NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2021

by | Jan 22, 2021 | News, NHL | 11 comments

Recaps of Thursday’s action, Pierre-Luc Dubois benched, an update on the four Capitals sidelined under COVID-19 protocols, and a lengthy list of injuries in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Vancouver Canucks 7-3 in the second game of their three-game series. With the score tied 2-2 following the first period, the Canadiens blew the game open with four unanswered second-period goals.

Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

Montreal winger Joel Armia also scored twice but suffered a concussion late in the third period from a blindside hit by Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Habs forward Paul Byron also left in the third after being struck in the leg by a shot from teammate Shea Weber. Canucks defensemen Travis Hamonic and Alexander Edler missed the game with upper-body injuries, while blueliner Jalen Chatfield suffered a first-period upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli now has five goals in two games against his former club this season. It’s uncertain if Myers will receive supplemental discipline for his cheap shot on Armia. The Canadiens and Canucks will play the final game of this series on Saturday, with the Habs unbeaten in regulation (3-0-2) thus far.

Jake DeBrusk tallied the only goal in a shootout to give the Boston Bruins a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Nick Ritchie had a goal and an assist while David Krejci collected two assists. James van Riemsdyk tallied twice and Jakub Voracek collected three assists for the Flyers, who gave up 43 shots in this contest. The Flyers played without forward Morgan Frost (dislocated shoulder, injured reserve) and defenseman Philippe Myers (fractured rib, week-to-week).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a big win for the Bruins, who entered this game sitting dead-last in goals for per game (1.00). A porous defense saw the Flyers blow 2-0 and 3-2 leads in this game. The injuries are piling up for the Flyers, who were also playing without Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their third straight win by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brayden Point. Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois was benched for almost the entire game, seeing less than four minutes of ice time in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts victory was overshadowed by Dubois’ benching. This is ramping up speculation over the 22-year-old center’s future with the Blue Jackets and his relationship with head coach John Tortorella. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

New York Islanders winger Jordan Eberle tallied twice in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Isles center Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists. Josh Bailey returned to the Isles lineup after spending one day on the club’s COVID-19 absence list. The Devils were without starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who was placed on the club’s COVID list, though that doesn’t mean he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets over the Ottawa Senators 4-1. The Jets took control of the game with three unanswered second-period goals. Jets winger Patrik Laine missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury.

The Los Angeles Kings got their first win of the season by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. The Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit with Adrian Kempe netting the game-winner in the third period. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist for the Avs.


NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19. Samsonov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov were placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol-related absence list on Wednesday. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov will miss at least four games while Samsonov could be sidelined longer. It remains to be seen if the other three tested positive.

Samsonov’s positive test triggered contact testing within the Capitals dressing room, leading to the NHL discovering the four players spent time socializing in the team hotel without facial coverings on multiple occasions. The league fined the Capitals $100K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits and fans questioned the NHL’s protocols when this story broke on Wednesday. The bottom line is the Capitals, and every other team in the league knew what the protocols were before this season started. The NHLPA voted for them. Every player had the opportunity to opt-out of playing this season. The players involved in this incident broke those rules and must now suffer the consequences.

The NHL’s COVID protocols were based on CDC and Health Canada guidelines enabling the 31 NHL teams to stage this season in their home arenas. They must also follow local guidelines.

Those rules have had an effect upon this season. A ban on non-essential travel at the Canada-US border has limited Canadian teams to playing among themselves during the regular season. The San Jose Sharks started this season on the road because Santa Clara County has prohibited all sports activities due to high local COVID levels.

The NHL has already postponed games involving the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes because of COVID outbreaks. They cannot risk further spread jeopardizing the season because some players won’t adhere to the rules.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola will each be sidelined several weeks with undisclosed injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could have Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford shopping for help. I’ll have more about that in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson is sidelined for six weeks with an oblique muscle injury.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman John Klingberg (medical reasons) is questionable for his club’s season-opener on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews left practice early yesterday as he wasn’t feeling great, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe. His status will be updated today. Forward Joe Thornton is expected to miss some games with an upper-body injury.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Dillon Dube is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton will miss at least two games with a head injury. Sabres starter Linus Ullmark revealed he missed Monday’s game against Philadelphia as he was grieving the death of his father in Sweden. Ullmark returned to practice and is slated to travel with the club for their upcoming two-game series against Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ullmark during this difficult time.


  1. I love high scoring games so 6 goals in the third period was nice to watch… good come from behind win by Bruins. Rask had some excellent saves in OT. I liked the “cheeky” DeBrusk shootout goal.

    When Pasta gets back Bruins will be firing even better

    Habs…. wow … look out here they come. Tiffoli on a tear!

    Re Clb…. transparency here… I have never been a fan of Torts… had success but I am no5 a fan. Moves like he did last night devaluing a big asset in a small market just to show “who’s the boss”…. time for Jarmo to get rid of Torts

    • Ya tough situation in CLB, and it appears that the “want a bigger market” was just a talking point and not the root cause.
      Agree with Ed regarding this looking like the relationship between the team and the player is past the point of saving.
      Not big on Tort’s screaming at guys either, but TSN showed PLD’s entire shift before he got benched. We don’t see NHL players not try very often, but that is what it looks like. Dubois has always been near the top of the league when it comes to winning puck battles, so it is obvious he wasn’t trying.
      If you’re trying to win how do you play him?
      We don’t know the whole story here or what water is under the bridge, but I’m not sure this ends well for CLB.
      Not sure how I would react with some spaz screaming at me for 2 years, but PLD isn’t increasing his value.
      Perhaps they come to a workable agreement, but a team who sucks (COL/Duchene) can wait it out, a team trying to win? Not so much.

    • Pengy im on PLD fan, but last night he really didn’t leave Torts with much of a choice.

      His last shift he was out for a Sunday skate. Disappointing.

      • Hi Caper

        No challenge on benching here and there.

        Benching two or three shifts in a row…. if warranted… OK

        I agree that PLD certainly was not going well on that shift… lacklustre I agree ; “out for a Sunday skate” is subjective… but that shift in no way shape or form deserved benching for the balance of the game

        Had Sully taken the same attitude after three shifts of each of the first 3 games…. Pens would have played 3/4 of each of those games w/o their second line…. Zucker, Rust and Gino in those first shifts of games 1-2-3 were putting out similar effort and focus.

        He (Sully) didn’t pull a Torts; Gino has now started up; Rust is on his way; and hopefully Zucker soon

        Torts is playing the power move here… benching for the balance of the game was uncalled for, unnecessary and served only to cause tension and devalue GMJKs asset that he must now trade

        I’m guessing that all potential PLD suitors are begging for Torts to continue this path… and thus reducing his value and what they would need to give up in trade to get him

  2. I’d be surprised if Tyler Meyers doesn’t get supplemental discipline as Armia does have a concussion.

    As a hab fan (doh) I don’t think it was an attempt to injure, it was a tall player who didn’t get an inch lower with his hit, I think the discipline will happen because it was a blind side hit.

    The treatment of PLD is typical Torts and in a weird way it doesn’t lower his value while it up the interest of serious buyers.

    In his own perverse way he’s letting serious teams that talking/bidding isn’t a waste of time.

  3. That habs lineup just keeps coming at you, they should be top 2 in the north division with Calgary

  4. It’s time for JK to get rid of Tortorella, he will be fired soon anyway … #1 centre’s don’t grow on trees but I’m not sure if that relationship can be saved at this point … the way they are built Columbus doesn’t enough firepower to make a deep run …

  5. Lyle, is the injury list throughout the league normal at this point or is it as high as it appears? Guys are dropping like ten pins so far – and there’s the covid list as well.

    • BCLeafFan: A lot of guys are sidelined by COVID-19 absence protocols. but the number of players sidelined by injuries seems a little higher than usual for this point of the season. I’d attribute that to the long layoff for some teams during the offseason, the shortened training camp and the packed schedule.

  6. Lyle Ovi wife disagree with you.

  7. Poor move pld. You want moved but made it harder to do. Teams really want a quitter?