NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2021

by | Jan 16, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Recaps of Friday’s five games, updates on Henrik Lundqvist and Jordan Staal, the latest notable contract signings, waiver claims and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice as the Colorado Avalanche crushed the St. Louis Blues 8-0. Philipp Grubauer turned in a 20-save shutout and Cale Makar collected three assists.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wednesday’s season-opening 4-1 loss to the Blues seemed to light a fire under the Avs. They were far more energized compared to their rather flat effort in their previous contest. Coach Jared Bednar’s decision to reunite Landeskog with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the top line for this game paid off.

The Ottawa Senators opened their season with a 5-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winger Brady Tkachuk led the way for Ottawa with a goal and two assists while goalie Matt Murray made 20 saves for his first victory as a Senator. John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators exploited the Leafs’ defensive breakdowns for a well-deserved season-opening win. Toronto blueliners TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian wore the goat horns in this one. The offseason additions haven’t brought much to the Leafs’ defense thus far but there’s still lots of time for them to adjust to their new team.

Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 35 shots to backstop the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat were among four Lightning forwards with a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks made it interesting by narrowing the Bolts’ 3-0 lead to 3-2 by the end of the second period but Yanni Gourde and Stamkos put the game out of reach in the third.

The Philadelphia Flyers swept their two-game series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-2 victory. Travis Konecny tallied a hat trick as the Flyers chased Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry from the game after he gave up three goals on six shots. Sidney Crosby and Brandon Tanev replied for the Penguins. Flyers center Sean Couturier left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury. He’s slated for an MRI today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ defensive play has been sloppy and undisciplined thus far. It’s still very early in this season and they have plenty of time to address the problem but it could become their undoing this season if a solution isn’t found soon.

Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals nipped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek turned aside 30 shots to pick up the win in his first NHL contest. Rasmus Ristolainen replied for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough loss for the Sabres. They outplayed the Capitals but couldn’t get more than one goal past Vanecek. They didn’t help their cause by going 0-5 on the power play.


TSN: Henrik Lundqvist announced yesterday he left hospital after having open-heart surgery last week. He’ll remain in Cleveland for a few more days before returning to New York City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes in your ongoing journey to a full recovery, King Henrik.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Friday. Staal played in the Hurricanes’ season-opener on Thursday. There’s no indication how long he could be sidelined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes players are placed on this list because of an initial positive test and then come off it if the follow-up test is negative. That could be the case with Staal.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers placed goaltender Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve. He’ll miss at least 24 days or 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a concern given the Oilers’ lack of goaltending depth, especially after losing Anton Forsberg to Carolina on waivers earlier this week. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of Forsberg, he was claimed off waivers from the Hurricanes by the Jets.

THE SCORE: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $950K contract. He recently joined the Ducks on a professional tryout offer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman underwent surgery on his right knee and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will start their season on Jan. 22 after having their first four games postponed and rescheduled following a recent COVID-19 outbreak during training camp.

CBS SPORTS: The New York Islanders loaned forward Joshua Ho-Sang to Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League for the remainder of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could officially signal the end of Ho-Sang’s NHL career. The former first-round pick (28th overall, 2014) last played in the NHL in 2018-19 and spent last season in the AHL. The Isles reportedly tried to trade him but couldn’t find any takers.


  1. Any comments about the Leafs are fully deserved – they were bad.
    Ottawa deserved the win and looked good.

  2. All this going on with the coach healthy scratching lehtonen the Bobby Orr of the khl? Lol wendel you sai the sens would have trouble beating an ahl team…….

  3. Keith Yandle rumors still making the rounds on the Bruins sites in Boston… to me this is a tough decision for them even if the Panthers take back some of his salary per year…will he help the 5 on 5 maybe but on the PP with him & when Pasta comes back it would be a major weapon

  4. Our Junior C goalie and his .792 save % didn’t help.

    It won’t be long now for Bogo to be out and Lehtonen in. Bogo might be worse than Ceci if that is possible.

    • As I understand it, the problem with using Lehtonen is that the Leafs have kept their third goalie, Aaron Dell, on the taxi squad. They could drop Barabanov from the lineup as he is waiver-exempt but that would give them 11 forwards and 7 defence men on the roster.
      If they waive Dell to make room to drop, say, Bogosian, chances are another team will claim Dell.
      Those of you who are capologists could explain this more clearly but it’s a situation that a lot of teams will face if they want to bring a player from the taxi squad to the active roster.

      • Just waive Bogo. No one is claiming him

      • One gm went after him in the offseason .. gave him a mil and a guaranteed roster spot to play in front of a junior tender haha. Just genius

  5. Evgeni Malkin looks disinterested, Pens defensive corps is ahead of only Detroit’s and Jarry looks overwhelmed so far. Only two games but Rutherford better hold onto to his first rounder, it may be the #1 overall at the end of this season.

    Only took one game for Ceci to be scratched.

    • Pens already traded their first rounder to the Wild for Zucker. That looks like a bad trade right now.

    • According to SB Nation, Rutherford has no reason to worry about a 2021 first-round selection, His is owed to the Wild as a result of the Zucker trade.

  6. The Leafs big defensive acquisitions, Brodie and Bogosian were run out of their respective towns and surprise….they are still pylons.

    The Finnish Bobby Orr has to be more than the Dutch Gretzky or its going to be a long season.

    As for offense, only Toronto media hype can consider Thornton and Simmonds to be starters and upgrades.

    It’s going to be a long season for Leaf fans.

    • Yes, and lots of -3 guys in the Leaf lineup last night (including Matthews). Won’t be long before Jumbo Joe and Simmonds are fighting for jobs on the fourth line. I notice that even the great Morgan Reilly was a -4. They’re a defensive nightmare. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, ex-Leaf assistant coach, Smith, continues his excellent work, as do Zaitsov +3 and Brown who came over from the Leafs. Sens easily won that trade!

  7. Under defeated in 310 days.

    • Undefeated. (Dang autocorrect and my itchy posting finger)

  8. @Wendal your jr C goalie is a top 10 goalie in the NHL that is how bad you genius GM that put maybe the worst defence in the league in front him makes him look so bad

  9. Swany not even top 20. Wendell the Jr C reject you are referring too is probably the Zamboni driver that beat the Leafs last year. Gonna be sloppy for a bit. Get over it. Enjoy the game