The NHL has suspended Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett one game for his hit on Blake Coleman in Game 1 of the first round series between the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The hit in the third period was initially penalized two minutes for charging and will now cause Bennett to sit for Game 2 of the Central Division series.
Game 1 was a chippy, bombastic affair that got fans across the league to the edge of their seats, culminating in a Brayden Point breakaway game-winning goal in the last minute. Game 2 is tonight and should be no less fun (but watch the coaches swing the other way and it becomes a trap game).
Florida’s Sam Bennett has been suspended for one game for Boarding Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman. https://t.co/sQgkaojSGh— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 17, 2021
Matt had a lot to cover in the Morning After Thoughts for Game 1. He wrote about Nikita Kucherov, “message sending,” and the pure entertainment of it all. [Raw Charge]
Florida was clearly more concerned with “message sending” rather than outplaying Tampa Bay. The Panthers laid 56 hits (to Tampa Bay’s 34) in Game One. The Lightning didn’t take the physical attack lightly, willingly going back at Florida and showing they wouldn’t back down.
“We’re comfortable playing in these types of games,” Stamkos said.
Excited about getting going, the Orlando Solar Bears have announced their schedule for the 2021-22 season. [Raw Charge]
On Tuesday, the ECHL announced the full 2021-2022 regular season schedule, with all 27 teams—including a new Canadian squad—back on ice after several teams sat out this season due to the pandemic. The season will officially open on Thursday, October 21st, with the expansion Trois-Rivieres team hosting Newfoundland for the first ever ECHL game in Quebec. The other expansion team, Iowa, will host Kansas City for their first ever game on Friday, October 22nd.
ESPN has hired Canadian broadcaster Leah Hextall to be their new NHL play-by-play voice, she is the first woman to hold that role for a national TV broadcast.
Leah Hextall is set to make history by becoming ESPN's new NHL play-by-play voice, a source confirms to The Athletic.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 17, 2021
She would be first woman to hold that role as part of a national TV broadcast. pic.twitter.com/4gNw3opF1L
Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Canadian Olympic Superstar Danielle Goyette to be their Director of Player Development. Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s former Olympic Hockey Captain, has been promoted to Senior Director of Player Development. Goyette will head the program while Dr. Wick completes her residency at a local Toronto hospital.
You can read about the moves and Goyette’s resume in a really good post on our sister blog in Toronto. [Pension Plan Puppets]
“Goyette is a two-time Olympic champion (2002, 2006) and captured a silver medal in 1998, and served as Canada’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Goyette won eight World Championships for Canada and scored the gold medal-winning goal in 1992, 1994 and 1998. She was named to the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2018.”
Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser has been elevated to the role of Senior Director of Player Development and Danielle Goyette has been hired as the club’s Director of Player Development. #LeafsForever— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 17, 2021
Meanwhile in “cap circumvention” news, Montreal Canadiens players Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher played an AHL game last night on conditioning stints (although Prie was never injured, they just think resting him will make him better in the playoffs). They were promptly beaten 2-0 by the Toronto Marlies, whose parent club will face Price and Gallagher in the first round. The Twitter fighting between the two fanbases has already begun (it may or may not have been started by me, I plead the fifth).
Last Night’s Games
Boston Bruins 4, Washington Capitals 3 (OT), Series tied 1-1
Taylor Hall tied the game and Brad Marchand scored in overtime for a comeback win. [Recap at Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Nashville Predators 2, Hurricanes lead series 1-0
Jordan Staal scores twice in confident win for Canes over Preds. [Recap at Canes Country]
Colorado Avalanche 4, St. Louis Blues 1, Avalanche lead series 1-0
Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog (who else) handily beat Blues thanks to third period breakthrough. [Recap at Mile High Hockey]
New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins, NYI lead series 1-0
7:30 pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, SN, ATTSN-PT, MSG
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers, TBL lead series 1-0
8:00 pm ET, CNBC, SNE, BSSUN, BSFL
Minnesota Wild @ Vegas Golden Knights, MIN lead series 1-0
10:00 pm ET, NBCSN, SN360, ATTSN-RM