NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2023
Updates on the Golden Knights and Panthers ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the finalists for the King Clancy Trophy are announced, the Kings re-sign Vladislav Gavrikov, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
STANLEY CUP FINAL NEWS
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights’ blueline depth is a key reason why they’re just two wins away from becoming Stanley Cup champions. Defensemen such as Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud have played significant roles in their club’s success thus far in this postseason.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights’ discipline has also been a crucial part of their 2-0 series lead over the Panthers. “Our guys are veteran enough that they can keep their cool and composure,” said Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s easy to retaliate and get your instant gratification. But to hold it in takes a lot more.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leadership and experience made the difference for Vegas in the first two games of this Stanley Cup Final. They have a roster with several stars who’ve been here before and know what it takes. They’re not perfect – Pietrangelo received a one-game suspension in the second round for his lumberjack slash on Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl – but they’ve learned from their mistakes.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour had a busy couple of days between Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Following the first game, he rushed home to Florida to be with his wife as she gave birth to their son. He then returned to Las Vegas to suit up for Game 2.
DAILY FACEOFF: Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said Sergei Bobrovsky will be his club’s starting goalie for Game 3 tonight. Defenseman Radko Gudas will be in the lineup despite leaving Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and skipping practice on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as Gudas can skate he’s going to play for the Panthers in this series. The question is how effective the rugged blueliner will be. His injury could hamper his performance, making him less of a physical presence.
NHL.COM: Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee, and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse are the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award honors the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
LA HOCKEY NOW: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $5.875 million. This signing came less than 24 hours after the Kings traded Cal Petersen and Sean Walker to the Philadelphia Flyers to free up salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gavrikov was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was a solid addition to the Kings’ defense core after being acquired from Columbus at the March trade deadline. It’s believed the Gavrikov camp wanted the short-term deal in order to capitalize on a much higher salary cap in two years’ time.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $4.25 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou reached 20 goals and 40 points this season for the second time in his career. Like Gavrikov, he was due to become a UFA on July 1.
The 28-year-old forward indicated his desire to stay with the rebuilding Blackhawks during his end-of-season interview. While the Hawks are focused on stocking their roster with promising young talent, they need veterans like Athanasiou in the lineup to mentor those players.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to re-sign pending UFAs Pius Suter and Alex Chiasson. Their other unrestricted free agents (Adam Erne, Alex Nedeljkovic, Robert Hagg, Jordan Oesterle, Mark Pysyk, Gustav Lindstrom and Magnus Hellberg) are not expected to return.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues hope to have replacements for fired assistant coaches Mike Van Ryn and Craig MacTavish before the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville on June 28-29.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Popular TV color commentator Darren Pang is reportedly heading to Chicago to join the Blackhawks broadcast team after 14 seasons calling Blues games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Panger would say, “Holy jumpin’!” Best of luck to him in his new gig.
DAILY FACEOFF: The AHL announced its inaugural Top Prospects Team for 2022-23. It includes the Iowa Wild’s Jesper Wallstedt in goal, the Utica Comets’ Simon Nemec and the Cleveland Monsters’ David Jiricek, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ Tyson Foerster, the Rochester Americans’ Jiri Kulich and the Rockford IceHogs’ Lukas Reichel at forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to their promising youngsters. They’re all projected to have bright futures with their respective NHL clubs.