSorley, Brashear; Pronger; Kadri (of a fee years ago) and in today’s NHL : Wilson, Ovechkin; Dillon, Trouba

        There are few (if any??) Caps fans that believe Wilson or Ovechkin are head hunters. Few (if any ??) Jets fans that see Dillon that way. And few (if any??) Rangers fans that see Trouba that way .

        But ask any players from the other 29 teams; ask coaches from the other 29 teams; ask fans from the other 29 teams; and the answer will be very different. Very different.

        I love unbelievably solid and crunching hits if they are body on body and are in a puck carrier

        Knee on knee is a cowardice play IMHO

        I don’t like the slew footing; but do believe that’s the same as a trip that pulls out both feet

        I don’t like when players go super low and basically do a lateral hip check to the knees; another cowardice move

        Body checks and elbows directed at the head are horrific and only 1 step down IMO; from a cross-check to the head

        These need to be called EVERY time; and I truly believe that each instance of checks (body, elbow, cross check) to the head; needs automatic ejection and suspension with exponential suspensions for successive infractions by the same player

        These are not all being called; and certainly are not consistently suspended; so players keep pushing the edge more and more

        Something needs to be done

      • A slew foot, which Crosby is famous for is not the same as a trip. A slew foot sends a player backwards leaving a player susceptibility to smashing the back of their head on the ice. Typically a trip will send a player forward.

        Why does the NHL not see it the same?

        Is it any different than head hunting? Is it more palatable that it comes from a more offensive minded player somehow?

        Literally every example I gave about Crosby was an actual example of something he’s done and got away with on the ice.

        I don’t see eye to eye with most of the other players you’ve named. Crosby has gone over the edge and received nothing numerous times.

        It’s just easy to overlook because , Well Crosby.

      • I like that cut n the jib there you have CO. If it’s not called a penalty it’s a good hit by a player. You don’t like it? Too bad. Players, the good ones, always play up to the line. That line moves based on refs but still, a player who plays hard is favored over anything else to a fan.
        I personally love that some guys can play like that and more so play to a level I never could nor be willing to.

      • What?

      • The real difference between trouba and crosby is the level of talent. I mean, crosby is great and trouba never won nothing. Simple as that.

    • So, because he won something, he gets a free pass?

      Makes perfect sense. Enjoy your rebuild!

      Lmao. Priceless!

  2. The Rangers acquitted themselves well they just ran into a buzzsaw! Panthers to big,physical and talented! Getting harder to go deep in the playoffs with smaller,talented,skilled forwards! Fla is set up better this year because of last years experience and being healthier! They also have multiple 4th line players to keep rotating in the lineup!I wonder if this years success will derail them in the future with big contracts due for Montour and Rhinehart?

    • I wouldn’t consider NY small, nor less physical.

      They have 2 roster players under 6’

      Fox and Trocheck. Both 5’11”

      Miller 6’5”
      Trouba 6’3”
      Schneider 6’3”
      Kreider 6’3”
      Cullye 6’3”
      Wennberg 6’2”
      Zibanejad 6’2”
      Goodrow 6’2”
      Chytil 6’2”

      Etc etc etc.

      The inability to cleanly break out of their zone was a huge problem. Not size or physicality.

      • Nevermind, bunch of big tough guys, you’re right.

      • Yeah, not as tough as Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Karlsson who can’t manage to take a 💩 without ending up on LTIR.

        Pittsburgh Pringles.

        Actually, a can of Pringles falling off a cliff are more durable than the Penguins.

        So who’s your tough guys? I mean, they lost that tough guy Guentzel. Crosby the tough guy now? Lmao!!!

  3. Hats off to Florida. This team is well coached and constructed.

    A lot of blame will and already has started flying. Zibanejad, Panarin and Kreider taking the brunt of it. But plenty of blame to go around. Starting with Laviolette. The bottom 6 were not only invisible in this series, but throughout the playoffs.

    Vesey 3 points in the playoffs.

    Kakko, Cullye, Wennberg, 2 points in the playoffs.

    Rempe 1 point in the playoffs. Still trying to figure out how he dressed for so many games.

    Brodzinski,Chytil, Wheeler 0 points.

    NY isn’t far off. A RW for Zibanejad/ Kreider line and some depth scoring. Gabe Perreault may be the answer.

    Every game decided by one goal except the 1st game. 1-0 with 4 minutes left then Laffrienere deflects one in his own net and an empty netter to finish.

    Some of the help they need may come from within.

    And I’ve said it since game 1 against Washington. Trouba and Fox NOT healthy. To what extent? We’ll find out in the next 48-72 hours. My guess, Fox is injured beyond off-season rest.

    Fox may have been the difference in this series!

    • Captain Obvious you can t be serious about Fox being the difference! If your goalie didn t stand on his head this could have been a sweep! All due respect to Fox,a smaller offensive Defensemen that had to play long periods in the D zone was never going to be a game changer!Reality, the best team won!

      • I love when people say Fox is an offensive defensemen. It’s a great start to a debate. But not really a good one. Nor winnable.

        If you think Fox is just an offensive defenseman, you may want to dig into his defensive metrics and stats.

        You’ll find that most of the players mentioned in the same breath are far behind him in those categories.

        As I say to 8787 above, okay. Take Shesterkin out of the equation. While we’re at it, take Barkov out as well.
        See how that works? It doesn’t.

    • “Fox may have been the difference…”. That’s a weird thing to say. Shoulda, coulda, woulda…obviously didn’t (wasn’t).

      • You’re clever for an old guy. But not really. Yep, injuries are an excuse. Until it’s Mcdavid, Crosby, Makar, Mackinnon etc.

        Fox runs that offense and defense.

        I’m sure every team out there has a replacement for these type of players just rotting away in the AHL.

  4. It’s gonna be an intriguing finals regardless of who gets in from the West.

    To quote the late, great Robert Cecil Cole, “There’s a new Butch on the block!”

  5. Teams from Florida, where you can’t possibly have a professional Ice Hockey team, seem to go to the Stanley Cup FInal a lot. Continued contempt from visiting fans for “real” hockey markets will do that for ya. Both the Lightning and Panthers now do a solid job of supporting youth and high school hockey — and there are second and third generation fans filling the buildings. Baseball scouts blanket Florida. Like baseball hockey provides a professional path for the “normal” sized athlete. Another Florida boat parade is coming, and a wavelet of NHL prospects won’t be far behind.

    • Richard Ilfeld, excellent post I would add the obvious factors of year round sunshine allowing for beach activities, golfing, ( hockey players that I’ve known are obsessed with the game) no state tax, and mostly abnominity letting players have normal lives away from the rink are benefits also. Attracting free agents or convincing players to waive the no trade clauses is also a benefit for Florida teams.

    • Winning certainly does wonders for attendance. Both teams have come a long way. But Florida was struggling up until last year. And a lot of attendees were wearing the visitors jersey. 11-13k in attendance.

      I was going to Tampa games in the late 90’s- early 2000’s and unless Toronto, Detroit, NY and a few other teams were in the building, you could literally hear the players converse on the ice during play. Crickets.

      It does take time to build a fan base. Winning certainly doesn’t hurt. What’s concerning is the long haul. What happens when they aren’t making deep runs? Tampa’s is filled with transplant residents. I think they’ll be fine. Florida? May be a different story.

  6. last night florida were the better team,
    NYR looked like they ran out of Gas,

    NYR need more fire power up front, like a top six scoring winger, and scoring 3rd line.

    I dont think these forwards will be back next year
    Kakko, Wennberg, Wheeler,
    and these d/men Ruhwedel, & Erik Gustafsson and back up Jonathan Quick, will retire.
    there could be 6-7 New players on the NYR next season….

    • Quick signed an extension shortly before the playoffs began. He’s not going anywhere.

      Kakko will more than likely get a 1 year show me deal. He needs to be given the same opportunity that Laffrienere was given this year. Even when Laffrienere struggled , they stuck with him.

      A healthy Chytil another year of experience for Cullye and Kakko may cure that 3rd line. Kakko did have 40 points last year playing primarily on the 3rd line with Chytil and Laffrienere.

      Wennberg, Roslovic, Wheeler should be goners. Gustafsson? Another cheap 1 year deal I’d keep him around, but not at the expense of Jones not playing.

    • Playoff runs without key players with injuries is always a factor. Fox Lindgren Trouba and i think Burns broken stick crosscheck on Zib left a mark.
      but Florida was able to run out Barkov and the underrated Lundell against the Rangers best AND the Rodriques line always had the puck in the Rangers end.
      Panarin was double teamed and ineffective on the powerplay without Fox’s help.
      the two coaching issues were not changing the powerplay and giving Trouba so much ice time. he was a huge issue

      • I’m sure Colorado wins that cup with their MVP Makar playing on one leg!

        Or Pittsburgh wins their back to backs without Crosby.

        Excuses , Excuses, Excuses!!!!


    • williew, not sure you can boil that seeries down to the Rangers running out of gas.”

      I mean, the average score, over 6 games, was 3-2 in favour of Florida who averaged 33 shots per game to New York’s 25..

      That’s a reflection of two pretty damned good teams playing 6 tight games, 3 of which went into OT.

      Over the season NYR finished with 114 pts, averaging 3.4 gfpg and 2.8 gapg while Florida finished with 3.2 gfpg and 2.4gapg.

      • George,

        the last 2 full games i watched with NYR & Florida
        NYR did not a lot of jump in there game,
        The same last night , they looked tired,
        Both Teams had Outstanding goaltending last night
        Maybe a re-tool on there 3rd line to add Scoring
        I see a lot of Jesse Pulijarvi in the way Kakko plays… At $2.1M & an RFA….im not sure he will make it in NY…
        I see them trading him out, The NYR dont have a lot of Cap Space $11.3M They need to fix there 3rd line going forward…

        Cant wait for the Oil & Stars game tonight…

  7. Who knew that touching or not touching a trophy had so much power? Wow.

  8. Waitress, one large order of belligerent Ranger fan tears, extra salty. Thank you!

    • Who are you a fan of again? Toronto? I can see why you’re here throwing shade. I mean, what else can you do?


      • Nope. Good effort, though .

        No. It really wasn’t.

    • “ Hats off to Florida. This team is well coached and constructed.”

      My first comment of the day. That’s tears? Lmao. Someone has to lose. Life goes on. For a guy who’s not a fan of anyone left, chirping at a team and fan base that was eliminated in the conference finals, you must be already drunk with misery your team started playing golf a month or two ago.

      Don’t you have anything better to do? Like chase kids off the grass or stand at the end of your driveway telling every passing car going more than 10mph to slow down?

      Super salty! Lmao

      • Yes I’m sure fans of another 30 some what teams wouldn’t want to trade places with you. I know I would love my team to at least get that far. Anyone would be proud to have their team get that far and anyone who can’t appreciate that isn’t worth noting.

      • True Ron,

        Not even sure why I’m giving the trolls the time of day.


      • Who ya quoting there, Chief? Not me. You really aren’t the Captain of the Obvious, are ya?

      • You’re supposed to be in bed hours ago! You’re gonna miss the early bird special!

        I’m actually quoting what I said. Way to keep up! See what happens when you’re not in bed watching Matlock reruns by 7:30pm?

        So much for “the captain of the obvious”! Lmfao. Try and keep up!

  9. CO you’re on fire today! If Matthews and Nylander weren’t injured the leaf’s get by the bruins.

    Brad Trevling liked that angle so much he fired his coach.

    Last night loss can be directed right at the captain feet, he went for a big hit, missed the player entirely and Sam Bennet open the scoring. If Trouba decided to play it safe and played the position he kills the play and likely the period ends 0-0

    Barkov shut down Kreider line, the coach did nothing to help his team, last night they decided to flip the puck out and as you could see some players were better at it than others. One didn’t get it over the blue line and other that didn’t make to center ice, on a line change and a miss Trouba hit lead to the first goal of the game.

    A lot of love correctly given to Shesterkin who was outstanding.

    Bobrovsky was the first star of the game last night with a 958 sv% and 1 gaa

    Goalie Bob has now beaten Shesterkin, Swayman and Vasilevskiy

    Bobrovsky game a seem to be getting stronger as the playoffs go along. he deserve some credit for his strong play and timely saves.

    I still have Dallas winning the cup, but they need to win two games in a row to get that opportunity.

    • Caper,

      I don’t disagree with most of that. With the exception of Dallas winning. I’d also point out Vasilevskiy was nowhere near the guy he’s been over the last 4-5 years. Neither was the team in front of him.

      Florida is perfectly coached and constructed to win it all.

      I know I’m a little “extra” today. But damn, the trolls set their clocks early to chime in today. Like a calendar day for some who’s teams didn’t make the playoffs, or saw an earlier exit.

      Just weird. You don’t see me trolling other teams eliminated. Even the ones eliminated by NY. Blaming bad officiating etc.

      It is what it is. The better coached , constructed team won. Period, ended.

      Contrary to the trolls beliefs, I’m not looking for a bridge to jump off. I’ll be okay. For gods sake I’m a NY Jets fan! What else you got?

    • Caper, would be so deliciously ironic if after beating Shesterkin, Swayman and Vasilevsky, Bob loses the finals to Skinner.

  10. Injuries are a part of the game and the further you go in the playoffs the more they increase.

    NYR lost to a FLA team that outplayed them in almost every facet of the game.
    Great goaltending made the series seem respectable which is a common enough occurrence.

    At the end of the day the better team won.

  11. Only 3 teams in recent memory started the playoffs 7-0 and failed to win the cup.
    ’89 Habs- Flames won.
    ’08 Pens- Wings won.
    ’24 Rags- ? Will win.
    Injuries and puck luck factor in more than some would think.

    • I agree – and while we can actually quantify the potential effect of the loss of a McDavid or a top goalie or a top D to a team in a play off series, we can’t do the same for “luck” but, dammit, it is there however you want to define it.

      Like, when a puck deflects of a defender’s butt, hits a skate of another and winds up on the stick of a sniper 4 feet in front of the net – all in the space of about 3 seconds – and winds up in the net.

      • Or a discarded goalie stick stopping a near sure goal! Or the best player in the world flubbing on an empty net shot!
        It all factors in…..just hard to put into basic metrics. We can observe it, we just can’t accurately measure it.

      • Where’s Sheldon Cooper when you need him? 🙂

      • The randomness and unpredictability of the game is what makes hockey so much better than other sports in my opinion