NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019

by | Aug 8, 2019 | News, NHL | 5 comments

The latest on Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock yesterday indicated he expects centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews to average around 19 minutes of ice time per game this season. Babcock received criticism for not playing Matthews more during their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs.

Auston Matthews could see a slight increase in his ice time with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Juggling the ice time of two superstar centers is a problem every NHL coach wants to have. In Toronto, of course, every decision by Babcock is questioned by millions of armchair coaches. Because it’s the dog days of the off-season when there’s little real hockey news to report, Matthews’ ice time for the coming season is headline news.

Dylan Larkin believes he’s ready to take on the captaincy of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings played without a captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg was placed on long-term injured reserve.

“A letter is a letter, but being a captain of a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings would mean a lot to me. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I still get to play for the Detroit Red Wings and I get to play in the NHL and I’m going to try to play my best.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Larkin would make a fine captain for the Wings. The final decision rests with Wings general manager Steve Yzerman.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains optimistic defenseman Zach Werenski will be re-signed before training camp opens next month. Werenski, 21, is among several notable restricted free agents around the league who remain unsigned. Kekalainen believes the agents for Werenski and the others are playing a waiting game to see who signs first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early August and neither side is in a rush to get these deals done. Once the calendar flips to September and the start of training camps approach, I anticipate a flurry of signings.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov wants to play a final season in the NHL and reach a milestone 1,000 games, preferably with the Habs. Two years ago, the 40-year-old blueliner signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan after failing to reach an agreement with the Canadiens. He spent his entire NHL career in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need depth on the left side of their blueline. I don’t know if Markov would be a fit at this stage of his career. Perhaps the Habs bring him to camp on a professional tryout offer if they don’t bring in another rearguard via trade or free agency.

THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said Don Waddell remains the club’s general manager. Speculation over Waddell’s future was raised earlier this week when he was reportedly interviewed by the Minnesota Wild for their vacant GM position. Waddell lacks a formal contract with the Hurricanes but Dundon insists he remains employed by the club.



  1. I’m a Leaf fan,
    My beef with Babcok’s ice time management has nothing to do directly with Matthews…

    It’s game 7, and you’re loosing by one goal… WTF is the 4th line doing on the ice man!

    Cut the bench! Get that goal! It’s game 7, there is no other if you loose!

    • I agree for the most part, ride your big horses.
      But Babcock could say. There have been alot of big playoff goals scored by 3rd and 4th liners.
      The Leafs didn’t lose the series in game 7, they lost it in game 6. Andersen was hot in game 6 but everyone else on the Leafs were not

      • I agree, but it still went to game 7…

        I don’t think hoping for a Paul Henderson type goal to win a series is the best way to manage your bench.

        Miracle goals happens, but when you pay a couple of guys over 20 mil to make big plays and to score goals, You should put them on the ice, doesn’t matter with who… they should have been there.

  2. I don’t agree that the Canadiens need depth on the left side of the blue line. With the Chiarot signing and the Reilly and Kulak re-signings, they have depth. What they need is a legitimate top pairing LD. Markov’s top pairing days are over.

    • Agreed Howard. I do think, however, Mtl needs to finds a way to bring Markov back into the fold. The potential top pairing LD in Mtl is Romanov for next year. Mtl currently lacks any Russian players (especially veterans) who could take a young player under heir wing and really loves the city. We have all seen the mess that Puljarvi is in Edmonton. The lack of Finish player mentors on the Oi has often been cited as a contributing factor to his poor development. Habs can not afford such a problem with Romanov especially with the perception that Mtl is not a welcoming environment for Russian.