NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2021

by | Aug 20, 2021 | News, NHL | 36 comments

The Coyotes could need a new home after this season, Auston Matthews to grace the cover of EA Sports NHL 22, an update on Zdeno Chara and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang reported yesterday the city of Glendale informed the Arizona Coyotes it is opting out of its joint lease agreement for Gila River Arena, making the 2021-22 season the club’s last at the facility.

Gila River Arena (NHL.com).

Strang indicates this notice comes following months of stalled negotiations between the two sides regarding terms for a lease extension, arena renovations, and multiple notices of outstanding and delinquent balances owed by the club as part of the current lease agreement.

We’ve reached the point of no return,” said city manager Kevin Phelps, who oversees day-to-day operations and is also responsible for the arena management contract. “There’s no wavering”.

Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez released a statement expressing the club’s disappointment with the decision. He is hoping the city will reconsider its position and restart negotiations for an extension.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports skeptics such as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman view the city’s position as merely a negotiating ploy. Phelps was adamant that’s not the case.

I’ve made my recommendation and told the (city) council what I was going to do, and I’ve got the full support of our city council,” he said. Phelps maintained the decision is in the best interest of the entertainment district and of the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The long, tempestuous history between the Coyotes and the city of Glendale could be in its final chapter. The club has signaled its intent to build a new arena in or near downtown Phoenix. Morgan wondered how long Glendale would remain patient with the Coyotes’ year-to-year approach. Barring a last-minute change of heart, their tolerance is at an end.

This news sparked conjecture over whether the NHL will finally relocate the troubled franchise to a market such as Quebec City or Houston. Rest assured Bettman and the league will explore every option to keep the club in Arizona. Those efforts, however, will depend on where and when a new arena will be constructed. They certainly won’t have one built in time for the 2022-23 season.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will grace the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 22. He was also on the cover of NHL 20. Matthews was the winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as last season’s leading goal scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The news sparked some criticism on social media from non-Leafs fans. It’s a sign we’ve truly reached the dog days of summer. I doubt his visage on the cover will prevent gamers from buying it.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source claims it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a reunion between the Boston Bruins and former captain Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old free-agent defenseman prefers playing in the Eastern Conference as his family still lives in Boston. Two other sources didn’t rule out Chara returning to the Bruins in a coaching or player management position if he decides to retire.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings bought out the contract of veteran forward Frans Nielsen. It will cost them $4.25 million against their cap this season but drops to $500K next season. The Wings also named Pat Verbeek as the general manager of their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings can afford to absorb Nielsen’s still-hefty buyout cap hit for this season. Cap Friendly shows them with over $19 million in cap space for 2021-22 following the buyout.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ryan Reaves has put his home in Summerlin on the market for $1.2 million. He was traded to the New York Rangers in July.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres 2021 first-round pick Owen Power is returning to the University of Michigan for another season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That sparked speculation by some fans on social media suggesting Power didn’t want to play for the troubled Sabres. In reality, the young defenseman indicated he was considering returning to college this season well before the NHL draft.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski takes a deep dive into the NHL’s decision to allow ads on player jerseys. Among the many interesting tidbits:

Ads for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products won’t be allowed. Ditto anything sexualized.

There will be limitations for sportsbook gaming ads. Fans will be able to buy team jerseys without the ads.

The league is also limiting sales to one sponsor on the jersey. It is also adamant the jerseys won’t look like those in European leagues that feature multiple ads.

THE PROVINCE: The Canucks were among the first NHL teams to briefly have sponsors on their practice jerseys in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Those didn’t last long as the league brain at the time frowned upon it.


  1. So could Snapchat possibly grace the habs jersey when Logan plays his first game for them?

    Low brow humor aside I’m glad they will limit certain products from the jerseys.

    • Well, they did say nothing sexualized.

  2. Yes this may be a negotiation ploy by Glendale…. But as Lyle has stated… Bettman will do everything in his power to keep the team there rather than re-locate (as all logic points)

    He continues down this path in order to never admit defeat or that he was (and is wrong)…💩🤬😡

    The Arz team is a huge “draw” on revenue sharing …. Other teams are in effect keeping that franchise afloat

    Re-location is the prudent decision… the franchise would go from a revenue sharing “draw” (from pool) team to a revenue sharing “contributor”

    A move to Quebec City would have at a minimum, 3 years of straight sellouts ; and with the re-formed inter-province rivalry…. even more overall HRR brought in…. a massive uptick in overall NHL HRR over what Yotes bring

    Similarly, but to a lesser extent…. Houston (v State rival Stars)

    Building a new arena? The ‘Yotes will have to contribute (and they are not a profitable team !!!) …. adding a big cost to a non profitable team….and with no decision (whether they WILL build a new arena; where; planning; bi-laws; etc etc; then clear and construct) yet…. a newly completed arena is impossible for an inaugural game before the start of ‘23/‘24 at best… likely ‘24/‘25 season

    Ironically… the star of the ‘24/‘25 Yotes just may be with their newest acquired player (on 1/7/24) who was just announced to “ grace the cover of EA Sports NHL 22”

    • Pengy, you undoubtedly recall that the Arizona franchise began as a move from Winnipeg – under Bettman’s watch. Several years later, when the Atlanta franchise moved to Winnipeg, Bettman announced news of the move by saying that the league is rejoining a city they never should have left. I guess that’s somewhat admitting he was wrong.

      I believe the league will spare no effort to keep the team in Arizona. And I don’t see a move to Quebec City. A team in QC would instantly spur nationalists to insist, as happened in the 80’s, that all team business, especially PA announcements, be conducted in French only. The NHL, quite wisely in my view, wants no part of jumping into Quebec’s language politics.

      • 100% agree Howard

      • 100% also this notion of Austin thinking of moving from one of the most famous and richest clubs that has so many fans that they put him on a video game that he played growing up cover, not once but twice makes all the logical sense for him to want to move to one that has been totally opposite. Is that what your friends under that bridge if yours tell ya? It’s bats#it crazy and dumbs down the room. But I’ll bet a lot of you still think that, lol.

      • Your likely right Howard

        I just hope and pray that your wrong

        As a businessman and just looking at the NHL as a whole… keeping a losing franchise in Arz compared to relocating to a place where there will be sellouts; and at a higher average ticket price and with other teams sharing the “relocation” fee …. Staying put is completely contrary to “building the NHL”

        Re Bettman and his statement on the return to the Peg…. I remember watching that and thinking how many times did he have to practice that statement…. It truly looked like he was hurt and angered by just stating that …LOL

        I am one who fully believes that a franchise in QC,PQ would definitely work

        I am certainly not blind to the compassion of a large number in QC that would “fight” to have all announcements in French; but I believe the underlying desire to have back an NHL franchise; would outweigh their demands for French only…. A compromise, collectively, I believe they would make

        That’s just my viewpoint…l know George will be reading this and cringing…”not a chance Pengy”…. But it is what I firmly believe

        It was but 4 years ago that a sound and serious bid for expansion was put forth… they would have clearly rationalized the full nuances of potential language push-backs knowing that games would absolutely need to have announcements in both English and French

        This is an excellent chance for a non-expansion QC team

        They could buy the franchise, pay even a very large relocation fee; and still get the franchise cheaper than via expansion route

        The arena is basically new… and it is very very nice inside. If you’ve not had a chance to visit; next time you’re in QC take a tour…I’m confident you’ll agree with my assessment

        Can you imagine the increase in revenues….QC would average a minimum of 5,000 extra (over Arz) seats filled EVERY game ….. and average ticket prices would be much much higher than in the desert….gate revenue increase at a minimum would be +$40-$50 M annually. Share of concessions and increased swag sales, etc etc etc ….add another increase (over Arz) of at least $20 M annually

        So minimum increase of $60 M annually ; and now with a team not “drawing” from shared revenues ; and 31 teams splitting likely at least $300 M in relocation fees…. that is a prudent move. It’s a logical move. It’s a necessary move IMHO.

        The numbers re moving to Houston won’t be anywhere near that but will be significant. If Gary continues his complete stop on any more Canadian franchises… then he must go to Houston

        Yet… Gary will continue to fight tooth and nail to keep the franchise (again the financially losing franchise) in the GPA 💩😡🤬👎👎👎👎👎

      • Ron’s comment is superb! Bragging about a fan base getting a player, who only exists because of bettmans expansion strategy, commercialized success and stating he wouldn’t return home, thus maybe staving off relocation…. That touches on about ever conversation in this thread!


      • Not sure if the nationalist/separatist sentiment is quite what it was in the 80’s Howard? I was around for that too.
        And like you, hope it doesn’t go there again.

        I think most younger Quebec folk understand the value of being part of Canada, but hey, I don’t live there.

        The only point I will make regarding the French language being used on PA announcements is that close to 80% of Quebec residents list French as their primary language. Most of the English first folks live in MTL, so Quebec City is likely well over 90% maybe even 95%.

        Knowing that, why would it be English?
        We do English only in Alberta, because why would you need to do French? Hardly any French first folks here.

        Seems logical to me.

      • Pengy,

        Quebec City won’t get a franchise because there is no owner to foot the bill.

        Language, nationalism etc are sideshows from decades ago and as you said in other words less important than before.

        The arena was built with taxpayer money and gave Peladeau naming rights (videotron)

        The corporate base to underwrite a team doesn’t exist today any more than it used to when they couldn’t sell out playoff games.

        Quebec City is a small place(550,000), even smaller than Winnipeg (750,000) with no corporations to finance and support a team, it would still rely on gov’t money to maintain a team.

      • Pengy,

        Quebec Averaged 14,981 , Arizona averages 14,605.
        Where are you getting the other 4600 per game?

      • Pengy, the reason why I don’t believe Quebec City will ever get another NHL franchise has nothing to do with their choice of language for in-house announcements. Why should it? Other than Montreal and Ottawa, no other team in Canada uses both languages. Rather, it’s the language policy in general because that will make it almost impossible for the team to attract top Anglophone UFAs, especially those with young families. And you can bet any such top player signing a contract containing a list of teams they have NO interest in joining will include Quebec City – for that reason AND the highest taxes in the country.

        And, if we go by the Lindros position when drafted, you can also bet anyone drafted by them who doesn’t want to be there will be looking for a way out soon after.

        Add that to Chrism’s observation that putting a team there does absolutely nothing for the growth of the game and it makes them a very remote possibility.

    • If revenue was the driving factor then the Coyotes would be in Hamilton. When Bettman had to testify in court over the sale to Jim B. he admitted on the stand that revenue projections would have had Hamilton as the 4th most profitable team in the league, but it would hurt the Sabres since at that time they had about 2K season ticket holders living in Hamilton/Niagara region.

      • Hi GeeWhiz

        Transparency here…. what Bettman says officially, unofficially, on the record, off the record, under oath or not… I trust with a grain of salt. I’m not a Gary fan. I actually don’t personally know anybody (not a single person) who is. One or two post here have shown support of him. I’ve not included you as I don’t know you personally. Perhaps the hundreds of people I have had conversations with re Bettman are all wrong; or maybe they are all lying to each other… it’s possible 🤔

        That said…. Habs or Stars would lose ZERO ticket sales with a new QC or Houston team and in fact interest (interprovincial – Habs/QC or cross-state – Stars/ Houston) would increase. No detriment to any franchise, and massive boost to HRR

        Over and over again it has been shown that a second team in Toronto would sell out; with zero loss of ticket sales to Leafs; massive increases in HRR; massive increases in TV ratings (more Toronto games) with only a minuscule/marginal (if any ) impact on Sabres ticket sales (Hamilton much closer …. many in Fort Erie and St Catherine’s would scoot up the QEW for a Hamilton game rather than flitting across the border to catch a Sabres game; closing in on 2 hours there and 2 hours back to catch a second Toronto team…. much less in numbers.

      • It’s about the long game of growing the product in new markets. Quebec having a team would do nothing to grow the game. Same with Hamilton. Immediately cash would be a boon (particularly in light of COVID) but the long game is forgotten. It’s beating a dead horse but mathews isn’t the star in Toronto if bettman doesn’t expand to Arizona. Hockey players are being developed in cities around the us cause of expansion but it takes years to really show.

  3. No thanks to Chara too slow too old.

  4. Please explain to me how losing a professional sports franchise is in the best interest of the entertainment district and of the city?

    • Ed, because they paid a fortune for and are bleeding money every year. The “they” being the citizens of Glendale.

      It was a bad deal to start with, and never got better. See link below.

      Plus when you stop getting paid, it ain’t a difficult decision. Now they may work this out, but if you aren’t willing to walk from a negotiation, you can’t make a deal that is good for the city. The team now knows that, hopefully the for the folks who pay taxes there quit paying for a team that is actively looking to relocate anyway.

      The math doesn’t look that hard. Good on them for having the nuts to do it.


    • Sounds like they owe the city a lot of money, Ed. They may want the city and state to chip in on the cost of a new arena as well. Bettman might finally come to his senses and move the franchise. Houston sounds like a lot better bet.

    • Speaking as a very recent denizen of Phoenix, the reason it would benefit the entertainment district is they can book more concerts, conventions and what not. Glendale while part of Phoenix is not where people go and being far out to the west of the city proper makes it challenging to get to for 70% of the city population. The college area is in Tempe and right next to that is upscale Scottsdale, these are the areas people go for night life. So the issue becomes drive west fighting traffic for an hour + and then drive 30+ minutes after the game to meet up with friends. The Westend entertainment district is the area right next to the area a and that is it, not enough draw to get people from the east to drive all that way just for a game. Trust me, driving in Phoenix is a chore and I’ve done plenty of driving in NYC, Atlanta, Chicago and LA to be able to compare. Tempe makes most sense, closest to younger and affluent areas, Glendale is surrounded by retired folks more interested in golf than hockey.

  5. Does Houston have an arena for hockey?

    • Hi Slick 62

      Toyota Centre (2003)… can hold close to 18,000 for hockey

  6. Probably good for Owen Power and the Sabres that he doesn’t join the club this year. They will be in the running for the Shane Wright lottery. If they get a decent return in un-loading Eichel they could really see a nice start to the re-re-build.

  7. “the league discussed its helmet-advertisement program for the 2020-21 season, which it saw both as a way to open up a new revenue stream and as a trial balloon for jersey-advertisement sales ”

    Yet fans complaining about helmet ads leading to jersey ads were me with a chorus of no ways.

    “the NHL has designated four spots for jersey ads: left and right shoulders, and left and right chest.”

    They say only one of the four spots, but you know full well that all four will be used since they are “tasteful”……and bring money.

    “While the NHL won’t specifically say what ads it won’t approve on jerseys, ones that advertise alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products won’t be permitted. Ditto anything sexualized”

    Gambling is ok, (oh joy for Evander Kane)
    Reebok, Nike and Puma, the global choices.
    Red Bull, Pepsi and Coca Cola, the healthy choices.

    Will the NHL teams have sister teams in Europe for joint sponsorship?

    When will the officiating crews get sponsorship, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts are ready to go on the helmets, jerseys.

    • Ahhh I now understand you. You call Red Bull, Pepsi and coke as “healthy choices” uhm no they are not nor have anything healthy….your still stuck on the ads like as if they are taking away from the sport…maybe that explains your hockey comments when they are, you know, a bit lost….it’s the ads distracting you!

    • habfan30 nothing healthy about them choices.

      I wonder how happy Adidas would be about Nike, Reebok being on their jerseys.

    • Red Bull, Pepsi and Coca Cola aren’t healthy choices….really????? Doh

      When it needs explaining……lol

      • Probably could have used a better choice of words, but I got what you were implying. You’re not wrong.

      • habfan30 you typed it.

    • Well, I don’t care if the NHL has a 3 x 3.5 patch on their Jersey for corp logos.
      I also don’t care if it is gambling, sugar drinks, pastry, weed or anything else you can legally buy or do.

      I also doubt they will turn into the Euro style billboards that drown out the very valuable team logo/brand because that makes no sense, financial or otherwise.

      Much ado about nothing.


      • Thank you Ray. A voice of reason among the rabble.

  8. send them to Milwaukee, or portland

  9. Moving the Coyotes from Arizona to a market like Houston or Quebec would eliminate the new location’s availability as a future expansion site. Moving the Coyotes to Quebec City would mean giving up on a market area (Phoenix) of 1.68 million people with an average wage of $68K/yr (USD) for a city of 832K people whose average wage is $45.5K/yr (Canadian). It’s easy to understand why Bettman would want to keep the team in Arizona, maybe as a future rival of a team in Houston.

    Perhaps, the best alternative is for the NHL to press Coyotes ownership to sell to somebody who would keep the team in Arizona. History tells us that the team’s problems start at the top. But no matter what happens, if the sport is to grow, it needs room to grow, and resources.

    • Future expansion? Thirty two teams isn’t enough? The only way I see that working is if you have two divisions – twenty teams each, say, and promotion/relegation EPL style. I’d support that 100 per cent. Never going to happen though – too sensible.

  10. Nhl22 only has one playoff series so Matthews is the perfect guy to have never plays more than one round and usually disappears during that round

  11. Bbb

    With Tampa Bay winning two SC in a row you’d think somebody at EA would have put forward Vasilvskiy, Kucherov or Point….guys who show up and win.