NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

The Lightning defeated the Avalanche in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the latest details on the Stars’ reported hiring of Pete DeBoer, the Canucks sign KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning avenged their lopsided Game 2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche with a convincing 6-2 win in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

A four-goal second period blew the game open for the Lightning, chasing Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper after he gave up five goals on 22 shots. The Bolts also got a 37-save performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nick Paul scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period after returning from a first-period injury. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon each had a goal and an assist while Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both collected two assists. Gabriel Landeskog scored both Avalanche goals.

Game 4 is on Wednesday in Tampa Bay with the Avalanche holding a 2-1 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve come to expect, the Lightning once again rose to the occasion in a must-win contest. They didn’t panic when the Avalanche opened the scoring for the third straight game, pouncing on defensive miscues and playing a much more physical style to neutralize their opponent’s speed. Vasilevskiy was outstanding, shrugging off his poor performance in Game 2 and making several big saves to pick up the win.

This game got chippy as it went on. Several roughing penalties were handed out and there was a fight late in the third period between the Lightning’s Ross Colton and the Avalanche’s Logan O’Connor.

It was a potentially costly win for the Lightning as Kucherov left the game in the third period following a cross-check by Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews. No update was given on his condition following the game. They were already playing without Brayden Point, who sat out this contest after returning from a lower-body injury to play in the first two games.

The Avalanche were without forwards Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) and Andre Burakovsky (injured hand) for this game. Both are listed as day-to-day.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer are working on a four-year contract expected to be worth over $4 million per season. The deal hasn’t been finalized and signed yet but it’s expected to be done soon.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have signed KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $855K along with bonuses that could take him up to $1.95 million. The contract will be officially filed with the NHL on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is a 26-year-old left wing who tallied 53 points in 45 games this season with SKA St. Petersburg. He’s considered a smart, gifted playmaker. If he plays up to expectations he’ll provide offensive depth among the Canucks’ top-six scorers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed forwards Brett Leason and Beck Malenstyn to two-year contracts. Leason’s is a one-way deal worth $750K in 2022-23 and $800K in 2023-24. Malenstyn’s is a two-way deal next season and a one-way deal worth $775K.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will play the Montreal Canadiens in two Kraft Hockeyville training-camp games in Gander, NL on Oct. 6 and Bouctouche, NB on Oct. 8.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly interested in adding Finland’s national coach Jukka Jalonen to their coaching search.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2022

The Avalanche hold off the Oilers in a high-scoring Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, plus the latest on Igor Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jordan Binnington and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference Finals by holding off the Edmonton Oilers 8-6. Cale Makar lead the way for the Avalanche with a goal and two assists, J.T. Compher scored twice while Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists, Leon Draisaitl collected two helpers and Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Game 2 goes Thursday night in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar’s goal late in the first period generated some controversy when it appeared teammate Valeri Nichushkin was offside. However, the Oilers lost the coach’s challenge when it was deemed Makar didn’t actually cross the blueline and take possession of the puck until after Nichushkin tagged up. The Avs made it 4-2 on the subsequent power play and never trailed after that.

Both starting goaltenders didn’t finish this game. The Oilers’ Mike Smith was replaced by Mikko Koskinen in the second period after giving up six goals on 25 shots. Meanwhile, an upper-body injury forced the Avs’ Darcy Kuemper to leave the game soon after Smith’s departure. Pavel Francouz took over for Kuemper. Smith will likely return for Game 2 but Kuemper’s status is unknown at this time.

Give the Oilers credit for battling back after falling behind 7-3 late in the second period. Smith didn’t look sharp on the Avs’ first goal but wasn’t at fault for the other five that eluded him. His teammates struggled to defend against the Avalanche’s speed and puck-possession game, which at times turned the Oilers’ zone into a shooting gallery.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is looking forward to facing Tampa Bay Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy when the puck drops on the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday. Shesterkin was the Rangers’ regular-season MVP and he’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. However, he praised Vasilevskiy, calling him “the best goalie in the world right now.”

NHL.COM: Speaking of Vasilevskiy, he’s trying to become the first goaltender to backstop his team to three straight Stanley Cups since Hall-of-Famer Billy Smith with the New York Islanders in 1982.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should be an entertaining matchup between the two best goalies in the league. Shesterkin was 3-0-0 against the Lightning this season with a 1.30 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. However, Vasilevskiy has a well-deserved reputation for elevating his game in postseason competition, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy last season.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington admitted he threw an empty water bottle at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri following Game 3 of their second-round series. Binnington was upset with suffering a series-ending injury following a collision with Kadri earlier in the game. “I just felt it was a God-given opportunity,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A futile attempt at payback by Binnington, whose temper sometimes gets the better of him. The report noted the two players have a history. During a game in October, Binnington swung his stick at Kadri’s head but didn’t make contact.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said his club is considering all its options regarding the 2022 draft. He said they had not yet decided which player they’ll select but will reach a decision by July.

Hughes also said the club is still awaiting clarity on the status of Carey Price’s injured knee. He indicated the goalie has not seen additional doctors since visiting a specialist at the end of this season. They can place him on long-term injured reserve if they know he’s unable to play next season.

The Canadiens GM indicated they intend to soon finalize a new contract for head coach Martin St. Louis. He also shot down a rumor from a Russian media outlet claiming his club won’t be selecting Russian-born players in this year’s draft. (UPDATE: The Canadiens announced this morning that St. Louis signed a three-year extension)

NHL.COM: Speaking of the draft, the league released the draft order for selections 17 through 28. The final four positions will be determined by the outcome of the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens hold the first-overall pick after winning the draft lottery last month.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

The Lightning swept the Panthers, the Avalanche take a commanding lead in their series with the Blues, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning rode a 49-save shutout by Andrei Vasilevskiy to blank the Florida Panthers 2-0 in Game 4 to sweep their second-round series. Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat scored in the third period for the Lightning, who had two second-period goals overturned on challenges by Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette. The Lightning will face the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes – New York Rangers series in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a well-deserved sweep by Tampa Bay as they did a magnificent job squeezing the life out of Florida’s league-leading offense, holding them to just three goals in four games. Vasilevskiy was outstanding in this series while the Lightning’s defensive game (especially their shot-blocking) neutralized the Panthers’ scorers.

For the Panthers, this was a disappointing finish to a regular season that saw them take home the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history. They also won their first playoff series in 26 years by eliminating the Washington Capitals in the opening round. Those are accomplishments to build on going forward. They must improve their defensive game and bring some more grit into their lineup.

This game may have been the last for Joe Thornton as an NHL player. The 42-year-old Panthers center appeared in just 34 games during this season and made his 2022 postseason debut in Game 4.

Prior to Game 4, Brunette disputed an uncorroborated report claiming several of his players were out partying in a Tampa Bay strip club following their Game 3 loss on Sunday. “Check your sources. That was not the case last night,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Lightning winger Brandon Hagel was fined $3,750.00 for boarding Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen in Game 3.

A hat trick by Nazem Kadri powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their second-round series. David Perron tallied twice for the Blues. With a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Avalanche can close things out on Wednesday in Game 5 back in Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overshadowing this contest were reports that the St. Louis police were investigating racist threats aimed at Kadri stemming from his collision with Jordan Binnington in Game 3 that sidelined the Blues goaltender for the remainder of the series. Kadri indicated he’s been dealing with such vitriol throughout his career and used it as motivation for this game. “For those that hate, that was for them,” he said.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he’d like the Blues to help defuse the public anger toward Kadri, calling the collision with Binnington accidental.

Kadri wasn’t happy with Blues coach Craig Berube for his remarks following Game 3 suggesting the Avalanche center deliberately intended to injure Binnington. “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin board material,” said Kadri. Berube also drew criticism from fans and pundits on social media for declining to comment about the racist threats aimed at Kadri prior to Game 4.

HEADLINES

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen spent 20 minutes practicing with his teammates yesterday. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Thanks to the play of backup Antti Raanta, the Hurricanes can afford to allow Andersen as much time as necessary to make a full recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to whether Andersen will return to action in this series.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Ryan Reaves intends to “go run some people and get in their faces” in Game 4 after Hurricanes forward Max Domi whacked Blueshirts defenseman Ryan Lindgren late in Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers coach Gerard Gallant indirectly referenced Reaves following Game 3 when he said his club had a guy who could handle the Hurricanes if that’s how they wanted to play. We’ll find out tonight what impact Reaves might have in Game 4.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Milan Lucic said he wasn’t trying to run Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith when the two collided in Game 3 of their series. Lucic received a major and a match penalty for charging but said he was trying to stop when the incident occurred. He added if he actually was charging Smith, “we both wouldn’t be playing tomorrow.” Game 4 is tonight in Edmonton with the Oilers leading the Flames two games to one.

TSN: Speaking of the Flames, they’re moving their AHL affiliate from Stockton to Calgary starting next season.

PHNX SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports the Tempe City Council will discuss the Arizona Coyotes proposed arena deal on June 2.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets winger Kristian Vesalainen has signed a one-year contract with Swedish club Malmo.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

The Lightning, Oilers and Hurricanes advance to the second round. Check out the recaps of Saturday’s action in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series. Nick Paul tallied both goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for the Lightning as they took the series four games to three. Morgan Rielly replied for the Maple Leafs.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a well-earned victory for the Lightning as they continue their quest to become the first team to win three consecutive Stanley Cups since the 1982 New York Islanders. Vasilevskiy seemed ordinary through most of this series but he stepped up in Game 7. With their best scorers neutralized, the Bolts got timely goals from Paul, a depth player acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline.

It was a costly win for the Lightning, however, as Braydon Point suffered a leg injury late in the first period and spent the remainder of the game on the bench. No word yet as to whether he’ll be sidelined for their upcoming series against the Florida Panthers but it would be a significant loss for the Bolts if he is.

As for the Leafs, their postseason series drought is now at 18 years. This disappointing loss, however, is unlike this current group’s previous ones. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, they were a young team on the rise going up against better, more experienced opponents in the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. They underachieved against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2020 playoff bubble while overconfidence cost them last year against the Montreal Canadiens.

This time, the Leafs pushed the defending Stanley Cup champions to the limit with their best players performing well. It was a very entertaining series but the Leafs failed to put the Lightning away in this contest and in Game 6 when they held a 3-2 series lead.

There were calls last year from fans and pundits for the Leafs to make big changes following their stunning collapse against the Canadiens. The front office ignored those cries and focused instead on building up around the core. It’ll be interesting to see what they do this time. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL rumor mill.

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist while Mike Smith kicked out 29 shots to shut out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 7 of their first-round series. Cody Ceci also scored for the Oilers, who will face off against the Calgary Flames or Dallas Stars in the second round. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 39 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could’ve won this 6-0 if not for Quick’s outstanding goaltending. They dominated the Kings with McDavid leading the way as they advance to the second round for the first time since 2017. There were concerns before this game whether Leon Draisaitl would play following a leg injury in Game 6 but he was in the lineup and picked up an assist on the Ceci goal.

The Kings exceeded expectations in this series, pushing the favored Oilers to the limit. Their performance in this series can be used as a building block going forward. However, it marks the end of Dustin Brown’s 18-season NHL career, all of them spent with the Kings. He announced last month that he would retire following the postseason. The former Kings captain leaves as one of the best players in franchise history after leading them to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014.

The Carolina Hurricanes are marching on to the second round after holding off the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 7 of their opening-round series. Max Domi scored twice and Antti Raanta made 27 saves in his first Game 7 appearance. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins. Having taken this series four games to three, the Hurricanes await the winner of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The home team won each game in this series. Raanta was the series MVP for the Hurricanes, filling in for sidelined starter Frederik Andersen and shaking off an injury suffered in Game 2. The Hurricanes got clutch scoring from a trade deadline acquisition in Domi, who finished this contest with three points in what was perhaps his best performance as an NHL player.

Among the questions facing the Bruins heading into the offseason is the future of captain Patrice Bergeron. The long-time Bruins star is an unrestricted free agent this summer and remains among the league’s best two-way forwards. However, there’s speculation the 36-year-old center could retire or perhaps sign elsewhere if he and the Bruins fail to reach an agreement on a new contract. I’ll have more about that in today’s rumor mill.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2021

Alex Ovechkin reaches another goal-scoring milestone, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Joe Pavelski each reach career benchmarks, Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild to a lopsided victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied the 28th hat trick of his career as his club held off the Florida Panthers 4-3. Ovechkin is now tied with Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne for the sixth-most hat tricks in NHL history. He’s also one goal shy of tying Dave Andreychuk’s record for the most career power-play goals (274). Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had three points for the Capitals. The Panthers played without Anthony Duclair as he was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and considered day-to-day.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Joe Pavelski reached the 400 career goal plateau by scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger left the game in the second period following a collision with Avalanche forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel but returned for the third period. The Stars (9-7-2) have won five of their last six games. Cale Makar netted the only goal for the Avalanche.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves for his 200th career win and his second straight shutout to blank the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s first goal of the season was the game-winner while Steven Stamkos netted his 11th goal of the season.

Kirill Kaprizov scored and set up three others as the Minnesota Wild romped to a 7-1 thumping of the Winnipeg Jets, handing the latter their fifth straight loss and chasing Connor Hellebuyck from the Jets net after he gave up four goals on 14 shots. Mats Zuccarello scored two goals and Kevin Fiala collected two assists.

Artemi Panarin broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the New York Rangers tallied three unanswered goals on route to a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Panarin and Bruins winger Brad Marchand each received misconduct penalties in the final seconds of the game after an exchange of words between the benches led to the Rangers winger throwing one of his hockey gloves at Marchand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cited two sources claiming Marchand invoked Russian president Vladimir Putin and said no Russian players like Panarin. It’s believed the club has contacted the league about Marchand’s remarks.

Panarin took a leave of absence from the Rangers last season to deal with allegations made by one of his former Russian coaches claiming he assaulted a woman in Latvia a decade ago. The coach has close ties to Putin, whom Panarin had singled out for criticism in the past. The allegations were eventually revealed to be unfounded.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 34-save shutout performance from Anthony Stolarz in a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators, handing the Sens (4-13-1) their 10th loss in their last 11 games. Rickard Rakell and Trevor Zegras each had two points while Troy Terry netted his 13th goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators goaltender Matt Murray was a healthy scratch and is expected to be placed on waivers later today. The move is seen as a “wake-up call” for Murray, who hasn’t performed up to expectations this season.

Garrioch reports there are teams struggling between the pipes this season (Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres) who could use an experienced starter. However, Murray’s $6.25 million cap hit makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed.

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their eighth win in their last nine contests by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1. John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist while Joseph Woll kicked out 34 shots for the win. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced general manager Doug Wilson is taking a temporary medical leave from the club to deal with a non-COVID-related illness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Wilson for a quick and full recovery.

A four-goal second period powered the Carolina Hurricanes over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored two goals and Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes set a franchise record for requiring the fewest games (19) to reach 15 season-opening wins. The Flyers have dropped five in a row.

An overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat set up by Patrick Kane lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 3-2. The Blackhawks (7-11-2) were down 2-0 but rallied back on goals by Jujhar Khaira and Brandon Hagel. The Blues have now lost seven of their last nine contests.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist as his club doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Josi now has 20 points in as many games this season. Andreas Johnsson also had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who have lost five of their last six.

Tristan Jarry turned aside 25 shots and Kasperi Kapanen scored the only goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the New York Islanders 1-0 to pick up their fifth straight win. The Islanders (5-10-2) have lost eight straight.

A 39-save effort by Elvis Merzlikins gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Jack Roslovic scored the tie-breaker in the third period for the Jackets (12-6-0) while the Canucks’ record sinks to 6-13-2.

The Buffalo Sabres broke a four-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Tage Thompson tallied two goals for the Sabres (8-10-2). The Canadiens (5-14-2) are 1-9-1 on the road this season. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed forward Drake Caggiula on injured reserve.










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.