NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2021

by | Feb 17, 2021 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, the league reschedules more postponed game, an explosive report about turmoil within the Coyotes’ organization and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Nazem Kadri scored with 41 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Colorado Avalanche over the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon scored, Brandon Saad tallied a goal and picked up an assist and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for the win.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most entertaining game of the night. It could be a preview of a potential playoff series between these two clubs.

The New York Islanders extended their points streak to eight games by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Isles rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves for his first NHL win and shutout while team captain Anders Lee scored twice. Anthony Beauvillier returned to the Islanders lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury.

Three unanswered goals in the third period gave the New Jersey Devils a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers. Mackenzie Blackwood kicked out 37 shots and Janne Kuokkanen collected three assists in the Devils’ first game since Jan. 31. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

The Washington Capitals snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. Vitek Vanacek made 26 saves, Jakub Vrana tallied what proved to be the game-winner and Richard Panik collected two assists. Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson returned to action after being sidelined for nine games.

Jonathan Quick turned in a 28-save shutout as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0. It was the Wild’s first game since Feb. 2 following a COVID-19 outbreak. They took to the ice with five regulars (Jonas Brodin, Brad Hunt, Victor Rask, Carson Soucy and Cam Talbot) still on the protocol list.


THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang reported on widespread turmoil and financial woes with the Arizona Coyotes organization. Her detailed investigation involving interviews with more than 50 people including current and former employees. Among the issues revealed were inquiries into the Coyotes’ finances (including unpaid invoices, delays in paying bonuses to players and accusations of breach of contract) and complaints of dysfunctional workplace culture.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes released a statement condemning Strang’s report, accusing The Athletic of engaging in a “harassment campaign” and questioning the reliance on what the club deemed “disgruntled ex-employees.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strang is a well-respected hockey reporter who did considerable research into this story. This wasn’t harassment, it was journalism. The issues examined in her report are serious and have been bubbling for some time. raising legitimate concerns about the Coyotes’ ownership and the club’s future in Arizona.

The NHL announced widespread changes to its schedule. Twenty-nine postponed games have been rescheduled while another six are expected to be rescheduled in the near future.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The NHL postponed a second straight game between the Stars and Nashville Predators due to ongoing power issues in Dallas stemming from a major winter storm.


  1. Move the Coyotes to Houston and the Senators to Hamilton. New instant rivalry between Dallas and Houston and a revamp of the “Battle Of Ontario” (at the same time cutting down travel for future games involving Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit.

    • I’d rather see them move to Quebec, they deserve another team …

      maybe John Chayka knew what he was doing???

    • – Coyotes ain’t going to Houston, but rather Quebec (ice-ready arena).
      – Tri-city rivalry with MTL and OTT.

      • Do some research, Canada Guy. Houston has the Toyota Center, an indoor arena. Wouldn’t take much to make it ready for hockey.

      • Houston will get a NHL team. It’s a major US city that can and will be able to support the sport. Unfortunately, the coyotes will probably still be wondering lost in the desert 🌵

  2. Regarding Coyotes:

    It appears that GM Bill Armstrong was warned about the situation before leaving the Blues. Now it sounds like he may be part of the problem, instead of part of the solution, if the article is accurate.

  3. I don’t see anything happening. If and when Arizona moves in will be in the US.

    Toronto and Buffalo previously denounced putting a team in Hamilton, why would that change now.

    • Caper, while I would like to be able to make a reasonable argument about why you’re wrong, I can’t.
      Why would Houston be any more successful than Phoenix for an NHL franchise?
      I have only been to Houston a couple times for work, and can’t say I met many locals who gave a crap about hockey and good luck finding a game on TV in a bar.

      Maybe they just stay in Arizona. There is at least a small base of fans there.

      • The same argument was made against giving Columbus an expansion team despite the success of the ECHL Chill. Houston had the Aeros in the WHA and has had an AHL team for many years. Just as the Blue Jackets built a strong fan base from the Chill’s fans, a Houston team can build a strong fan base.

      • You might be right Paul, and my sample size was small as I was just there for a few days each time.
        But it was during hockey season in early March, and we did try to find a hockey game. The folks in the bar looked at us like we had 2 heads and they weren’t going to change the channel off of basketball.
        Been to Phoenix and been to a couple games there too, seems better than starting from basically scratch. The Houston AHL team left a while ago didn’t it?

      • Here’s a radical thought – contraction. Disband the franchise, hold a dispersion draft and run with 30 teams with Seattle replacing Phoenix.
        Thirty’s a nice round number anyway although twenty would give us some incredible hockey.

      • Hi Caper

        Yes Leafs and Sabres did previously denounce expansion or relo for another GTA team

        That was a few years ago, and neither has veto power… just two votes between them

        Eco models show that another GTA team would sell out for at least first 5 years

        Instant cross-town rivalries

        NY has 2, and effectively with Devils… 3

        Population higher in the NY “hub” but according to the eco studies of a few years ago; GTA has more hockey viewers than in and around the 3 NY/NJ teams

        Leafs are owned by two media giants…. a new team in the GTA could only serve to increase hockey viewing … increase media profits

        The switch of a habitually money losing Franchise (Arz) that draws from the profit sharing model ; to a second GTA team that would have very large profits and would be a big contributor to the profit sharing pool…. makes absolute logical sense

        All economic models show that a second GTA team would increase league Revs tremendously more than any other “new”/“possible” city/franchise

        The blockage for this move for the last 25 years has always always always been Bettman

        Re Houston or QC/PQ…. both far superior locations than Arz

        Both would increase HRR waaay over that of Arz

        When Quebec went for expansion, their eco models showed an expected profit greater than what Seattle presented. Granted this eco report was paid for by them; but so was Seattle’s

        Also at the time there were eco models re a franchise in Houston… showed strong viability , good projected profits (not as high as Seattle and Quebec but good)

        Quebec has an NHL ready arena available for immediate occupancy. I’ve been in it… spectacular👍👍👍

        George has rightfully pointed out several times re the nuances of a predominantly francophone franchise

        I grant that, but truly believe Nordiques Part Deux would be very succesful…. autoroute Felix Leclerc rivalry back in biz 👍👍👍

        The Toyota centre in Houston (now 18 years old) can also house an NHL team and per TSN would require but minor modifications for the NHL; easily ready for 21/22 season if decision was made shortly and ownership transferred

        In summary… Arz is losing money (always has) huge… franchise should not remain there

        Most financially prudent move for NHL is second GTA team

        Next would be a team in QC/PQ

        However… Bettman won’t allow any more teams in Canada

        He would also have to admit his brutal Phoenix error for them to be moved

        Hoping for the sake of the NHL that the owners finally speak up to Bettman and get the franchise moved

        If so, his (Bettman’s) “saving face” will be to “allow” a move to Houston

        After Covid and with Krakken going in to the PacDiv… the Coyotes franchise will be playing in the central anyway…. getting that franchise closer (than Phoenix) to its Div rivals Stars, as well as other central teams; has merit

        Wake up Bettman

      • Hi BC LeafFan

        I’m not opposed to contraction

        Building on your idea…

        Fold Yotes (with a dispersion draft) ; relocate Panthers, Canes , Clb to (not in order or co-related) to:

        GTA2, QC/PQ; Houston

        That would certainly massively increase HRR

        Bolder still….

        Fold all four of those franchises

        Award 3 new franchises (probably closing in on a total of $2B in expansion fees) to GTA2; QC/PQ; Houston

        Dispersion AND expansion drafts

        Will that happen…. nope…. 🤬😡…. too much sense

      • Turns out you’re right. The Dallas Stars bought the team and moved it to an Austin suburb, presumably because that’s closer to Dallas.

  4. Strang’s report, as presented here, describes a corrupt and dysfunctional Coyotes organization. From there, we seem to have jumped to the fallible conclusion that the problems would go away if the team were moved to Houston or elsewhere.

    The problems Strang speaks of must be handled by NHL officials, not by moving vans. Financial difficulty isn’t the exclusive province of the Coyotes and Senators right now, and every team that is experiencing it shouldn’t be moved to another city..

    Until this season of empty rinks, support for hockey has usually grown wherever the sport has been planted. It’s greatest limitation is market size, not popularity gain. Perhaps, Strang’s report suggests hockey’s growth in Arizona has been stifled more by team mismanagement than by public apathy.

    • Well said Francis.

  5. Games last night.. watched Knights/Avs; Pens/Caps

    Knights/Avs… agree with Lyle…. very exciting game

    To me … look out for a full 7 game series to decide who goes to the semis… great hockey


    Right team won

    Pens were outhustled

    That said…. great game by Jarry… 39/42… 929….. two goals ABSOLUTELY no chance and the other virtually no chance. Many 10 bell saves

    Matheson has impressed last two games👍👍👍

    Slowly getting healthy … Pettersson back 👍👍👍

    Sid line 👍👍👍👍👍👍

    Checking line/PK…. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

    What if….. Turbo had scored on that breakaway shorty… got through the pads…. that just may have turned things…. there was plenty of time left at that point

    Gino line …. 👎👎👎👎👎👎

    This is not all on Gino… not at all….he had some very good shifts; and saved two great chances in a string back check

    Zucker is completely off…. just awful 👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎

    He must have some.thing incriminating on Sully because Sully keeps him on that line

    Sully stirred up lines , and brought up Turbo. The prudent move is bench Zucker or move Zucker down. Instead Sully moved Kappy down, kept Zucker; who then proceeded to flub 3 consecutive passes on the re-vamped Gino-Turbo-Zucker line. Why Kappy down? Maguire thought it was a move to “strengthen” the checking line….. ummmmmm….. no…. they were doing fine oh wonderful Maguire

    When McC is back… how about try him up with Gino and let Zucker watch from press box

    Perhaps the press box vantage point for a couple of games helpsZucker see things better and he could snap out of this

    The press box try (for a couple of games) has worked for other players in the past

    Go Pens Go

  6. Send a team to Milwaukee

  7. Hi Lyle,

    As an fyi, are you aware that you posted both the Rumours and the Coffee columns of Feb 18 on the “Coffee” site?

    Furthermore, I don’t seem to see anywhere on either Feb 18 column where remarks can be posted.


    • Fixed now, rich, thanks for the heads-up. Cheers!