NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2023

The Golden Knights are one game away from winning the Stanley Cup, the league’s sponsorship revenue surges, plus the latest on the Blue Jackets and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights held off the Florida Panthers for a 3-2 victory in Game 4 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (NHL Images).

Chandler Stephenson scored twice and William Karlsson scored what proved to be the winning goal as Vegas jumped to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. Florida battled back on goals by Brandon Montour and Aleksander Barkov.

The Panthers pulled goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the penalty box for a six-on-four power-play with 17.4 seconds remaining in the third period. However, the Golden Knights held firm as netminder Adin Hill finished the game with 29 saves.

Game 5 will be in Las Vegas on Tuesday at 8 pm ET with the Golden Knights having the opportunity to win their first Stanley Cup title on home ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers faced a 3-1 deficit in their first-round series with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins but battled back to upset the Bruins and win that series. However, this is a different team they’re facing in the Golden Knights and a different situation with the stakes being much higher.

For the first time in this series, the Golden Knights failed to score on the power play. It didn’t matter as they jumped to an early lead on Stephenson’s game-opening goal and tallied twice more in the second at even strength.

Florida caught a break as Montour’s goal pinballed in off Vegas defenders Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore. Aleksander Barkov’s first of the series early in the third gave the Panthers life and made it interesting but they ultimately couldn’t crack the Golden Knights’ defense or Hill’s goaltending over the rest of the period.

The Panthers head into Game 5 with leading scorer Matthew Tkachuk hampered by an apparent shoulder injury suffered during Game 3. He struggled through the first two periods and skated just four shifts in the third, though he was on the ice for the final 2:26 of the frame. The Panthers star was noncommittal over whether he’ll play in Game 5.

With Tkachuk neutralized, other Panthers scorers must step up if they hope to overcome another 3-1 deficit. Barkov, Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe each have just one goal in this series while Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett have yet to find the back of the net against Vegas.

The league is expected to take a close look at a brawl that broke out around the Vegas net at the end of the game. Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had been serving a delay of game penalty when he exited the penalty box and joined the skirmish. It remains to be seen if he’ll face supplemental discipline.


AD AGE: The NHL’s sponsorship revenue has surged thanks to their digitally enhanced dasherboard ads, an expanded field of advertisers and jersey sponsor patches. It rose by 21 percent this season to $1.28 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That likely won’t elevate the league’s projected $1 million increase in the salary cap for 2023-24. That’s because the players still owe $70 million in escrow debt to the team owners stemming from the COVID-shortened seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21. That debt is expected to be paid in full before the end of next season.

It does bode well for significant increases in hockey-related revenue for 2024-25 and beyond. However, it’s also going to raise concerns among some fans that the league could further clutter up jerseys with more ad patches and ice space with more digital advertisements.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Niklas Backstrom is rumored to become the next goaltending coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger reports general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he’s received multiple calls about his first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft. However, he said it would take “an awful lot” to convince him to move it. So far, he’s received nothing even close that would tempt him to move that pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen could move that pick for the right offer but I wouldn’t hold my breath in anticipation. Given the depth in this year’s draft, they’re going to get a very good prospect with that pick that could blossom into an NHL star.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said he’s not chasing additional goaltending depth this summer. He’s comfortable heading into next season with oft-injured veteran Petr Mrazek and rookie Arvid Soderblom as his goalie tandem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soderblom should expect a heavy workload in 2023-24. Mrazek last played at least 40 games in a season back in 2019-20, though he did appear in 39 games this season.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek is getting offers from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the Buffalo Sabres for his memorabilia. He recently had to remove those items from the Czech Hockey Hall of Fame, which closed due to economic issues. Hasek’s best seasons were with the Sabres from 1992-93 to 2000-01.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2021

A five-point performance by the Islanders Mathew Barzal, three more Canucks games are postponed by COVID-19 protocols, division stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, Nathan MacKinnon fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines


NHL.COM: Mathew Barzal’s hat trick carried the New York Islanders to an 8-4 romp over the Washington Capitals. Barzal finished with five points while teammate Jordan Eberle scored twice. John Carlson tallied twice for the Capitals, who lost goaltender Ilya Samsonov early in the first period following an accidental collision with teammate T.J. Oshie. The Islanders are tied with the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins with 50 points but the Capitals remain in first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of a game in hand.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

The Penguins, meanwhile, rode a 30-save performance by goaltender Casey DeSmith to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pittsburgh forward Branden Tanev returned to the lineup after missing six games and picked up an assist. The Penguins have won five straight but sit in third place behind the Islanders as the latter has two more regulation wins. Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury. The Bruins sit fourth in the vision with 41 points, three ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

Speaking of the Rangers, they edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad. Artemi Panarin collected two assists for the Blueshirts while Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski kicked out 44 shots. The Rangers are tied with the Flyers with 38 points but the latter holds fifth place with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The East division is getting quite interesting. The Penguins have surged to jockey with the Capitals and Islanders for first place, the Bruins are clinging to fourth place but are being threatened by the Rangers, who could soon surpass the struggling Flyers.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Brayden Point 66 seconds apart lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Point had two goals on the night while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 36 shots. Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. With 52 points, the Lightning holds onto first place in the Discover Central Division. The Jackets (36 points) remain in sixth place in the division, three points back of the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks.

An overtime goal by Alex Wennberg gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal and collected an assist on Wennberg’s winner. The Panthers also have 52 points but remain in second place in the Central as the Lightning hold a game in hand.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a late goal by Jesper Fast to nip Chicago 4-3 and sit one point behind the Lightning and Panthers. Warren Foegele tallied twice for the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks remain tied with Nashville with 39 points but the latter holds fourth place in the Central on the basis of regulation wins.

As for the Predators, they missed an opportunity to open a lead over the Blackhawks as their six-game win streak ended in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Joe Pavelski collected two assists for the Stars (34 points), who sit five behind the Predators and Blackhawks.

A shootout goal by Kevin Fiala lifted the Minnesota Wild past the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 3-2. Cam Talbot had a 35-save performance while Kirill Kapizov had a goal and an assist for the Wild (46 points), who moved within four points of second-place Vegas in the Honda West Division. The Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche each have 50 points but the latter holds first place because of regulation wins.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 as Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault each had a goal and an assist. Jake Allen made 23 saves for the Habs, who hold a six-point lead for fourth place over the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks with 41 points.


Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is the star of the month for March in the Discover Central Division. Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer is the Honda West star of the month. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took home the honor for the MassMutual East Division while Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the Scotia North Division star for March.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for March 2021.

The Vancouver Canucks have had three additional games postponed as forwards Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudette and his wife faced some flak on social media by several folks alleging they failed to properly protect themselves from COVID-19. In fact, the couple followed all guidelines and were informed they did nothing wrong by the team and health officials. The Gaudettes have no idea how they caught the coronavirus and don’t deserve being hounded by some ill-informed fans.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon received a $5,000.00 fine from the NHL department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct against Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland on Wednesday.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson received a three-game suspension for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot on Wednesday.

NEW YORK POST: Brendan Lemieux requested a trade from the Rangers prior to their dealing him last week to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick. Lemieux made the request as he wanted to play for a team where he’d have a more meaningful role. He’d been seeing fourth-line duty this season with the Rangers.

THE SCORE: Roberto Luongo is expected to be named general manager of Team Canada’s 2021 World Championship team.

SPORTSNET: Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield, Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay and North Dakota forward Shane Pinto are this year’s finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Caufield recently signed an entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens while Pinto inked a similar deal with the Ottawa Senators.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2020

The 2020 NHL Draft completes its second and final day, Taylor Hall is heading to free agency, the Blue Jackets re-sign Max Domi, and much more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2020 NHL Draft is now history following a marathon second day in which it took over seven hours to complete rounds two through seven.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the results for each round by clicking the above link to the NHL draft tracker. As for how long it took to go through yesterday’s rounds, the general managers and their staffs were drafting from home instead of at an arena in a host city as is usually done. That gave them a lot more time to evaluate which prospects they intended to select and to move up or down the draft order by swapping picks with other clubs.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said Taylor Hall is heading to tomorrow’s unrestricted free agent market.

Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall is heading to free agency on Friday (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes gave up three prospects and two draft picks (including a first in this year’s draft) to acquire Hall in a trade with New Jersey last December. Hall played well for the Coyotes, with 10 goals and 27 points in 35 games, but his addition did little to significantly improve his new club. Their limited cap space made it almost impossible to re-sign him. His departure could ease the pressure from Armstrong to move captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a cost-cutting trade before the defenseman’s Friday deadline.

THE SCORE: One day after being acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Montreal Canadiens, Max Domi signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract with his new club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a sensible signing by the Jackets. Domi gets a raise over two-year, $6.3-million of his previous deal. The Jackets get a reasonable period of time to evaluate their new center’s performance to determine if he’ll be worth a longer-term deal.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Jackets with just $1.725 million in cap space with first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois to re-sign. However, Dubois’ coming off his entry-level contract and could get an affordable bridge contract. The Jackets could also place Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million) on long-term injury reserve as a chronic wrist ailment has likely ended his playing days, providing more cap space for DuBois’ next contract.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators placed center Kyle Turris on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had four years and $24 million remaining on his deal. The buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Predators’ salary cap through 2027-28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris’ contract turned into a costly mistake for Predators GM David Poile. Desperate to free up cap space, he had little choice but to buy out that deal following unsuccessful attempts to trade the 31-year-old center.

THE SCORE: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed forward Chandler Stephenson to a four-year, $11 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephenson fit in well with the Golden Knights after he was acquired from the Washington Capitals last December. However, his new contract pushes Vegas’ cap payroll over the $81.5 million cap by $2.8 million. They are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, but that will complicate any plans to be active in the upcoming free-agent market. A cost-cutting trade or two will be necessary before the start of next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have decided to let winger Anthony Duclair become an unrestricted free agent after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Duclair was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and wasn’t given a qualifying offer by yesterday’s 5 pm deadline. GM Pierre Dorion declined to go into details but said Duclair chose to represent himself in contract talks. He added the club offered the winger a substantial raise over his previous salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A puzzling development. Duclair made $1.65 million on a one-year deal last season. Dorion didn’t shut the door on the winger possibly returning to Ottawa. Maybe the Senators were concerned Duclair would get more via arbitration.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed defenseman Dylan DeMelo to a four-year, $12 million contract. DeMelo was slated to become a UFA on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Jets. DeMelo joined the Jets before the February trade deadline and quickly adapted to his new team.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers’ long contract standoff with Jesse Puljujarvi is over, re-signing the 22-year-old winger to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.175 million. Puljujarvi spent all of last season playing in Finland hoping to force a trade by the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers traded center Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings for the 60th pick in the 2020 NHL draft. Andersson was the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 draft but struggled to crack the Rangers lineup and spent the second half of last season playing in Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The stock of both young forwards really dropped over the past two years. There was even speculation at one point last season suggesting the two could be swapped for each other in a trade. Both players need a reset if they hope to salvage their NHL careers.

CBC: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur has undergone a second surgery to address a recurrence of lung cancer just two months following quadruple bypass surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur for a speedy and complete recovery.