NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2024

Patrick Roy gets his first win as Islanders coach, Auston Matthews increases his lead in the goal-scoring race, the Oilers reportedly sign Corey Perry, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrick Roy picked up a win in his debut as head coach of the New York Islanders as they nipped the Dallas Stars 3-2 on an overtime goal by Bo Horvat, snapping a four-game losing skid. Mathew Barzal and Noah Dobson each collected two assists for the 20-15-11 Islanders (51 points), who sit two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Joe Pavelski had two assists for the Stars (27-13-6) as they sit third in the Central Division with 60 points.

New York Islanders head coach Patrick Roy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike his predecessor, Roy is using analytics as one means of improving the Islanders. Before yesterday’s game, he pointed out that the club was at the bottom of the league in breakouts and puck possession in their zone and the offensive zone. Expect Roy to work on improving those aspects of the Isles’ game going forward.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his fifth goal in his last four games in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. With a league-leading 38 goals, Matthews has a five-goal lead over Florida’s Sam Reinhart. Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves for his first win since Dec. 9 as the Leafs (23-14-8) regained third place in the Atlantic Division with 54 points. Jordan Eberle scored for the 19-18-9 Kraken (47 points), who’ve lost four straight games and sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

A hat trick by Kirill Kaprizov powered the Minnesota Wild over the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 5-2. Filip Gustavsson kicked out 40 shots while Joel Eriksson Ek had a goal and two assists for the 20-21-5 Wild. Martin Necas and Michael Bunting replied for the Hurricanes (25-15-5) as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 55 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon made 27 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Daniel Sprong’s tie-breaker in the second period held up as the winning goal for the 24-17-5 Red Wings, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 53 points. Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning (24-18-5) as they sit in the final Eastern wild-card berth with 53 points.

The New York Rangers scored four unanswered goals to beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. Chris Kreider had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (29-15-2) as they sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points. Adam Henrique scored both goals for the 15-30-1 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Ottawa Senators center Tim Stutzle scored two goals in a 5-3 upset of the Philadelphia Flyers. Shane Pinto collected an assist in his season debut with the Senators (17-24-1) following a 41-game suspension for violating the league’s sports-wagering rules. Egor Zamula scored twice for the 25-16-6 Flyers, who remain in second place in the Metro Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Travis Hamonic left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Flyers winger Owen Tippett missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.


TSN: The Edmonton Oilers have reportedly reached an agreement with Corey Perry on a one-year, prorated contract that is expected to be officially announced on Monday. The contract also contains performance bonuses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s contract with the Chicago Blackhawks was terminated on Nov. 30 for engaging in what was deemed unacceptable behavior that violated his standard player’s contract and the club’s code of conduct.

Perry recently received permission from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to speak with other clubs following treatment for alcohol abuse. He remains a highly-regarded forward who elevates his game in the postseason. His signing should provide an extra measure of leadership and playoff experience to the surging Oilers.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames winger Dillon Dube has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Flames to attend to his mental health. He’s struggled to score this season with his last point coming against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 24.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the Flames, defenseman Oliver Kylington is expected to practice with the club on Monday as he progresses toward returning to action for the first time since the 2021-22 season. Kylington has also been dealing with mental health issues.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2024

The Oilers set a win streak record for Canadian teams, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar reach notable milestones, the Islanders replace Lane Lambert as head coach with Patrick Roy, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record for the longest win streak by a Canadian team (13) by defeating the Calgary Flames 3-1. Sam Gagner snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Stuart Skinner stopped 26 shots for the 26-15-1 Oilers, who took over third place in the Pacific Division with 53 points. Mackenzie Weegar scored for the Flames (21-20-5) as they sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 47 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flames placed forward Martin Pospisil (upper body) on injured reserve, activated defenseman Dennis Gilbert off IR and recalled blueliner Oliver Kylington from his conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate. Gilbert suited up against the Oilers while Kylington could soon be coming off long-term injury reserve.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

Colorado Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar had milestone performances in a 7-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. MacKinnon extended his points streak to 11 games with two goals and two assists to take over first place in the NHL scoring race with 77 points, two more than Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. Makar, meanwhile, collected an assist to become the second-fastest defenseman in NHL history to reach 300 points as the Avalanche (30-14-3) sit fourth in the overall standings with 63 points. Cam Atkinson had a goal and two assists for the 25-15-6 Flyers, who remain second in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar achieved this feat in 280 games, one shy of Bobby Orr’s 279 games. His teammate Liam O’Connor also reached a milestone as he tallied his first career NHL hat trick. It was a costly loss for the Flyers as winger Owen Tippett left the game with what appeared to be an injured knee. There was no postgame update regarding his condition.

Third-period goals by J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Conor Garland and Nils Hoglander each scored twice while Quinn Hughes collected three assists for the Canucks (31-11-4), who remain atop the overall standings with 66 points. William Nylander tallied two goals for the 22-14-8 Maple Leafs, who hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Past the midway point of the season, I think we can safely assume the Canucks are for real as an emerging powerhouse. Meanwhile, the Leafs have won just once in their last six games (1-4-1). That will raise the heat on general manager Brad Treliving to do something to snap his club out of its funk.

The Boston Bruins scored four unanswered third-period goals to thump the Montreal Canadiens 9-4. Danton Heinen scored his first career NHL hat trick while David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle each had a goal and an assist for the 28-8-9 Bruins (65 points), who picked up their fourth straight win. They hold first place in the Eastern Conference and sit one point back of the Canucks in the overall standings. Cole Caufield scored to extend his goal streak to five games for the Canadiens, who slipped to 19-20-7 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was close through two periods with Boston holding a 5-4 lead before they blew it open in the third. Earlier in the day, the Bruins activated defensemen Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort off injured reserve and assigned John Beecher and Mason Lohrei to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

An overtime goal by Nikolaj Ehlers gave the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Mason Appleton also scored for the Jets (30-10-4) as they collected their 10th win in their last 11 games, sitting third overall with 64 points. Parker Kelly replied for the 16-24-1 Senators as they’ve lost seven of their last nine contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators center Josh Norris collected an assist in his return to action after missing four games with an upper-body injury. Shane Pinto will make his season debut today against the Flyers after serving a 41-game suspension for violating the league’s sports-wagering rules.

Rookie Brendan Brisson capped a third-period rally by the Vegas Golden Knights as they nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Jonathan Marchessault scored his 20th goal of the season for the Golden Knights (27-14-5) as they’ve won four of their last five and hold second place in the Pacific Division with 59 points. Jake Guentzel netted his 20th of the season for the 21-16-6 Penguins (48 points) as they sit three points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller scored twice in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Sean Durzi had two assists for the 22-19-3 Coyotes (47 points), who sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Roman Josi scored 167th career goal to surpass Shea Weber as the Predators’ highest-scoring defenseman. With a record of 25-20-1, the Predators (51 points) hold that final wild-card spot in the conference.

The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their win streak to five games by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Nick Paul had a goal and an assist for the 24-17-5 Lightning (53 points), as they moved past the Maple Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division. Dylan Cozens replied for the 20-22-4 Sabres.

Dallas Stars center Roope Hintz tallied two goals as his club cruised to a 6-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Scott Wedgewood stopped 29 shots for the Stars (27-13-5) as they hold third place in the Central Division with 59 points. Jesper Bratt and Tyler Toffoli replied for the 23-18-3 Devils (49 points) as they sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

The St. Louis Blues blanked the Washington Capitals 3-0 with Jordan Binnington making 18 saves for the shutout. Colton Parayko, Brayden Schenn and Jake Neighbours scored for the 22-20-2 Blues. Charlie Lindgren stopped 26 shots for the Capitals (22-16-6) as they sit one point out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 50 points.

Los Angeles Kings center Quinton Byfield snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period as his club held off the New York Rangers 2-1. Kevin Fiala also scored while David Rittich made 22 saves for the Kings (22-13-8) as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 52 points. Chris Kreider scored while Jonathan Quick made 24 saves against his former club as the 28-15-2 Rangers (58 points) remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture picked up an assist in his season debut as his club rolled to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Tomas Hertl and Fabian Zetterlund each had a goal and an assist for the 11-31-4 Sharks. Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist for the 15-29-1 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture revealed he’d been sidelined by osteitis pubis, which is inflammation in the joint between the left and right pubic bones causing pain and swelling in the groin or lower abdomen. Recovery is rest and, when able, strengthening. Meanwhile, the Ducks announced before this game that winger Alex Killorn will be out four to six weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.


NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders announced Saturday they had relieved Lane Lambert of his coaching duties and hired Patrick Roy as his replacement. Roy coached the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-2016, winning the Jack Adams Award in 2013-14. The Hall-of-Fame goaltender also coached the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup in 2006 and 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have been struggling this season and sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot. The initial reaction to this news on social media was how long it would take before the hot-tempered Roy started clashing with Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello.

I don’t believe that’s going to happen. Lamoriello never would’ve hired Roy if he felt the latter would question his decisions. Roy, meanwhile, seems to have mellowed after being passed over for NHL coaching opportunities in recent years.

The more important question is how well Roy can coach in a league that has changed in the eight years since he last stood behind an NHL bench. Lamoriello believes he’s the guy who can right the Isles’ sinking ship. It’ll be interesting to see how things go from here.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and forward J.T. Miller were selected by NHL fans to participate in the skills competition at the 2024 NHL All-Star Game.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers forward Will Lockwood received a three-game suspension for running Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Friday. Fleury left the game with an upper-body injury.

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 10, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2023

The latest on the Panthers and Golden Knights on the eve of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, analysis of the Blues Jackets acquiring and signing Damon Severson, another bidder for the Senators walks away, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


FLA HOCKEY NOW: Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky drew praise from his teammates and head coach Paul Maurice for his solid performance in their win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Bobrovsky, meanwhile, deflected attention away from himself, talking up the Panthers improved play in cutting Vegas’ lead in the series to 2-1.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s struggles in the first two games of this series contributed to the Panthers falling behind 2-0 as the series shifted to Florida. They need him to remain on top of his game if they hope to rally back and win the Cup.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick is garnering praise from his Golden Knights’ teammates for his supporting role as their backup netminder. Quick hasn’t seen any action in this postseason but he’s accepted his job as Adin Hill’s understudy and mentor. Head coach Bruce Cassidy cited Quick as “doing his part, replaying experiences, supporting the team.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick’s experience as a two-time Stanley Cup champion provides invaluable support for the Golden Knights even if he never sees any game action in this series. The Panthers are getting the same thing from sidelined winger Patric Hornqvist.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun notes the Golden Knights’ defense corps is a reminder to NHL general managers that size matters on the blueline in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Talking with general managers like the Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, the Colorado Avalanche’s Chris MacFarland and the Minnesota Wild’s Bill Guerin as well as Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy, the consensus is that it’s best to have a good mix of quick, puck-moving defensemen and big, rangy blueliners who used their size and strength to shut down opposing scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re not advocating a return to the huge, lumbering defensemen of the “Dead Puck era” who relied on physical play and uncalled obstruction to shut down scorers. In today’s game, big defensemen need skill and foot speed to keep up with those swift-skating offensive opponents.

Nevertheless, as LeBrun pointed out by citing recent Cup champions and finalists, contenders need sufficient size on the blueline capable of handling the two-month grind of the postseason.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets acquired Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils on Friday in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023. They immediately signed him to an eight-year contract worth an average annual value of $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move came on the heels of the Jackets acquiring veteran defenseman Ivan Provorov from the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-team trade involving the Los Angeles Kings.

Columbus has some promising young defensemen on their roster and in their prospect pipeline. However, they also need some experienced puck-moving skills among their top-four blueliners. The additions of Provorov and Severson should address that issue while buying more development time for their blueline prospects.

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and his staff reportedly scouted Severson for months and had him at the top of their list of free-agent targets. The Devils’ willingness to trade his rights provided the Jackets with a golden opportunity to acquire him right away rather than risk losing him to another team via free agency.

With promising Luke Hughes joining the Devils and top prospect Simon Nemec likely to follow suit next season, Severson was the odd man out on their blueline. Rather than lose him for nothing, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald moved him for a draft pick.

Landing a third-rounder for Severson might not seem like a big deal for the Devils and maybe won’t amount to much down the road. On the other hand, that pick could one day turn into a quality NHLer or perhaps become a trade chip that adds an established player to their roster.

OTTAWA SUN: Billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos, the presumptive front-runner in the bidding to purchase the Senators, walked away from the process on Friday. Despite having made the highest and most fully-financed bid ($1 billion USD), Apostolopoulos was reportedly frustrated because he felt negotiations were taking too long with representatives of the Melnyk estate and the New York-based banker Galatioto Sports Partners assigned by the league to handle the process.

Apostolopoulos’ departure leaves Toronto businessman Michael Andlauer, Jeffrey and Michael Kimel of Harlo Capital, and Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks as the remaining bidders. It’s believed down to Andlauer and the Kimels as Sparks’ bid is said to be underfunded. Neither group has submitted a $1 billion bid for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the lowest bid is $850 million, which is no small amount. Still, the departure of the leading bidders raises questions about the reasons why it’s taking so long to arrange and finalize the sale of the Senators. It’s been nearly a month since the binding bids were submitted.

NHL.COM: Patrick Roy is interested in returning to the NHL coaching ranks but said he won’t be waiting by the phone in the coming days waiting for a call.

Roy said it’s been difficult for him to get an NHL coaching job because of the way he left the Colorado Avalanche in 2016. He quit the club as head coach over a difference of opinion with then-general manager Joe Sakic over the direction of the team. The Hall of Fame goalie acknowledged he made some bad decisions but claims he’s learned from those mistakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2013-14 and has enjoyed success as the long-time coach of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, guiding them to two Memorial Cup championships. However, his intense personality and abrupt departure from Avalanche have made most general managers reluctant to hire him. That includes those who played with or against Roy during his playing days.

Roy may have mellowed and matured since his last NHL coaching stint but it will take some time before a team comes calling with a job offer.

SPORTSNET: NHL scouts were comparing Connor Bedard to Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid during the 2023 NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo this week. Central Scouting director Dan Marr believes Bedard is on the same trajectory as a generational talent as McDavid.

Bedard is ranked as this year’s top prospect and is expected to be chosen first overall by the Chicago Blackhawks during the upcoming NHL Draft in Nashville.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: It’s expected the Flames will announce the promotion of assistant coach Ryan Huska as their new head coach possible as early as Monday.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard has opened his Roberval, Quebec home to evacuees from wildfires in that province. Two families are currently staying there.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ethan Bear may require shoulder surgery in the coming weeks. He could miss the start of the 2023-24 season.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings have named Mike Buckley as their new NHL goaltending coach. He spent eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the last four as their head goalie coach.

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.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2023

Latest on the Golden Knights and Panthers ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the salary cap remains flattened for 2023-24, musing about a possible Leafs-Penguins rivalry, Patrick Roy’s future, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Only six players remain from the original Golden Knights roster that reached the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. None of them are taking for granted their Game 1 victory over the Florida Panthers in the current Cup Final.

Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Shea Theodore, William Carrier and Brayden McNabb remain from the original team that took the opening game of the 2018 Final against the Washington Capitals. They never won another game in that series as the Capitals won the next four to win the Cup.

I think we’re a little bit more humble about the situation now, and we know that it doesn’t mean anything when it’s one game in the series,” said Marchessault. “So for us, the focus is on the next game, and that’s how we approach every game.”

NHL.COM: Taking their cue from head coach Paul Maurice, the Panthers remain a loose, relaxed group as they prepare to face off against the Golden Knights in Game 2 tonight in Las Vegas.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Matthew Tkachuk’s Stanley Cup Final debut was not among the finest hours in his club’s postseason run. He was held scoreless in Game 1 and finished that contest in the dressing room after earning a misconduct in the final minutes of the third period.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m looking forward to how both teams perform in Game 2. The series opener was at times a ragged affair as both clubs adjusted to each other and attempted to establish a physical edge. Vegas dominated play in the first two periods but the score was tied at 2 until the Golden Knights blew it open with three unanswered third-period goals to win it 5-2.

THE SCORE: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Saturday that the salary cap will remain flattened for the 2023-24 season, rising by just $1 million to $83.5 million.

Despite the ongoing increase in hockey-related revenue this season, the players’ share of escrow owed to the team owners from the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season will require another season before it is fully repaid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once that escrow is repaid, the salary cap is expected to significantly jump in 2024-25. It’s been projected that it could rise by $4 million to $87.5 million but I wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches between $88 million and $89 million.

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle speculates a heated rivalry could be brewing between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins after former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was hired as the Penguins new president of hockey operations.

That move came less than two weeks after Leafs president Brendan Shanahan fired Dubas after the latter’s contract negotiations broke down amid rumors Dubas wanted more money and autonomy over roster decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks in Leafs Nation are upset at Dubas for joining the Penguins after he stated that it was Toronto or nothing during what turned out to be his last end-of-season media availability with the Leafs. I’m sure they’d like to see this turn into an intense rivalry with Dubas as the bad guy but I don’t think it’ll garner any sustained traction with the fans of both clubs.

Perhaps the intensity rises if Dubas and Shanahan start sniping at each other in the media over the course of the summer. Maybe Dubas riles up Leafs fans by signing restricted free agent goalie Ilya Samsonov to an offer sheet and then has the Penguins PR taunt the Leafs about it on social media.

Front-office feuds usually don’t provide much fodder for a heated rivalry between two clubs. That’s often sparked by the players and the coaches in the thick of the action, not by executives high above the ice in their private suites.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Quebec Remparts won the Memorial Cup on Sunday by defeating the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-0 in what could be Remparts coach Patrick Roy’s final game behind their bench. It would be a fitting bookend to Roy’s tenure as he also guided them to the 2006 Memorial Cup title in his first season as their coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation linking Roy to the New York Rangers, though they reportedly haven’t contacted him yet for their head-coaching position. He’s also been tied to the Ottawa Senators as one of the prospective owners is reportedly interested in hiring him.

NHL.COM: Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft, became the first player to win all three major trophies when the Canadian Hockey League awards were recently announced. The Regina Pats center was the CHL Top Prospect, Top Scorer, and the David Branch Player of the Year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is expected to be chosen by the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the draft lottery last month.