NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2012.

Coyotes down Predators to advance to Western Conference Final, Rangers edge Capitals in overtime, updates on remaining playoff teams, Blues sale to be finalized Wednesday and more.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/THE TENNESSEAN: Mike Smith made 32 saves as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1, winning their series in five games to advance to the Western Conference Final against the LA Kings.  Prior to the game, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced a tentative agreement had been reached with an ownership group fronted by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison to purchase the Coyotes, though neither could offer a timeline as to when sale of the club would be finalized.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only certainty is the Coyotes are going to the Conference Final for the first time in franchise history.  The sale of the Coyotes to an ownership group willing to keep the team in Glendale is promising news, but the Jamison group still has to sort out an arena lease agreement with the city of Glendale. They will also have to get the blessing of the watchdog group Goldwater Institute, which has been the biggest stumbling block in getting a previous deal done with businessman Matt Hulsizer.  As for the Predators, questions over the futures of RFAs Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov, and UFA Ryan Suter, will dominate team news between now and July 1st.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/WASHINGTON POST: The Washington Capitals were mere seconds away from taking a 3-2 series lead over the NY Rangers, but a late double-minor penalty by Caps forward Joel Ward resulted in goals by Brad Richards and Marc Staal as the Rangers downed the Capitals 3-2 in overtime.

PHILLY.COM/NJ.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers will not only have to overcome the strong forechecking of the New Jersey Devils in Game Five if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive, but also the one-game suspension of top forward Claude Giroux. The Devils, meanwhile, are as surprised as everyone else over their dominance of the Flyers thus far.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings are taking the time to enjoy their brief respite before their Western Conference Final against the Phoenix Coyotes, especially team captain Dustin Brown, who was a physical presence in his club’s sweep of the St. Louis Blues.

STLTODAY.COM: Sale of the Blues to an ownership group led by minority owner Tom Stillman will be finalized on Wednesday.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks have announced an increase in ticket prices for next season. For those who might be critical of this move by suggesting ownership has a “lot of nerve”, blah blah blah, remember, ticket prices are based on what the market will bear, and the Sharks have been playing to full houses since 2008-09.

2 Comments

  1. With the suspension to Giroux, the Flyers will be in tough today.
    However, with this comes opportunity. I definitely expect Briere, Jagr, Schenn and Couturier to have their best games of the series.

    Not sure it will be enough to stop Ilya Kovalchuk and company.

    On another note:
    Why wasn’t Kovi in the running for the Hart trophy. He was offensively dominant for his team and carried the load all-season. Had he not been injured for a few games, he could have finished top-3 in scoring. And, all this while playing the most of any NHL forward per game, and a bigger comittment to team and defense.
    (Yes, I realize he is still a minus player 5on5, but he is lethal on the powerplay. Also given his ice-time, he is going to be on the ice for a lot of goals against).

    Further to this point, last season he went on a tremendous run late in the year (something like 13 game winners in the last 17 games) to get the Devils very close to a playoff spot. Had they made it- he should have been a Hart nominee last season, too.

    I just think that he is sometimes looked over in terms of his “value to his team” becasue of the garing “minus” stat and his alpha-dog behaviour.

    In my opinion, he is one of the best players in the game, and is right up there with Crosby and Malkin in his ability to control the offensive pace of the game.

    What do you gys think?

  2. I agree with you about Kovalchuk. He’s really elevated his overall game. He is one of the top 5-6 players in the game when he is on.

    The Preds had plenty of offensive chances to win the series; kind of stunned that they lost. They will have their hands full with LA, though.

    Finally, just when I thought the Caps were shedding their choker image, they rescued defeat from the jaws of victory. Shouldn’t be blamed just on Ward, as they also had plenty of offensive chances, especially odd-man rushes to put the game away and Ovie, Semin and others didn’t get the job done.