The latest on the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, Flyers confirm impending buyout for Daniel Briere, latest on the Stars coaching search and more.
CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has no intention of replacing goalie Corey Crawford, who struggled of late with shots high to the glove side, with backup Ray Emery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yeah, Quenneville got to be a Stanley Cup-winning coach with 660 career victories by hitting the panic button over his goaltending. Yes, Crawford had some troubles high glove in Game Four, but Boston’s Tuukka Rask didn’t exactly have a strong performance in Game Four, and no one’s suggesting it’s time for Anton Khudobin. The Blackhawks made it this far with Crawford, and unless he suffers a total meltdown over the next couple of games, they’ll stick with him as their starter.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins hope to have better starts over the remainder of the Cup Final. They’ve struggled from the blocks in each game of this series so far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask has weathered the early storms; otherwise, they would’ve fallen well behind early in at least two of these games (Games Two and Four). As terrific as Rask is, with the series now a best-of-three, slow starts against the Blackhawks could prove fatal for the Bruins unless they address it now.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The TV ratings for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final continue to improve, as the opening four games have been the most watched on record dating back to 1994.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers have acknowledged their intent to buy out popular forward Daniel Briere, who made his goodbyes yesterday to the Philadelphia organization, fans and media.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had the salary cap not declined for next season, Briere wouldn’t have been bought out. It’s not something the organization wanted to do, but with limited cap space, they had no choice.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars remain keen on former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, but reports he’s been hired as the Stars new head coach yesterday were premature.
I think Ruff’s the front-runner now for the Stars, but management wants to ensure they’ve thoroughly vetted every candidate before making their decision. Never mind, turns out he’s been hired after all by the Stars, with a formal announcement and press conference later today.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The NY Rangers will formally introduce Alain Vigneault as their new head coach today.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Glen Sather is uncertain what the future holds for Rangers executive Mark Messier, who was disappointed over being passed over for the head coaching job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Messier’s desire for a larger role within the Rangers organization is understandable, but the Rangers need an experienced hand behind the bench, not a coaching novice whose only credential is his reputation as a Hall of Fame player.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga could finally reach its conclusion today as the Glendale City Council meets to decide upon a new arena lease deal with the club’s prospective buyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos (via Kukla’s Korner), not only does it sound like the council will reject the lease agreement, but Seattle could be out as a relocation destination this summer, as the Key Arena apparently won’t be ready until the 2014-15 season to house an NHL team. That could actually buy NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman another year to find another prospective buyer willing to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, but if the city council remains unwilling to finance a new lease agreement, the relocation of the Coyotes becomes inevitable by next summer.
FORBES.COM: The New Jersey Devils are reportedly being crushed by over $230 million of debt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like another potential headache for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as the NHL may end up carrying the Devils until the debt and ownership issues there are sorted out. No, the Devils won’t be relocated.