NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2021

The Tampa Bay Lightning repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, Andrei Vasilevskiy wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are Stanley Cup champions for the second straight year following a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Final, winning the series four games to one.

Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2021 Stanley Cup Champions (NHL.com).

Ross Colton scored the game’s only goal while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 22-save shutout. Vasilevskiy was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 29 saves.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Lightning winger Pat Maroon became just the fourth player in NHL history to win three straight Stanley Cups with two different teams. Maroon won his first with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 before joining the Lightning as a free agent.

SPORTSNET: Lightning winger Alex Killorn revealed he suffered a fractured fibula during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He underwent surgery last week to have a rod inserted in his leg and hoped to be ready to play in Game 6 or 7 if the series went that far.

THE SCORE: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov ripped Montreal fans for the wild celebration of their club’s victory in Game 4 during his post-game press conference. “I didn’t want to go back to Montreal, but they acted, the fans in Montreal, come on. They acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. You kidding me? Their final was last series.”

Appearing shirtless and chugging a beer, Kucherov also tore into Vezina Trophy voters for selecting Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury over Vasilevskiy. “I was telling him every day, ‘Vasy, you’re MVP. You’re the best player.’ And then they gave it to whatever the guy in Vegas, the Vezina. And then last year, they gave (the) Vezina to somebody else. No. 1 bullshit!”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Montreal goalie Carey Price blamed himself for his club’s loss in the Stanley Cup Final. “At the end of the day I just don’t think I played well enough at the start of the series,” he said during a post-game press conference.

Seated next to Price, Canadiens captain Shea Weber disagreed. “I don’t think that’s the case at all”, said Weber. “To be honest, I think that we weren’t good enough in front of Carey.” He also praised the Lightning. “Give them credit, they’re a heck of a team. They’re here for a reason and they were better than us in the end.”

Habs coach Dominique Ducharme revealed Weber played with a thumb injury. He also said Jeff Petry had an injured finger, Tyler Toffoli suffered a groin injury while Brendan Gallagher had a groin injury “and more.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Lightning on becoming the third team to win consecutive Cups since the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) and the Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998) within the last 25 years. They were unquestionably the best team in this series and throughout this year’s postseason.

Changes will be coming to the Lightning this summer as salary-cap constraints and the expansion draft could cost them two or three players. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.

This was also a heck of a run for the underdog Canadiens, overcoming the odds and defying the critics by upsetting three heavily-favored opponents to reach the Final. Whether they can build on this going forward will in part depend on whatever moves they make in the offseason.

NBC SPORTS: This year’s Stanley Cup Final marked the end of a 16-year affiliation between NBC Sports and the NHL. The league recently signed new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner Sports starting next season.

CALGARY SUN: Plans for a new arena in Calgary are running as much as $60 million over its $550 million budget.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Newell Brown has returned to the Anaheim Ducks for his third stint as an assistant coach with the team. He was an assistant in 1998-2000 and from 2005-2010. He spent the past four seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Jonathan Toews reveals the illness that sidelined him this season, Tom Dundon takes over full ownership of the Hurricanes, the latest coaching hires and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 2 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. They hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as it shifts to Montreal for Games 3 and 4.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 42 saves while Blake Coleman broke a 1-1 tie with a diving buzzer-beater goal in the second period. Ondrej Palat put the game out of reach with less than five minutes remaining in the third period. Nick Suzuki tallied the Canadiens’ only goal.

The Lightning played without winger Alex Killorn. He suffered a suspected leg injury in Game 1 after blocking a Jeff Petry shot and is listed as day-to-day.

Game 3 is Friday night at 8 pm ET in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens outplayed the Lightning in this contest but the few mistakes they made wound up in the back in their net. They blew an opportunity to open the scoring in the first period by failing to capitalize on a 4-on-3 power play. Joel Edmundson was the goat on the Lightning’s third goal as his behind-the-net back pass went directly to Palat.

Vasilevskiy was solid in this game for the Lightning but the Canadiens still didn’t generate enough high-quality scoring opportunities. Carey Price, meanwhile, wasn’t bad for the Canadiens but he hasn’t been at his best thus far in this series.

The Lightning have a great opportunity to take a commanding lead in Game 3. The Canadiens cannot afford to fall behind 3-0 against a powerhouse like the Bolts. They’ll need a better effort on Friday or risk watching the Lightning skate away with the Stanley Cup on Monday night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens request to allow more than 3,500 fans for Games 3 and 4 was rejected by the Quebec government and health officials. The Habs hoped to expand that number to 10,500.

TSN: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews revealed he was diagnosed with chronic immune response syndrome. The condition sidelined him for the entire 2020-21 season. He indicated he’s feeling much better now and intends to rejoin his teammates next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Toews in his recovery.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Tom Dundon is now the full owner of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’d been the majority owner of the club since January 2018 but bought out all the remaining shareholders, including those of former owner Peter Karmanos Jr. The sale of the shares was unanimously approved by the NHL board of governors.

NJ.COM: Scott O’Neil, the CEO of the parent company that owns the New Jersey Devils and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, is stepping down to pursue other interests.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes have called a news conference for today where they’ll announce the hiring of Ottawa 67s head coach Andre Tourigny as their new bench boss.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings have hired Alex Tanguay as an assistant coach. The former NHL player spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Iowa Wild.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks’ poor performance over the last two seasons saw their season-ticket sales drop from 10,500 in 2019 to 9000 for 2021-22.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 9, 2021

The Lightning eliminated the Hurricanes, the Golden Knights push the Avalanche to the brink of elimination, the Masterton Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 29-save shutout carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 to win their second-round series four games to one. Brayden Point and Ross Colton were the goal scorers. The Lightning awaits the winner of the Boston Bruins-New York Islanders series in the semifinals.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By eliminating the Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers before them, the Lightning are serving notice that they still have the depth in talent to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Vasilevskiy is also showing everyone why he’s a Vezina Trophy finalist for the fourth straight year. He was superb in this series.

The Hurricanes remain a rising force. They’re very close to breaking through as a Stanley Cup contender. Much will depend on how management handles the offseason, particularly the expansion draft and the contract negotiations with defenseman Dougie Hamilton and head coach Rod Brind’Amour.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 Game 5 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on an overtime goal by Mark Stone. Brandon Saad and Joonas Donskoi scored for the Avalanche but Alex Tuch and Jonathan Marchessault tallied in the third period to set the stage for Stone’s OT heroics. The Golden Knights hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up Thursday night in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs controlled the play through the first and second periods. Turnovers, however, proved costly as the Golden Knights capitalized for all three goals. The winner of this series faces the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, and San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

An independent arbitrator upheld the eight-game suspension of Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. He’s already served seven games of that suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Would the Avalanche be on the verge of elimination if Kadri hadn’t been suspended? Maybe, maybe not, but his reckless hit on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in the previous series hasn’t helped matters.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was fined $25,000 by the league for his post-game criticism of the officiating in Game 5 of this club’s second-round series with the New York Islanders. Bruins winger Nick Ritchie was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield during that contest.

Injuries have sidelined Bruins forward Curtis Lazar and defensemen Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller from Game 6 tonight.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Yannick Weber has signed a three-year contract with ZSC Lions in Switzerland. Weber spent the past 13 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and the Penguins. He played only two games for the Pens this season, spending most of his time on their taxi squad.

THE SCORE: Toronto’s CN Tower was lit in red, white and blue to honor the Montreal Canadiens as the last Canadian team still standing in the 2021 NHL playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I bet that went down well in the heart of Leafs Nation.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Hurricanes, the Vezina Trophy finalists are announced, the 2021 Draft Lottery goes tonight, an update on Jack Eichel and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A third-period goal by Anthony Cirelli was the game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Alex Killorn opened the scoring in the second period for the Lightning. Andrei Svechnikov got the Hurricanes on the board late in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the win as the Bolts were outshot 32-15. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck left the game with an injured right leg following a second-period collision with teammate Warren Foegele. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour said it didn’t know the extent of Trocheck’s injury but indicated it didn’t look good. An update could come later today.

Losing their second-line center would be another blow to the Hurricanes’ forward lines. Winger Nino Niederreiter is out for the series with an undisclosed injury suffering in practice before Game 1.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

Speaking of Andrei Vasilevskiy, he joins Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche as this year’s finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the fourth straight season Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist, winning the award in 2018-19. It’s the first time Fleury and Grubauer have been honored.

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery goes tonight at 7 pm ET at league headquarters. The Buffalo Sabres have the best odds of winning after finishing with the worst overall record, followed by the Anaheim Ducks. The expansion Seattle Kraken has the third-best odds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Draft will be held virtually on July 23-24. Follow the link above for full details on the lottery rules and this year’s top prospects.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has reached the end of the rehab period for the herniated disk in his neck. If he still wants the neck surgery that team doctors haven’t been comfortable with, he has the right to take the team to arbitration. If he doesn’t agree with the arbiter’s decision, he can ask for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The surgical procedure Eichel prefers has never been done before on an NHL player. The team doctors’ preference is for continued rehab. It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds if Eichel feels he hasn’t made much progress with his current treatment.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted goaltender Tuukka Rask has been battling nagging injuries. However, he doesn’t feel there’s any reason to believe Rask won’t be ready to play against the New York Islanders tonight in Game 3 of their second-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask appeared to struggle during the Bruins’ overtime loss in Game 2. If that continues in Game 3 we could see backup Jeremy Swayman for Game 4.

TSN: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in Game 2.

WINNIPEG SUN: The province of Manitoba will allow 500 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers into the MTS Centre tonight for the Winnipeg Jets’ opening game of their second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin said he suffered a sprained shoulder during his club’s series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Teammate Joel Eriksson Ek played through a knee injury suffered in Game 6. The duo won’t require offseason surgery.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a one-year, two-way contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Connauton will earn $825K at the NHL level. He spent most of this season on the Panthers’ taxi squad, seeing action in seven games.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins have given teams around the league permission to speak with former general manager Jim Rutherford before his contract with them expires at the end of June. Rutherford stepped down as GM in January for personal reasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2021

The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Panthers, the Penguins and Golden Knights tie their respective series, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominees are announced, the Red Wings re-sign Jeff Blashill and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves to backstop the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 3-1. Tampa Bay leads the series 2-0. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning while Mason Marchment replied for the Panthers. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vasilevskiy was the difference maker as the Lightning took an early 2-0 lead. The Panthers outshot the Bolts 24-13 over the second and third periods but could only get one shot past the former Vezina Trophy winner.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 37 saves as his club held on for a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders to even their series at a game apiece. The Penguins got first-period goals from Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter while Josh Bailey replied for the Isles in the second period. The series shifts to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid bounce-back effort for Jarry following his shaky performance in Game 1. Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov looked rusty in the early going as he returned to action after missing a week with a lower-body injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 34 shots and Alex Tuch scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights tamed the Minnesota Wild 3-1 to tie their series 1-1. Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas while the Wild’s Matt Dumba opened the scoring. The series moves to Minnesota for Game 3 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strong goaltending was the theme for the winning teams on Tuesday. Fleury also played well in his club’s 1-0 overtime loss in Game 1.

The Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in their second-to-last regular-season contest. Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko made 38 saves while Brock Boeser, Tyler Myers and Travis Hamonic each had a goal and an assist. The two clubs will play their season finale tonight.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares are among this season’s 31 nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings agreed to a contract extension with head coach Jeff Blashill. Details were not released. Blashill’s current contract was to expire at the end of this season. Meanwhile, the Wings announced captain Dylan Larkin is recovering from an undisclosed injury and is expected to be ready for the start of 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings also revealed assistant coach Dan Bylsma won’t be back. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman believes the club’s improvement this season earned Blashill at least another year behind the bench.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks have informed GM Jim Benning will return next season.

THE PROVINCE: There’s speculation former Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin could return to the club in front-office roles. Meanwhile, there’s still no indication if head coach Travis Green will receive a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The news of Benning’s return won’t please his critics. Meanwhile, uncertainty remains over Green’s future in Vancouver. Benning signaled his intent in January to sign Green to a contract extension but he’s gone quiet in recent weeks about those negotiations.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Young Canadiens Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Alexander Romanov and Cole Caufield will be scratched from Game 1 of their upcoming series-opening game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme wants to go with a more experienced lineup to open the series but benching those kids isn’t sitting well with Habs fans on social media. Their unhappiness will grow if that veteran-laden lineup drops Game 1 to the Leafs.

Speaking of the Canadiens, the province of Quebec will be easing some COVID-19 restrictions later this month. As a result, the Habs could have 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre for Game 6 against the Leafs on May 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming there is a Game 6. The Leafs are the heavy favorites in this series. Most experts predict they’ll eliminate the Habs in four or five games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon will miss Game 3 tonight against the Washington Capitals with an injured hand. He’s listed as day-to-day. Blueliner Kevan Miller suffered a cut in Game 2 but will be in the lineup for tonight’s contest.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have parted ways with Scott Gordon and Kerry Huffman. Gordon was head coach of their AHL affiliate while Huffman was the assistant coach.

THE QMJHL: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced Guy Lafleur’s No. 4 will be retired across the league starting next season. Lafleur wore that number when he starred with the Quebec Remparts from 1969 to 1971 before becoming the first-overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971 draft.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman and NHL player agent Gilles Lupien passed away yesterday from cancer at age 67. He won two Stanley Cups with the Habs in 1978 and 1979, playing 226 career NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Lupien’s family, friends, former teammates and clients.










NHL Playoffs: Tampa Bay will need a lot to go right to beat surging Panthers

NHL Playoffs: Tampa Bay will need a lot to go right to beat surging Panthers