NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2021

by | Jan 6, 2021 | News, NHL | 13 comments

The NHL announces sponsors for its realigned divisions, plus updates on David Pastrnak, Dougie Hamilton, Alexander Kerfoot and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league has partnered with four sponsors for its realigned divisions for the upcoming 2020-21 season. They will be known as the Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division, and the MassMutual NHL East Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or, as I and most hockey fans will refer to them, the North, West, Central and East Divisions.

This news will surely raise hackles among hockey purists already upset over ad logos appearing this season on the players’ helmets. But, as The Athletic’s Scott Burnside indicates, this move is necessary to offset some of the lost revenue this season from the absence of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This could be simply a one-time thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the practice of division sponsors continues when things (hopefully) return to normal next season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy yesterday said David Pastrnak was making progress in his recovery from offseason hip surgery. The original prognosis for the winger was mid-February but Cassidy suggested it could be a little earlier than that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A late January or early February return for Pastrnak seems possible. The sooner the high-scoring winger returns to the Bruins first line, the better their chances of maintaining their status as a Stanley Cup contender this season.

NHL.COM: Dougie Hamilton wants to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes and hopes the two sides can work out a new contract. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hamilton said he’ll leave the negotiations to his agent and focus on the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has indicated a willingness to sign Hamilton to a contract extension. The blueliner’s asking price and the Hurricanes’ inclination to meet it will determine if he has a future in Carolina.

Hamilton was considered a serious contender for the Norris Trophy last season until sidelined by a broken leg last January. Another Norris-worth performance could price him out of the Hurricanes’ comfort zone.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot was banged up in training camp yesterday and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Winger Alex Tuch took a maintenance day yesterday as a precautionary measure after experiencing soreness following the first day of on-ice drills on Monday.

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders have reportedly signed free-agent winger Matt Martin to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.5 million. He’ll be 36 when this contract expires.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal ensures Martin could retire as an Islander, though he could be selected by Seattle in this summer’s expansion draft if left unprotected. The checking-line winger is considered one of the Isles’ glue guys, the type of hard-working player who brings the team together.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Joel Hanley missed practice yesterday. He’s been declared “unfit to practice” and listed as day-to-day.

THE SCORE: Former Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill was hired by the Seattle Kraken as an assistant general manager to GM Ron Francis. Former Chicago Blackhawks executive Norm McIver was hired as the Kraken’s director of player personnel.

NHLPA: Colin Wilson officially announced his retirement yesterday following 11 NHL seasons with the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. He scored 113 goals and 286 points in 632 regular-season games.

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

Congratulations to Team USA for their 2-0 victory over Team Canada to win the gold medal at the 2021 World Junior Championships. It’s the fourth straight time in as many meetings that Team USA has defeated Canada in the gold-medal game.

Florida Panthers’ goalie prospect Spencer Knight made 34 saves for the shutout. Anaheim Ducks prospect center Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist while Los Angeles Kings prospect center Alex Turcotte also tallied for the Americans. Zegras led the tournament with 18 points and was named tournament MVP.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russia may be Canada’s oldest hockey rival but the United States is the biggest rival and has been for some time.


  1. With you 100 % Lyle

    I can’t see any of my friends or my sons’ friends ever referring to those sponsors’ names when referring to the Divs

    I’ve heard nothing but “Canada Division” or “Can Div” or “ Canada Division” when referring to the “ North” Division.

    I still here others referring to the “Metro” Division instead of “East” Division… obviously because it kept 6 of 8 teams

    How much did each sponsor pay for this right (to name)?

  2. As to selling the division names, I don’t think it really matters; like Lyle notes, everyone is just going to go ahead and keep calling them the North, West, Central, and East. At least they didn’t go full-bore and ditch the geography and name them the Scotia, Honda, etc. divisions.

    Congrats to the U.S. on the win. Can’t say I loved the barrel thing, but after reading the explanation from the head coach, I’m not hurt about it. U.S. goaltending has been spectacular and with Knight and Wolf as options, the goaltending made the difference.

  3. Although it is painful to say….. congrats to the US WJChamps

    Great high speed game 👍

    I certainly lay no blame on Levi… deflection and a weird bounce behind the net…. not on him

    Knight played excellent; as I also believe Levi did

    It’s too bad Canada couldn’t have taken any 1 minute (play) of their last 25 minutes of play ; and put it at the beginning of the 2nd. 😢

    Congrats Team USA 👍

    Many of those 40 + players we saw last night , will be entertaining us in the NHL in the not so distant future


    • Not seeing your name here for a couple of days, I thought you might have gone searching for George O and gotten lost. Glad you’re OK.

      I think this championship game shows how hockey benefits from expansion. No matter your national allegiance, because you obviously love the game, your pain has to be relieved when you see how much the game has burgeoned and improved as it has spread to places where hockey once ranked with marbles and darts. Watch the US fan base grow as more boys become local heroes

      O Georg O, where art thou?

      • 👍 Francis

        Hockey in Germany is also starting to spark

        Always has been dominated by youths interested in soccer; and others with (apparently) interest in handball (?)

        But with recent prominence of Draisitl (sp?) and the high drafting (and play recently) of Stutzle (sp?) ) …. the future is bright

        Look at the excitement and prominence of hockey in Finland … and only 5.5 M people

        Germany has closing in on 85 M people

        All good 👍👍👍

  4. A brief glimpse into the near future.

    Hughson: “We are ready for puck drop for the Playtex Plus 2nd period, and we are underway…”

    • That was pretty funny 🙂 …

  5. Bells will take on Scotiabanks to kick off the season in the Scotia NHL North division.

    Will there be a Scotiabank team and a Scotia Bank team a la CFL to differentiate the Eastern and Western Scotia team?

    Props to the US coaching for taking a page out of Canada’s system, swarming get the puck pressure to put Canada on its heels shutting down the defensive zone breakouts for most of the game.

    We’ll be seeing these kids in the NHL.

    • Hi Habsfan30

      Love the CFL reference…. 👍😄…..Tony Gabriel come to mind in the Rough Riders over the Roughriders?? I was there for that one!

      • Really Pengy? Didn’t need to rehash that.
        To me that moment is like Lambert scoring in OT game 7 vs Bruins in 79.

      • Ray Bark, that was such a lovely goal by Lambert, thanks for the memory.

      • Sorry Ray

        I enjoyed the game but was cheering for Green

        Like in the NHL… where I’m divided loyally to Leafs and Pens; in the CFL I am double blue and green

        My two all time fav CFLers are Pinball and Ray Elgaard

  6. Remember these in the mid 70s:

    In the east, the Prince of Wales Conference, or Wales Conference, was comprised of the Adams Division and Norris Division.

    In the west, the Clarence Campbell Conference, or Campbell Conference, was comprised of the Patrick Division and Smythe Division.

    Just as meaningless as the sponsorship names. Go with the geographic locator.