NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Stars have reportedly hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach, and an update on top prospect Shane Wright in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Sidelined winger Andre Burakovsky did not accompany the Colorado Avalanche as they traveled to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Burakovsky suffered a hand injury during Game 2 and was being evaluated on Sunday. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates on Monday.

Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said sidelined center Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) traveled with the team on Sunday. He’s skating again and practicing puckhandling and shooting but Bednar isn’t sure if he’ll play in the upcoming two games.

NHL.COM: Fourteen years after winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 as a rookie with the Detroit Red Wings, center Darren Helm is relishing this opportunity to win it again with the Avalanche. If he does, he’ll become the fourth player in NHL history to go at least 14 years between championships.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping to once again overcome an 0-2 deficit in a playoff series. They have an opportunity to shake things up at home for the next two games. However, they’re facing a much tougher opponent in this Stanley Cup Final than they did against the Dallas Stars in 2020 and the Montreal Canadiens last year.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos wonders if the wear and tear of three straight trips to the Stanley Cup Final might be taking its toll on the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fatigue could be an issue for the Lightning. However, the real problem is that the Avalanche are the most formidable opponent they’ve faced since beginning their march as consecutive Cup champions in 2020.

The Avs are faster and possess impressive depth on their forward lines and blueline. They’ve adjusted to the absence of sidelined key players like Kadri and Samuel Girard without missing a beat. They lack a superstar goaltender but their tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz has been solid throughout this postseason.

It would be foolish to write the Lightning off. They’ve shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from adversity. Nevertheless, they must win Game 3 tonight or risk being swept away by the Avalanche in Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks cited a Sportsnet report claiming the Stars have hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach. He’s coaching the Florida Panthers (2008-2011), New Jersey Devils (2011-2015), San Jose Sharks (2015-2020) and Vegas Golden Knights (2020-2022).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither the Stars nor general manager Jim Nill has confirmed the hiring, though that could come later today. DeFranks anticipates DeBoer would focus on increasing their shots (especially from the point) while still maintaining a solid defense.

SPORTSNET: Projected top prospect Shane Wright believes he can make an immediate impact in the NHL next season. He intends to put in a lot of work this offseason and in training camp to step in right away and make a difference.

The Montreal Canadiens hold the first-overall pick in this year’s draft. Wright recently met with the Canadiens brass and would love to suit up for the historic franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright isn’t considered a generational superstar but has drawn favorable comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad. Even if he doesn’t reach the big league next season, he’s still projected to be a future NHL star.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2022

The Avalanche crush the Lightning to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Nicklas Backstrom undergoes hip surgery, the Oilers are on the verge of re-signing head coach Jay Woodcroft, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche holds a 2-0 series lead in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final after drubbing the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 on Saturday. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar each scored two goals, Mikko Rantanen collected three assists while Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves for the shutout. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 starting on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the most lopsided Stanley Cup Final games I’ve seen. The Avalanche dominated the defending champion Lightning from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Their speed made the difference throughout this contest, leaving the Bolts chasing the game and struggling to keep up.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin (NHL Images).

Three years after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, Nichushkin had a career-best performance this season and is enjoying a solid postseason. In this series, he’s taken his game to a higher level, tallying two points in each of the first two games. Eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 13, Nichushkin is on his way to a lucrative new contract.

Following the game, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos called his club’s performance “unacceptable”. Head coach Jon Cooper said the Avalanche were playing at an elite level while his club was not. Andrei Vasilevskiy was in net for all seven goals-against but Stamkos and Cooper laid the blame on the poor defensive play in front of him.

Stamkos and Cooper said all the right things about the need for the Lightning “man up” and not give up. They’re capable of surmounting a 2-0 series deficit as the New York Rangers discovered in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rallying back this time will be far more challenging for the Lightning. They’re up against the most formidable opponent they’ve faced over the course of their championship reign.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. He faces a lengthy recovery process with no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom will likely miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season and could be sidelined for much longer. His absence leaves a big hole in the second-line center position.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have $8.9 million in salary cap space with Backstrom carrying an annual average value of $9.2 million. Management could place him on long-term injury reserve to exceed the $82.5 million salary cap in order to find a suitable short-term replacement or to address other roster needs. Should he return to action during the season, however, they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes and Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now reporting the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of removing the interim tag from head coach Jay Woodcroft’s job title. They’re expected to reach an agreement on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me unsurprised. Woodcroft did a fine job after replacing Dave Tippett behind the bench. Taking over a struggling Oilers’ team that was in danger of falling out of playoff contention, he coached them to a 26-9-3 record in their remaining 38 games and guided them to the Western Conference Finals.

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson has earned his degree in general studies at the University of Michigan. He’s fulfilled a promise to himself and Red Berenson, who coached Johnson at Michigan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a special season for Johnson. In addition to earning his degree and appearing in his first Stanley Cup Final, he also became the 21st American-born defenseman to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have dismissed Chris Brumwell, who was their vice-president of communications and community partnerships for the past nine seasons.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill is retiring on July 1 after 29 years with the organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

The Avalanche take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, highlights of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual state of the league press conference, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andre Burakovsky’s overtime goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist while Mikko Rantanen collected two assists for the Avalanche, who took a 3-1 lead into the second period. Nick Paul, Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev replied for the Lightning, who rallied to tie the game and force overtime.

Game 2 will be on Saturday, June 19, at 8 pm ET in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re in store for a very entertaining, fast-paced series if Game 1 is any indication. The Avalanche dominated the play in the first period and much of the third, while the Lightning once again showed their poise and experience by overcoming that early deficit in the second period. Penalty killing was crucial for the Avs as they successfully killed off three shorthanded situations.

The Lightning’s Brayden Point made his long-expected return to the lineup from a lower-body injury suffered in the first round. Avalanche center Nazem Kadri remains sidelined with a thumb injury with no timetable for his return.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league generated record revenues projected to exceed $5.2 billion as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He anticipates more significant increases to the salary cap within the next two-three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the NHL-NHLPA Memorandum of Understanding from 2020, the salary cap will increase by $1 million annually until the players have paid back their overage of hockey-related revenue still owed to the owners for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

THE ATHLETIC: Bettman indicated the 2022-23 season will return to a normal calendar schedule beginning on Oct. 11.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league doesn’t believe at this point that there need to be changes made to the long-term injury reserve system. It had been discussed during the general managers’ meeting in March with an idea of a playoff salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That came about over complaints of teams garnering a salary-cap advantage by placing a player on long-term injury reserve, using the cap relief to add players for the postseason, only to see the LTIR player return to action in the playoffs.

The insinuation was that some teams may be attempting to circumvent the cap by leaving players on LTIR when they may be healthy enough to return to action. However, the league hasn’t found any instance where this was the case.

Daly also said the league has begun its investigation of a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The suit alleges eight players, including some members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team, sexually assaulted a young woman in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the players on that team are now in the NHL. It has yet to be determined whether any of them were among those who assaulted the woman.

NHL.COM: Daly said the league is “very optimistic” that it will be able to stage a World Cup of Hockey tournament in February 2024. Discussions between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like the idea of a World Cup of Hockey in February rather than September as in previous years. After all, if the league was prepared to shuttered the season for two weeks to accommodate Olympic participation, they can do it for a World Cup.

Unlike the Olympics, the league and the players would reap the financial benefits from a World Cup. The players would be in midseason game shape, making for a better tournament and drawing more potential fans to the game.

DAILY FACEOFF: Daly indicated the players on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning have been informed that the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup Final will not be allowed to take the Cup to Russia or Belarus in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Three Lightning players – Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy – are from Russia while Valeri Nichushkin is the only Russian-born Avalanche player. There are no Belarussians on either club.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Daly also said the arbitration on Evander Kane’s contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks may not be resolved until July 13, which is the start of the NHL’s free agent period. The arbitrator assigned to the case isn’t available to conduct the hearing until next month.

Kane is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. If his case remains unresolved by then, it’s not expected to prevent him from signing another contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will have significant implications for the Sharks. They will have $7 million in salary-cap limbo until such time as Kane’s case is resolved.

It could also affect Kane’s efforts to sign with another club. Interested parties could prefer to await the outcome of his hearing before making offers to him.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: There won’t be any changes in how NHL teams report injuries. It was assumed the league’s partnership with gambling outlets would lead to more specific information being released on player injuries other than “upper-body” or “lower-body.”

OTTAWA SUN: It’s expected the NHL Board of Governors will be informed today that it is business as usual for the Senators since the passing of team owner Eugene Melnyk in March. The club continues to be run by a board of directors and a professional management group while Melnyk’s daughters do their due diligence on the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the club isn’t being sold and it won’t be relocated to another city.

Speaking of the Senators, they signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $950K contract extension.

TSN: The agent for Johnny Gaudreau denied a report claiming his client had reached an agreement on a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames. “There is no truth to it,” said Lewis Gross.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed negotiations are ongoing between the Flames and the Gaudreau camp. Both sides agreed at the start of this season that they would keep those discussions out of the media.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed goaltender Daniil Tarasov to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $3.15 million.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

The latest on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning as they prepared for the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers sign Vitali Kravtsov, the Panthers fire two assistant coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano could return to action at some point in the upcoming 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Both were sidelined by hand injuries during the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

  THE SCORE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point is “extremely probable” to play in the Stanley Cup Final. Point has been sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered during Game 7 of the Lightning’s first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche are considered the favorites to win the Stanley Cup according to most sportsbooks. They’ve been the favorite for most of this season.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche are preparing for the challenge of facing the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning. “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” said Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ric Flair couldn’t have said it better. The oddsmakers may have the Avs as the favorites but the Lightning are still the defending champions. Take them lightly at your peril.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s smothering defense was key to their elimination of two of this year’s highest-scoring teams in the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TSN: Vitali Kravtsov is reportedly returning to the New York Rangers after spending this season in the KHL. The 22-year-old right winger’s agent said his client signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates he’ll earn a base salary of $800K with a $75K signing bonus. Kravtsov was the subject of trade speculation earlier this season for refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s with the Blueshirts next season or ends up getting traded now that he’s signed an affordable one-year NHL contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: cites a report by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes indicating the Panthers have relieved assistant coaches Ulf Samuelsson and Derek MacKenzie of their duties. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek has also reported the Panthers will likely bring back Andrew Brunette as head coach with a coaching staff of his own.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source claims the Bruins have been in contract with former Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach and former NHL coach Jim Montgomery about their vacant head coaching job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2022

The 2022 Stanley Cup Final schedule is announced, the Stars trade Ben Bishop’s contract to Buffalo, Ryan Miller’s number to be retired by the Sabres, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Stanley Cup Final will begin on June 15 or June 18 depending on the outcome of the Eastern Conference Finals.

If the Tampa Bay Lightning win Game 6 on Saturday, they will face off against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver for Game 1 of the Cup Final on June 15.

If the Rangers win Game 6 and force a seventh and deciding game of the Conference Final on Monday, the winner of that game will meet the Avalanche in Colorado for Game 1 of the Cup Final on June 18.

WGR 550/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars traded the contract of Ben Bishop along with their 2022 seventh-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for future considerations. A knee injury ended the 35-year-old goaltender’s career but he hasn’t officially retired because he remains under contract through 2022-23.

Dallas Stars trade Ben Bishop’s contract to the Buffalo Sabres (NHL.com).

The Stars clear Bishop’s contract from their books, allowing them to avoid potential bonus overages in 2023-24. It also makes it easier for them to navigate the salary cap in 2022-23 without Bishop on long-term injury reserve.

As for the Sabres, the move allows them to get closer to next season’s $61 million salary-cap minimum by taking on Bishop’s $4.9 million cap hit for next season, though in actual salary they’ll pay him $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers might wonder why the Stars didn’t just retain Bishop and put him on LTIR to exceed the cap next season. Once they do that, however, they won’t be able to accrue salary-cap space.

That’s why we hear trade rumors of cap-strapped teams trying to peddle the contracts of permanently sidelined players to teams looking to reach the cap floor. What also made Bishop’s contract enticing to the Sabres is that his actual salary is less than his cap hit.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Sabres, they will retire Ryan Miller’s No. 30 during a ceremony next season. Miller, 41, retired at the end of last season following an 18-season career, 11 of those spent with the Sabres from 2002-03 until traded to the St. Louis Blues before the 2014 trade deadline.

Miller is the Sabres’ all-time leader with 284 wins and sits second to Dominik Hasek with 28 shutouts. He backstopped them to consecutive Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 and 2007 and won the Vezina Trophy in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Miller for this well-deserved honor.

SPORTSNET: Carey Price recently had a platelet-rich plasma injection as part of his treatment for the knee injury that still threatens to end his playing career. The 34-year-old Montreal Canadiens goaltender hopes to begin ramping up his training as he intends to start preparing to play. “I don’t think I will actually have an idea of how that’s going to look until later this summer when I’ve taken all the necessary steps to get back on the ice again.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ongoing uncertainty over Price’s status will affect whatever decision they make regarding their goaltending for next season. They could end up shopping for help by placing him on LTIR. They also have Jake Allen under contract for next season and could give Cayden Primeau another try between the pipes if Price can’t play.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: With eight goals, Ondrej Palat has taken over the Lightning goal-scoring lead this postseason. He’s tallied in the last three games, including two game winners.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant could break up his Kid Line of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere for tonight’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The line saw limited ice time during the Rangers’ 3-1 loss in Game 5.

Speaking of the Rangers, one of their fans was arrested and charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of harassment after sucker-punching a Lightning fan in Madison Square Garden following Game 5 and then punching another fan who attempted to stop him from fleeing the arena. Garden officials condemned the incident and banned the fan from all their venues for life.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At some point in that guy’s life, somebody probably warned him that his temper would get him into trouble…

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: A source indicates Fenway Sports Group will name Kevin Acklin as the Penguins’ president of business operations.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean McIndoe looked at several theories regarding why Canadian teams haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have two that didn’t appear on McIndoe’s otherwise solid list.

First, Canadian clubs are outnumbered by a much larger margin of American teams than they were during the Stanley Cup glory years of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. That makes it more difficult to build and maintain a Cup contender.

The other is all seven of the current Canadian teams have also suffered the consequences of mismanagement since 1993. Sometimes, those decisions were based on the misguided view that their fans wouldn’t support a rebuild. Others were due to meddling ownership, inexperience or just poor judgment.