NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2021
Henrik Lundqvist announces his retirement, the Blues to retire Chris Pronger’s number, legendary Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret to call it a career following this season, the viability of moving the Coyotes to Houston, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEW YORK POST: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist officially announced his retirement yesterday after 15 seasons with the New York Rangers and four with Frolunda in Sweden before that. A heart condition has ended his playing career at age 39.
Lundqvist is the sixth winningest goaltender in NHL history with a record of 459-310-96, a 2.43 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts, along with 61 wins and 10 shutouts in the playoffs. The Rangers immediately retired Lundqvist’s No. 30 and will stage a retirement ceremony later this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist was one of the great goaltenders of his generation and the best in Rangers history. “King Henrik” is their all-time leader in wins, save percentage, shutouts, and game-played by a goalie (887). He’s a shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and a Second Team All-Star the following season, Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and was also a four-time Vezina finalist. He backstopped the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and won Olympic gold for his home country of Sweden in 2006.
Best wishes to Lundqvist and his family in their future endeavors.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced they will retire Chris Pronger’s No. 44 on Jan. 17 before a game against the Nashville Predators. The former Blues captain is among their franchise leaders in games played (598), assists (272) and points (356).
A four-time All-Star, Pronger’s best season was 1999-2000, becoming just the second defenseman in NHL history to win the Hart Memorial Trophy and the James Norris Memorial Trophy. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
WGR 550: Long-time Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret will retire at the end of the 2021-22 season. This will be his 51st season behind the mike for the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeanneret is one of the best in the business. His iconic call of Brad May’s series-winning overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the 1993 playoffs is among my favorites.
THE ATHLETIC: News of the Arizona Coyotes’ lease agreement with Gila River Arena ending next year prompted some observers to suggest relocating the franchise to Houston. However, Dallas Stars CEO Brad Alberts told Saad Yousef he doesn’t think that’s a possibility, saying there’s been no discussion at the league level about putting a team in that city.
Alberts said he’s heard rumors that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wants an NHL franchise in his city but doesn’t know for certain if he does. He acknowledged things can change but doesn’t believe the league intends to abandon Phoenix.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I said yesterday, the league will do everything it can to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. If that’s not possible, moving to a new city requires a wealthy owner with a viable NHL arena. Fertitta was keen to do so two years ago but that was before the pandemic disrupted normal life. He might not be so enthusiastic now.
TSN: The Calgary Flames avoided salary arbitration with Nikita Zadorov by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $3.75 million contract. They also signed blueliner Juuso Valimaki to a two-year, $3.1 million deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That leaves Philadelphia Flyers rearguard Travis Sanheim as the only player still scheduled for arbitration. His hearing is slated for Aug. 26 but he’ll probably be signed before then.
Without a doubt, this is my favorite King Henrik moment off all time:
Here is my thought that not happening.
The league should not relocate Arizona.
They should just absorb it.
Make all players UFA’s at season end.
That solves nothing. Like all businesses they need a strong foundation and they have time and time again, failed to show or have that.
Personally like to see a team play for a city that feels like they care about the game and show hatred towards their opponents. The Yotes started to but it fizzled off like it always does in that area.
Solved the team being in a bad area with no fan base, also the negative image to the league.
Can always add another expansion team when the right city is ready.
Personally I like going there to watch a game.
Like the restaurant area right outside. Sit down have a meal and a drink or two, enjoy the sun and head in to watch the game. Howeve, my one trip a season doesn’t provide much.
I head to Phoenix area somewhat regularly too Caper. To play golf and get some sun during the winter. Really like the area. Only been to 1 game at Glendale, was actually at 2 when they shared the rink with the Suns. Was actually at the 1st regular season game ever for the Yotes.
Team ownership has been trying to work out a deal to get a new arena in Tempe area, hence the 1 year at at time in Glendale. So likely preferred, what they do until then is unknown. Seems like a better location. Will it be successful? I have no idea, but it is the 5th biggest market in the US.
Glendale got sick of paying to have them there, it made no sense to keep doing that, especially when they were planning leave.
The city has the leverage IMO, to at least make a small profit and help Glendale pay off some of that massive debt they have incurred with this boondoggle.
Can we get a shout out for live hockey. The Women’s Worlds is finally happening. The U.S. took 58 shots on the Swiss goalie who turned in a spectacular game. The final would have been much worse without her. Canada stepped up their game from their previous exhibition match with Finland. Although it did take a full period to find their game. But the Finns still showed themselves to be a tough club.
Lyle, in addition to “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!”, I loved hearing Jenneret cry, ” And the population of Pominville goes up by one!”