NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2020

by | Dec 31, 2020 | News, NHL | 10 comments

Zdeno Chara signs with the Capitals, seven clubs open training camp today, Ryan Callahan retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals yesterday signed Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795K contract. The 43-year-old defenseman spent the last 14 seasons as captain of the Boston Bruins. He helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013, 2019), winning the Cup in 2011. Chara was a five-time Norris Trophy finalist during his tenure with the Bruins, winning the award in 2009.

Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signs a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Chara’s contract also features an additional $730K in performance bonuses. He’s no longer a Norris Trophy contender but the big blueliner is expected to bring accountability to the Capitals roster after two disappointing first-round exits following their 2018 Cup championship. He’ll likely see second- or third-pairing minutes in Washington.

Chara’s departure from the Bruins wasn’t unexpected given their apparent reluctance to bring him back for another season. Nevertheless, his signing with the Capitals was still surprising. While Bruins fans knew Chara was past his prime, management’s unwillingness to bring him back didn’t sit well with some of them. He was one of the greatest defensemen in franchise history. His exit marks the end of an era.

No word yet from the Bruins as to who replaces Chara as team captain, but Patrice Bergeron likely becomes the leading candidate to take over the role.

NHL.COM: Last season’s seven non-playoff clubs – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks open training camp today. The other 24 teams begin camp on Jan. 3.

TSN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly reiterated that Canada’s seven NHL teams have governmental clearance to hold training camp and open the season in their home arenas.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Callahan announced his retirement as an NHL player yesterday after 13 active seasons with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Renowned for his two-way play, Callahan tallied 186 goals and 386 points in 757 NHL contests. After suffering a back injury in 2019, Callahan was traded to the Ottawa Senators, spending last season on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Callahan and his family in their future endeavors.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes officially announced the signing of forward Derick Brassard to a one-year contract.

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns might not be playing this season. He’s listed as an injured player not participating in training camp. The Athletic cited sources claiming he’s out for the season but general manager Jim Nill said that would be determined by team doctors. Johns has a history of head injuries, missing 22 months to post-traumatic headaches.

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders haven’t invited Josh Ho-Sang to training camp, sparking another turn in the rocky relationship between the club and the former first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang spent all of last season in the minors. He was the subject of trade rumors but nothing came of them.

NEWSDAY: Speaking of the Islanders, the current ownership has bought the remainder of former owner Charles Wang’s shares from his estate. Wang, who passed away in 2019, held a 15 percent stake in the club.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators have decided to open the season without fans in their arena after getting approval from the city’s health department to allow limited crowds. The club hopes to gradually bring back fans over the course of the season.

THE AHL: yesterday announced a framework to open their season on Feb. 5 has been approved by their board of governors.


  1. To Lyle and Family and to all here

    Wishing you the very best in 2021

    It goes without saying…. 2021 “should” be much better than 2020… but here’s hoping and praying that it actually is


  2. ditto that!
    also congrats on getting this site working the way it did on windows 10

    • Thanks, guys. Happy New Year!

  3. Why do NHL teams continue to sign Derrick Brassard???

  4. Happy New Year to one an all! All the best for 2021.

    Best of luck to Chara, he was a great Bruin and yes he could’ve still helped Boston.

    Bergeron will be the next captain.

    The biggest question for me going into this season will be team toughness; outside of Kevin Miller there isn’t much.

    • Nick Ritchie can throw with the best of them. Freddy is pretty good at it as well.

      • Recalling the “what goes around, comes around” theme that you used to illustrate a point a bit ago, I wonder if the maxim “if you can’t beat them, join them” could describe Chara’s signing with the Caps. Could he have decided that, at his age, he would be wise to let Tom Wilson be the featured event, while he handled the preliminary bout? No matter, it will be wrenching to see some one so revered on a card with some one so reviled.

      • Higgins would have shattered his face.

      • That could very well be true, Francis. Zdeno is a classy man so I doubt spite had any factor in his decision. Perhaps being the undercard to Wilson and an opportunity for more ice was enough to get him to sign in DC. Sounds like Sweeney was upfront with him in regards to role and responsibility, and the big fellow declined an offer of 1.4 million to take on said role. Pride is a strange and sometimes wonderful thing. Makes us do all kinds of things once it’s been fractured.

        @Wendel. Higgins would be smashing gatorade at the end of the bench after practice, or maybe his stick during practice, but that’s about it. Both Chara and Wilson would tear his meat house down.

  5. Happy New Year to all, thanks to Lyle for putting this together,

    Have to wonder what the Bruins are thinking, why would anybody take one for the team anymore if Z has been signing affordable contracts.

    Z is older, slower but respected and deserved to end his career over there, he might show a mean streak with the Caps.

    I always liked Chara despite being a Bruin and didn’t blame him for the unfortunate Paccioretty incident.