PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The story of Jon Cooper before he was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Tampa Bay Times)
As you might imagine, Puck Daddy has been among those previewing the Stanley Cup Final. They’ve comparing all the categories you would expect like goaltending and forwards, but they also have a section on aesthetics, which includes the anthem singers. (Puck Daddy)
The argument for trading Rick Nash. (New York Post)
Patrick Kane feels Chicago hasn’t “done anything yet” except take “a great step” by winning Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks. (CSN Chicago)
Tampa Bay might not be a traditional hockey market, but that doesn’t mean that the Lightning aren’t a popular team. (Raw Charge)
Shane Doan threw out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ game. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
He also talked about social media and the Coyotes’ upcoming jerseys during an in-game interview. (MLB.com)
Online bookmaker Bovada has released its odds for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and it won’t come as much of a surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win. They have been given 5/7 odds compared to Tampa Bay’s 6/5.
Tampa Bay is a terrific team with a lot offensive weapons, but Chicago has plenty of depth and experience. The gap isn’t big though and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Lightning did end up winning the championship.
They’ve also given odds for their top 16 Conn Smythe Trophy candidates:
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 7/2
Tyler Johnson (TB) 4/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 9/2
Ben Bishop (TB) 5/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 8/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 12/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB) 15/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) 25/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 25/1
Victor Hedman (TB) 35/1
Valtteri Filppula (TB) 40/1
Alex Killorn (TB) 40/1
Ondrej Palat (TB) 40/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI) 40/1
Brad Richards (CHI) 50/1
Johnson and Kane lead their teams in points with 21 and 20 respectively, but it makes sense for Toews to top the list. He’s Chicago’s leader and has stepped up in big games before. Toews’ two goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final was a critical part of why Chicago won that contest.
If Toews or Kane wins the award, it would be their second. Currently only five players in NHL history have been declared the playoff MVP at least twice (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent).
If Keith wins it, he’ll be the first defensemen to get the trophy since Scott Niedermayer in 2007. Keith might not be the favorite, but he certainly deserves consideration as he’s been averaging 31:35 minutes per game.
After winning their respective Conference Final Game 7s, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks will play in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
The series will begin on Wednesday in Tampa Bay and can extend as late as June 17. Below is the complete schedule (all times are in ET):
Wednesday June 3 – Blackhawks at Lightning (Amalie Arena) – 8:00 p.m. on NBC
Saturday June 6 – Blackhawks at Lightning (Amalie Arena) – 7:15 p.m. on NBC
Monday June 8 – Lightning at Blackhawks (United Center) – 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN
Wednesday June 10 – Lightning at Blackhawks (United Center) – 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN
*Saturday June 13 – Blackhawks at Lightning (Amalie Arena) – 8:00 p.m. on NBC
*Monday June 15 – Lightning at Blackhawks (United Center) – 8:00 p.m. on NBC
*Wednesday June 17 – Blackhawks at Lightning (Amalie Arena) – 8:00 p.m. on NBC
* if necessary
This will be Tampa Bay’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since the Lightning won the championship in 2004. By contrast Chicago has made it this far three times in the last six years. This series also has the potential to produce some high scoring games as there’s no shortage as this series will feature Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Steven Stamkos on Tampa Bay’s side as well as Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp.