NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2021

by | Jan 24, 2021 | News, NHL | 9 comments

Recaps of Saturday’s action, the fallout from the Dubois-for-Laine trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price picked up his 350th career victory backstopping his club over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Canadiens (4-0-2) sit atop the North Division with 10 points. Jonathan Drouin had a goal and an assist while Corey Perry scored his first goal for the Canadiens after being activated from their taxi squad on Friday.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens completed a successful season-opening road trip with points in all six games. They’re also currently the league’s highest-scoring team with 29 goals.

Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Charlie Coyle, Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith each had two points for the Bruins, who’ve tallied 10 regulation goals in their last two games after managing just three goals in regulation time during their opening three contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Bruins, who played without sidelined defenseman Matt Grzelcyk as he remains hampered by a lower-body injury. It was a tough outing for Flyers goalie Carter Hart, who apologized following the game for breaking his stick in frustration following this contest. To be fair to Hart, he and backup Brian Elliott haven’t had much help from their teammates over the last three games.

Defenseman Torey Krug tallied his first goal with the St. Louis Blues as they doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly and teammates David Perron and Robert Thomas each collected two points.

Winnipeg Jets forwards Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny each had a goal and two assists while Andrew Copp scored twice to down the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Jets captain Blake Wheeler collected three assists in this contest. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed rookie Tim Stuetzle on injured reserve for an undisclosed minor injury.

First-period goals by Nick Foligno, Mikhail Grigorenko and Vladislav Gavrikov powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 30 save for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets and Blue Jackets showed no ill-effects from yesterday morning’s blockbuster trade that saw the Jets ship Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. None of the players involved in the deal have joined their new clubs yet. COVID-19 protocols could further delay their arrivals.


SPORTSNET: The Canadian government will decide how long Dubois must remain in self-quarantine before joining his new teammates after traveling from Columbus to Winnipeg on Saturday. The standard quarantine period for travelers arriving in Canada is 14 days but the Jets are lobbying the federal government to have that period reduced by seven days. All seven Canadian clubs would prefer to have that seven-day period, which was similar to the one during training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rationale behind that request is NHL players live and work under stricter COVID-19 protocols than other international travelers. That includes the requirement for four consecutive negative COVID tests before joining their teammates. It will significantly reduce the wait time for Canadian teams that acquire players via trade or waivers from American clubs.

THE SCORE: Dubois didn’t reveal the exact reason behind his trade request during an interview with Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean on Saturday. However, he indicated Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella wasn’t a factor in his decision. Dubois acknowledged Tortorella is a tough coach to play for but praised his style and never took criticism of his play personally.

Meanwhile, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has already engaged in preliminary contract-extension talks with the Laine camp. “We’re going to try to build a long-term relationship with him,” said Kekalainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Building that relationship will depend upon how well Laine adjusts to playing for Tortorella and how much the Jackets are willing to invest in him. The 22-year-old winger is earning $7.5 million in actual salary this season and could seek around $10 million annually on his next contract.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn missed Saturday’s practice with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

THE NEW & OBSERVER: Jesper Fast has been added to the Carolina Hurricanes’ COVID-19 protocol list, bringing that number to six players. The Hurricanes have had their past three games postponed and their training facility closed as they deal with this issue.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks will be playing the first two of their home games in Glendale, Arizona. They’d hoped to return to SAP Center in San Jose for those games but the ban on contact sports in Santa Clara County remains in place.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report several NHL clubs are looking at moving the 2021 NHL Draft from July to December or January because the pandemic has made it difficult for draft-eligible players to be properly scouted. One solution could be staging a tournament this spring to showcase some of this year’s prospects for evaluation. Any changes to this year’s draft format require approval from the NHL and NHLPA.


  1. It won’t be long before Tortorella ruins Laine and he’ll be the next big talent to walk away from Columbus, Ohio … JK & ownership have their heads in the sand about this guy …

    • Hey Ed,

      I predict Laine will become a more complete power forward under Torts & will thrive in his new surroundings. His biggest issue maybe having a true #1 centerman to play with.

      I do wonder how Dubois will do having now to take a backseat position to that of Scheifele & Wheeler. Then again, some players thrive playing a supplementary role with their teams.

      • Hey Uwey, if he gets #1 PP time, he will get to play with those 2 guys.
        Having a guy like Ehlers (under rated) on his line will help him too.
        Should help both, I’m thinking that line will have the puck a lot.

      • Laine’s biggest issue is that his ego wasn’t being stroked enough. If Columbus is going to commit and build around him then it may be Torts who will have to adapt his style to better employ his services.
        I know Tortorella has a bad rep with some players but I think this time it may actually work out. In this case, both coach and player are egotistical so it works to self-service both parties.
        I think in this case it’s up to Torts to adapt. He has to learn how to employ a guy who’s a pure sniper but may lack in other areas. He has plenty of guys on the team who have subscribed to his mindset so he should be able to use Laine accordingly.
        I predict like 3 more defensive style and Laine’s to be all out offense. Possibly Laine, Domi and.. Texier maybe? Koivu when he plays?
        Koivu has years of 1st line experience with the Wild and may not be done yet. He can be the responsible presence on a line with Laine and maybe one of Domi/Texier/Bjorkstrand/Atkinson… one of the more offensive players. Could work out.

    • It can’t be worse than playing for Paul Maurice

  2. I can’t see Laine as a $10 million a year guy.
    Hockey is not a 1-way game anymore.

    What would you use to justify that kind of number?
    I see him as a huge talent, but just not all the way around…

    • Yeah.. in the covid climate with the current market.. Hall had to settle for what, 8m on a one year?
      Laine might be smart to extend now rather than wait for what could possibly be further pay reductions in salary. See Hall, Hoffman, Dadonov, Toffoli this year.. all except maybe hall below what folks thought would be market value.

    • Yep. It’s getting better but GM’s were failing to see what these ridiculous 10M plus contracts do to handicap a team that wants depth and a good window to contend.
      Toronto won’t contend for this reason.
      Edmonton may, but just on the strength of having possibly 2 or the top 5 players in the league.. at least top 10. The playoffs will easily expose their weaknesses though.
      Chicago, while a powerhouse for a while with 3 cups to show for it are handcuffed by Kane, Toews, Keith and Seabrook.
      Pittsburgh has been juggling forwards like a circus performer playing with the cap and making questionable deals.
      TB basically timed Kucherov’s surgery to circumvent the cap and avoid giving up a good player for nothing.
      No way Laine is worth 10m… If he was a 200ft player sure. but he is offense oriented and will cost you when you have to back check.
      If ya have to offer him 9 or 9.5 for 6 years and call it a day. Players have to start understanding how their ridiculous demands handicap their team from winning. Laine still has to understand that they have to either trade for or develop him a center which will either take money or time. Him wanting more $ limits their ability to sign a center and if he wants to wait for them to draft him one, that’s gonna take patience. I don’t have faith in Laine’s non-greed or patience.

  3. RIP, George Armstrong.