NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2021

by | Jul 12, 2021 | News, NHL | 49 comments

The latest on Nikita Kucherov and Philipp Grubauer, Pierre McGuire accepts a front-office role with the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov trolled critics of his club for spending over the salary cap this season. He posted a photo to his Instagram account wearing an “$18 million over the cap” t-shirt while lounging on a boat with the Stanley Cup and the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans and pundits suggest the Lightning cheated by employing a loophole allowing them to use long-term injury reserve to spend over the cap. However, The Hockey News pointed out the Lightning proposed a vote following the 2015 Stanley Cup to end that loophole. During that year, the Blackhawks used it to spend over the cap by $5 million to bolster their roster for the playoffs. No other team joined their cause. 

THE DENVER POST: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s first choice is to remain with the Colorado Avalanche. The Vezina Trophy finalist is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28 but he hopes to sign a new contract before then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The writer of that piece wondered if it would be a good thing for the Avs to bring back Grubauer, pointing to his struggles during their second-round series meltdown against the Vegas Golden Knights. If there are no better options via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets (and there aren’t), they’re better off sticking with him.

OTTAWA SUN: Pierre McGuire is joining the Senators as their Senior Vice-President of Player Development. McGuire worked as an assistant coach for the Senators in 1995-96 and was a scout and assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-1992) and a coach and assistant general manager with the Hartford Whalers from 1992 to 1994. He’s been an NHL broadcaster since 1997.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire is more familiar to NHL fans for his often excitable in-game analysis for NBC Sports since 2006. He has a deep knowledge of players that few can match, but he hasn’t held an NHL front-office job in over a quarter-century.

It’s an interesting move by the Senators. We’ll have to wait and see what effect his hiring has upon the club’s ongoing rebuild.

NHL.COM: U.S. National Team Development Plan defenseman Luke Hughes could become the third member of his family to be a first-round pick in the NHL Draft. He’s the younger brother of New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (first-overall, 2019) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (seventh overall, 2018). NHL’s Central Scouting ranks him fourth overall among North American skaters. It would be the first time an American family would have three sons chosen in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance Luke could join one of his brothers. The Devils have the fourth-overall pick while the Canucks have the ninth-overall selection.

THE ATHLETIC: On the 20th anniversary of the Washington Capitals acquiring Jaromir Jagr (July 11, 2001), Tarik El-Bashir looks back on the trade and its effect upon the Capitals during Jagr’s tenure in Washington.


  1. George O., My condolences on the McGuire hire. I hope he doesn’t set your franchise back for years like he did with mine.

  2. ouch….
    I don’t mind him on the radio.

    I might not have him involved in player development but as a scouting supervisor.

  3. One thing we know, George, Pierre will always be available for comment.

    • Heh. Never lost for words, that’s for sure. But I like his brutal honesty in expressing his feelings

  4. Pierre McGuire is joining the Senators; Best news of the Summer!!!! No Pierre on any of my Hockey games.

    Thank You Ottawa!

    • Caper,
      Could not have said it better myself. After listening to Doc Emrick for so long, Pierre was pure torture.

  5. Pierre knows everything just listen to or ask him.

  6. McGuire gets a bad rap but he’s forgotten more about hockey than most of you will ever know …

    • Totally agree Ed. It’s much like the prevalent dislike of Simmons of the Toronto Sun – hated because he dares to write what they SHOULD hear as opposed to only offering what they WANT to hear.

      The only problem with McGuire – and it’s only a problem in the eyes of some – is that he will always answer a direct question with an equally direct answer.

      • Isn’t that what you would want in scouting? Direct answers?

      • Making a correlation to Simonds in a positive manner is a big miss there. Much like that gas bag you have there in Ottawa, writers like them are lazy and I wonder if their writing but style is out of spite because, “they dare to write what they should hear” I guess is us dumb fans right? Listen to a blowhard who has a platform to spitball asinine thoughts, like no team can win with a European captain beauty. I get this shtick, its for a type of audience that both of our age groups but I laugh as his thoughts and opinions like you would when you hear clearly bs and others, like yourself, repeat them.
        As for your teams recent hire, there’s no way to know how he’ll affect the team. I’m sure he’ll be fine and probably bring in an old school mentality to the rebuild as a guess. 25yrs out of being in management is gonna take him time to familiarize himself as management not tv personally. I’m just glad most of all he’s not on my team.

      • So says a fan super-sensitized by going on 55 years of cup futility. And counting. Your bitterness comes through loud and clear with every post Ron, and when the Simmons of the world point out the ongoing futility to a whole generation of fans who have only experienced ultimate failure, they naturally lash back with tripe of the type you just state above.

        You may be rejoicing in the fact McGuire is not on “your team” – but in the meantime, point out to the rest of us who, exactly, is associated with “your team” who has been doing a stellar job since “your team” last won a playoff round?

      • I still there an echo in here? Because I can swear I hear it. Lucky we are all allowed our own opinions as contrary as they may be and not be called names such as super-sensitized and bitter fan and btw coming from you? You call my post unworthy to reply to and tripe, I point out my opinion on a person I know personally and know his MO. You enjoy his writing great he’s hit his target, I hate his writing, great he hit his target.
        I don’t think I went out of my way to bash your teams choice other that in my opinion what I know and seen from him, I’m not as excited as say you are. That’s all.

      • And yet when any of us “voice our opinion” on any aspect of the Leafs you get your back up. I asked a simple question – you’re happy he’s not on your team – so tell us who, in your opinion mind you, in the Leafs organization has done such a wonderful job in recent years? If any of us offer a criticism of Dubas or Shanahan you’re very prompt with your defense of their actions.

        McGuire hasn’t had 24 hours to show whether or not his signing is beneficial. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a disaster – maybe not. But I’m sure of one salient fact – it won’t take 7 years (the Shanaplan) or 4 years of bungling the cap (Dubas) to determine that it’s not working, since his deal is only for 3 years.

      • Wow, Ron Moore, you know him personally? Related? Friend of the family? I’m curious as to how you know him personally and are able to confirm his MO exactly.

    • That the problem Ed, he forgotten.

      • And also imo, Simmons is NOT a writer who speaks truth to power, as you seem to believe.

        imo he is often clueless, and often posts for click-bait.

        just as I say, it’s imo


    • Wow, agree with Ed again.
      Pierre knows the game and the players, and personally I liked him on the TV. To each their own I guess.
      AZHockey, I think that is what George is saying, he likes the direct answers.
      As do I.

      • For the past few years if I was out and about in the car at 8:00 am, I’d always tune in to Team 1200 on local radio when Pierre would check in either from his home in Connecticut or, if working, from his current location, and they’d touch on every aspect of the game -rumors, actual trades, etc., but especially prospects in various systems and upcoming draft picks.

        His knowledge runs deeper than most and while he has probably rubbed some the wrong way over the years with his brutal honesty, in that respect he’s no different than many other hockey “personalities.”

        I’ll always remember the 2008 draft when Ottawa picked Karlsson 15th and Pierre, commenting from the floor, said “Ottawa just got the steal of the draft …”

        As things turned out, when you look at who went before him, and with 2 or 3 possible exceptions, he wasn’t wrong (at least for quite a while anyway): 14: Carolina – Zach Bogosian; 13: L.A. – Colten Teubert; 12: Buff – Tyler Myers; 11: Chic – Kyle Beach; 10: Van – Cody Hodgson; 9. NYI – JoshuaBailey; 8: Ariz – Mikkel Boedker; 7: Nash – Colin Wilson; 6: Clb – Nikita (Nikki Doesn’t Do Rebounds) Filatov; 5: Tor – Luke Schenn; 4: St. L – Alex Pietrangelo; 3: Atl – Zach Bogosian; 2: L.A. – Drew Doughty; 1: TB – Steven Stamkos

        Although a lot of us wondered at the time when we saw this skinny kid purporting to be a D coming down from the stands (I think Daniel Alfredsson actually announced the pick), as it turned out – for some years to come – McGuire was bang on.

  7. I for one will miss Pierre on TV. I enjoyed listening to him – he was the only one who didn’t sound like he came from central casting. And just like Don Cherry, we sometimes cringed at what came out of his mouth, which made it fun. Pierre was hockey’s version of David Feherty or Gary McCord, or maybe even Johnny Miller ( Ben Hogan just puked ). Every organization needs someone who can be counted on to speak their mind without worrying about being unpopular, and I’m sure Pierre will in Ottawa.

    • George,

      The NHL Draft – Price is picked:
      McGuire’s immediate comment: “this is off the book, this is right off the reservation”.

      A little latent subconscious racism, maybe, you think?

      I listened to this guy for years on Mtl radio.

      imo, he is a self-important, inflated know-it-all.

      I can take that if, you know, he’s good.
      But he has been wrong so many times that he long ago lost all cred with me.

      I give you that.

      A socially-clueless buffoon?
      I give you that also.


      • Well all I can say rattus rattus is that the proof will be in the pudding so to speak. All we can do – those of us who follow the Senators in any event – is wait and see.

  8. Would love to get Luke on the Canucks roster with his brother,

  9. McGuire to the Sens front office. From a Habs fan’s perspective:

    Bwa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!

    Sorry, Lyle, but the words “deep knowledge” and “Pierre McGuire” do not belong in the same sentence.

    That being said, the Sens are certainly better off with him in a behind the scenes role than behind the bench, where nobody respected him.

  10. I actually really enjoyed Pierre’s commentary. He’s super knowledgeable and extremely passionate about our game. He won’t hurt the Sens at all. Quite the contrary in fact. The man knows talent.

  11. “Pierre McGuire is joining the Senators as their Senior Vice-President of Player Development.”

    While he keeps getting turned down for GM jobs, he seems suited for this type of job. He has the sheet on every player that he gets asked about or is mentioned, he scouts a lot of hockey, amateur and pro.

    “Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov trolled critics of his club for spending over the salary cap this season”

    Hockey is a sport with a lot of unwritten rules. like baseball. Stealing signs is as old as baseball itself. Houston Astros did what every MLB does, they just took it to an unexpected level.

    Kucherov’s trolling will bring changes to the rule that all or many teams take advantage of but TBL took it to a new level.

    The potential rule changes could be:

    A minimum number of games played regular season to qualify for playoffs.

    A ceiling on cap overage in the playoffs such a 6%

    • “The potential rule changes could be:

      A minimum number of games played regular season to qualify for playoffs.

      A ceiling on cap overage in the playoffs such a 6%”

      Easier said than done. As I noted, no one wanted to be part of the Lightning’s proposed change to close that loophole in 2015. Second, the NHL GMs discussed it during their 2016 winter meetings but they decided not to change it. They had the opportunity to do so again last year in the CBA extension but didn’t bother.

      You’ll never get a minimum number of games played to qualify for the playoffs to fly with the NHLPA, the team owners or the GMs. Can you imagine the outcry if they did that to Connor McDavid? Sidney Crosby? Alex Ovechkin? It’ll never fly.

      A ceiling on cap overages is possible but difficult to justify. You’d be essentially punishing teams for having injured players by unfairly handcuffing them from finding replacements for those players. Sure, it’s a good argument when it’s not your team. Different story when it happens to yours.

      Any significant changes to that will have to involve the NHLPA and that probably won’t happen until the next round of CBA negotiations in 2026.

      • Punishing teams by handcuffing them with replacement players, Lyle? Would it have punished Tampa this year were there a ceiling on cap overages this year?

        Sure, the rule may not change and the cap overage may not be controversial on most years. But let us not underestimate the advantage that a club can have in certain situations, and let us not overestimate the difficulties of amending the cap overage limit.

      • If you’re referring to the Lightning acquiring the contracts of two players on permanent LTIR to provide more space that could be put toward acquiring players, then yes, that should a rule change. If you’re referring to Kucherov being sidelined by a legitimate injury with a medically approved recovery period of nearly five months, then forbidding him from playing in the postseason would be punishing him and the Lightning simply for suffering a work-related injury and undergoing surgery to repair that injury.

        Bottom line here is the general managers and team owners had the opportunity to address this on three occasions over the past six years, the most recent being last year, and did nothing, most likely because of the difficulty of closing that loophole. As for imposing a cap overage limit, again, it’s difficult to do.

        Let’s assume Oilers stars McDavid and Draisaitl are both sidelined by injury. At the time, the Oilers have $80 million invested in their cap payroll. A six percent cap overage limit on $81.5 million is $4.89 million. McDavid and Draisaitl earned a combined $21 million AAV. So, how do you address that? Is it fair to say they can only have $4.89 million to replace their two best players simply because they got injured? Again, good luck getting general managers or teams owners to agree to that.

        Closing the loophole allowing teams to acquire “dead contracts” seems a more workable solution, though that too comes with some difficulty. Teams carrying such deals would argue they should be allowed to move them.

      • Not sure Lyle is overestimating the difficulties LJ. Zero teams joined with TB when they proposed the change in 2015.
        Zero isn’t an estimate, it is zero. Seems like an uphill battle to me.

        I think the intent of this rule the way it is worded is for in season injuries, like say Kucherov had to get surgery mid season. Which is when most happen, so they don’t come back. When your window to win in the cap era is small, I get it. And what we saw this year isn’t the norm, but an exception.

        I don’t hate the % idea though.

      • “As I noted, no one wanted to be part of the Lightning’s proposed change to close that loophole in 2015. Second, the NHL GMs discussed it during their 2016 winter meetings but they decided not to change it. They had the opportunity to do so again last year in the CBA extension but didn’t bother.”

        Front loading of contracts was unforseen to the extent it was used, and then it was changed

        My position is that the level to which the TBL used the rule has now been made clear to the other teams.

        If there was any uncertainty about it Kucherov just made it clear.

        There will be an arms race by the wealthier teams, which Bettman opposes, or there will be rule changes.

        I gave some possibilities, there could be others.

        One thing for certain is that the reality on the ground is different today than it was 2015 and 2016.

        “You’d be essentially punishing teams for having injured players by unfairly handcuffing them from finding replacements for those players.”

        How so?

        Replacements are signed all season long up to trade deadline within cap constraints. Neither of my suggestions get in the way of doing that.

      • habsfan30: Frontloading of contracts was a loophole that was obvious cap circumvention. That’s why there were limits imposed on them in the 2013 CBA. It’s a different story when it comes to long-term injury reserve for the reasons I previously explained.

        Kucherov was responding to people complaining about the Lightning use LTIR in the same manner every team in the NHL uses it. Theirs was a unique situation, as previously explained. Kucherov had a legitimate injury that required surgery and a mandated period of recovery. It was also looked into by the league and they found nothing wrong. The complaint that they “cheated” or “circumvented the cap” has no basis in fact based on the CBA rules which no one wanted to change despite three opportunities to do so.

        “An arms race by wealthier teams?” In what way? By injuring one of their high-priced players and forcing them to sit out a season to garner cap relief?

        The only difference compared to 2015 and 2016 was a pandemic affecting league revenue and imposing a shortened season. Had the cap risen to $84 million to $88 million as originally projected before the pandemic hit, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Had this been a normal 82-games schedule, Kucherov returns before the season ends and the Bolts are forced to dump salary.

        “Replacements are signed all season long up to trade deadline within cap constraint”? That’s not what I’m referring to. It means exactly as I stated. You’re punishing players and teams by unfairly preventing them from finding suitable replacements. In the scenario I wrote about, you proposed a six percent overage limit. I showed you that it wasn’t workable. You’re suggesting they should just sign anybody. That doesn’t happen. If a star player gets hurt, you’re trying to find a player as close to his abilities as possible to replace him, not some fourth-line or minor leaguer.

      • As I mentioned previously about stealing signs in baseball, until the Houston Astros took it beyond the limit, no teams were concerned or proposed changes.

        Sorry but continuing to harp on previous years isn’t a reason to say no to a change in rules.

        My suggestions may not be the “right” ones, then again I’m not an NHL exec.

      • Lyle,

        You could restrict it to a minimum % of extra Cap being able to dressed for any particular playoff game.

        That way teams could support themselves through their season’s injuries without being able to egregiously exploit this in the playoffs.


      • You could, rich. The problem, though, could be in the calculation. How would you square it with the salary cap not counting in the playoffs?

    • Hold on. When the hawks won their cap by adding players at the beginning of the playoffs, just like Tampa did by activating LTIR players and were essentially $5M over the cap when they won their cup. I don’t recall anyone complaining about it then but now with a non-traditional hockey market team, Tampa Bay a much better team in general, beats Montreal and there’s a big fuss by everyone who feel cheated. With this being looked into by the NHL, which it deemed legal or a problem with TB, I really don’t see what the problem is when it’s just another flaw in the current cap system which I am opposed to having as is but it is what it is and we all have to swallow it.
      Kucherov is my hero! Good for him to troll fans that can’t accept their team lost to a better team, period. I hope those fans realize that’s what he’s doing but somehow, this would be foolish of me.

      • Mr. Moore,

        Would it have been equally as funny to hear Nick Suzuki state :

        “Caulfield & Suzuki combined $1.75 mill hit advancing. Matthews & Marner combined $22.5 mill hit going home. ”

        Would Ron Moore then have stated, “Good for him to troll fans that can’t accept their team lost to a better team, period.”

        Methinks Leaf fans would have spontaneously combusted!!!

      • Uwey if you think so. As for me, not exactly the same thing because all those players are on the same boat while the TB players are on the championship boat parade.

  12. Maguire can be annoying to listen to but he has extensive knowledge of the sport and the players playing it. I like this move by the Sens as long as I don’t have to listen to too media interviews.

  13. I don’t have a big problem with what Tampa did with their cap. It was within the rules, Kucherov had a significant injury and it is not his fault that he is a star with big salary. They exceeded the regular season cap by about 22% and it is unlikely they will be able to do that again next year – the team will be blown up by cap constraints soon enough.

    In 98/99 average salary was about $30m, cup finalist Stars were at $40m (25% over average), Buffalo was at $26m. It was a competitive series.

    In 2003 the flames had $32m payroll, bolts were at $30. Average payroll that year was nearly $42m. Both teams were about 25% under average (average – not the top payrolls)

    My point is that the current cap system is still basically working and the huge gaps in payrolls of the past that fed on the bottom teams treating them like the farm is no longer a thing. Payrolls like the 1994 Rangers that was more than double the payroll of most other teams that made the playoffs won’t happen again.

    If the league wants to review how they handle medical oversight then so-be-it. If they see fit to make more balance by leveling tax advantages – fine. To make a bunch more rules that will further complicate trades and befuddle fans due to over-regulation is not necessary as the teams are competing in with the same set of rules and with reasonable variance.

  14. Is it possible that the Tampa organization is supporting this in an attempt to throw a grenade behind them to force a rule changed they requested years ago by rubbing it in the face of the league, Bettman & other owners????

    Apparently other Tampa players & employees will be wearing the same T-shirt at the Cup parade!!!

  15. The TBL did nothing illegal.

    The TBL won the Stanley Cup.

    Kucherov has the right to be a troll.

    Certain posters here have the right to be trolls.

    A loophole by definition is:

    An ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules.

    An ambiguity or omission in the text through which the intent of a statute, contract, or obligation may be evaded.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing a loophole.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing or adding text to close a loophole.

    Claiming the loophole has always been there is an excuse not a defense.

    THAT is the context to look at this, not as an excuse to attack or defend the TBL.

    • Nobody’s saying there’s nothing wrong with recognizing a loophole or attempting to change it. The LTIR loophole is a glaring one that’s been around since the hard cap was implemented 16 years ago and was pointed out by several folks back then, including yours truly. Just because it exists doesn’t mean I like it.

      I’ve pointed out the reasons why it’s so difficult to close it. The fact it hasn’t been changed despite three opportunities to do so over the past six years speaks volumes for the difficulty in finding a suitable solution to address the issues that a majority of teams will approve.

  16. Late to the game today

    Re Maguire….

    Sens gain his knowledge (suggestion to Dorian…. Ask Pierre to provide all his insights in writing)

    Fans (most, and especially me) applaud that we don’t have to witness him do colour. Loads and loads of knowledge… colour presentation …. Awful (and irritating).

    Re Bolts and Kuch and Cap..

    1) Kuch has 2 cups; has right to post what he likes… it wasn’t rude or insensitive and appeared to be in response to what had previously been posted re Bolts

    2) Bolts neither cheated or circumvented the CBA. Perfectly within the rules. They pleaded for rule changes in ‘15… no backers. No backers then; none since. The CBA extension was signed last year…. No changes re LTIR

    We fans (of teams who did not win the cup) may be jealous; may be angry, sad, depressed…. But all legal

    …. And if I’m correct … that once in CBA, a change to the CBA must be signed off by both sides (is that correct?) ….. then the LTIR clause remains for the near future

    Re a change… if and when it happens….

    I can’t see under any circumstance; a min game in reg season threshold

    Re some mathematical instrument/rule re overage in the playoffs…. I won’t say impossible/won’t happen… but believe the likelihood to be very slim; and if done; very loose almost not crimping much re limitations

    No one saw Covid coming… flat Cap not expected. Kuch injury validated/verified by Dr’s; and full year LTIR followed by return to playoffs… vetted; explored; authorized as under the rules…. It is what it is

    Bolts won cup

    Deserved winners IMHO

  17. We have a hard cap in hockey because of a general perception that without it, there would be a 3:1 or greater persistent gap between the payrolls of the richer and poorer teams, and little competitive balance. With a cap comes rules, complexity, and management opportunities. There are also concerns that players often end up getting paid for past performance, on guaranteed contracts that age into liabilities, while young players struggle to get the money they earn. Fans dislike players coming up in the system who spend 2, 5, even 12 years in a system (that’s you Tyler Johnson) and would love to finish a career in a single sweater, but that just can’t happen. No system is perfect, but a virtue of the current one is that any team can become competitive really quickly, as talent will come available faster than it can be drafted and developed. Sharp managers will find an edge in any complex system; and this system surely rewards scouting, development, and consistent management. And punishes the opposite of these. Focus on this year misses the Bolts true achievement level: they have won 70 playoff games in seven years including one miss and one first round sweep-out. A 2.5 post season series per year win average.

  18. Marc Bergevin mentions that the team went over the cap due to performance bonuses, meaning that their upper limit for next season will be reduced.

    It’s complicated.

    • Indeed it is, Richard. If there was a simple fix it would’ve been implemented in 2013 when they put limits on contract lengths and frontloading.

  19. McGuire won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach. How many of you critics can compete with that. He can be aggravating but he has an excellent background.

    He reminds me of the criticism Howie Meeker used to get.

    • good post Tugboat