NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2023
The Panthers get their first Stanley Cup Final victory, the Maple Leafs intend to add Shane Doan to their front office, more talks between the league and NHLPA over next season’s salary cap, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
PANTHERS GET THEIR FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL WIN
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, picking up their first-ever Stanley Cup Final win while cutting Vegas’ lead in the series to two games to one.
Matthew Tkachuk scored the tying goal late in the third period, setting the stage for Carter Verhaeghe’s winner in the extra frame. Tkachuk and Verhaeghe each finished the game with a goal and an assist. Brandon Montour opened the scoring for Florida. After shaky performances in the first two games, Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky returned to form with a solid 27-save performance.
The Golden Knights remained deadly on the power play as both of their goals came with the man advantage. Mark Stone and Jonathan Marchessault each finished with a goal and an assist.
Game 4 is Saturday in Florida starting at 8 pm ET.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a must-win game for the Panthers as a loss would’ve put them into an 0-3 deficit that only one team in NHL history has ever recovered from in a Stanley Cup Final. Most of their best players (Tkachuk, Bobrovsky, Verhaeghe and Montour) rose to the occasion. Tkachuk briefly left the game following a big hit from Vegas forward Keegan Kolesar in the first period but he returned in the second.
Vegas missed an opportunity to take an almost insurmountable lead in this series. While the Panthers played better in this contest, the Golden Knights still controlled much of the play. For the third straight game, they tallied twice on the power play while their penalty killers kept the Panthers from scoring with the man advantage.
This win gives the Panthers a heartbeat but they must win Game 4 to be truly alive in this series. They must also improve their special teams or this series – and the Stanley Cup – will slip out of their reach.
SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs are planning to add Shane Doan to their front office. Doan was the long-time captain of the Arizona Coyotes. His role and when he’ll join the Leafs have yet to be determined.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report on Twitter indicated Doan would be an assistant to general manager Brad Treliving. He was the Coyotes’ development officer from 2021 until parting ways with the club last September.
THE ATHLETIC: The NHL’s salary cap for 2023-24 could still end up being higher than the $1 million recently projected by league commissioner Gary Bettman. Sources claim that the number isn’t final.
Bettman had stated the cap would remain flattened because the players hadn’t fully repaid the escrow owed to the team owners stemming from the COVID-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
With sharp increases in the cap projected at $10 million to $12 million over the next three years, that would create an uneven playing field for players slated to become free agents in 2024 and 2025 compared to this year.
NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh said he wasn’t going to close the door automatically on a higher cap increase for 2023-24. The league and the PA are in negotiations to address this before the final figure is announced before the NHL Draft on June 28-29.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also noted that the anticipated $1 million increase in the salary cap is already having an effect on this year’s free-agent market, pointing to the Los Angeles Kings’ re-signing Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract.
The Kings wanted a longer-term but the Gavrikov camp insisted on the two-year deal in order to cash in on the anticipated higher cap ceiling in 2025. I daresay we’ll see more contracts like that if the cap for next season isn’t significantly higher than projected.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports that the delay in the Rangers naming a new head coach is not connected to former NHL coach Joel Quenneville, who would need to be reinstated by Gary Bettman. Quenneville will be meeting with Bettman at some point following the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Quenneville has been under indefinite suspension for his role in covering up the Kyle Beach sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Alrich during his tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
Former Nashville Predators coach John Hynes and former Washington Capitals coach Peter Laviolette are considered the front-runners for the vacant Rangers head coach position.
SPORTSNET: Calgary Flames assistant coach Ryan Huska is considered the leading candidate to be named their new head coach. He’s been in the assistant coach role with the Flames for the past five seasons.
TSN: Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill revealed defenseman Jani Hakanpaa was dealing with a back injury during the playoffs. He’ll also undergo offseason knee surgery. Nill also said winger Evgenii Dadonov suffered a Grade 2 MCL strain but probably would’ve returned to action had the Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets fans shouldn’t be concerned about the club’s owners running out of money. Co-owner David Thomson has been listed as the world’s fourth-richest sports team owner by Online Betting Guide, which used Forbes and Bloomberg billionaire rankings to compile its list. Thomson is listed as having a wealth of $52 billion.
OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of team owners, Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Senators is entering its fourth week since final bids were submitted on May 15. The process is believed to be bogged down by back-and-forth between the four bidders, the four-person team that is handling the sale for Galatioto Sports Partners, and the estate of the late owner Eugene Melnyk.
The groups that submitted bids are being told to remain patient because the end of the process is near. However, there’s speculation that if it isn’t settled soon the process could lose another bidder.
The Remington Group, which included actor Ryan Reynolds, dropped out last month because they weren’t given exclusive rights to negotiate an arena deal with the National Capital Commission and the city of Ottawa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman recently assured the media that the selection process was making progress and he anticipated the winning bid would be announced soon.