NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2014

The Rangers complete the upset of the Penguins, the Blackhawks eliminate the Wild, updates on the Kings & Ducks, Bettman visits Seattle and more.

The NY Rangers celebrate their series victory over the Penguins.

The NY Rangers celebrate their series victory over the Penguins.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored while Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves as the New York Rangers completed their rally from a 3-1 series deficit to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1, eliminating the latter in seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Rangers, whose comeback was overshadowed in this postseason only by the LA Kings overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to knock off the San Jose Sharks in seven games.

As for the Penguins, ownership can’t  double down  again this summer. Changes are necessary and will be coming. Five years after winning a Stanley Cup and seemingly poised to win more championships, the Penguins have come up small in the playoffs.

The likeliest change could be behind the bench, as the coaching staff could become casualties. Forget about moving Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, they’re not going anywhere, and Kris Letang’s heart condition alone could be enough to hamper his trade value (as could his new, expensive contract).  I also doubt they’ll trade or release Marc-Andre Fleury, as he only has one season left on his contract and wasn’t the scapegoat this time. I do see them attempting to bolster their defensive grit and speed, and perhaps hiring a coach (hello there, Barry Trotz) who’s more defensive-minded. 

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Thanks to the Rangers advancing to the Conference Finals, the second-round pick in this year’s draft they sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Martin St. Louis trade become a first round pick.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/TWINCITIES.COM: Patrick Kane tallied in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 to win their best-of-seven series in six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Blackhawks, who march on to the Conference Finals for the fourth time in six seasons. A heartbreaking defeat for the Wild, but they have nothing to be ashamed about. They threw a scare into the defending champs by pushing this series to six games, and Game Six was one of the most thrilling I’ve ever seen.  The Wild have once and for all dispelled the myth they play a dull, plodding defensive style. With their rising young players they’re only going to get better. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi hopes his club can find its consistency on time, while Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks forward Mathieu Perreault praised coach Bruce Boudreau for getting his team to believe in itself.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game 6 between the Kings and Ducks goes tonight in Los Angeles.

NOTE: The latest on the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens series can be found in “Canadian Corner”.

KING5.COM: NHL commissioners Gary Bettman and Bill Daly recently traveled to Seattle to meet with the city’s top two elected officials. The meeting was apparently a “meet and greet” but there’s nothing brewing regarding a possible expansion to Seattle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman recently said the league has no plans to expand right now but you’ve gotta figure a franchise in Seattle in the near future is a strong possibility, especially if they can sort out their arena issues.

STLTODAY.COMs: The Blues have hired former Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller as an assistant coach.


  1. Bylsma, Dan:

    The Penguins will be very smart to separate from Dan Bylsma. Aside from replacing Michel Therrien mid-season in the 2008-2009 season to coach the Penguins to the Stanley Cup, Bylsma has not done much for the team, especially in clutch times in the postseason.

    Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, the Penguins have lost in conference quarterfinals twice, conference semifinals twice and conference finals once.

    The three recent series against the Bruins, Blue Jackets and Rangers saw the Penguins struggle with scoring. Notable goal scorers like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin did not show up to score. They were not held accountable or disciplined by their coach for lack of production.

    The Penguins will have no difficulty finding Bylsma’s replacement. The team is loaded with talent to remain competitive for the Stanley Cup for the foreseeable future. Many coaches would like to coach the Penguins.

    Letang, Kris:

    Letang has had a health prone season suffering a stroke and seeing limited action. His health concerns and his eight-year 58 million dollar contract that begins next season will make it difficult for the Penguins to trade him.

    • Bylsma does deserve to go. Bylsma inherited a very talented team and didn’t have much to do when the Pens won the Stanley Cup. Since then, he has had to coach and his deficiences have been exposed, most recently during the Olympics and now the self-destruction of the Pens. IMO, a good part of the problem is that Columbus and the Rangers got Sid off his game – his frustration was so high that he started foscusing on slashing, spearing, elbowing – getting a hit in and then skating away letting a teammate stand up for him. Sad thing is….Sid’s actions didn’t reflect how a true captain acts – it was more that of a spoiled child. Believe me – fans saw Crosby become a hack versus the skilled, talented player he is and that is where Bylsma failed as a coach. I also blame Shiro for the loss as when Dupuis went down – he had ample time to find a replacement. His last minute deal was for Stempniak – when he could have gone after Vanek, Moulson, Stewart, Tlusty or Frolik. Heck, I’m sure they could have gotten Havlat for next to nothing with San Jose picking up part of his salary.

      Anyway, the Rangers stepped up and focused as a team versus as an individual – for a team without a Captain – St. Louis sure looked and acted the part. Quite a contrast.

  2. I have to tip my hat to the wild and their coach. We often praise coaches success when they are only riding a hot goalie but it’s pretty incredible to have a team make it to a game 6 against cup favorites with a goalie who sports a sub .900sv% in the playoffs.

  3. Just wow, the NYR’s come back is crazy! I wonder if it’s indicative of the heart of the their team, or lack thereof of the Pens.

    I wonder if they cut a deal for one of their top two centers to shore up their depth. Plus, Orpik and niskanen are UFA’s. Tough decisions to be made in Pittsburgh that’s for sure.