NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2024

Recaps of Friday’s games plus the latest on Brendan Gallagher, Jordan Eberle, Gabriel Vilardi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli scored his first two goals with the Winnipeg Jets in a 6-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Josh Morrissey collected three assists and Laurent Brossoit turned in a 21-save shutout for the 42-19-5 Jets, who hold first place in the Central Division with 89 points. John Gibson stopped 32 shots for the 23-41-3 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Jets announced that forward Gabriel Vilardi will be sidelined indefinitely with an enlarged spleen. Meanwhile, Ducks defenseman Radko Gudas missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).

The Los Angeles Kings blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Anze Kopitar tallied twice and Cam Talbot kicked out 28 shots for the shutout. Chicago goaltender Arvid Soderblom gave up four goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Petr Mrazek. With a record of 34-21-11, the Kings hold third place in the Pacific Division with 79 points. The Blackhawks dropped to 18-44-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Blackhawks recalled winger Lukas Reichel and demoted forward Zach Sanford.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher recently admitted that his mother Della is battling a stage-4 brain cancer called Glioblastoma. He admitted that it has affected him on and off the ice. His sister Bree is running in the BMO Marathon in Vancouver on May 5 and is seeking donations for her fundraising campaign for Brain Cancer Awareness Month in May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to Bree Gallagher’s campaign.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Seattle Kraken commemorated Jordan Eberle’s 1,000th career game in a pregame ceremony before Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok is listed as week-to-week with an injured hand.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The New York Islanders activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off long-term injury reserve.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Halifax Mooseheads forward and Blue Jackets prospect Jordan Dumais received a five-game suspension from the Mooseheads related to his recent arrest for DUI in Halifax. Dumais, 19, will miss the remainder of the QMJHL regular season and the opening game of the playoffs.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2023

Reaction to the Erik Karlsson trade, the Coyotes sign Matt Dumba, Radko Gudas explains why he signed with the Ducks and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari believes the Penguins got Erik Karlsson at a bargain price. While some of the assets that were sacrificed (such as a top-10 protected 2024 first-rounder) will sting a bit, it won’t be a crippling blow considering what they got back.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mark Madden considers Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas a “miracle worker” for getting a superstar such as Karlsson while shedding a combined $14 million in cap space getting rid of players he didn’t want in Mikael Granlund, Jeff Petry, Jan Rutta and Casey DeSmith.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Ron Cook also sang Dubas’ praises for landing Karlsson while shedding the dead weight he was saddled with by the Penguins’ previous management.

Meanwhile, Matt Vensel examined how the addition of Karlsson will affect the bottom of the Penguins’ lineup. He points out that the departures of Petry and Rutta leave the Penguins’ blueline corps smaller while raising questions about their penalty-killing ability. Trading away Granlund also removes needed playmaking from their bottom-six forward lines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng believes the San Jose Sharks didn’t get much back for Karlsson, taking on the unwanted contracts of Granlund and Ruuta from Pittsburgh and of Mike Mike Hoffman from the Montreal Canadiens.

Peng reported that Sharks GM Mike Grier indicated the club didn’t want to retain more of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit than they did ($1.5 million) to facilitate a trade. “Having some cap flexibility and financial flexibility was really important for us going forward, “ said Grier.

Grier added that it was important for the Sharks to have the cap space to acquire players via trades or free agency when the opportunity arises. It also provides them flexibility within the next two years when the contracts of the players acquired in the Karlsson trade to put toward their prospects.

Peng believes we’ll get a better evaluation of this trade from the Sharks’ standpoint within a couple of years depending on what they do with that cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wrote my take on the trade soon after it went down yesterday. You can read it here.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold for the Penguins and Sharks over the next three or four years.

In the short term, the Penguins are the clear winners of this trade. They got the best player in this deal without giving up much to land him. This could work out well for the Pens over the next two or three years if Karlsson remains a reliable 70-80 point producer. It could also go south if his production declines and/or his injury woes resurface.

The Sharks didn’t get very much back because of their unwillingness to retain more of Karlsson’s hefty AAV. The flattened salary cap also worked against them. Had the cap risen by a significant amount this summer (like the projected $4 million increase for 2024-25), they might’ve found more suitors willing to offer up more than the Penguins.

Nevertheless, this could work out for the Sharks over the long run. They managed to get all almost all of Karlsson’s cap hit off their books plus they got a conditional 2024 first-round pick in the deal. As Peng explained, it depends on what they do with their cap flexibility and those promising players within their system.

The addition of Granlund, Hoffman and Rutta helps the Sharks buy a year or two to allow their prospects more time to develop. They could also flip those three at the trade deadline for draft picks or prospects.

As for the third team in the trade, the Canadiens also did a tidy bit of business in this deal which I noted in my analysis yesterday. They shed themselves of Hoffman’s $4.5 million cap hit, got Petry back at a reduced salary, bolstered their goalie depth by adding DeSmith and moved out a player who no longer fit into their roster in Rem Pitlick.

The Canadiens might not be done dealing. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Reports indicate the Coyotes signed defenseman Matt Dumba to a one-year contract worth $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba is coming off a five-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. The recent decline in his offensive game ensured he wouldn’t get anything close to that in this year’s free-agent market.

Dumba remains an experienced top-four defenseman who can log big minutes. Those attributes should provide a boost to the rebuilding Coyotes blueline.

A solid performance in Arizona could turn Dumba into a valuable asset for the Coyotes at the March trade deadline. It will also improve his chances of landing a richer deal in next summer’s free-agent market.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Radko Gudas recently explained why he opted to sign with the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks after leaving the Stanley Cup finalist Florida Panthers as a free agent. He indicated that it had to do with the role he’d play with the Ducks as well as the financial aspect.

Gudas said he received interest from some Canadian teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, he didn’t know if he’d feel comfortable dealing with the constant media attention. He also noted the taxes were higher in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudas isn’t the only player who has spurned signing with Canadian teams because of higher taxes in some provinces as well as media scrutiny. It’s gone on for decades now. Those clubs have still managed to sign notable free agents over the years but it does make it harder for them to attract high-quality talent.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov is reportedly signing a contract with KHL club AK Bars Kazan. He spent four seasons bouncing between the Red Wings and their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids from 2016-17 to 2020-21. He also played for the Winnipeg Jets in 2021-22 and the San Jose Sharks last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov is the older brother of Carolina Hurricanes star Andrei Svechnikov. Chosen 19th overall by the Red Wings in the 2015 NHL Draft, he never reached the same heights as Andrei did.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Gilles Gilbert passed away on Saturday at age 74. Gilbert spent 14 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings from 1969-70 to 1982-83. In 416 games, he had a record of 192-143-60 with 18 shutouts, a 3.27 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gilbert’s best seasons were with the Bruins from 1973-74 (when he backstopped them to the Stanley Cup Final) to 1979-80. He almost denied the Montreal Canadiens of a fourth straight Stanley Cup with an outstanding performance in Game 7 of the 1979 semifinal. He was named the game’s first star despite the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime.

My condolences to Gilbert’s family, friends and former teammates.

Notable NHL Moves For July 1, 2023

Notable NHL Moves For July 1, 2023

Check in regularly for today’s notable player moves during the opening day of the NHL’s annual free-agent market.

New York Islander sign goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year, $11 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign center J.T. Compher to a five-year, $25.5 million contract.

New York Islanders sign Scott Mayfield to a seven-year, $24.5 million contract. 

Seattle Kraken signed Brian Dumoulin to a two-year, $6.3 million contract.

Colorado Avalanche signs Jonathan Drouin to a one-year, $825K contract.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Lars Eller to a two-year, $4.9 million contract.

New York Islanders sign Pierre Engvall to a seven-year, $21 million contract. 

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Miles Wood to a six-year, $15 million contract. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign defenseman Ryan Graves to a six-year, $27 million contract. 

Pittsburgh Penguins bring back goaltender Tristan Jarry on a five-year, $28.875 million contract.

Anaheim Ducks sign Alex Killorn to a four-year, $25 million contract. 

Arizona Coyotes sign Jason Zucker to a one-year, $5.3 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign Daniel Sprong to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Matt Duchene to a one-year, $3 million contract

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Conor Sheary to a three-year $6 million contract. 

Boston Bruins sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Nashville Predators sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a two-year, $6.37 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign defenseman Justin Holl to a three-year, $10.20 million contract. 

Washington Capitals sign Max Pacioretty to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Vancouver Canucks sign Carson Soucy to a three-year, $9.75 million contract. 

Nashville Predators sign Ryan O’Reilly to a four-year, $18 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year. $7.75 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes bring back goaltender Frederik Andersen on a two-year, $6.8 million contract. 

Ottawa Senators sign goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a five-year, $20 million contract.

Buffalo Sabres sign defenseman Erik Johnson to a one-year, $3.25 million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers sign winger Connor Brown to a one-year, $4 million contract. 

Anaheim Ducks sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year, $12 million contract. 

San Jose Sharks sign goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a two-year $4.7 million contract. 

New York Rangers sign right wing Blake Wheeler to a one-year, $800K salary plus $300K max bonuses.

Boston Bruins sign left wing James van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Boston Bruins sign winger Milan Lucic to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Los Angeles Kings sign Cam Talbot to a one-year, $1 million contract.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Joel Edmundson to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick and a seventh-rounder in the 2024 NHL draft.  The Canadiens are retaining 50 percent of his cap hit.

Nashville Predator sign Luke Schenn to a three-year contract with an AAV of $2.75 million

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign forward Ryan Reaves to a three-year contract with an AAV of $1.3 million.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2023

The Vegas Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup champions, the Senators move closer to having a new owner, the Rangers have a new head coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights thumped the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to become the 2023 champions. The Golden Knights take the series four games to one.

Vegas Golden Knights – 2023 Stanley Cup Champions (NHL.com).

Vegas captain Mark Stone tallied a hat trick, Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore each had three assists and Reilly Smith scored what proved to be the winning goal. Adin Hill stopped 32 shots for the win.

Jonathan Marchessault won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He was tied for first among this year’s postseason scorers with 13 goals and was second in points with 25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first Stanley Cup championship in the Golden Knights’ six-year history. This game had a sense of inevitability after they took a 2-0 into the second period. The Panthers cut the lead in half early in the second but that only seemed to spark the Golden Knights. They dominated the rest of that period with four unanswered goals to put the game out of reach.

Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy started five of the six remaining original Golden Knights – Marchessault, Smith, Theodore, William Karlsson and Brayden McNabb – for Game 5. They, along with William Carrier, were the first Golden Knights to hoist the Stanley Cup following the game after Stone received it from league commissioner Gary Bettman.

Stone is just the third player in NHL history to tally a hat trick in a Cup-clinching game, joining Jack Darragh of the 1920 Ottawa Senators and Babe Dye of the 1922 Toronto St. Pats.

The Golden Knights earned this championship after missing the playoffs last season and trading scorer Max Pacioretty to Carolina last summer in a cost-cutting deal.

They began the season with starting goaltender Robin Lehner out for the season recovering from hip surgery. They played with five goalies this season, with Hill taking over midway through their second-round series against Edmonton after Laurent Brossoit was sidelined.

Stone missed part of this season to his second back surgery in less than a year. There were questions about Eichel’s effectiveness after missing most of last season recovering from neck surgery.

For Cassidy, this is sweet redemption after being fired a year ago by the Boston Bruins. The Bruins set records this season for wins (65) and points (135) but were upset by the Panthers in the opening round of the playoffs.

Team owner Bill Foley’s 2016 prediction of his club winning the Stanley Cup in their sixth season came true. “I’m going to relax and think about my next asinine statement,” said Foley with a big smile following the game.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Despite their disappointing finish to the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers had an extraordinary postseason run. They squeaked into the playoffs, upset the record-setting Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the second-overall Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have a solid core of talent led by Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov, Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad to remain a playoff contender next season. However, they couldn’t match the Golden Knights’ roster depth in the Final. Expect management to get to work on addressing that issue this summer.

SPORTSNET: The Panthers paid a heavy physical price in this postseason. Following Game 5, head coach Paul Maurice revealed Tkachuk suffered a fractured sternum in Game 3. Tkachuk played a limited role in Game 4 and couldn’t play in Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One report indicated Tkachuk needed help from his brother Brady to get out of bed following his pregame nap before Game 4. He was their leading scorer in this postseason. Tkachuk’s feisty style at times drew criticism from fans but no one can say he didn’t give his all.

Maurice also revealed Ekblad suffered a broken foot, dislocated his shoulder twice, and tore his oblique during the Panthers’ playoff run. He missed only one game. He said blueliner Radko Gudas played with a high-ankle sprain that should’ve sidelined him for six weeks. He missed one period.

The Panthers coach didn’t reveal any more details on his injured players. However, he admitted that multiple players will require surgeries, with some facing recovery periods of four-to-six months. Most of those injuries occurred during their first-round series with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We should learn more details in the coming days. Some of those players could end up missing the opening weeks of the 2023-24 season.


OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have an agreement in principle with Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer to purchase the club. His bid is believed to be worth $950 million. A part-owner of the Montreal Canadiens, Andlauer must now sell his share of that team.

The agreement will go before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who will present it to the Board of Governors meeting later this month in New York. It requires a two-thirds majority for approval.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will still take several weeks for the sale to close and for Andlauer to take over the Senators. Barring the unforeseen, however, it’s expected he’ll become their new owner.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have hired Peter Laviolette as their new head coach. He received a three-year contract worth slightly less than $5 million per season.

TSN: Patrick Roy officially stepped down as head coach of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. When asked if any NHL clubs had reached out to him regarding a coaching position, Roy said “absolutely none”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans think it’s more than a coincidence that Roy made this announcement on the same day that the Senators reached an agreement in principle with Andlauer. However, he indicated at the start of this season that he would be stepping down as Remparts coach.

SPORTSNET: Patrick Sharp is returning to where his NHL career began by joining the Philadelphia Flyers as a special advisor to hockey operations.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Derek Ryan to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $900K.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Changes are coming to the Canadiens’ medical staff after the club finished with the most man-games lost to injury for the second straight year. They fired head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend and head physiotherapist Donald Balmforth on Tuesday.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2023

Updates on the Golden Knights and Panthers ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the finalists for the King Clancy Trophy are announced, the Kings re-sign Vladislav Gavrikov, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights’ blueline depth is a key reason why they’re just two wins away from becoming Stanley Cup champions. Defensemen such as Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud have played significant roles in their club’s success thus far in this postseason.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights’ discipline has also been a crucial part of their 2-0 series lead over the Panthers. “Our guys are veteran enough that they can keep their cool and composure,” said Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s easy to retaliate and get your instant gratification. But to hold it in takes a lot more.”

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leadership and experience made the difference for Vegas in the first two games of this Stanley Cup Final. They have a roster with several stars who’ve been here before and know what it takes. They’re not perfect – Pietrangelo received a one-game suspension in the second round for his lumberjack slash on Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl – but they’ve learned from their mistakes.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour had a busy couple of days between Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Following the first game, he rushed home to Florida to be with his wife as she gave birth to their son. He then returned to Las Vegas to suit up for Game 2.

DAILY FACEOFF: Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said Sergei Bobrovsky will be his club’s starting goalie for Game 3 tonight. Defenseman Radko Gudas will be in the lineup despite leaving Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and skipping practice on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as Gudas can skate he’s going to play for the Panthers in this series. The question is how effective the rugged blueliner will be. His injury could hamper his performance, making him less of a physical presence.


NHL.COM: Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee, and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse are the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award honors the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

LA HOCKEY NOW: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $5.875 million. This signing came less than 24 hours after the Kings traded Cal Petersen and Sean Walker to the Philadelphia Flyers to free up salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gavrikov was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was a solid addition to the Kings’ defense core after being acquired from Columbus at the March trade deadline. It’s believed the Gavrikov camp wanted the short-term deal in order to capitalize on a much higher salary cap in two years’ time.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $4.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou reached 20 goals and 40 points this season for the second time in his career. Like Gavrikov, he was due to become a UFA on July 1.

The 28-year-old forward indicated his desire to stay with the rebuilding Blackhawks during his end-of-season interview. While the Hawks are focused on stocking their roster with promising young talent, they need veterans like Athanasiou in the lineup to mentor those players.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to re-sign pending UFAs Pius Suter and Alex Chiasson. Their other unrestricted free agents (Adam Erne, Alex Nedeljkovic, Robert Hagg, Jordan Oesterle, Mark Pysyk, Gustav Lindstrom and Magnus Hellberg) are not expected to return.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues hope to have replacements for fired assistant coaches Mike Van Ryn and Craig MacTavish before the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville on June 28-29.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Popular TV color commentator Darren Pang is reportedly heading to Chicago to join the Blackhawks broadcast team after 14 seasons calling Blues games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Panger would say, “Holy jumpin’!” Best of luck to him in his new gig.

DAILY FACEOFF: The AHL announced its inaugural Top Prospects Team for 2022-23. It includes the Iowa Wild’s Jesper Wallstedt in goal, the Utica Comets’ Simon Nemec and the Cleveland Monsters’ David Jiricek, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ Tyson Foerster, the Rochester Americans’ Jiri Kulich and the Rockford IceHogs’ Lukas Reichel at forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to their promising youngsters. They’re all projected to have bright futures with their respective NHL clubs.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2023

The Golden Knights take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to a long-term contract, the Ducks hire a new head coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights thumped the Florida Panthers 7-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and added an assist, Brett Howden tallied two goals, Jack Eichel had two assists and Adin Hill made 29 saves for the win.

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky got the hook early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots as the Golden Knights jumped to a 4-0 lead. Anton Lundell and Matthew Tkachuk replied for the Panthers.

Tkachuk leveled Eichel with a hard, clean open-ice hit late in the second period. Eichel briefly left the game but returned to action in the third period. Tkachuk received a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute roughing penalty in a scrum following the hit.

The Panthers winger would receive another misconduct late in the third period. He has a combined 36 penalty minutes in this series thus far, setting an NHL record for the most through the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final.

Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas left the game early in the first period following a hit by Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev. Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen remained sidelined for the second straight game due to a lower-body injury suffered in the final game of the Eastern Conference Final.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

The series shifts to Florida for the next two games. Game 3 will be Thursday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights dominated Game 2 from the opening faceoff, taking advantage of Florida’s porous defense and undisciplined play. Bobrovsky had a rough outing but Panthers coach Paul Maurice believed his club should’ve played better in front of their goalie. Their sloppy performance has prompted some to suggest that their 10-day layoff between series has done them more harm than good.

Tkachuk’s thunderous bodycheck on Eichel was done in part to try to light a spark under his floundering teammates. Following the game, the Golden Knights center said it was a clean hit. “Got to be aware of it,” Eichel said. “Got to keep your head up. I’ll be fine.” He shrugged off concerns about an injury, claiming that he left the game because he’d had the wind knocked out of him. He would set up Marchessault’s second goal in the third period.

Speaking of Marchessault, he is likely moving into consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy. After managing just two assists in Vegas’ first seven games of this postseason, he’s since tallied 12 goals and 19 points, including three goals and four points against the Panthers. The Golden Knights’ Twitter handle trolled Florida during Game 2, pointing out that they chose Marchessault when the Panthers left him unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens signed Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8 million contract worth an average annual value of $7.85 million. That makes the 22-year-old winger the second-highest-paid skater on the team next season, earning just $25,000 less than linemate and team captain Nick Suzuki.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Caufield’s contract is front-loaded as he’ll earn $9.975 million in each of the first two seasons as well as a $5 million signing bonus for each of those seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield emerged as a gifted young sniper since joining the Canadiens late in the 2020-21 season, helping the Habs reach the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

The young winger struggled through the first half of 2021-22 until Martin St. Louis took over as head coach. Under St. Louis, Caufield has tallied 48 goals in 83 games, including 26 goals in 46 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder surgery in January.

Caufield has the potential to become a consistent 40-goal scorer. If he regularly reaches that plateau, his contract will be a bargain for the Canadiens over the next eight years.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks announced yesterday that they’ve hired Greg Cronin as their new head coach. Cronin spent the past five seasons coaching the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.

Being a young team, I felt we need a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players,” said Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek. “Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”

NEW YORK POST: Despite rumors linking Patrick Roy to the New York Rangers, the club does not consider him a coaching candidate and will not interview him for the position. Former Nashville Predators coach John Hynes and former Washington Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette are considered the front-runners for the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy guided his Quebec Remparts to the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup this season. He was also the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-14 to 2015-16. There’s speculation one of the prospective owners of the Ottawa Senators could be interested in hiring Roy if their efforts to purchase the club are successful.

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Chelios will not have his contract as an in-studio hockey analyst with ESPN renewed at the end of this season. The move is part of a series of budget cuts by the network.

TSN: Michael Thompson, the general manager of infrastructure services for the city of Calgary, said the $1.2 billion deal to replace the aging Saddledome comes with a 35-year lease that includes a commitment from the Flames to remain in the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal is drawing increasing criticism from those concerned with the high cost of the project and how it will be funded. One critic said the agreement would ultimately generate no operating revenue for the city.