NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2021
Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews, Connor McDavid, Matthew Tkachuk, Nikolaj Ehlers and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: in an exclusive interview with Mark Lazerus, Jonathan Toews acknowledged he’s probably a COVID “long hauler” given the tell-tale signs of a bout with the coronavirus in February 2020 before the pandemic became widespread. Combined with the cumulative effect of his long NHL career, it led to the symptoms of a mysterious illness that cost him a year, including the entirety of the 2020-21 season.
Toews’ doctors initially believed his condition was due to chronic immune response syndrome. Feeling rejuvenated, he intends on returning to action this season. He also said he doesn’t want his story to overshadow the lawsuits by two former players against the Blackhawks alleging the club’s inaction to address their allegations of sexual assault by the team’s former video coach a decade ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews might not be the only NHL player who contracted COVID-19 well before the league shut down the remainder of the regular season in March 2020. Many of them may have been asymptomatic.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s focus this season is on becoming a more complete player. He believes the key to helping his club go deeper in the playoffs is improving his play without the puck and in his own zone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Working on the defensive aspects of his game may help McDavid improve his all-around game, but he still needs a good supporting cast for his Oilers to become a serious Stanley Cup contender. While the roster has improved they still have a ways to go no matter how much their captain’s game evolves.
THE SCORE: Matthew Tkachuk is entering 2021-22 determined to help the Calgary Flames stage a long postseason run. The Flames reached the playoffs in three of his five seasons in Calgary but failed to advance beyond the first round.
NBC BOSTON: An emotional funeral and procession were held on Monday for former Bruin Jimmy Hayes in his hometown of Dorchester, Massachusetts yesterday. Hayes died suddenly last week at age 31. His brother, Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes, recalled Jimmy bringing a cancer-stricken youngster to the Bruins locker room, giving the child one of his best memories before he succumbed to the disease.
NHL.COM: Denmark defeated Norway 2-0 to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics thanks to an insurance goal by Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons collected an assist to help Latvia qualify for the Beijing Games in a 2-1 win over France in Group E qualification action on Sunday.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed winger Eeli Tolvanen to a three-year, $4.35 million contract.
Former NHLer Matt Calvert has joined the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings as a development coach. Injuries forced Calvert to announce his retirement earlier this year after 11 seasons.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed Dylan Guenther to a three-year entry-level contract. He was the ninth overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
PHILLY.COM:The Philadelphia Flyers will name a new inductee into their Hall of Fame for the first time in five years.
Take the time to watch that portion of Kevin Hayes’ eulogy for his brother in which he describes Jimmy’s meeting with the young, terminally ill boy who, like Jimmy, was taken much too soon. Can be found on TSN twitter feed. Very moving and emotional. These are the amazing things that NHLers do that never make the headlines.
I believe if McDavid improves his 200ft play, this will certainly go along ways to contributing more success and if he gets Draisaitl to buy into that concept; they’ll become that much better of a team.
Sure will Caper, both McDavid and Draisaitl made improvements last year, but need to continue.
EDM big risk factor is in net. Smith was great last year but he is 39, so…?
Koskinen wasn’t very good overall but can be very good in streaks, can he get consistent?
Don’t know, but no goaltending, no win.
Ray, ditto for the Leafs.
REALLY, REALLY like the comments being numbered on the rumors page!!! Ditto to the comments being shown as bullets!!! That format should be used on this page too – so much easier to keep up with replies and updates when checking later in the day. Great improvement and great job to one of the best sites on the internet!