NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2021

by | Mar 3, 2021 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Recaps of Tuesday’s games, Sidney Crosby on COVID-19 protocol list, the Canadiens fire their goalie coach, stars of the month and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: A 5-2 victory by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Philadelphia Flyers was overshadowed by the news Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list earlier in the day. Kaspari Kapanen scored twice and Tristan Jarry made 40 saves for the win. Joel Farabee tallied both goals for the Flyers (25 points), who are tied with the Penguins but hold fourth place in the MassMutual East Division with two games in hand.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby being placed on the list doesn’t necessarily mean he’s contracted the coronavirus. If he hasn’t returned to the lineup by the end of the week, however, it will be assumed he has it. A long absence by their captain could affect the Penguins’ efforts to clinch a playoff berth. Crosby is one of only three players on the league’s COVID protocol list.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win under head coach Dominique Ducharme by downing the Ottawa Senators 3-1 to snap a five-game winless skid. Carey Price made 26 saves while teammates Brendan Gallagher and Jeff Petry each had a goal and an assist. Following the game, the Canadiens announced goaltending coach Stephane Waite was relieved of his duties. Sean Burke takes over as their new director of goaltending.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waite’s sudden firing comes a week after they replaced Claude Julien with Ducharme. Some of the reactions on social media suggested management wouldn’t have made this move without clearing it first with Price. However, this move could also be a wake-up call from general manager Marc Bergevin to his struggling starting netminder.

Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each collected three points as the Winnipeg Jets dumped the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Jets (29 points) moved in second place in the Scotia North Division, one point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers.

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his third straight shutout as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Ondrej Palat and Yannie Gourde were the goal scorers. The Lightning have won five in a row while the Stars have just one victory in their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill is not laying the blame for his club’s struggles at the feet of head coach Rick Bowness. “There is no hot seat,” Nill told The Athletic’s Saad Yousef. He praised Bowness’ efforts guiding the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final last year and his handling of what’s proven to be a difficult schedule this season.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their third straight win by doubling up the Nashville Predators 4-2. Sebastian Aho scored twice and rookie Steven Lorentz tallied his first NHL goal. Predators goalie Juuse Saros left the game early in the first period after being hit in the head. Before the game, the Predators placed defenseman Ryan Ellis and forward Luke Kunin on injured reserve and center Ryan Johansen on the COVID-19 protocol list. Ellis will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist and teammate Zach Werenski collected two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the Jackets’ first win in six games and came after general manager Jarmo Kekalainen gave a vote of confidence to head coach John Tortorella.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves as his club held off the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Oliver Wahlstrom and Anders Lee scored for the Islanders while Miles Wood replied for the Devils.

The New York Rangers edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist while teammate Filip Chytil returned to the lineup after missing 14 games with an upper-body injury.


Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrik Kane, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture are the NHL’s divisional stars for February 2021. Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle was named the league’s rookie of the month for February.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, the club confirmed center Derek Stepan will require season-ending shoulder surgery.

The NHL department of player safety suspended Edmonton Oilers winger Alex Chiasson one game for cross-checking Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jimmy Vesey at the end of Monday’s game between the two clubs.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is slated to appear in his 800th career NHL game tonight against the Los Angeles Kings


  1. The Stephane Waite firing has a back story we will find out some day.

    His replacement, Sean Burke has been with the team for a number of years as a pro scout and has been given permission to interview with a few clubs as a GM.

    Burke needs to quarantine for 14 days and its the AHL Laval Rocket goalie coach who take Waite’s place in the interim.

    Price’s goalie whisperer couldn’t spend 14 more days until Burke arrived and make the change then???

    Looks to me that Waite quit for whatever reason, maybe whispers of David Alexander joining the team…(jk)

    • The Waite firing is quite shocking. I would figure that if the Habs were going to fire him, it would have been done last week when Julien and Muller were fired. I tend to agree that it would not have been done had Price objected. Even the best coaches have shelf lives. It would seem that his relationship with Price had run its course.

    • If the team announced Waite was fired then he was fired and he didn’t quit.
      Not sure what your suggesting with keeping him around for 14 days until Burke clears quarantine. So tell him he is fired but hang around for 2 weeks until you replacement clears protocols? Or give Burke the job behind his back, have him head north, and then can him when he is clear and ready to start?
      Either way, not cool IMO.

      • Agreed Ray. Waite would know something was up if Burke was on his way. Also, with technology these days, Burke could do enough of a job remotely to make the 14 days some what useful. Not ideal at all, but not a total write off either. I do think all humans can only deliver (whisper) things only so many ways. Also at some point human get numb to the same whispers from the same voice. I watched last game and while it was very clear Ducharme had a coaching message different from Julien and it was a matter of time for the kinks to be ironed out;

        Price looked the same. Waite did seem to change/improve Price’s performance at all. I’m actually not sure Price was consulted. Why would he? He is not the GM. Price would have something to say if he was playing lights out hockey; which he clearly was not.

      • My goodness does this really need explaining?

        The team gets its eggs in a row by having a replacement coach ready and in place before letting a specialist go.

        It isn’t business as usual to go without a goalie coach for two weeks and using your AHL coach in the interim.

        If he was fired, something drastic had to have happened for the disorganised change.

        If he quit, something serious had to have happened.

      • All I was trying to point out Habsfan30, is the treatment of Waite. You don’t ask a guy to keep working for 2 weeks after you fire him, and you don’t have his replacement hired/started for 2 weeks before letting him go. Neither of those is an acceptable way to operate in the business world, and would assume it is the same in the NHL.

        Covid made it weird, oh well.

      • Ray, you misunderstood me if you thought I was suggesting Waite should work for two weeks after being fired.

        I’m restating the obvious:

        In the business world, you have the replacement stepping in the day one is fired, not weeks later if it’s a planned transition.

        It is exactly how the real world operates, the business, the team looks after it’s own needs, in this example, coaches and managers immediately replaced and the ones being terminated get their packages

        The fact that this transition isn’t following expected normal steps is what tells me there’s a back story here.

      • It doesn’t always work that way Habsfan30.
        They have “interim” coaches and GM’s all the time.
        Out here in the real world, there is often a gap.

        Once they decided this was what they were doing and Burke was their guy, they knew there would be a 2 week gap because of Covid protocols. Any other option went out the window. If the 2 weeks was that important they could have hired somebody else. But it isn’t.

        No back story, the Habs are simply operating properly.

  2. Excellent win by Sidless Pens

    Gino played very well; completely different from his coma-like appearance in last game vs. Isles

    Good on ya Kappy

    Kudos abound on Jarry

    What happened to P-O J … nothing mentioned. Anybody know?

    Let’s hope that Sid on protocol due to “close contact” and not due to actual positive test

    Do the same performance again tomorrow and Sat Pens!!

    Go Pens Go

  3. overpaid goalie plays lousy so you fire the goalie coach … makes perfect sense…

  4. Is there a position of less consequence on an NHL team than goaltending coach? If Luke Richardson had been assigned Waite’s duties, I doubt that he would have been much busier that he had been before, and I doubt that Price’s performance would have been affected.

  5. I wonder which teams are going to be looking in from their final position in the standings. Since the north will only have 3 teams that won’t make it in to the dance, who are they (in the north or any other division)?

    • MTL, VAN, OTT will miss for sure.

      • I think MTL makes it Wendel.
        Cgy, OTT and Van don’t make it is my guess.
        With CGY missing by a point or 2 only.

      • I can’t see if but sure hope you are right Ray. Leafs could use a walkover series to start.

      • Wendel the leafs haven won a playoff series in 15+ years and anyone in the north is more built for the playoffs than the leafs! Leafs are soft just terribly built for the playoffs

      • Well played W

  6. Hahaha BBB owie your habs. It takes no will or whatever to keep off the Oilers best players and team scoreless, a team that won 11 out of 13 or something… they were the hottest team in the league not just the north, which isn’t any weaker than the west or the central or even the east… there are crappy teams all over the league that a good team would feast on them. All this dont matter until the playoffs begin and rubber hits the road.