NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

by | Sep 21, 2019 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Taylor Hall returns to the ice, Dan Girardi hangs up his skates, plus updates on Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Goligoski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored a goal and collected an assist in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers in preseason play on Friday. It was Hall’s first game since suffering a knee injury last December. “I felt pretty good,” said Hall, who played just over 18 minutes. “There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to the game at certain points, but it was a lot of fun to be out there and (to) have some success right off the bat was a good feeling. It’s kind of the way you’d want to draw it up if you were coming back.”

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall returned to action in his first game since last December (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a promising start for Hall. He’ll be crucial to the Devils’ playoff hopes this season.

TSN: Defenseman Dan Girardi yesterday announced his retirement. He spent 13 seasons in the NHL, 11 with the New York Rangers and two with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid, big-minute defensive blueliner, Girardi’s best seasons came during his long tenure with the Rangers, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. In recent years, however, his performance declined as he struggled to adjust to the increasingly faster pace of the game. Best wishes to Girardi and his family in their future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said he recently had a “wonderful conversation” with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who’s taken a leave of absence from the club. Maurice offered up no timetable for the big blueliner’s return. He also downplayed a chance encounter at a restaurant between a couple of fans and Byfuglien, with one of the fans claiming the defenseman told her he will be playing this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ official line is they’re giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs during this leave of absence. A report earlier this week claiming the rearguard was pondering his future has Jets fans understandably concerned he might retire.

THE ATHLETIC: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski admitted he lost his passion for the game around mid-December last season. However, he was re-energized following the club’s mandatory off-week in late-January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics believe the off-week for teams is a waste of time, hurting momentum and roster cohesiveness. Goligoski’s case proves it can be beneficial for players experiencing burnout.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $925K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was the Rangers’ only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. While he was holding out for more, the Rangers lacked sufficient cap space to give him a more substantial raise. If he matches or exceeds last season’s promising 30-point performance, the Blueshirts will reward him for it next summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon on waivers yesterday for assignment to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens rookie Ryan Poehling is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while veteran Paul Byron is nursing an upper-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals named Jim Slater to their player development department.



  1. If Hall stays healthy, he’ll put up some big numbers this year playing with Hughes….. and he’ll get paid! Speaking of Hughes: this kid has to be favorite to win Calder. I know George O sang the praises of Kakko before the draft but, Hughes to me is the better player. And this is coming from a life long Ranger fan who hates the Devils! It’s only preseason, but 3 goals and a helper in 2 games…. and they showed a little of everything. His high end skills and speed is scary. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t put up at least 70-80 points. Maybe more.

    • Slick62, I’m not downplaying Hughes talent – just his size. There were a few “little” players last season who began the season wowing onlookers with their speed and ability – but that was in the free-wheeling days of October and November. When mid-December rolled around and the checking and hitting got more intense their production noticeably tailed off.

      NOT saying that will be the case with Hughes – but it’s something to keep an eye on. I still like the big Finn.

      • I think Hughes is going to be a great player. But a great center? I don’t know if he ends up staying there. You don’t see centers under 6’ lighting up the leader boards any given year. You’ll be hard pressed to find any in recent years not named Point.

        I don’t think this is changing anytime soon.

        As far as his performance so far, I’m not going to hand him a Calder just yet or declare him the better player than Kakko. NYs top line consisted of Namestikov, (projected 3rd-4th liner) Howden (projected 4th liner) and Buchnevich (projected 1st line, hasn’t been there yet) and 5 Ahl (or worse) defensemen last night.

        I think George could have had a goal and an assist last night, and probably a breakaway goal like Hughes.😂

      • LOL. In my dreams maybe Nyr4life.

      • George, I’m happy with Kakko, just more impresssd with Hughes. Again, different players. Different positions. Not sure what height has to do with anything, but I’m sure Hughes will put on a few pounds and maybe grow another inch. I’m 6’3. 5’11 when I was 18. McKinnon and Aho are both listed at 6’0. Crosby and Giroux under 6’. Going to be a heck of a rivalry for next 10 years

      • Well, In the last 30 years of hockey it’s hard to find elite centers below 6’, so I’d say that has a lot to do with it. Has there been a center other than Point putting up 80-100 points a season since the 90s?

        Hughes is not growing taller. Boys stop growing at 16. Your case of shooting to 6’’3” after 16 is not typical. Extremely rare to have a growth spurt past the age of 16. Almost never happens.

        Hughes is listed at 5’10” and 170 lbs. and that seems generous on both accounts.
        I’m not saying he won’t be successful. I just see him taking the Tyler Johnson route and ultimately being put on the wing because of his size.

      • I’m not going to keep arguing this, but as I said, Crosby listed under 6’. Game has changed and you see more and more smaller players. All about speed now. I don’t see an inch or 2 making much of a difference. The weight and strength to me would be more of a factor. As far as late bloomers? Happens all the time. Look at last years 1st round pick, Miller…. he’s grown 2 inches in last year.

      • It really doesn’t happen all the time. As a matter of fact it would be very rare to grow past the age of 16, this is science, not opinion. Some boys grow an inch or 2 after, but it’s far from typical. 18+ almost non existent. Again, I’m not rewriting science here…. it’s fact.
        There really is no way to argue it.

        Crosby is 5’11 and 200 lbs, like I said, 5’10 and 170 seem a bit of a stretch for Hughes. I’d say more like 5’8 or 9” and about 150-160.

      • As I said. I’m not arguing. Probably not going to grow taller, but it does happen. Lots of kids hit puberty late. “The science” is they stop growing when puberty ends, which is normally around 16. I’m sure he’ll put on some weight. I just don’t agree with your comment that he’ll end up at wing because he’s not 6’. He stated before season he’s a shade under 5’11. I don’t see a need for him to lie, and I don’t see how he’ll ever get moved to wing because he’s not tall enough. I only mention guys that had over 80 points last year. Hughes is probably going to be 1C on Devils and playing with Hall could easily put up 80 points. He’ll be on 1st PP too.

    • Man-the Devil’s forward group looks solid now.
      The question is does Hischier or Hughes get Hall… the other gets Gusev. If Hughes/Hall becomes the play he should get 60+ easily. Kyle P and Simmonds will score 20+ each from the dirty zones.

  2. “his (Girardi’s) performance declined as he struggled to adjust to the increasingly faster pace of the game …”

    That can be said about a lot of D-men who’ve been around a long time – Phaneuf, Kronwal, Orpik, Lovejoy, Butler.

    And there are a few still sprinkled around the league whose inability to adjust to the ever-increasing pace of the game will stick out like sore thumbs as the season wears on.

    • Speaking of Girardi, something I hadn’t taken notice of before is that the NYR have $5,394,444 tied up in 3 buyouts – Girardi, Spooner and Shattenkirk – and next year that jumps to $7,494,444!! Those two totals represent a pretty good player. Over the following two years after next, it drops to $2,544,444 for Girardi and Shattenkirk.

    • It will be an ongoing debate for years who’s better, Hughes or Kakko.

      No different from the Crosby/Ovechkin era.

      We are all Blessed to be able to watch the game continue to evolve with talent and speed, year and year.

      Thanks so much to the League President Mr. Bettman and all his Staff. They had seen the writing on the wall years ago when they tightened up on calling penalties on clutching, holding, grabbing, interference and even eliminated the two line pass.

      The League evolved to accommodate the skills and speed of that generation and future generations to come.

      I’m also a life long Rangers fan and am so excited to have Jagr, sorry I meant Kakko on the NYR.

      However Hughes is truly special and I will enjoy watching his career as well.

      Hockey is Awesome and we all know it.

      Enjoy the Season my fellow Hockey Fans!

      • Well said

  3. Winnipeg headline news “Byfuglien seen eating at Earls Restaurant ” what does it mean? He’s Hungry!

  4. Just want to point out that Hall missed most of last year with a knee injury., he only played one full season in the league and that was his last with the Oil. he’s been having knee problems for years..He was skating with a brace in Etown long ago. He could be a heart candidate or he could miss the season. Look at the affect it had on the devils last year. I know people will run to give him a max deal in the summer ( if he stays healthy and probably if he don’t ) but there’s no place in Etown for him. Going to be to much money and I’m going to say that season in Etown May be his only full one when he retires or goes on LTIR