Jun 15: Point is officially playing in tonight’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, per Cooper.
Jun 14: There’s finally confirmation that Brayden Point will be back within the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup this season. Point took practice today with the team, practicing on the first power-play unit. Head coach Jon Cooper said after practice that “there’s a chance” Point will play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final tomorrow night, and that he “really anticipates” Point being available for Game 2.
Point’s return certainly begins to stack the cards more in favor of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Historically a point-per-game player in the playoffs, a healthy Point gives Tampa Bay two elite centers to counteract the strong Colorado Avalanche offense. With Nazem Kadri potentially still injured for Colorado, it swings the center matchup massively in Tampa’s favor.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced three front office promotions today. Chris Pryor moves from director of player personnel to assistant general manager, Andy Saucier moves from video coach to hockey operations analyst/pro personnel, and Erik Heasley will assume the role of general manager of AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Pryor becomes an AGM for the second time in his nearly 30-year NHL management career, serving in that role for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2016 to 2018. Saucier had been the team’s video coach since 2012.
- After retiring from hockey to pursue a career as a social media influencer, former New Jersey Devils prospect Nikita Popugayev has given up his internet dreams after just one year away from the game. The hulking 6’6″ winger has been signed to a professional tryout by Amur Khabarovsk in the KHL. Popugayev remains on the Devils’ reserve list indefinitely, meaning they hold his rights if he decides to pursue a career in North America as well.