NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

by | Jan 7, 2021 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The latest on Tuukka Rask, Mika Zibanejad, and Jack Eichel, plus the latest signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opened up about his decision to leave the 2020 playoff bubble in August to attend to a family emergency.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

He based the decision on a phone call from his family indicating his young daughter was ill and an ambulance was called. “So obviously at that point, my mind is spinning and I’m like, ‘I need to get out of here’”, said Rask, adding he had no regrets about returning home.

Rask also said his preference is to stay with the Bruins beyond this season. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July and was the subject of offseason trade rumors. The 33-year-old goalie appeared open to talking contract during the season. “If they don’t, we’ll just wait it out and see what happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask caught flak from some Bruins fans upset over his decision to leave the club but he had the full support of the club, including his teammates. In my opinion, he did the right thing by putting his family first as any decent parent would.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad missed his third straight day of practice but the club remains optimistic he’ll be ready in time for their season-opener against the New York Islanders on Jan. 14. Zibanejad, 27, has been sidelined for undisclosed reasons.

WGR550: Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson joined their Buffalo Sabres teammates on the ice yesterday after each was recently sidelined by upper-body injuries. Meanwhile, Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons’ season is over before it began, undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring injury. His recovery period is expected to last six months.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension yesterday. The annual average value is $5.4 million.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked forward Luke Kunin to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. The AAV is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on both signings here.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw admitted he considered retirement during his 14-month recovery from post-concussion symptoms. Shaw says he’s now fully recovered and excited about resuming his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw’s gritty style of play contributed to his injuries. It’ll be interesting to see if he changes his game.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes received approval from the City of Glendale allowing 25 percent capacity (3,450 fans) during their six home games in January.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are also allowed 25 percent capacity (around 5,000 fans) at the BB&T Center to start the upcoming season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are permitted to allow 23 percent capacity (3,900 to 4,000 fans) at the Amelie Arena to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Lightning reached an agreement with the Panthers to share their AHL affiliate (Syracuse Crunch) for the 2020-21 season. The Panthers affiliate (Charlotte Checkers) opted out of playing this season because of the pandemic.



  1. Rask did the right thing

    Fam first. Full stop.

    Years ago I walked out of a meeting where I was finalizing quite a large deal when I got a call regarding an injury to one of my sons

    I had no second thoughts

    Thankfully the injury turned out to be relatively minor

    I will proudly be a father for the rest of my life

    • who cares???

  2. Bjorkstrand‘s contract a little higher than I had expected

  3. Any statement from Bobby Orr today?
    Asking for myself.

    • I agree. Hockey talk. Personally I can’t wait for the pens to storm the capitals this season.

    • Capital’s and opponents may not be able to travel to and from games if the curfew is on place. We’ll see if the treasonous, domestic terrorism continues or not.

    • Sorry, what’s “political” about illegally trespassing?

    • I think it’s called goalie interference ny. Duh.

    • The hockey part is related to my first statement. If illegal and violent activity is destabilizing a city with an NHL team, it may affect the team’s ability to stage games. This isn’t complicated…

    • You’re the only one discussing “politics”, or framing this terrorism as political. All I wanted to note is that criminal chaos in an NHL city could affect a team’s ability to have games played in their home arena.

    • Apologies if my comments triggered you, that was not my intent.

    • I can’t figure out if you asking about not talking about politics was a way to ensure talking politics so you could complain about talking about politics…. or if you legitimately liked not talking politics because talking hockey’ and not politics is preferable.

    • Thought the same thing Chrisms, but didn’t want to set off a political discussion over a comment about not wanting to talk about politics.
      Which set off a political discussion, and an argument about not talking about politics.

    • Yeah.

    • Totally

  4. How many times is “Rask leaving the bubble” going to be brought up? Move on already.

    • Some Bruins followers don’t seem to want to let it go. Sad, really…

      • Agree Lyle, sorry if that sounded like i was directing that at you. It was directed at the Boston media for continuingly bringing it up.

  5. Does Freddy Andersen have any kids? Asking for a friend who enjoys making crank calls at playoff time.

    • Why would you care about Anderson come playoff time ? You have already guaranteed he has lost the room , can’t win anything when it counts and WILL be moved by deadline. It would be a fireable offence to have him in net after the deadline, you said , not so confident anymore that he’s moved ?

    • Craig, it was pretty funny.
      As annoying as he can be, he does make me laugh some times.
      Kind of like Alan from the Hangover.

  6. Haha I just like to keep his previous comments fresh for when the season actually starts and leaf fans begin to shrink from the yearly lofty summer hype . I don’t really find the humour like you do with him but that’s fine . I would never compare him to Allen , I could watch his comedy all day everyday and never get tired of it . I was tired of Wendell at about post 3 , but he is good at stirring the pot , credit where credit is due . For the record I believe he truly believes his thoughts , he just words them to encite as much reaction as possible

  7. Hey NYR4 , I found a great new site almost exclusively hockey talk… It’s called Spectors Politics.

  8. I really don’t think Rask is completely into it still. I have family I see why he left his team ion the lurch once again, but there’s been other occasions before. Ex: one of the important games of the season the last game of the regular season he filled up with chicken wings and beer the night before and was unable to play. There have been other instances when confronted by the media he’s thrown his teammates under the buss and did not take blame for a bad game in which he let in some easy goals at a crucial time in the game! Personally I’m done with this guy the sooner they ship him out the better!

    • And replace him with who Rick?
      If all you have is Vlader going into next season, it could be a long year.
      Unless of course you want to start the rebuild, than ya, have at er.

  9. Hockey and Politics were intertwined when the Avalanche were the Quebec Nordiques. Hab/Quebec games were wars.

    Nordiques represented seperatism and Habs represented federalism.

    Regular season games felt like playoff games, fans hated each other and the players did too.

    Rivalries with Leafs and Bruins were childs play in comparison.