NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2021

by | Aug 9, 2021 | News, NHL | 32 comments

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, Alex Edler, Patrick Maroon and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka examined possible ways an NHL player could “throw” a game. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane is facing allegations from his estranged wife that he conspired with bookies to fix games.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

Taking unnecessary penalties, a reduction in ice time and a lack of offense are three ways a skater could throw a game. While Kane took 28 penalty minutes in his first 13 games last season, he drew only 14 in his final 43 games. He was also the Sharks’ highest-scoring player and led all their forwards in ice time, playing in all situations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pashelka interviewed a former NHL player about the allegations. He doubted a skater could throw a game because there are too many variables involved, adding the only player capable of doing so would be the goaltender.

The league is investigating the allegations leveled at Kane which it intends to complete before training camp opens next month.

THE PROVINCE: Steve Ewen reported former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler said he received a contract offer from the club but didn’t get into the details. He signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings. He admitted the past season played a part in his decision to move on. “For me and the team, I don’t think anyone was happy with last year,” he said. “I think it was just a weird year. I didn’t have as much fun as I’ve had before playing hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ewen reminded us that the Canucks lost several key players last fall to free agency, the club struggled through a COVID-19 outbreak and they struggled in the standings, failing to make the playoffs.

THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Patrick Maroon believes his club can win a third straight Stanley Cup next season. “It depends on our health, how guys are feeling, our attitude,” he said. “But we’ve been texting together as a group and thinking, we’ve brought our top two lines back, our big four on D, the best goalie in the world.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salary-cap constraints have chipped away at the Lightning’s depth this summer. They lost Yanni Gourde to the Seattle Kraken to the expansion draft, Tyler Johnson to Chicago in a cost-cutting trade, and David Savard, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, Luke Schenn and Curtis McElhinney to free agency. They brought in cost-effective veterans such as Corey Perry, Zach Bogosian, Brian Elliott and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to plug the gaps. Nevertheless, they’re going to have to rebuild their third line from within while relying more heavily on their top players.

Still, it would be folly to dismiss the Lightning as a serious Cup contender this season. Led by their core of forwards Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, defensemen Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, they’re in a very good position to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the 1981-82 New York Islanders.

SPORTSNET: Anders Nilsson announced his retirement due to post-concussion symptoms and neck problems. He spent seven seasons with the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators. In 161 games played, he had a record of 59 wins, 74 losses and 15 overtime losses, with a 3.06 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and six shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Nilsson in his future endeavors. Here’s hoping his health eventually improves.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Stuart Skinner to a two-year, two-way contract worth $750K per season at the NHL level.


  1. Gourde, Goodrow, and Coleman may have nominally been the third line, but they played the 2nd most minutes on a cup winning team; so it is a bigger loss than it’s made out to be. Their top players are going to need to spend more time against others teams’ top lines than they have.

    That said, they’re still rolling some of the best top-end talent in the league on offense, defense and in net. Boston, Florida and Carolina all took a step back in net, so TB should contend again.

    • I disagree that Florida took a stepback. They played Tampa without Ekblad in the playoffs and they added Reinhart

      • @ds the comment said those teams took a step back *in net*. Florida losing Driedger will probably hurt them.

      • ahh missed that

    • Plus, Stamkos gets hurt while lacing up his skates … Brisebois still has work to do …

    • SCJ I agree the loss of the entire third line in the off-season is big. The magnitude of this loss however will be determined by how the players next year are used and getting Ross Colton re-signed.

      Personally, I believe the best replacement for Yanni Gourde is Cirelli. His dogmatic play and forechecking skills are similar and he can score. He has actually had as much success centering a third line as he did as the number two pivot. That move would allow Stamkos to move back to the dot as the number two center behind Point. I would even consider a Killorn move down to the third line and put Barre Boulet and Ross Colton with Stamkos. Killorn and Cirelli would still get equal minutes to the second line and/or pick up minutes on special teams.

      In the end, a third line centered by Cirelli with either Killorn or Perry at RW and Joseph at LW would not be a big fall off from Gourde, Goodrow and Coleman. It would also spread the talent around while leaving the first line in tact and some big bodies on the fourth line

      • Cirelli’s dogmatic play, Shane? So he talks a good game?

        One factor you did not include in your analysis is the number of games played in the last two years by the Bolts. That takes a toll on players, particularly because with off season training a must it means that players reaching the finals get precious little rest and recovery.

  2. Re Edler and signing with LA

    I understand any player that want to move (after a long playing career with one team) to a contender

    Not the case here

    Re “ I didn’t have as much fun as I’ve had before playing hockey.”

    This must be a massive understatement

    15 years with one team; his wife is from Vancouver and children born there. Their home and all their friends are there

    He really must not have had a fun time last year

    Uprooting the fam is no small endeavour

    • Pengy, I suspect the offer he got from Canucks was closer to $1.5m. Edler’s career in Vancouver is highly respected here but he is clearly on the decline and fans believed he needed to accept a 3rd pairing role, with commiserate salary.

      • I suspect you are correct about the contract offer.

    • I would bet he made a deal with LA to trade him to a contender at the trade deadline. There is no way Vancouver could fit Edler’s $3.5 M into their cap especially with four Left shot D capable of playing.

  3. sitting here sipping my coffee this morning & came across a projected Bruins starting lineup for the 21-22 season

    Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

    Taylor Hall — Charlie Coyle — Craig Smith

    Jake DeBrusk — Erik Haula — Nick Foligno

    Curtis Lazar — Tomas Nosek — Chris Wagner

    Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy

    Mike Reilly — Brandon Carlo

    Derek Forbort — Connor Clifton

    Linus Ullmark

    Jeremy Swayman

    dosent look to bad not crazy about Clifton,noticed no Studricka or Frederic..team sure would look much better with #46 & a SAH Dman….

    • I wouldn’t put too much weight in those line projections. They’re what ESPN thinks, not what Cassidy or the front office thinks. Like last year, there will be some kids (i.e. Studnicka, Frederic) who are given a chance to win a spot. Whether they do or not is up to them.

  4. Taking the question of Kane “throwing” a game a step forward, let’s look at the financial aspect. These aren’t the days of Shoeless Joe Jackson, when professional athletes were generally seen as misfits and the pay wasn’t great. Back then, gamblers could certainly make it worth a players while to cheat. Evander Kane has 4 years left on his contract, with $26m. more coming to him. Were it to come out that he has, indeed, “thrown” games, he would be barred from hockey and would lose that money. Could gamblers or gambling really offer enough money to make it worth his while. Especially since the higher the stakes, the greater the likelihood of getting caught. I somehow doubt it.

    • could be as simple as proving Kane just betted on a single game in which he played even without proving he did anything different in the game to effect the score.

      Vegas beat San Jose in all meetings. I would bet on Vegas all 8 times.

    • All those earnings yet filing or bankruptcy points to unusual debt mounted in unusual ways.

      Why is a hockey player less capable of throwing a game than in other team sports?

      Easy to get penalized.( hooking, tripping, goalie interference)
      Easy to give away the puck.
      Easy to fan on a shot.
      Easy to lose a fight.

      • To answer your question HF30 is that hockey players have a smaller impact on a game than many other sports.
        They play less that a baseball player or basketball player. They have less of an impact than a QB or RB in Football.

        If I am a bookie or fixer who bets on hockey, and decide I want SJ to throw a game and get a good return, there are some conditions that I would want before making an investment like that.

        Fist off it need to be worth the risk of committing a felony, so best if SJ was significantly favored, or that the outcome was a lock in my favor.
        Could Kane really do that as a winger?
        The answer is no.

        Taking a penalty, fanning on a shot etc doesn’t help much on a game you are expected to lose, and in no way guarantee a lock in the outcome.

        And if your betting the spread, you best be betting a whack of cash to make it worthwhile and taking that risk on a player who is on the ice a 3rd of the time and is a winger.
        I suppose many things are possible, but if the guy paying Kane, who’s business is gambling, or fixing gambling, seems like a bad criminal to me.

      • Losing a fight has an effect on the outcome of a game… how?

      • “Losing a fight has an effect on the outcome of a game… how?”

        Players frequently challenge/call out opponents in an attempt to change the tempo and boost their team and discourages the other.

      • As noted in the opening, the only one who could throw a game is the goaltender.

        Wouldn’t really matter what one individual player did; if a goalie was playing a good game, the player giveaway or mistake can be covered up by a goalie.

        reading Kane penalty minutes and leading the team in pts, doesn’t look like anything happen on that front.

        Connor McDavid couldn’t guarantee to throw a game. Although he could certainly impact it.

    • Howard, your comment implies kane would avoid unwise decisions. The guy makes $7 mil per year and is filing for bankruptcy. I don’t think logic or good decision making are concepts that would be in favor of kane.

      In addition, would betting on your own game (betting to win or lose) be an ethics violation?

      And kane is the only player in the league where I’ve read articles this year saying other players don’t want him back in the locker room. I guess the number of goals and assists doesn’t matter, does it.

  5. Re Kane and “fixing”

    I agree with most here…. It would be extremely difficult for a forward to negatively determine the games outcome (trying to ensure a loss)

    Not scoring is one thing; how does a forward ensure his teammates don’t score or “allows”/“forces” his opponents to score on his goalie

    A goalie can certainly determine the outcome of a game; maybe (much less chance ) a D (did JJ bet on his opponents … LOL). But a forward??

    And he’s Sharks top scorer and high minutes!

    I’m with ds…. this will come down to an investigation into wether he actually bet on his own games

    If he didn’t try to negatively influence one of his games and bet against his team…. would he bet on his team to win? Note … Sharks finished 6th last …. A tough bet to make

    If he didn’t bet on his own games…. time for the NHL to move on for this topic

    His domestic issue (separation and whether or not he is adequately [legally] supporting his estranged girlfriend and child) is a personal issue decided through the courts

  6. A hockey player is every bit as capable of fixing a game and all you’re pointing out that players in different positions in hockey and other sports are easier.

    He is the one in financial difficulty, he is the one trying/needing to get out of a hole.

    He is the one in position to bet on his ability to affect the outcome.

    How often do you see players deflecting pucks into their own net with sticks or skates?

    How often do you see a player redirecting the puck with his arm or leg to an opponent and an open net.

    We see brain cramps on the ice with regularity giving away the puck etc.

    When there’s a need there’s a way and it isn’t hard to see the possibility in hockey.

    An investigation will/should bring out the truth, which at this point, neither of us has a clue.

    • Not questioning the need HF30, just how reasonable it would be to execute and the ROI being reasonable to even attempt.
      Two different things.

      Now if you could get there goaltenders to play along and be in on it, now you have something to work with.

      Hey? Wait a second…..

      • Haha!

      • It’s very reasonable to attempt and that would change the odds in and of itself.

        Ease of execution depends on the creativity of the player and fear is a wonderful motivator.

        You can bet on almost anything, not just winning or losing a game, over/under goals, penalties, shots not to mention failure to produce might very well be the cause of bankruptcy.

        Again, I’m not saying he did any of this I just don’t share your incredulity pre-investigation of the accusation.

        As for betting on games, it’s illegal to bet on your own team too.

    • habfan30, have the will in this case doesn’t translate into having the means.

      Could Kane do all the things you mentioned sure; however that doesn’t guarantee a loss; it just show he tried.
      The fixing game doesn’t want tried

      If there is an odd make that bets Kane, will take three penalties in a game, or will have 0 pts, or 1 major. That would be more likely to me; however, i don’t know if them types of bets are available.

    • If NHL leaves decision to their Disciplinary Committee and Kane is found guilty they will give him a $5000 fine and a slap on the wrist.

  7. LJ I thought you would understand what I meant by dogmatic. So let me explain it to you. Cirelli is strong on the puck and an aggressive forechecker as a result.

    I never suggested the fatigue might not be a factor nor did I say Tampa Bay was going to three peat. I merely stated what would likely give them the best chance by spreading their talent around.

    • Let’s not forget Tampa didn’t even play a full season with playoffs combined this year, and only about 13 games more than a normal season last year.

    • The word you seek, Shane, is dogged.

      I am aware you never addressed fatigue, which is why I added it.

      • Have to agree that fatigue, and the possibilty that it makes injury more likely, may the a big hurdle for the Lightning. They do , however, have the maturity to know that they need only make the tourney, not win the President’s trophy, and probably won’t fight a bit of minute limiting for the older guys. Hope a few of the non-waiver guys in the minors progress enough to play some fill-in minutes as well. As much as you’d like to take a night off, a lot of teams us last year’s champ as the measuring stick so you see their best.