NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2021

by | Jan 28, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The Canucks beat the Senators, the Predators edge the Blackhawks, Jim Rutherford steps down as Penguins GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-1 thanks to a 42-save performance by goaltender Thatcher Demko. J.T. Miller and Tyler Motte each scored twice as the Canucks broke a 1-1 tie with a three-goal outburst in the second period. The Senators also lost defenseman Christian Wolanin to a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were outshot 23-7 in the first period. The outcome of this game would’ve been very different if not for Demko.

Matt Duchene scored the deciding goal in a shootout as the Nashville Predators nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen kicked out 41 shots. Earlier in the day, Lucas Wallmark became the third Hawks player added to their COVID-19 list this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawk are without Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist yet they’ve managed to pick up at least one point in their last five games. Lankinen’s been a major factor in that streak, going 2-0-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jim Rutherford stunned the hockey world yesterday by announcing he was stepping down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Assistant GM Patrik Allvin has taken over from Rutherford on an interim basis as the club begins its search for a permanent replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under Rutherford, the Penguins became the first team to win consecutive Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017) since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings. A savvy wheeler-dealer, he was never afraid to make bold moves to bolster his roster as he saw fit.

Rutherford and the Penguins denied his decision was health-related or that he was retiring from the game. Nevertheless, some pundits found the timing of this move surprising and curious. It comes just seven games into this season when he has just months remaining on his contract, sparking some speculation perhaps it was less amicable than we’re being led to believe.

Shortly before Rutherford’s announcement, the Penguins revealed they signed free-agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, $700K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rash of injuries has walloped the Penguins defense corps, with Brian Dumoulin the latest to be sidelined. That made them the subject of recent trade chatter. The Weber signing is an inexpensive short-term move to add some veteran depth.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights placed defenseman Brayden McNabb on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday announced they’ll be returning to SAP Center in San Jose on Feb. 13 for their scheduled home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks have been playing home games in Arizona this season because of restrictions against team sports in Santa Clara County. That restriction was recently amended after the state of California lifted its’ stay-at-home order.

The Sharks also pulled off a rare three-team trade yesterday. They shipped defenseman Trevor Carrick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Jack Kopacka, then sent Kopacka and a seventh-round pick in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Christian Jaros.

THE SCORE: cites a report in Sports Business Journal indicating the NHL has borrowed $1 billion US to divide among its 31 teams to address revenue shortfalls occurring from COVID-19 restrictions.


  1. I posted a few things yesterday re Jimbo

    Not good at all (Sudden exit) at time they absolutely need a competent and active GM (covid times, cap issues, mounting injuries, highly competitive Div, etc etc)

    …. and to top all … his last move …. when Pens ABSOLUTELY must have another NHL LHD (down to only 2 LHD’s…. with a COMBINED 20 NHL games [one with 3 games…. and those only in last week; the other hasn’t played in the NHL for 7 years])…. Jimbo goes out and gets a RIGHT D ; who may or may not still need to apply for a green card; has not played in quite a while; and WILL have to quarantine!!!

    I am very glad he is no longer at the helm but his abrupt leaving paired with a nonsensical last minute acquisition … is highly problematic

    Go Pens Go

    • You make way too much outta rd vs ld.

      • Hi Chrisms

        I realize it is subjective and there are players who can play both sides (Riikola) equally well

        That said ; as an overall make up , IMHO a team can’t be radically skewed short with D players who shoot a certain way (in this case Lefties for Pens)

        If Dumo is a no go today…. that is a massive ask of PO -J to play up with Tanger on first pairing ; OR if they decide Marino (on left) with Tanger; then 2nd pair is likely PO-J / CR

        Neither is a good start

        Going out and getting an RHD that can’t play at least for a bit (green card?, but quarantine for sure) and who is not a leftie and who hasn’t played in a substantial time…. that was my issue

        Although I’m radically against it; if a trade couldn’t have been made (Ithink he should have aggressively pursued Dunn) a better move would have been Alzner, Manning, Guance, or wait for it… even Hainsey … there I said it… don’t shoot me

      • I was reading that Rutherford had a deal in place to trade Letang and Mario overruled it and they got into an argument and Rutherford quit. That’s the gossip anyways. Not looking forward to watching Couch-man play tonight at all. LD/RD is actually quite important, it’s harder to play the puck on your back hand.

      • Hi Dee

        I’ve seen Czuczman play a few times

        Most recently in the playins exhibition last summer. Then he was head and shoulders above JJ (yes everybody is); but also markedly better than CR and Trottman

        By no means is he the saviour; and unfortunately jumping into a first NHL game in 7 years will be tough; and he could possibly make mistakes; but I’d much rather have the “fresh” lefty Czuczman (who knows the Pens systems) than the newly acquired “stale” (not been practicing with any team in many many months) rightie Weber

        To add insult to injury….if Jimbo had to sign a rightie…. Chi just signed Bowey… bigger, faster, better than Weber…. why didn’t Jimbo go after Bowey?

      • Hi Dee

        re rumour from Dunlap re Potential Tanger trade nixed by owners and Jimbo sulked and quit….

        All I’ve heard today from reporters (after Dunlopstatement) was that this for sure was not the case

        Here is just one I found someone quoting Rossi:

        “ not working on a trade of any player that management/ownership halted.” Rossi went so far as to say that the resignation had nothing to do with roster-related matters.

        Yohe also came out and said that there was no trade being worked on for Tanger or any other key Pens player

  2. Re “ The Sharks also pulled off a rare three-team trade yesterday. They shipped defenseman Trevor Carrick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Jack Kopacka, then sent Kopacka and a seventh-round pick in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Christian Jaros.”

    When I saw this yesterday I was amazed

    3 team trades are very rate; but one in which 2 of the three are basically lifetime AHLers and the third Jaros … is habitually floating between AHL/NHL…. was strange

    I was joking with a friend that perhaps this “masterful” deal was the brainchild of the ducks just to arrange it so that two brothers (Sam and Trevor Carrick) get to play together on their farm team (San Diego Gulls)

    But it was likely more that Ottawa had the push for the trade…..went from paying $250 K for Jaros to play in AHL ; to paying Kopacka only $58K to play in AHL

    I absolutely love multi-player; multi-team trades

    This one was strange

    I would love a 3 team trade that has Chad Ruhwedel exiting and Soucy entering the Pens

    If anybody has a way that that can happen 👍😁

  3. To reopen previous days regarding Danault and Mete, while I feel there’s no rush or need to trade them. Minnesota does come to mind.

    Eriksson-Ek and Greenway for Danault and maybe Mete if pushed to add a player.

    Rutherford unexpected leaving and replaced by his assistant is disruptive without hint of change doesn’t bode well for the organization.

    Thatcher Demko is the kind of goalie that can steal games, he can revitalise the Canucks on his own

    • The Wild are not trading Greenway and Ericsson-Ek, two of their top young players. And the Habs would be better off signing Danault, which I think they will.

      • Howard – correct on both counts.

      • Howard, rattus, something to consider:

        Greenway+Eriksson-Ek combined numbers:

        378 gp, 49 goals, 82 assists, 131 points

        Danault, defensive specialist with some offensive upside numbers:

        345gp, 50 goals, 128 assists, 178 points.

        Montreal’s reason to trade, cap relief 2 prospects who can fit the system.

        Minnesta’s reason, proven #2 centre with upside for 2 prospects who haven’t met expectations

      • Hf30,

        “Minnesota’s reason, proven #2 centre with upside for 2 prospects who haven’t met expectations“

        Exactly why this is never going to happen.

        Danault was one of the top C’s in the League last year, albeit by default.
        He should not be a #1C, but he is an excellent #2 C.

        I don’t know how aware you are of the situation in Mtl right now, but they are going to make a run to win.

        Trading away your top C, your C depth, your backbone to a 20 year old #3 C and a 21 year old #2 C?

        Whatever the prospects of the young C going forward, this is now and they need Danault.

        Danault was possibly out there for JLD, he is not out there for these two under-achieving muffins.

        En plus he is only 27 years old.

        Forget about it.

    • Although, if I look at it objectively, it’s not that bad a deal for Montreal.

      I really doubt they would make this move now, though.

      Season already underway, undefeated before tonight, francophone player……

      We’ll see.

  4. Bye Rutherford. It was… certainly not boring! Still isn’t btw. The city is on tenterhooks to know wth happened and nobody buys the amicable separation story. Gonna be the topic de jur for weeks.

    • 👍👍

  5. So. Do those that think that van got worse by not signing a middle career goalie to a long term costly extension still feel that way?

    • Yes, Chrisms, at least I do. Your comment is on the heels of Vancouver beating Ottawa, a team that everybody picks to be last this year. Demko had one good period, and if the Canucks management thought he would reproduce his playoff performance last year they would not have gotten Holtby.

      The Canucks have mediocre depth and spotty d. That isn’t going to help either of their goalies.

      • Time will prove you very wrong my friend.

      • Ok, why not put something concrete down, Chrisms? Keep it to this year, so there is something finite to gauge the accuracy of your view. Do you want to keep your prediction to the Canucks performance overall, just the goalie performance. or ??

      • I usually would be happy to put wager a smartest poster of all time bet on a debate… and still will. But one of the main premises of my argument is that allowing the young potential star goalie develop this year with a vet backup will align well with the prime years of the other nucks stars. Whereas paying a guy who very well might be peaking now to a long term contract worth big bucks would be counterproductive and also inhibit ability to retain said stars.


        I wager that in three years the nucks are better off with demko holtby than they would have been with markstrom and ? (As they would have lost demko).

        The stakes. A you are the smartest poster ever post!

      • I understand the majority of what you said, Chrisms, and your comments about time are fair enough if one accepts the premise that the Canucks goal tending won’t make a meaningful difference to their Cup chances right now.

        But I don’t understand your last part. I don’t see myself as the smartest poster, if that is what you mean.

      • It’s merely a half joking form of betting since there is no good rationale to exchange personal contact info for a tangible bet. I win? You say I’m the smartest poster ever. You win… vise versa.

        We could use sexiest stud muffin if you prefer?

    • Well, I’m a Vancouver fan and I think they got worse in the short term by not signing Markstrom. It was still the right move to make given the dollars and term he got and the Seattle expansion draft. I’m very hopeful that Demko will become a high-end starter but he’s not there yet. Better defence (consistent coverage, improved positioning, calmness, support from forwards) would make a big difference.

  6. Was Rutherford perfect? No … was he instrumental in the team winning back to back Cups? Absolutely. Everything he touched in those Cup winning seasons turned to gold but…

    afterwards, giving up a #1 for Ryan Reaves was bad but not all of his fault as Mike Sullivan didn’t know how to use him properly … that was a disconnect between GM & Coach …

    signing jack Johnson to a five year deal?

    giving up a #1 and Cale Addison for Jason Zucker? Ouch

    giving Marcus Pettersson a salary of 4 MIL for four years? Ouch

    signing Brandon Tanev, a 3rd or 4th liner to a six year deal at 3.5M? Ouch

    Trading for Kahun and then dumping him for retreads? Ouch

    trading a warrior like Hornqivst for a pylon like Mike Matheson who had longer term? Ouch

    signing Codi Ceci? Ouch

    giving Marc-Andre Fleury away with a sweetener? Ouch

    not trading Kris LeTurnover, one of the most overrated defencemen in the game to open up cap space? short sighted

    practically leaving the team devoid of any prospects/young talent through numerous trades? A Big Ouch

    I was and still am a fan of reacquiring Kasperi Kapenen so he gets a favorable notch on his belt buckle for that one but the bad far outweighs the good … this team is much worse off and needed a new manager. His timing is curious and he will be labeled by some as a quitter but as a Penguin fan he did us all a favor.

  7. Colin Dunlap
    I am told by multiple sources this morning Jim Rutherford was working on a Kris Letang trade to one of the teams he can be traded to.
    Ownership did not want him doing this.
    It forced an untenable situation.
    So here we are.

    If this is true then Mario should be ashamed of himself.

    • I thought he was untradable?

      Had no value?

      Either dunlaps full of it or all the haters on this board gotta eat some crow.

  8. It took my Sens 310 days to get back on the ice and get that next first win. It seems it will take another 310 days to get another win. Haha