NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 22, 2020

by | Dec 22, 2020 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Nikita Kucherov could miss the start of the season, Oscar Klefbom sidelined for 2020-21, the Coyotes sign Drake Caggiula, the latest on Canadian teams playing in Ontario and BC, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports a nagging hip injury could affect Nikita Kucherov’s status for the start of the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning winger received an injection after experiencing discomfort during offseason workouts. He was expected to skate on Monday to see how he felt. The Lightning and Kucherov’s agent declined to comment.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high-scoring Kucherov’s potential absence would be keenly felt by the Lightning. They could place him on long-term injury reserve if the injury is serious enough, providing salary-cap flexibility to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak. However, the Lightning would have to shed salary to become cap compliant when he returns to the lineup later in the season. It’s still believed they’ll make a trade or two to free up enough cap room for Cirelli and Cernak.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom will miss the entire season to a shoulder injury. He’s looking into surgery and hopes to be ready to return for 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was widely reported Klefbom was unlikely to play this season prior to yesterday’s announcement. This leaves a big hole on the Oilers’ blueline. He and his $4.167 million annual average value will be placed on LTIR if the Oilers need the cap room to make any additions, such as perhaps a short-term replacement for Klefbom.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Drake Caggiula to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $700K, leaving the Coyotes above the $81.5 million salary cap by $3.47 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will get cap relief by placing permanently sidelined Marian Hossa ($5.275 million) on LTIR. Caggiula has dealt with concussion injuries in the past. When healthy, he is an affordable depth forward who’ll bring some additional experience to the Coyotes’ checking lines.

TSN: Despite a province-wide lockdown beginning on Christmas eve, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said no decision has been reached yet regarding the province’s NHL teams hosting games in their own arenas. Discussions are ongoing between the province and the league.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning remains hopeful his club can gain the confidence of British Columbia’s health officials to receive clearance to stage home games in their own arena to start this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports suggest BC could be unlikely to sign off on the NHL’s plan for its Canadian teams to stage games in their home arenas. Ontario and Quebec seem to be leaning toward approval but that’s not a certainty. Plan B for the Canadian teams would be opening this season in a hub city such as Edmonton.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL has a plan to compensate teams that might have to change venues during the season. The San Jose Sharks are one of them, recently announcing they’ll stage training camp and open the season in Arizona.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights will begin this season without fans in attendance but haven’t closed the door on allowing a limited number of fans as the season progresses and health restrictions ease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll be the plan for every NHL club. So far, only three teams – Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning – could allow a limited number of fans when the season begins. The rest will make that decision based on restrictions in their areas over the course of the schedule.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports the NHL hopes to raise $15 million this season selling ads on players’ helmets. Rich clubs like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are pursuing $1 million deals while small-market clubs will get much less.

Westhead cites a league executive saying some of that money will be given to sponsors to make good for empty arenas. The executive denies the league is being greedy here. “Do you know how much money we are going to lose without customers in arenas? We are hemorrhaging money and we need to find any possible option for keeping our people employed.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, purists hate the idea but this was inevitable. The pandemic merely hastened this decision. The league is losing a lot of revenue right now and must find whatever new streams it can to offset some of those losses. Fans got used to ads on rink boards and ice surfaces. They’ll get used to this.


  1. ****Off Topic**** Isn’t it ironic, last week someone mentioned to calm down and have a nice scotch, which i replied to “Gross”!

    Yelp, yesterday as a gift i received a bottle of “The Glenlivet XXV” single malt Scotch. As i’m not a scotch drinker and this bottle has been aged 25yrs, came with it’s own certificate and in a wooden case. I think one day i will have to give it a try.

    For you scotch drinkers, is it better on the rocks or with a mix?

    • No rocks, no mix … neat

    • Feel free to send it my way if you don’t want the bottle. As for on ice or not, well I prefer it with a bit of a chill. Pretty warm where I live so it’s not enjoyable at room temp. Two finger pour with a cube or two to chill it seems about right those hotter days

    • no ice!!!!
      do you put ice in your beer?

      If you need to water it down it isn’t worth drinking.

    • A 25-year-old Scotch will not be appreciated if you drink it with a mix. Might as well use Canadian Club and save the Scotch for your guests who are Scotch drinkers. Start with two ice cubes, then one, then none. Neat is the best way to enjoy fine whiskey, but work your way up to it. It is definitely an acquired taste.

      • I would guess there are folks who liked scotch the first time they drank it?
        IMO if you have to acquire a taste for something it was never that good to begin with.
        Irish Whiskey tastes good the first time, no mix or ice required.

    • Caper, run a 50/50 draw and the Scotch can be second prize. I’m in, by the way.
      Scotch and cashews, a surefire way to clear the room.

    • Has to be straight. Duh.


    • Caper

      Hope I remember this right…. you’re a Bruins fan , correct?

      If you’re not a Scotch drinker…. send to Sweeney to use in negotiations to fill out roster…. LOL 😁

      If you do give it a try…. don’t be disappointed with the taste… it has to be acquired …. it may never be for you in fact. You won’t know unless you give it a shot (pun intended).

      If you do acquire the taste for it… it will grow on you 👍

      Absolutely abhorred any scotch I had for the first few years…. do enjoy it now on the odd occasion

      Agree with many here…. the watering down or on rocks (eventually diluting it) will take the effective “bite” out of the taste; but wastes a well developed and beautifully aged drink….so….

      neat (all on it’s lonesome) but chilled , to me, might be your best bet


    • don’t you dare mix it!! Sip and enjoy

  2. A lot of news was made of the fact the BC government didn’t sign off on the NHL play at home.

    Fact is Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba has not signed off on play at home as of date.

  3. “purists hate the idea but this was inevitable. The pandemic merely hastened this decision. The league is losing a lot of revenue right now and must find whatever new streams it can to offset some of those losses. Fans got used to ads on rink boards and ice surfaces. They’ll get used to this.”

    Not having a choice doesn’t mean getting used to or liking the ads on boards and ice surfaces being force fed.

    The league claims they will get 15 million dollars out of it, that’s $17,000 per game played in this shortened season. You want to tell me that clubs don’t easily squeeze that out of fans in food revenue?

    • It’s a business. They look for every revenue stream they can find. If there was no money in rink board ads or ads on the ice, they wouldn’t do it. No one’s being force fed here.

      • Lyle. force fed is a figure of speech indicating getting used to something we as fans don’t have a choice in.

        It’s a business and possible revenue streams need to be looked, eg overpriced hot dogs and beer.

        The increased revenue,in this case $15 million is only $500 thousand per team and if they are wanting to look at advertising to make up the difference is it really a stretch to make it up in rates of existing ads on the boards, ice, jumbotron, scoreboard runners etc? it’s $17 thousand a game.

        The helmets are just a forerunner of being skating billboards.

        You’re right that it’s inevitable I just wish it took longer.

      • Each team charges what the market will bear. That’s why the cost of attending a game is sky-high in Toronto while considerably cheaper down the road in Buffalo. The fans attending the games are willing to pay those concession prices, as well as the ticket prices. If the fans don’t pay those prices, they come down. The players are already “skating billboards” The names of the manufacturers of their equipment have been all over their gear for decades.

  4. received a call this morning from the panthers ticket agent. looking like perhaps 5000 fan limit. they are already playing up the road in estero, fl echl everblades. remaining hopeful

  5. Don’t do it Leafs. Don’t desecrate your kit for a relative pittance. Remain the class of the league on and off the ice.

    • speaking of class, I hear the leafs are considering selling ads on AM’s ass…

      • Apparently the news signings by the Leafs have brought interest from Senior Residences advertising and spokesman opportunities. Dubas was prescient with those signings to increase ad revenue

      • A couple good ones fellas.