To start today, we are taking the time to remember Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Matiss Kivlenieks, who died on Sunday night.
According to an Oakland County medical examiner in Michigan, an autopsy revealed that Kivlenieks’ died of chest trauma from a mortar firework blast. He was 24 years old.
Our thoughts are with him, his family, his friends and the hockey world during this tragic time. Hold your loved ones close today.
The stage is also set for Game 4 at Bell Centre, as the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to capture their second straight Stanley Cup against the Montreal Canadiens.
Here’s the latest news and notes from across the league:
- Washington’s season reviews continue, and what better way to open a new week than looking back at Tom Wilson‘s performance? Kevin Klein dives deeper into the tough guy’s 2020-21 campaign. (Japers’ Rink)
- In honor of this weekend, Michael Marzzacco remembers John Carlson‘s clutch goal for Team USA at World Juniors. Here’s more on the then 19-year-old’s historic overtime tally vs. Canada. (Stars & Sticks)
- It’s been six years since the T.J. Oshie trade, and it’s still paying off for Washington. Here’s the on and off-ice impact that the “ultimate teammate” continues to make in D.C. (Washington Hockey Now)
- Kivlenieks was not only a top goaltending prospect for Columbus but a well-known, beloved locker room presence. After the tragic accident, several took the time to pay tribute and remember the Latvian goalie. (Associated Press)
- Montreal faces several lineup changes heading into what could be their last Stanley Cup Final game against Tampa, including scratching forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. (Sportsnet)
- For the Lightning, Monday’s Game 4 is giving Jon Cooper some “last day of school” vibes. James O’Brien has more. (Pro Hockey Talk)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- What happened to Kivlenieks is an absolute tragedy. My thoughts are with his family, friends, teammates and the Blue Jackets organization during these difficult times, and may he rest in peace. Tell your family, friends and those around you that you love and care for them; life can be taken so suddenly.
- Considering the Habs situation, it’s wise of them to shake up their lines against the Lightning. If that means sitting Kotkaniemi and inserting Brett Kulak and Alexander Romanov on defense for Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill, then so be it. Montreal hasn’t been able to figure out much against the Bolts, and changing things now can’t hurt.
- The fact that Pat Maroon could go back-to-back-to-back is truly a sight to behold. He still has one more year on his contract and is expansion draft-eligible, and who knows? He could catch the eye of Seattle with his winning ways and look for another ring with the Kraken.