NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2023

The Golden Knights advance to the Western Conference Finals, an update on the Blue Jackets’ search for a new head coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are marching on to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 in Game 6 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Jonathan Marchessault tallied a natural hat trick to erase an Oilers’ 2-1 lead while Adin Hill kicked out 38 shots for the win. The Golden Knights face the winner of tonight’s Game 7 between the Dallas Stars and the Seattle Kraken in Dallas.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have reached the Western Conference Finals four times in their six-year history. They outscored the Oilers (18-9) at even strength, received solid goaltending from Adin Hill after Laurent Brossoit was sidelined by injury in Game 4, and limited Oilers star Leon Draisaitl to just one point in four games after he tallied six times in the first two contests.

Draisaitl wasn’t the only one struggling to score in this series. Injuries appeared to hamper Evander Kane and Zach Hyman as they had just one goal between them against Vegas. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was also limited to one goal.

The Oilers got shaky goaltending from Calder Trophy finalist Stuart Skinner, who got the hook in Game 7 for the third time in this series. It raised questions over why head coach Jay Woodcroft didn’t at least give Jack Campbell a start against Vegas. Campbell relieved Skinner four times in this postseason, finishing with a 1.01 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage.

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen hopes to have a new head coach in place before he departs on May 21 for the IIHF World Championships in Europe.

The Jackets have not requested permission from the New York Rangers to speak with Gerard Gallant after those two parted ways on May 6. Gallant still has a year left on his contract with the Rangers. He previously coached the Blue Jackets from 2003-04 to 2006-07.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the World Championships, Washington Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin has made his presence felt playing for Sweden. He leveled Austria’s David Reinbacher with a huge hip check during yesterday’s game between the two countries.

Reinbacher is a prospect in this year’s draft class. He was sidelined for the remainder of the game and will undergo further evaluation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some scouts consider Reinbacher to be among the top 10 in this year’s prospect class. It’ll be interesting to see if this injury affects his value in the draft should he be sidelined for the rest of the tournament.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks has reportedly partnered with First Nations groups in Canada in his bid for the Ottawa Senators. A source said it was not a token involvement but one that would give First Nations Peoples a seat at the table. Rapper Snoop Dog is also among Sparks’ partners in his attempt to purchase the Senators. The deadline for final bids is May 15.