NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2020

by | Jan 4, 2020 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Corey Perry receives a five-game suspension, the Canadiens sign Ilya Kovalchuk, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist while Esa Lindell collected three assists to give the Dallas Stars a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Stars have won four straight games. Before the game, the Stars honored Pavelski for playing his 1,000th career NHL game.

Ilya Samsonov made 38 saves as the Washington Capitals held off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (50 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Corey Perry received a five-game suspension for elbowing Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the 2020 NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Ellis suffered a possible concussion and was placed on injured reserve.

Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry suspended five games for elbowing Nashville’s Ryan Ellis (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s two previous suspensions on his NHL resume and the severity of Ellis’ injury were contributing factors in the league’s decision.

Speaking of the Stars, former head coach Jim Montgomery is checking into a rehab program for alcohol abuse. Montgomery released a statement indicating his recent firing was the appropriate call by the club. He took responsibility for his actions, saying the loss of his job served as a wake-up call to get treatment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Montgomery. Here’s hoping he lands another NHL coaching job soon. He did a good job with the Stars and should get another shot elsewhere.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A spate of injuries and a recent slide in the standings prompted Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to make this move. Kovalchuk is no longer a dominant scorer and probably won’t improve the Habs’ performance, but it’s a low-cost, low-risk move. If it doesn’t work out, Bergevin has sufficient salary-cap space to make a more impactful move.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson will miss the next five-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed forward depth before their recent acquisition of winger Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames. Olofsson’s injury could push them back into the trade market.

TSN: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will pass on playing in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He will be replaced by Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Fleury felt it better to use the All-Star break to rest and prepare for the remainder of the season and playoffs. He’ll be suspended by the league for one regular-season game. A small price to pay for the Golden Knights to rest their top netminder.

Speaking of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, Washington’s Todd Reirden, Boston’s Bruce Cassidy, St. Louis’ Craig Berube, and Vegas’ Gerard Gallant will serve as coaches for the event.

SPORTSNET: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is out for the remainder of the season with an injury to his Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big loss to the Isles’ blueline. Pelech is considered their most dependable rearguard and won’t be easily replaced.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan is sidelined indefinitely with a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid received a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.


  1. Captain Obvious here – re Jim Montgomery, why did Dallas cut him loose? Would it not have made sense instead to put him on paid leave and assist him in finding a treatment program for his illness?

    • If it was solely based on his sud then yes. But it sounds like he did something, possibly under the influence, that was an egregious act or behavior. Still has responsibilities for that act.

      Like a person with sud caught driving under the influence. Should they be offered opportunities for treatment and recovery? Yes. Should their be palpable consequences for their actions? Also yes.

      • Chris, agree but what is the employer’s responsibility in situations like this? Are they justified in walking away from the employee?
        I don’t think so.

      • With Chrisms on this. We don’t know all the details so difficult to speculate, but it would be hard to fathom that the NHL doesn’t have substance abuse policies and assistance to those who suffer from it.
        But, it is up to the person to use them, or not. In the end he is still responsible for his own behavior. If he refused to acknowledge the problem and help himself before it got the point of dismissal, that’s on him.
        Can’t wait forever if it is impacting others inside the organization.

      • It depends on what the “material act of unprofessionalism” was. It sounds like the sud issues came out after the fact. Not enough details for me to judge the stars in the wrong. And I can empathize. I’ve needed to use a employer sud and recovery program in the past to salvage my career.

      • Good for you Chrisms. Since I am old, my issues were prior to those types of programs.
        Fortunately for me I had a boss who for some reason took a shine to me, and went through similar issues in his life.
        That was more of a tough love scenario. To this day I appreciate his honesty, and owe him a debt of gratitude.

      • 🤘 old timer

      • Chrisms__I’ve been reading here and seeing your name here long before my first comment ever appeared here, and often though that you should be tipping, but only as the word pertains to sports wagering . Witnessing your zest for hockey, I’d imagine that the sport and being a long-respected member of Spector’s hockey community helped in your recovery as much as anything else. Hockey is good! Good show for you.

      • Um…. thanks? Right back atchu

      • Chrisms–Have no doubt that it was intended to be an accolade.

      • Appreciate it. I was jabbing at the spelling? Was that tripping? Or is tipping something tied to gambling and I didn’t get the reference

      • Chrisms_ Tipping, as when a person with inside information gives a betting person a “hot tip,”, and tipping as it refers to a drinker tilting his glass or bottle to pour its contents into his mouth. I was attempting to offer praise for your accomplishment, along with some humor.

    • Not only don’t we know what happened we don’t know if he’s been through the substance-abuse program before, regular employers usually have a three strikes and you’re out policy, don’t know about the NHL.

  2. Congrats on the recovery work Chrism.

    • Spanks!

  3. I think it makes total sense for a goalie and a team of a goalie to pass on the All-star game and use that time to rest. A one game suspension is relatively meaningless for a goalie. How is it really any different from going with your backup for a game?