NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2019

by | Dec 31, 2019 | News, NHL | 47 comments

The Penguins beat the Senators but lose Jake Guentzel to injury, the 2020 All-Star Game rosters revealed, stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored two goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Nick Paul scored both Senators’ goals. Malkin has 24 points in his last 13 games. Teammate Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists before leaving the game after crashing headfirst into the boards when he was knocked down by Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot. Guentzel left the ice under his own power but seemed to favor his right side. There was no immediate update as to his condition.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel was injured during a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel’s on pace for a career year, tallying his 20th goal of the season and being selected for the 2020 All-Star Game.

The NHL revealed its rosters for the 2020 All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25. Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, and Jordan Binnington of the host Blues were named to the Central Division roster.

Atlantic Division (All-Star appearance)

F Tyler Bertuzzi, DET (1st)

F Anthony Duclair, OTT (1st)

F Jack Eichel, BUF (3rd)

F Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (1st)

F Auston Matthews, TOR (4th)

F David Pastrnak, BOS (2nd)*

D Victor Hedman, TBL (3rd)

D Shea Weber, MTL (7th)

G Frederik Andersen, TOR (1st)

G Tuukka Rask, BOS (2nd)

Metropolitan Division (All-Star appearance)

F Mathew Barzal, NYI (2nd)

F Jake Guentzel, PIT (1st)

F Kyle Palmieri, NJD (2nd)

F Artemi Panarin, NYR (1st)

F Travis Konecny, PHI (1st)

D John Carlson, WSH (2nd)

D Dougie Hamilton, CAR (1st)

D Seth Jones, CBJ (3rd)

G Braden Holtby, WSH (5th)

G Joonas Korpisalo, CBJ (1st)

Central Division (All-Star appearance)

F Patrick Kane, CHI (9th)

F Nathan MacKinnon, COL (4th)*

F Ryan O’Reilly, STL (3rd)

F Mark Scheifele, WPG (2nd)

F Tyler Seguin, DAL (6th)

F Eric Staal, MIN (6th)

D Roman Josi, NSH (3rd)

D Alex Pietrangelo, STL (2nd)

G Jordan Binnington, STL (1st)

G Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (2nd)

Pacific Division (All-Star appearance)

F Logan Couture, SJS (2nd)

F Leon Draisaitl, EDM (2nd)

F Anze Kopitar, LAK (5th)

F Connor McDavid, EDM (4th)*

F Elias Pettersson, VAN (2nd)

F Jakob Silfverberg, ANA (1st)

F Matthew Tkachuk, CGY (1st)

D Marc Giordano, CGY (3rd)

G Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK (5th)

G Darcy Kuemper, ARI (1st)

* Fan-elected captain

The league also released its All-Star Game “Last Men In” ballot, allowing fans to select up to four players to (one per division) to be added to the rosters.

SPORTSNET: Malkin, Boston’s Brad Marchand, Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, Florida’s Aleksander Barkov, Colorado’s Cale Makar, and Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes are among the most egregious all-star “snubs”.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think you can also apply that to the other so-called “snubs”.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, St Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, and Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 29.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said his club would welcome back defenseman Dustin Byfuglien if the fit was right. Byfuglien’s been suspended since September for failing to report to training camp and is currently recovering from recent ankle surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The right fit being a healthy Byfuglien keen to return to the Jets’ lineup. 

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was blunt when talking about his current slump. “I can’t speak for them (teammates), I can only talk for myself, and obviously I know I’ve been pretty shit lately,” he told reporters on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair assessment of the Oilers as a whole of late.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Charlie McAvoy (lower body) on injured reserve.

THE SCORE: Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is listed as week-to-week with a knee injury suffered during their shootout loss to Chicago on Sunday.


  1. The All Star Game IMO, While Somewhat Popular With Some Fans, Is Largely An Inconvenience And A Needless Venture That Most Players Don’t Welcome;By n Large: Do Away With The Whole Process: Its Largely A Farce And A Waste Of Everybody’s Time:

    • This is a correct assessment. Only reason for All-Star game is a money grab for NHL.

      • That applies to all the major pro sports Kevin – each one is a joke. I preferred the old days when the all-star game took place just before the start of a season involving the Stanley Cup champs against and all-star selection.

      • Has anyone who gripes about the all star has actually attended one? I have and they are nothing more than a superfan fest. I don’t think what they do works well for tv but I know first hand that it’s a big success for those that attend.
        It’s dumb but meant for fans to have a do nothing fun time with hockey.
        Happy holidays all.

      • Ron Moore, you are spot on mate.

    • That’s a long acronym.

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Hahaha

  2. Malkin was pretty impressive last night, they tried to intimidate him and he beat them at that part of the game as well.
    Pittsburgh and Boston are two teams that regardless of injuries just keep coming at you.
    Their star players aren’t afraid to compete. Don’t need anyone to do their dirty work.

    • I’m liking the 19/20 Eugene much much more than the 18/19 Eugene


      I’ve not seen that many Sens games ; but holy Sh%$^’t is TC a horse or what… logging close to an average of 30 minutes over the last few games…. that’s earning his keep!!!!!

      When will they make him Captain?

      • Pengy: Chabot is a stud and should be our captain by the beginning of next season. Tkachuk wouldn’t be bad choice either, but I’d pick Chabot assuming he wants to be captain. Hopefully, two of Brannstrom, Thomson or Bernard-Docker end up being solid top 2-4 defenseman. They’ll be in good shape long term if that happens.

        I’m still on the fence on what to do with Pageau. If they can get him on a 5-year, ~US$4.25/year deal, they should keep him. They don’t need more picks and should use some of the extra picks they have now to trade for NHL ready players. If Pageau wants too much money or simply wants to test the UFA market, they have to trade him for the best offer. Tierney isn’t as good, but is a suitable stop gap while the young players develop. If Pageau resigns, Tierney will be traded at the deadline or draft.

      • Pengy, when you consider that two thirds of their D for their past 3 games are, essentially, AHLers (Englund, Goloubef, Jaros and even Brannstrom at this stage) it follows that Chabot – and Borowiecki – are going to log a lot of ice time until Hainsey, Zaitsev, DeMelo and Wolanon (projected to be among their top 6) get back from injuries. Even their goalie (Hogberg) was up from Belleville.

    • Agree, Vinnie, Mike Sullivan and Bruce Cassidy are having great years and the Penguins and Bruins players deserve a lot of credit for the way they play, game in and game out.

    • Guentzel on the shelf for 3-4 months. Still, Pens keeping plugging away.
      Should just play the rest of the schedule at Shadyside?

      • Fd… Guenzel is on the shelf 4 to 6 months he is done for this season…this team is cursed…Crosby close which really helps I believe if he goes on long term IR that will free up his salary cap space..

        they are playing move structured which is good and a move or two will have to be had to make a push for the cup…

    • It was really classy of the dbag send to try and jump Malkin with 19 seconds left in the game because he embarrassed their whole team all night. Sens fans are in for a long and painful ride back to respectability. Guentzel deserves to be an all star and he has put in the work to become an elite player, it wasn’t given to him.

  3. To Lyle and All,

    Wishing you a Happy New Year and prosperous, healthy, and joyously enriched, next decade.


  4. Re: Guentzel

    Wow that looked bad. All clean in the play , just very rough way to collide with the boards. Hoping and praying that this is just bruises and bumps.

    He just got his head turned at the very last millisecond (body/side/shoulder took brunt) or this could have been catastrophic.

    Get well soon Jake!

    • Unfortunately Guentzel is out 4-6 months !!!!

      • Pens just keep getting kicked in the berries. Tough one.

      • Holy Crap

        Just read that on TSN


        Hoping its 4 months and not 6

        Jimbo MUST now make trade…. as I’ve already proposed today……

        G-Chuck (19% retained) plus pick or prospect (value of 4th rounder or later) for Scands

        Bjug + ZAR for Toffoli

        That was based on a healthy Guentz

        Now that he’s gone for balance of reg season …. Jimbo needs to offer Legare and a 2nd (‘21) for JGP

        Then when Sid, Dumo, Shultz back:



JGP/ Horny/Simon








        Fingers crossed that Guentz joins team for round 2 of playoffs

      • Yeah, no. There is zero reason to include anyone named Poulin, Legare, Addison, or Joseph in any trade especially for a rental. They could get Tofolli for Bjorkvist and a third, why would you overpay for him he’s gone at the end of the season? Anthony Angello has made progress this year and is an excellent 2 way player with size that like to beat on players faces. Let’s give him a chance before we trade away the future for 3 months of a guy that is going to walk at the end of the year.

      • In a few years the pens have no future. Unless it’s the purgatory of missing the playoffs but not being terrible and getting picks in the double digits. Sink all resources into this and next few years and then enjoy a few Rico fata dick tarnsrrom years until the pens get the next superstar. It’s bound to happen.

      • I’m confused. Outside of Poulin most of these picks are 2nd round or worse. Poulin was a 21st overall.
        Pittsburgh’s system is far from flooded with good prospects.

        Does Pittsburgh operate under different deadline rules than the rest of the NHL?
        Since when was giving away some b prospects off the table at the deadline for any team ?

      • In deees defense… the pens have proved its more than luck that they find nhl talent if not stars in the second and third rounds. But otherwise you’re right. They are still b prospects until they prove something

      • I think all teams do find some good players in later rounds.
        It’s not necessarily a Pittsburgh thing.

        Tampa has been amazing outside of the 1st round and beyond.

        Ny built a contender out of 2-3-4th rounders.

        But…. the price for deadline guys is usually pretty high.

        Simon, and Sprong always came up as untouchable players by some Pittsburgh fans here…..

      • B’s have done alright after the 1st round too. Bergeron, Krecji, Marchand, Carlo all taken after the 1st. Krug an undrafted FA.
        Big part of their core.
        I see a theme here.

      • Sure they do. But the pens have the longest playoff streak going and still find players like rust Murray Jarry guentzel etc and keep a reasonably deep pipeline. Now that’s a reasonable pipeline when you have two of the top centers to ever play. So there is that caveat

    • Very unfortunate about Guentzel. Saw parts of the game last night and that looked bad when it happened, though it could have been much worse as Pengy mentioned (i.e. broken neck). Looks like he’ll miss the rest of the regular season and maybe the playoffs.

      • Van, that uncomfortably reminded me of the Lou Fontinato collision with the boards back when he played for the Habs ,,, and he did suffer a broken neck


      • George O: Never saw that before and that is any hockey player’s (and family’s/friend’s/fan’s) nightmare. I’ve seen a few plays that did end in a worst case on TV (one was a kid at the university of Minnesota and the other was from the Swiss league) and it makes you sick to your stomach. Glad that Guentzel is OK relative to those incidents.

    • 4 to 6 months….he is done for the season….this team I have never seen so many injuries to key players

      Crosby is super close to returning and Rutherford will need to make a move or two

  5. Re All Start Game

    Agree with you guys that this is a money grab and has lost its flair and importance to the fans. Lucy….. you got zom ‘zplainin’ to do.

    The only way to have it have some significant impact to fans and league is the make the games count… winning Div gets playoff home ice throughout; 2nd place… 2nd priority for home ice etc.

    For instance if Central wins the All star game and say the miracle of all miracles happens; Chi ends up with 90 points, gets last WC spot, but goes on a tear and wins West in playoffs and meets the ECF champ that may have say 115 points… Chi would get home ice advantage because Central won All Star game…. all despite the 25 point differential.

    Similarly in the WCF and ECF, home ice regardless of finishing in standings, goes to Div with higher placing in the All-Start game.

    Otherwise— Joke

    Having balanced representation at All-Star game is ridiculous. Marchand and Geno not already on the rosters… are you kidding me? WTF????

    I would rather watch the best NHL players in a drinking game or playing Texas hold’em (all proceeds going to charity).


    🙁 🙁 🙁

    • Pengy, you might be on to something.
      Do you remember the battle of the Network Stars?
      You could have the players take part in various activities with no relation to hockey and no risk of injury.
      Hold’em, bowling, curling, trivia etc.

      • 👌👍

  6. The all star game is for the youts. I renember how cool it was when I was a lad. It’s good for the game as it hooks em when theys young. Then those youngins grow up to be bozos like us.

    • Correctamondo.

    • Chris, the young un’s I know prefer playing video games – their loss.
      Civilization as we know it is doomed.

      • So said your parents and their parents and the parents before them for all of time.

        Civilization as we know it is always doomed. Civilization is a constantly evolving thing.

        So far humanity keeps on rocking out.

      • Kids do need to get out more and get off their devices, just ain’t healthy for the body, brain or the ability to get along. But the new generation, I think we named them Z because we need to have categories for huge portions of the population, are right about a lot of stuff.
        IMO they should keep pushing.
        Go kids go, I’l be with ya.

      • Says the men posting messages on their devices 😉

    • Crack me up. 😂

      Every time I hear/think of “youts/youtz” I am imagining Vincent LaGuardia Gambini saying it

      …. and then that brings me to thinking about Mona Lisa Vito …. and I swoon 😍

    • DA two youts?

    • I attended the 1986 AllStar game in Hartford. My 13 year old self was in heaven. I even got signatures from Mario 66 and Mario the goalie walking thru the mall.

  7. How is Mika Zibanejad NOT on this list?????

    • It was between him and Derek Brassard – neither made the cut!

      • Ha!