NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

by | Jan 12, 2021 | News, NHL | 14 comments

League commissioner Bettman weighs in on the upcoming season, Mika Zibanejad reveals COVID-19 diagnosis, Evander Kane files for bankruptcy, Mike Hoffman signs with Blues, Jay Bouwmeester retires, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is prepared to lose billions of dollars to play the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it’s important for the game to stage the season, the players and fans wanted it, and it might help provide people dealing with COVID-19 restrictions some sense of normalcy.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman also said it would be cheaper for the league not to play the season, claiming they would lose money at the club and league level. “But the owners are unanimously OK with that because they know how important it is for our fans and for the game.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s remarks about financial losses isn’t sitting well on the players’ side. Player agent Allan Walsh observed the commissioner neglected to mention that, under the CBA extension, the owners will be made whole for their losses by the players because of the 50-50 division of revenue. Bettman sounds like he’s still sore over the player’s firm rejection of his request last fall for increased escrow claw-backs and salary deferrals.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, meanwhile, pointed out the NHL wasn’t going to risk hurting its visibility and fan engagement by shuttering its season with other major professional sports leagues staging theirs during this pandemic. Campbell also noted it would’ve pushed the NHL’s expiring US TV contract ahead to 2022, depriving them of the opportunity of landing a more lucrative deal later this year.

The commissioner revealed players will wear decals on their helmets honoring the 63rd anniversary of Willie O’Ree playing his first NHL game and to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also announced The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, featuring the Colorado Avalanche facing the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20 followed by the Boston Bruins meeting the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to training camp. He missed the opening days of camp but now claims he’s feeling better. Zibanejad resumed skating with his teammates while consulting with doctors. Rangers coach David Quinn is hopeful Zibanejad will be ready for their season opener on Jan. 14 but the 27-year-old center wouldn’t confirm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad isn’t the only player to test positive and won’t be the last over the course of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Evander Kane has filed for bankruptcy with $26.8 million of debt and assets of $10 million. The filing also indicates the 29-year-old San Jose Sharks winger can terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season because of the pandemic and the recent birth of his daughter. The NHL’s opt-out date was Dec. 24 while Kane’s bankruptcy filing was Jan. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could opt-out of this season rather than terminate his contract. While the league’s opt-out deadline has passed there could be an allowance here due to unforeseen circumstances. A precedent was set last summer when Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask left the club during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs to attend to a family medical emergency.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues yesterday signed Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $4 million contract. The 31-year-old winger was skating with the club on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was anticipated the Blues would formally sign Hoffman once they sorted out their salary-cap situation. That includes putting a couple of players on their taxi squad for cap compliance reasons and placing Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injury reserve.

TSN: Speaking of the Blues, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester quietly retired after 17 NHL seasons. He hadn’t played since suffering a cardiac incident on the bench during a game with the Anaheim Ducks last February. Bouwmeester played 1,240 NHL games with the Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, finishing with 424 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

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

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired former captain Shane Doan as their new chief hockey development officer. Doan retired in 2017 after 21 NHL seasons. He began his career with the former Winnipeg Jets and moved with the franchise to Arizona in 1996.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers claimed defenseman Noah Juulsen off waivers yesterday from the Montreal Canadiens.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will return to the ice today after canceling practices and close its training facilities when six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks will meet with Santa Clara County officials regarding when they can return to SAP Center at San Jose. They’re scheduled to play their first home game on Feb. 1 but the county remains under a strict stay-at-home order because of a high number of COVID cases.

SPORTSNET: NBC Sports announced former NHL coach Mike Babcock will be joining the network as an in-studio analyst. He’ll replace Mike Milbury, who was let go after 14 years. Milbury was suspended by the network last summer following a series of offensive remarks he made toward women, injured players, and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.



  1. Here’s hoping #63 injury isn’t long term …. leaves practice early and doesn’t show up the next day ….

  2. From 2009-2010 season to the 2019 – 2020 Evander Kane career earnings was $51,200,000 after taxes and agent fees, escrow this man had a bank account one could only dream of and now file for bankruptcy.

    Kane is still owed $29m on his current contract, i’m guessing by filling for bankruptcy this is what he is trying to protect.

    Does Vegas send him a thank you note and a free buffet coupon.

  3. Reading Boston maybe interested in Oliver Kylington.

    Over / Under i guessing 5 players get claimed.

  4. Kane is real piece of work and he is going to tell everyone how to act and behave give me a break get your own act together you hypocrite.

    • Going bankrupt doesn’t preclude anyone from calling out bigotry.

      I think it’s ridiculous that anyone who has earned 50M manages to file for bankruptcy, but I will call out anyone that offers ANY reason why his or any voice shouldn’t be heard when calling out racism.

      • Simple Optics.
        There are much better representatives among the players in the NHL than one, Evander Kane. I’m not saying his voice shouldn’t be heard, just that that fellow is in no way shape or form a leader, and I personally wouldn’t have him as a head waiter, let alone head of the diversification group representing that fine group of men and women.
        They should vote again, and this time choose the best person for the job, not the loudest.

      • Correct Pete, and it doesn’t make him a hypocrite.
        If he made bigoted or racist comments to others, that would make him a hypocrite.
        If he gave financial advise to other players? Not a good idea.

        Many NHL players have lost substantial amounts of money and they don’t get shunned by the league.
        Modano, Trottier, Orr, McCarty, Fluery, Stevens, Vernon, Peca, etc.
        Should they be allowed to speak about unrelated topics?
        Agree about the optics as they are far from ideal, nor am I a fan of his, but ya, it has nothing to do with his ability to speak about a topic that is unrelated.

  5. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Still hate that he skated from any punishment for what he did to Schmaltz in the bubble. Politics got him off of that and media/fan pressure got him a suspension later for the exact same thing.

  6. I think I am one of the few on this site that thinks Bettman has done a good job running the NHL. However his announcement confuses me. If the NHL is playing the games at a loss for us then why does the NHL TV Network still have a TV black out on home games. We can’t attend and we can’t watch the games on the NHL network. In addition the ongoing trouble between the fox sports networks and TV providers makes it difficult to watch the NHL on TV. They have been preparing for the opening since last summer and don’t seem to have have TV coverage ironed out when its the only way to watch the game.

    • GP, I think that TV is the reason the NHL is playing this year. If the season is completed, the league’s current contract with NBC is up and there will be an opportunity to cash in on a new one. If streaming services get in on the action, the money could be large.

      • BC, that is the point Im trying to make. If your going to invest Billions for the interest of the game and future TV Contracts then you better get TV accessible and affordable to as many people as possible this year. In the US, major streaming services such as You Tube TV and Hulu have dropped the regional fox sports channels which carry most of the NHL games. If a fan tries to purchase the NHL package directly from the NHL you are blacked out in your own zip code. I talked to the NHL TV support and they told me the blackout rules are still in affect this year and are necessary to protect stadium attendance. (In reality its to protect the teams contracts with the RSN’s) The NBC telecast is only a few nationally tellevised big TV market games per week. So my point is the NHL needs to get involved and make sure the games are on as many TV’s as possible this season. The last thing the NHL needs is TV contract disputes that don’t allow fans to watch the games the way they normally do.

  7. Guess big mouth should have been worrying about his own affairs, instead of other’s first!

    Hate to see someone go belly up but, he is an exception.

  8. Agreed that bankruptcy couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Looks like Kane’s ability is even better at bringing down his own balance sheet than his ability to bring down the team he plays for (i.e. Sabres and Sharks for the last 6 years).
    He likes to play the “race” card. Will he try to blame his bankruptcy on this too? He doesn’t take responsibility for much so we will see.
    Congratulations to Kane – he’s one of a kind.