NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2024

The Rangers move within one game of tying a franchise-record win streak, the Bruins rise while the Canucks slump and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers extended their win streak to nine games by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves while Alexis Lafreniere scored two goals and Artemi Panarin collected three assists for the 38-16-3 Rangers (79 points), who lead the Metropolitan Division and sit one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. Jack Hughes scored for the 28-24-4 Devils (60 points) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are within one game of their franchise-record win streak of 10 games held by the 1939-40 Blueshirts and the 1972-73 edition. Rangers forward Matthew Rempe received a match penalty for an illegal hit on Devils forward Nate Bastian.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Calgary Flames on an overtime goal by Nazem Kadri. Jacob Markstrom stopped 32 shots for the 27-25-2 Flames (59 points) as they sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Charlie Coyle tallied both goals for the Bruins (34-12-12) as they gained a point and moved into first place in the overall standings with 80 points, holding a game in hand over the slumping Vancouver Canucks.

As for the Canucks, they dropped their fourth straight game by falling to the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Jared McCann led the way with a goal and three assists while Jordan Eberle scored twice and collected an assist as the Kraken improved to 24-21-11 (59 points) and sit three points out of the final Western wild-card berth. J.T. Miller and Sam Lafferty replied for the 37-16-6 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first significant losing skid for the Canucks this season. They’re not in any danger of tumbling out of a playoff berth but two of their four losses came against teams like Seattle and Minnesota that are trying to get into postseason contention. This could be merely a bump in the road in what’s been a successful regular season thus far for the Canucks. Nevertheless, it’s making some of their fans nervous given the club’s inconsistency in recent years.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 52nd goal of the season in a 7-3 rout of the Vegas Golden Knights. Max Domi scored two goals and Mitch Marner picked up two assists for the Leafs (32-16-8) as they sit third in the Atlantic Division with 72 points. Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore each had two points for the 32-19-6 Golden Knights (70 points), who sit in second place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews has scored 10 goals in the last five games and has widened his league in the goal-scoring race over Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart, who sits in second place with 39 goals…Before this game, the Golden Knights announced captain Mark Stone is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov kicked out 44 shots to shut out the Florida Panthers 1-0. Sebastian Aho scored with 19 seconds remaining in regulation for the Hurricanes as they improved to 34-17-5 and sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves for the Panthers (37-16-4) as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk and defenseman Gustav Forsling left this game with injuries during the first period. They’re considered day-to-day as they undergo further evaluation.

The St. Louis Blues scored three goals within 32 seconds to blank the New York Islanders 4-0. Pavel Buchnevich tallied a natural hat trick, Robert Thomas had three assists and Jordan Binnington turned in a 38-save shutout performance for the 30-24-2 Blues (62 points) as they hold the final Western wild-card berth. Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots as the Islanders dropped to 23-19-14 (60 points) and sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Speaking of that wild-card berth, the Washington Capitals (26-21-8) also moved to within five points of it with a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (30-23-5) as they hold that spot with 65 points. Connor McMichael scored twice and Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected an assist as he sits atop the scoring race with 95 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left this game in the third period following a non-contact injury. He will be evaluated on Friday.

An overtime goal by Patrick Kane lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 2-1. Dylan Larkin also scored while Alex Lyon turned aside 30 shots for the 30-20-6 Red Wings as they hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 66 points. Nathan MacKinnon replied for Colorado to move within two points of Kucherov in the scoring race. The 35-18-5 Avs, meanwhile, gained a point (75) and sit one point behind the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars.

The Stars, meanwhile, suffered a 4-1 upset loss to the Ottawa Senators. Josh Norris scored two goals and Drake Batherson collected two assists for the 24-27-3 Senators. Joe Pavelski scored for the 34-18-8 Stars.

Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Juuse Saros stopped 27 shots for the 30-25-2 Predators, who won their third straight and are tied with the Blues with 60 points. Kevin Fiala scored for the Kings (28-17-10) as their four-game winning streak came to an end. They hold the first Western wild-card spot with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues maintain their hold on that final wild-card spot with a game in hand over the Predators.

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Kris Letang tallied twice and Tristan Jarry made 30 saves for the 25-21-8 Penguins. Mike Matheson replied for the 22-27-8 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canadiens claimed center Colin White off waivers from the Penguins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2024

The Leafs’ Auston Matthews set a record as he reached 50 goals, Houston Rocket owner interested in an NHL franchise, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Matthews became the fastest American-born player to reach 50 goals in a season (54 games) and the fastest NHL player to do so since Mario Lemieux tallied 50 in 50 games in 1995-96.

William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner collected three assists for the 31-16-8 Leafs as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points. Mattias Maccelli, Barrett Hayton and Dylan Guenther replied for the Coyotes (23-29-4), who’ve dropped six in a row and are winless in their last 11 games (0-10-1).

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is well on his way to winning his third Richard Trophy in four years as the NHL’s top goal scorer. His league-leading 51 goals puts him 12 ahead of Florida’s Sam Reinhart, who sits second with 39 goals.

This is the second time Matthews has reached the 50-goal plateau and he’s within range of reaching 60 goals for the second time in three years. At his current pace, he could become the first player to score 70 goals in a season since Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne in 1992-93.

The Boston Bruins blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to nip the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on an overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy. Mason Lohrei collected three assists while McAvoy, David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (34-12-11) as they reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with 79 points, one behind the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. Warren Foegele scored two goals while Connor McDavid extended his home points streak to 20 games with two assists for the 33-18-2 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The Bruins were already down a blueliner as Hampus Lindholm is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed this contest due to illness.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny scored to extend his points streak to seven games in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Sanheim and Garnet Hathaway also scored for the 30-20-7 Flyers as they continue to hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 67 points. Colin Blackwell replied for the 15-39-3 Blackhawks.

A shorthanded goal by Alex Tuch late in the second period held up as the winner as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 29 shots for the Sabres (25-27-4). Arber Xhekaj and Jayden Struble replied for the Canadiens (22-26-8) as Nick Suzuki’s 10-game points streak and Juraj Slafkovsky’s seven-game points streak came to an end.

Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner each had a goal and two assists in a 7-4 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Zach Werenkski and Sean Kuraly each tallied twice for the 18-27-10 Blue Jackets while Mason McTavish scored two goals for the 20-34-2 Ducks.

HEADLINES

BLOOMBERG: Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is said to be in talks with the NHL about bringing a franchise to the Texas city. He’s been looking into it since 2017 but discussions have recently ramped up. He sees a professional hockey franchise being the next building block for the economy of downtown Houston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ferttita’s increased interest in an NHL team comes weeks after the ownership group of the Utah Jazz requested the league initiate an expansion process to bring a team to Salt Lake City.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league had no formal plans to expand from its current 32 teams but was willing to talk to cities interested in adding NHL clubs. With the expansion fee for a team said to be $2 billion, which is split among the existing NHL team owners and is not considered hockey-related revenue, don’t be surprised if there are two new NHL teams within the next 10 years.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said team captain Mark Stone is expected to be sidelined “for a while” with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, he said that Jack Eichel is doing well with his rehab and should return “in the not-too-distant future.” Eichel (knee) is currently on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Stone is placed on LTIR and is out for the rest of the regular season it will allow the Golden Knights to exceed the salary cap if necessary to add a player or two by the March 8 trade deadline.

DAILY FACEOFF: New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Jimmy Vesey are listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries as they missed practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, they signed forward Jonny Brodzinski to a two-year, one-way contract extension worth an average annual value of $785, 500.

ESPN: Kevin Weekes reports Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson could be sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg was fined $2,083.33 by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs.

CBS SPORTS: The Vancouver Canucks placed forward Dakota Joshua (upper body) on injured reserve.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed forward Colin White on waivers.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Gerry James passed away at age 89. James spent five seasons with the Leafs from 1954-55 to 1959-60. At the same time, he had a 13-year career as a running back in the Canadian Football League and holds the distinction of being the only person to appear in a Stanley Cup Final and a Grey Cup Final in the same season (1959-60). He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to James’ family, friends and former teammates in both sports.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2024

The Panthers and Rangers extend their win streaks as they jockey for first place in the Eastern Conference, the league-leading Canucks drop their third straight game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers regained sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators. Anton Lundell netted the winning goal while Brandon Montour had a goal and an assist for the 37-15-5 Panthers (78 points), who’ve won six straight games and sit two points back of the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. Thomas Chabot and Tim Stutzle replied for the 23-27-3 Senators as they overcame a 2-0 deficit.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin kicked out 41 shots to backstop his club over the Dallas Stars 3-1, extending their win streak to eight games. Kaapo Kakko scored what proved to be the game-winner for the Rangers (37-16-3) as they sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 77 points, one behind the Panthers. Miro Heiskanen tallied for the 34-15-8 Stars, who sit in first place in the Central Division with 76 points.

The Vancouver Canucks lost their third straight game by falling 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his season-opening home points streak to 27 games while Ryan Johansen tallied twice for the 35-18-4 Avalanche (74 points) as they sit second in the Central and two points back of the Stars. J.T. Miller scored for the slumping Canucks (37-15-6).

Winnipeg Jets forwards Kyle Connor and Gabriel Vilardi each had three points in a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Laurent Brossoit stopped 36 shots as the Jets (34-15-5) sit third in the Central with 73 points. Marco Rossi netted two goals for the 26-24-6 Wild (58 points), as they remain two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Vegas Golden Knight 5-3. Kevin Lankinen got the win with 23 saves in his first start since Jan. 27 while Roman Josi collected two assists for the 29-25-2 Predators as they moved into a tie with the St. Louis Blues with 60 points. Adin Hill made 35 saves for the Golden Knights (32-18-6) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 70 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left this game with an upper-body injury. There was no postgame update on his condition. Meanwhile, the Blues still hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a game in hand.

New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech scored in overtime to lift his club to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra period. Pelech, Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders (23-18-14) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points. Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up an assist for his 800th career NHL point for the 24-21-8 Penguins.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied two goals and added an assist to beat the New Jersey Devils 6-2. Connor McMichael also scored twice while Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for the Capitals (25-21-8) as they sit six points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Alexander Holtz and Erik Haula replied for the 28-23-4 Devils (60 points), who are four points out of that Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals center Nic Dowd left in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. Before the game, the Devils placed goaltender Vitek Vanecek (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 10 while activating defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.

The Los Angeles Kings got two goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois as they cruised to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quinton Byfield and Drew Doughty each had two points for the Kings (28-16-10) as they’ve won six of their last seven and hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points. Adam Boqvist replied for the 17-27-10 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson left in the third period with a lower-body injury.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the five-game suspension for Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly for high-sticking Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig on Feb. 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly’s absence hasn’t hurt the Leafs as they’ve won four straight since his suspension.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings signed forward Michael Rasmussen to a four-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $3.2 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: The St. Louis Blues placed defensemen Justin Faulk and Scott Perunovich on injured reserve.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but there’s no talk of the 26-year-old getting traded. After missing 21 months dealing with mental health issues, his comeback has sparked mutual interest in a contract extension.

DAILY FACEOFF: Chicago Blackhawks winger Zach Sanford and San Jose Sharks defenseman Jacob MacDonald were placed on waivers yesterday. Teams have until noon ET to claim them.

TSN: The AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack released former NHL forward Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout agreement in January. He had one goal and three assists in 18 games with the Wolf Pack.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Former San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is part of the Bay Sports Area Hall of Fame’s class of 2024. He will be inducted on May 6, becoming the second Sharks player to be honored, joining Owen Nolan.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 24, 2023

The Kings defeat the Coyotes to split their Global Series in Australia, plus the latest on Auston Matthews, Mark Stone, Mathew Barzal, Jeff Carter and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings held off the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 to split their two-game Global Series at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Adrian Kempe scored twice for the Kings while Karel Vejmelka made 31 saves for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both games were sellouts with over 13,000 fans in attendance at each contest.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews hasn’t killed many penalties in his NHL career but the Leafs are going to see if the 26-year-old center can grow into that role in training camp.

You’re down a man but at the same time, it’s hockey, a lot of anticipation, a lot of reads and I feel like I have a good stick and can break up plays,” said Matthews. “I’d love to be utilized on it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s part of Matthews’ evolution as a more complete NHL player. He remains among the league’s elite scorers but he’s been developing other aspects of his game. The complaint against him earlier in his career was he didn’t backcheck but he’s since improved that part of his game.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone believes his club’s critics shouldn’t be taking the defending Stanley Cup champions lightly this season. “You look at the players we have, it’s pretty ironic that people are writing us off,” said Stone. He believes the Golden Knights can use that as motivation to win the Cup again this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think people are “writing off” the Golden Knights so much as they are basing their views on the difficulty of repeating as Cup champions. They’re also looking at how other Cup contenders have improved compared to last season.

Stone and his teammates can rest assured that their opponents certainly won’t be taking them lightly. As the defending champions, the Golden Knights are now the measurement of success for other NHL clubs this season.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal is hoping to bounce back from his injury-shortened 2022-23 campaign. “It’s tough to come back off injury,” said Barzal. “I had, like, three skates before I played in the playoffs. Lungs weren’t really there, legs weren’t really there.” He managed just two goals in six playoff games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal missed the last 23 games of the regular season with a knee injury. It can take time for players to regain their conditioning following an injury, especially one involving their legs. Being unable to skate makes it difficult to maintain cardio or leg strength while recovering.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter said he hasn’t given much thought to his future as he takes part in his 20th NHL training camp. The 38-year-old said he’s focussing on giving the Penguins the best that he can regardless of his role this season. It appears the Penguins intend to lighten his workload by bumping him down to fourth-line winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is likely Carter’s final season with the Penguins regardless of his role or performance. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Whether he lands with another NHL club next season depends on how he plays in 2023-24.

THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline took note of a report indicating that former Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek is now a member of the Kladno Knights coaching staff. “He’s true to his word, Voracek. He always said he’d go into coaching,” wrote Portzline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voracek is in the final season of his eight-year NHL contract. The 34-year-old winger has been sidelined indefinitely by concussion symptoms since last November and is on permanent LTIR. The Columbus Blue Jackets traded his contract to the Arizona Coyotes last March.

The Kladno Knights, by the way, are owned by Jaromir Jagr, who is still playing for them at age 51.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov is listed as day-to-day with a back strain. He’s missed three straight days of training camp thus far.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Former Anaheim Ducks winger Nic Kerdiles was killed in a motorcycle accident early Saturday morning in Nashville. He was 29.

An Irvine native, he was the first Ducks player to come from Orange County, chosen in the second round (36th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft. Kerdiles played three regular-season games and four postseason contests for the Ducks from 2016 to 2018 and spent the rest of his pro career in the minors before retiring in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kerdiles’ family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2023

Analysis of the Canadiens trading Jeff Petry to the Red Wings plus the latest on Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, David Krejci and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Nine days after reacquiring Jeff Petry from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens traded the 35-year-old defenseman to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

The Penguins had retained 25 percent ($1.56 million) of Petry’s $6.25 million average annual value through 2024-25. The Canadiens retain half of the remainder, meaning the Wings’ share of his cap hit is $2.34 million.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Jeff Petry to the Detroit Red Wings(NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial reaction from a majority of Canadiens fans on social media was disappointment that Habs general manager Kent Hughes didn’t get a better return for Petry. However, Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont believes this shows the market for the veteran blueliner was rather mediocre at best.

Dumont also points out that moving Petry completed a series of deals completed by Hughes that started when he initially traded the rearguard to the Penguins last summer for Mike Matheson. That includes moving Mike Hoffman to San Jose and adding goalie Casey DeSmith, three draft picks and gaining more salary-cap flexibility.

Lindstrom, 24, struggled to earn a regular roster spot with the Red Wings. Dumont believes he’s likely bound for the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval this season but the Canadiens are in a position where they can afford to give Lindstrom an opportunity.

This was also a classy move by Hughes. A Michigan native, Petry’s family now lives there year-round. He won’t have to uproot his family or spend most of the regular season apart from them as he did last season.

Petry’s production has waned over the past couple of seasons but he brings veteran skill and experience to the rebuilding Red Wings blueline, especially with promising Simon Edvinsson undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. This move should buy time for Edvinsson to fully recover and improve his game.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, Hughes indicated that Paul Byron is expected to announce his retirement before the start of the upcoming season. The 34-year-old forward missed all of last season and played just 27 games in 2021-22 due to an ongoing hip injury. Byron will meet with management next month to discuss a position with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Claimed off waivers in 2015 from the Calgary Flames, Byron’s energetic two-way play quickly made him a fan favorite in Montreal. In 521 regular-season games over 12 seasons with the Canadiens, Flames and Buffalo Sabres, he had 98 goals and 208 points along with 11 points in 38 playoff contests.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: During a recent appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show”, Golden Knights captain Mark Stone revealed that he suffered a fractured wrist during the first period of his club’s 9-3 series-clinching victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Stone tallied a hat trick in that match, scoring twice after he was injured.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It takes a lot to sideline a player who’s on the verge of winning hockey’s holy grail.

TSN: David Krejci has left the door open on playing in Europe and representing Czechia at the 2024 World Championships. Earlier this week, the 37-year-old center announced his NHL retirement, bringing his 16-season career with the Boston Bruins to an end.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: A report out of Russia claims Artemi Panarin was fined by Novgorod police for firing a weapon inside a non-designated area on July 6. The report states the 31-year-old New York Rangers winger fired several shots and that it was his first offense. His weapon was also confiscated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No details were provided as to why Panarin was discharging his weapon. Perhaps he’ll shed more light on that when he reports to Rangers training camp next month.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes have agreed to a 20-year lease with PNC Arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: PNC Arena has been the Hurricanes’ home since it was opened in 1999. The area surrounding the arena is currently being renovated to include a sports and entertainment district.

TSN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bobby Baun passed away on Monday at age 86. A 17-season NHL veteran from 1956-67 to 1972-73, Baun spent nearly 14 of those seasons with the Leafs, along with over three seasons with the Oakland Seals and Detroit Red Wings.

Baun earned a reputation as a hard-hitting blueliner, helping the Leafs win four Stanley Cups in the 1960s. He gained legendary status when he scored the series-tying overtime goal against the Red Wings in Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final while playing on a broken ankle. He also played in the Cup-clinching Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens two nights later.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m old enough to remember watching Baun’s second tenure with the Leafs in the early-1970s. He was a master of the hip check, played a solid defensive game and never shied away from anyone who challenged him. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.










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.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS ARE THE 2023 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS

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.

IN OTHER NEWS…

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.