NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2021

by | Mar 12, 2021 | News, NHL | 44 comments

Recaps of Thursday’s action, the Blues re-sign Jordan Binnington, the latest injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Brad Marchand collected three assists while Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves as the Boston Bruins shut out the New York Rangers 4-0. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (32 points) sit one point behind the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the MassMutual East Division and one up on the Philadelphia Flyers.

A goal and an assist by Evgeni Malkin helped the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. The Penguins have won four straight while the Sabres have dropped nine consecutive games. Sabres forward Dylan Cozens was injured in the third period by a hit from Zach Aston-Reese. Earlier in the day, the Sabres revealed captain Jack Eichel will be sidelined for at least 7-10 days with a neck-related injury.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders picked up their seventh straight victory with a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Isles captain Anders Lee left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. The Islanders (38 points) sit in first place in the East Division, two ahead of the Washington Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin tallied his 715th career goal and John Carlson reached 500 career points in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin is within two points of Phil Esposito for sixth place on the all-time goals list.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Nashville Predators 5-1. Rookie Morgan Geekie scored his first two goals of the season while James Reimer made 32 saves for the win. The Hurricanes moved ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning into first place in the Discover Central Division with 39 points.

An overtime goal by Frank Vatrano capped a four-goal rally by the Florida Panthers to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine snapped a seven-game points drought with a goal and an assist but played just 14:43 in the game and was benched for the final 6:53 of regulation and for the overtime period. After the game, Laine said, “I thought I was playing good, but I guess I thought wrong.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll just leave this here…


Auston Matthews’ league-leading 21st goal of the season came in overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Winnipeg Jets 4-3, snapping the Leafs’ three-game losing skid. Nikolaj Ehlers tallied twice for the Jets (34 points), who remain in second place in the Scotia North Division, six points back of the first-overall Leafs. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) was placed on injured reserve.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4, picking up their first regulation win over the Bolts since 2015. Anthony Mantha had a goal and two assists for the Red Wings while Ondrej Palat also had a goal and two helpers for the Lightning, who sit one point behind the Hurricanes in the Central Division but ahead of the Panthers because of a game in hand.

Darryl Sutter got his first win in his return behind the Calgary Flames bench as his club beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Josh Leivo scored twice for the Flames (27 points), who sit four back of the fourth-place Habs in the North Division. Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot returned to Montreal for evaluation of an upper-body injury.

The Chicago Blackhawks scored three second-period goals to double up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Kevin Lankinen kicked out 28 shots while Patrick Kane collected two assists. The Blackhawks (33 points) hold a five-point lead over the Blue Jackets for fourth in the Central Division.


STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed Jordan Binnington to a six-year, $36 million contract extension. The 27-year-old goaltender was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington backstopped the Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019 but he’s struggled at times to regain the dominating form of that remarkable rookie season. Nevertheless, management showed their faith in him as their starter with this long-term commitment.

This new contract represents a big raise for Binnington over the $4.4 million annual average value of his current deal. Cap Friendly indicates the annual salary-cap hit is $6 million and comes with a full no-trade clause for the first three years following by a modified no-trade for the final three.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list and will likely miss at least this weekend’s games against the Blues.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom will undergo shoulder surgery later this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klefbom’s missed the entire season receiving treatment for his shoulder. With surgery, he could be sidelined six-to-nine months.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Colin White is listed as day-to-day with an injured left leg.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman remains optimistic the NHL will return to business as normal next season. He envisions a full 82-game schedule with no limitations on fan attendance starting in October and a return to the regular divisional alignments. Bettman also indicated the league wants to return to outdoor games with fans in attendance next season and resume playing some early-season games in Europe if possible.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is still working to determine whether the playoff semifinalists from the North Division will be allowed to host games given the travel restrictions between Canada and the United States.

Daly added he’s been in frequent communication with the International Olympic Committee regarding NHL participation in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing but the IOC’s focus right now is on the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games. He also believes the 2021 NHL Draft will more likely than not still be held as scheduled in July.


  1. Regarding Binnington—contract may not be too much $$$, but it IS too long!

  2. Torts time must be coming to an end

    David Quinn should of been gone already.

    • ds

      Agree re Torts

      When he leaves player retention probably much easier IMHO

      • I agree on Torts as well. But I think it would be too soon for the Rangers to fire Quinn. He deserves more time with a young team.
        A coach must be a leader, of course. But Torts seems to always want to make it about him. That type of act always runs thin.

    • ds..you see it too huh. Torts will be gone when the season ends. He is an excellent coach, but his style of coaching has an expiration due to the way he treats his players. He is not a player’s coach, he is more like military tactician. Paul Maurice, Jon Cooper, DJ smith, Travis Green and Sheldon Keefe, these guys are Player’s coaches. Torts will have no problem finding a job, as he produces wherever he goes even if the team lacks talent. If Boston don’t make the playoffs this year, look for them to hire Torts in the off-season.

    • There are calls on several Blue Jackets blogs for Torts’ firing.

  3. Just when you think that six year extensions might be put on hold for a couple of years, here come the Blues and Jordan Binnington.
    I’d be interested in knowing the thought process that brought this deal to fruition.

  4. Binnington isn’t the first NHL player to convert an exceptional playoff run into a contract with high expectations.

    He hasn’t replicated that brilliance since and it remains to be seen if pushing out Jake Allen who has had better numbers than Binnington since.

    Picking the goalie to keep and which to let go is daunting and St. Louis Blues and Doug Armstrong certainly shows his confidence.

  5. Leafs…. whew… glad to get back in the W column; some great chances; CH looked like he might steal another….Leafs now 5th in league (winning percentage)👍👍👍Beauty OT goal by AM
    Still need to win next game (in reg please)

    Pens… not a good start… battled back… 4 lines contributing. Gino/Kappy clicking 👍👍👍👍 I’m assuming Marino in press box just for a game (or 2) just to get a Birdseye view of games to help him a bit. Ruhweedel in instead of Riikola ??? Good on ya Angelo … hard work paying off. Pens… start stronger next game , don’t let foot off the gas

    8 total goals in an Isles/Devils tilt…. wow 🤔

    Panthers win again…. bazinga 👍👍

    Binnington AAV not surprising ; thought it might be 5 yr

    Sick dangle and pass by Marchand 👍

    Look out… Blackhawks keep racking up the V’s…. all done with $26 M + on LTIR 😳😲

  6. At least Torts has the stones to do that. Many other coaches let the whiners whine and the showboats show off rather than play part of a team game. This isn’t the NBA we chear for teams.

    • Tortorella always needs a scapegoat. It could never be his fault that Columbus aren’t playing well. He needs to step away from the job – maybe work on Darrell Sutter’s farm for a while, bench the cows.

      • BCLeafFan that is disrespectful. Torts is one of the best coach in the history of NHL. He is not a babysitter like most coaches in the game today. He instill sense of reality into these young players who seem to have an entitlement mentality. Can’t blame the coach for spanking a player when spanking deemed necessary. Good on you Torts and stay true to yourself as you always have been.

    • AZHockeyNut, Torts is the biggest whiny cry baby in the NHL. That includes all players, coaches, trainers, beer guys, play by play people, color guys, zamboni drivers, etc etc.
      All he does is b*tch and moan about this and that, and the media, blah blah blah.
      If he was a player and yelled in the face of these guys like he does, he wouldn’t get out of practice with out his nose spread across his face. He gets no respect because he gives none.

      • Guys, while I can’t refute any of what you say about Tortorella because it’s so obvious, the mere fact it IS obvious and repetitious makes me wonder if that’s exactly the way he wants it.

        Not because he particularly likes being in the public glare but rather that he’d prefer it that way than to have his players put on the hot seat.

        Clearly, that style of coaching rubs many the wrong way – especially certain media types – but as a head coach he’s been behind an NHL bench for 1,355 games and has an overall record of 665 wins 527 losses 37ties/136ol for 1,493 points – a .551 winning %.

        With 4 teams he has never been under .500 and just in Columbus he has coached 419 games, winning 219, losing 152 with 48ol for 584 points – a .696 winning %.

        He probably could not possibly care less what some among the fans think about him and certainly not the media.

      • Ya it works for a while George. I don’t care if Torts benches guys, all coaches do. I don’t care if he makes players a healthy scratch, all do. Cassidy scratched DeBrusk and it seems to have worked.
        My issue with Torts is how he snaps, yells and screams at guys. Can’t stand it and don’t respect it. Never will.
        I know the type well, I am sure others on here who are older and played do too. Heck, you used to see it on job sites and the work place all the time. Screw those guys, life is too short to deal with them. Same for Torts.

      • Well, if there’s one breed of worker that shouldn’t be molly-coddled it’s the pro athlete. They are paid to win. As are the coaches.

        You might recall Steve Shutt’s famous comment on Scotty Bowman – you hated his guts 364 days a year except for that one day when they handed out the cup rings. Punch Imlach , Toe Blake, Vince Lombardi (coaches who can outline a play on a blackboard are a dime a dozen … the ones who win get inside their players and motivate …), Billy Martin, Steve Belichick – none among them were/are cuddly … all they have done/do is win.

      • Who said anything about cuddly George?

    • AZ Laine had a goal and an assit last night
      He personally thought he was playing good and then he said I guess not.

      One thing to sit the player its another when the player doesn’t know why and you hurt your own team by not putting him back out to correct it; but he still needs to know why.

    • Diddo! That is what I like about Torts, he has the balls to coach the team the way he sees fit. He does whatever it takes to win hockey games, doesn’t care about noises in the press or worried about stepping on anyone’s toes in the organization. I think he’s priceless. I would love to had Torts replace Babcock, but I’m happy with the coach we have now.

  7. Re “ Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list and will likely miss at least this weekend’s games against the Blues.”

    If he’s missing “at least” this weekend’s games , doesn’t that infer he has Covid instead of close contact etc

    Others who have been put on the list for close contact etc, have missed but 1 game or some none (on list in a 2 day schedule break)

    Did I just hear MacKrimmon’s ulcers howl?

    • Sid was on the list for 48 hours… missed a game

      Fleury was placed on list yesterday aft… if just close contact… he could be cleared by tomorrow aft and play in tomorrow night’s (8 PM EST) game right?

      If they are talking “at least” missing both games this weekend; to me infers that he possibly has tested positive

  8. Cheap hit by Zack Aston-Reese last night, usually the Pens are on the receiving end of those …

    Every once in awhile John Tortorella has to show everybody who is boss and in control … I am a big JK fan, I thin he is a sold GM, as he didn’t want to trade Dubois, the player forced his hand but he has his head in the sand over his HC … I wouldn’t want to be known as a meddling owner but if I owned the Jackets sorry, but I’d have to step in at this point …

    and I disagree that Quinn should be fired … The Rags are still very young and developing .. they need a stud d-man and their young goalie tandem hasn’t played that great for him this year … I think he will grow into the job and I don’t see him going anywhere.

  9. Switch goalies and Leafs win somewhere between 6-2 and 7-1.

    The daily wake call for Dubas.

    • Wendel goalies are part of the team.

      As much as Toronto needs more consistent goaltender

      Winnipeg needs to play a better defensive game. Gaps to wide, Dmam not knowing what player to pick up
      4 guys went to JT and left Nylander on alone, absolute brutal defensive game by Winnipeg.

      Jets need a top 4 dmam and for Maurice to design and implement a better defensive structure.

      • With all due respect on your analysis on the play you are referring to, Tavares made an unbelievable pass. I don’t believe there was any fault on defensive coverage, ít was simply a ridiculous okay by Tavares and nothing more. Reminded me of McDavid undressing Reilly last year or McDavid making no look drop pass through dman’s leg to Draisitle couple of nights ago.

      • Actually Mike Caper is bang on. The Jets were puck watching.
        Nylander played well. Why don’t Leafs like him again?

      • I know Caper. Thats my point. This leaf team is so talented and deep it is unfathomable to waste another run with a damaged inferior goalie. Inexcusable.

    • Wendel the leafs just traded the Bobby Orr of the khl lol!!

      • I saw that. Keefe has handled his roster well this year but should have played Lehtonen over Dermott. CLB isn’t ideal with Werenski and Jones ahead of him on the pp but watch him go if he gets a regular shift. No idea who this goalie is from CLB farm team but I’d still play him ahead of andersen in a game 7.

  10. Patrik Laine – from the frying pan into the fire. tortorella has been causing stars to LEAVE Columbus for years, why would Laine think he would be the exception to the rule?
    WHEN will CBJ finally make some real progress and replace the arse behind their bench?

    • Laine will become a better player thanks to Torts. Something Nylander need to experience to access his full potential.

  11. DeBrusk played better last night. Got some PK time, was skating, aggressive, and got rewarded.

    Hopefully a fresh start? Benching might have been exactly what he needed.

    • Yep …3+ million per and you have to be asked to play hockey

  12. All good in Boston! One game has resolved everything.

    Krejci and Debrusk scored

    Wagner was scratched

    Boston 3 consecutive first round picks (Debrusk, Zboril and Senychen) played their 1st NHL game together.

    Debrusk threw an actual body check last night.

    Unfortunately this isn’t the first time Debrusk played well after being benched. Maybe bench him every second game.

    We’ll take it for one game. Let’s see what Saturday brings.

    • True that Caper.

  13. I wonder what evidence there is to back up claims that stars have left the Jackets because of abusive treatment from Tortorella. To the contrary, what evidence has appeared in print shows that departed players retrospectively appreciated him. Maybe those players were just being tactful, which Tortorella certainly is not.
    Here’s a funny story from Yahoo Sports that may suggest it was embarrassment rather than abuse that caused Panarin to leave the jackets.

    With his team battling for a playoff spot, Tortorella removed Panarin from the lineup before a game with the Canadiens, explaining that he was ill. That led to rampant speculation that Panarin was held out to protect him from injury because he was about to be traded. When confronted with this speculation, Tortorella irately replied–

    ‘ “He’s SICK… he s**t his pants and he’s puking his guts out.” ‘

    If you’re sick of coachspeak, you’ve got to love that kind of outspokenness.

  14. George,
    The days of coaches running their teams like autocracies is over and while you can say that pro athletes are paid to play and shouldn’t be molly-coddled , the players are brought up differently today.

    Gone are the days of stuffing newspaper into pants for shin guards and taping a stick over and over to last a season.

    Pro players have been molly-coddled from the get go, coached and mentored, told what and how to do everything and expect to be treated like players they have been told they are.

    From a young age they have been told its a business and needing to look out for themselves and at the team at the same time.

    They are driven to all their games and they see their parents verbally attack coaches for any perceived slights etc etc

    Fear is a wonderful motivator…..not so much anymore.

    • Not all players have been coddled, although some have.
      Almost every NHL head coach, NBA head coach, NFL head coach, seems to be able to motivate, coach, be tough with their players without having spaz attacks on the bench.
      At their own players.
      With cameras rolling.

      If a player needs a “chat” do it in the room, in your office, or at practice anywhere but in front of the cameras.
      This isn’t about being tough or coddling guys, this is about being an a-hole or not. Having self control or not.

      CLB can stick with him if they want, their choice, players have choices too. I dare say they have the nuts to stand up to psycho boy Torts.

    • Sad to say, so true …

      • At the simplest level look at the change in players and what did to stay in the league.

        Goalie masks originated by Andy Bathgate deliberately firing the puck at Jacques Plante’s face

        The last round of enforcers wouldn’t have lasted in the days before a code arrived. A player knocked to the ice wasn’t allowed to get up with a pat on the back, he was pummelled.

        There was no respect, slashing was with intent not a tap on the stick.

        Head shots were an intentional part of the game, same with boarding, the numbers were a target.

        I’m not trying to say those days were better, or look at them with nostalgia , but to explain the players were rougher, harder and intimidation was the name of the game in pro sports and by the great coaches.

  15. Without being able to present a socio=economic study to support this, I suspect from what life has presented to me that many teams that look great on paper are pushed from the playoffs because their elite players are also effete players. They are the players whose youthful dreams have been nurtured by parents who tenderly drove them to practice and bought them the most expensive equipment.

    As a corollary, I propose that many of the players that constitute the grit of teams that win playoff games are more likely to come from humble backgrounds where they fought for everything they gained. Perhaps, like a drill sergeant builds a fighting unit, the best coach is one who can destroy social conditioning by humiliation, and then mold spoiled brat and miscreant into an efficient battle-ready unit.

    This isn’t intended to endorse Tortorella, but rather to evoke consideration of the old ways often being the best ways.

    • Francis, ya maybe, or he is just a selfish prick.

      • Ray by your comments I dont think you like Torts

      • Good call Caper, Torts and people like Torts.

        The mental gymnastics to justify something that wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere in the real world blows my mind. I guess people want to puff their chests out as a way of feeling tough themselves. I don’t know, just a guess, but I don’t get it.

        He has control over players careers so they take it. He abuses it.

        F Torts