NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2024

The Lightning and Islanders are on the brink of elimination, broadcasting legend Bob Cole has passed away, and further playoff updates in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination with a 5-3 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Panthers as they’ve taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Motte and Nick Paul replied for the Lightning. The Panthers can wrap things up in Game 4 on Saturday, Apr. 27 starting at 5 pm EDT.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a deeper, more experienced Florida team than the one the Lightning faced in the last two series between these clubs. That was evident when they reclaimed control of this game after the Lightning went up 2-1 in the second period.

The Panthers successfully hemmed the Bolts in their own zone before scoring the tying and go-ahead goals. They also killed all four Lightning power-play opportunities and forced 14 giveaways.

Kyle Okposo made his postseason debut for the Panthers. He collected an assist in his first playoff game since 2016 with the New York Islanders.

Speaking of the Islanders, they’re also on the verge of elimination after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of their first-round series. Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots and Brent Burns, Dmitry Orlov and Sebastian Aho scored for the Hurricanes. Pierre Engvall and Brock Nelson replied for the Islanders. Game 4 is Saturday at 2 pm EDT with the Hurricanes holding a 3-0 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders rebounded after goaltender Semyon Varlamov replaced Ilya Sorokin in the second period after he gave up three goals on 14 shots. However, the Hurricanes wore them down and won most of the puck battles in the third period. Andersen also made several big saves to preserve this win for the Canes.

Before this game, Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour announced that winger Jesper Fast is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs with an upper-body injury.

BOB COLE 1933-2024

NHL.COM: Legendary hockey play-by-play man Bob Cole died Wednesday night in his hometown of St. John’s, NL at age 90.

Former Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole (NHL.com).

Cole spent five decades calling games on CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada”. He started on radio in 1969, moved to television in 1973, and became their lead play-by-play man from 1980 to 2008. He called his final NHL game in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cole was the last of the great national NHL broadcasters in Canada that spawned icons such as Foster Hewitt (Cole’s idol and mentor) and Danny Gallivan. He rose to prominence in an era before cable television when the CBC was the only source in Canada for hockey coverage. Cole was an instantly recognizable symbol of the game, beloved by players as much as fans.

Like Hewitt and Gallivan, he had a distinctive delivery instantly recognizable to hockey fans. In his prime, he called many great games, capturing spectacular moments that have become cherished memories among Canadian hockey fans, sometimes punctuated with his memorable catchphrase, “Ooooh, baby!”

Few of today’s play-by-play broadcasters can match Cole’s delivery. He brought out the excitement and drama of a game that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

Cole’s coverage began to falter during his final years behind the mike. His delivery slowed and at times he would forget players’ names. However, Cole truly was the voice of Saturday Night for Canadian hockey fans during his prime from 1980 to 2009.

Everyone has their favorite Bob Cole game. Mine is his coverage of Game 5 of the 1984 Patrick Division semifinal between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. The Isles were four-time defending champions that year but the Rangers proved a worthy foe in this series. Cole’s call of that game was the perfect complement to the on-ice action in one of the greatest playoff games I’ve ever seen.

My condolences to Cole’s family, friends and broadcasting colleagues. Hockey has lost one of its greatest voices but his memory will live on.


THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko isn’t expected to return from a suspected knee injury until the Western Conference Final if the Canucks make it that far. Backup Casey DeSmith takes over as their starter in Demko’s absence.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander is suffering from a migraine issue so severe that team doctors tested him for a suspected concussion. He first experienced the symptoms the day after his club’s final regular-season game. It’s hope he’ll return to action for Game 4 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: There’s concern among Oilers followers over the goaltending of Stuart Skinner. He’s given up nine goals in the club’s first two games of their opening-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars rookie Logan Stankoven was named the AHL’s Rookie of the Year for 2023-24. The 21-year-old forward led the league with 57 points before his call-up to the Stars on Feb. 24.

CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals forward Sonny Milano could miss Game 4 of his club’s first-round series against the New York Rangers on Friday. He’s nursing an undisclosed injury.


CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: The Blackhawks signed Alex Vlasic to a six-year contract with an average annual value of $4.6 million. The 22-year-old defenseman exceeded expectations this season, establishing himself as one of the club’s core players.

THE SCORE: National NHL broadcasts on Monday nights will be seen exclusively on Amazon in Canada starting next season and for 2025-26 in partnership with Rogers Communications. Rogers remains the NHL’s primary rights shareholder for national broadcasts in Canada.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2024

The Coyotes end a 14-game losing skid, the three stars and rookie of the month for February are revealed, the Avalanche and Devils make a trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes snapped a 14-game losing skid by downing the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Matias Maccelli had a goal and two assists as the Coyotes (24-31-5) snapped a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals for their first win since Jan. 22. Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk left the game in the third period after being shaken up following a hit by Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien. The Senators’ record sank to 25-30-3 as they were booed off the ice by their fans at the end of the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Senators placed center Josh Norris on long-term injury reserve with an upper-body injury. It’s not confirmed whether he’s reinjured his surgically repaired shoulder.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal set a franchise record for most saves in a win by a goaltender with 52 as he backstopped his club to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Dostal ensured the win by stopping Devils forward Jack Hughes on a penalty shot with three seconds remaining in the third period. Frank Vatrano tallied twice for the 22-35-3 Ducks. Hughes and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (30-26-4) as they remain six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points.

The Washington Capitals scored five straight goals to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for the Capitals (28-22-9) as they’re five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot. Owen Tippett had a goal and an assist for the 31-23-7 Flyers, who remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 69 points.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin are the three stars for February 2024. Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov was named Rookie of the Month.

THE DENVER POST/NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche traded defenseman Kurtis MacDermid to the New Jersey Devils on Friday in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft (originally acquired from the Nashville Predators) and forward Zakhar Bardakov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a salary dump by the Avalanche to free up salary-cap space leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. MacDermid carried an annual cap hit of $987,500. Clearing that sum from their books gives them over $2.2 million in cap room with 21 players on the roster. Expect them to acquire a player with a trade between now and March 8.

As for the Devils, they add some grit and size to their blueline in MacDermid. He’s unlikely to be much help as they continue to struggle in the Eastern playoff race.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars won’t place Tyler Seguin on long-term injury reserve. He’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury and carries an average annual value of $9.85 million. He is expected to return to the lineup before the playoffs.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Stars, they loaned Logan Stankoven back to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might not be on the farm for long. The 21-year-old forward is one of their top prospects and had three goals and an assist in his four games with the Stars.

TSN: Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello and Nashville Predators forward Michael McCarron were each fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

SPORTSNET: The day before the Calgary Flames honor Miikka Kiprusoff by raising his jersey to the rafters, he was reintroduced to “Mini-Kipper”, the young kid who used to dress up as the netminder for every Flames home game from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

Brendan Peters, now 27, paints goalie masks for a living. On Friday, he presented Kiprusoff with a custom mask he designed for his hero.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Has it been nearly twenty years since Kiprusoff was in his prime with the Flames and his biggest fan used to emulate his warmup movements in the stands before every home game? Time is passing way too fast!