NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2021

by | Sep 14, 2021 | News, NHL | 13 comments

Check out the latest on Auston Matthews, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Ryan Kesler and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews explained why he waited until mid-August to undergo surgery for a nagging wrist injury. He said he wanted to see if it would heal following a period of rest. After ramping up his on-ice training, it still didn’t feel right and the decision to undergo the procedure was made following consultation with specialists and the Leafs’ medical staff.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

It’s nothing serious. So I’m happy we got it done,” said Matthews. The 2021 Richard Trophy Winner indicated he’s not worried about it and anticipates being fully recovered for the opening night of the season next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Matthews won the goal-scoring crown while plagued by that injury during the 2020-21 campaign. He could be on pace for another Richard Trophy this season.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois admitted keeping quiet about his reasons for requesting a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets opened the door for false rumors last season. He still believes maintaining his silence on the matter was the mature thing to do. “Maybe one day, when I retire, maybe I’ll write a book,” he said.

Dubois also acknowledged he never felt comfortable last season because of the mental and physical roller coaster from the trade and subsequent injuries. He’s looking forward to turning the page and believes the adversity will help him in the long run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois is entitled to this privacy but the lack of details over why he wanted out of Columbus was going to generate conjecture from fans and pundits. I anticipate he’ll be motivated for a strong bounce-back performance this season.

NHL.COM: Ryan Kesler acknowledged he’ll never play in the NHL again as he’s still recovering from resurfacing surgery on his left hip in February. He also underwent a similar procedure on his right hip in 2019. The 37-year-old center also admitted he was in so much pain during his final two NHL seasons that he hated playing the game.

Kesler and his family have moved back to Michigan. He was recently named a volunteer assistant coach with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kesler is entering the final year of his contract with the Anaheim Ducks. His last active NHL season was 2018-19 and he’s been on long-term injury reserve since then.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets have parted ways with assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre after he opted not to get a COVID-19 vaccine and will not be able to coach as a result. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen explained the NHL’s strict COVID-19 protocols are most stringent on those with direct access to the players. Lefebvre has been replaced by Steve McCarthy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicates Kekalainen declined to reveal Lefebvre’s reason for not getting vaccinated. In a statement, he said the team respects Lefebvre’s decision as a personal one.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Colorado Eagles assistant coach Brett Clark has departed his job after he also declined to get vaccinated. The Eagles are the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. The NHL’s COVID protocols also extend to its AHL affiliates.

NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Noah Gregor to a one-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

TSN: An American advocacy group is calling upon the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USPOC) to suspend Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman from his role as GM of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team. Bowman faces allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of two former Blackhawks players by their former video coach.

NHL ALUMNI: announced the passing of former NHL right wing Jack “Smokey” Egers on Sep. 10 at age 72. Egers spent seven seasons with the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals from 1969-70 to 1975-76, tallying 64 goals and 133 points in 284 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following his playing career, Egers moved back to Kitchener, Ontario, and became a firefighter, rising to the rank of captain. My condolences to his family, friends, former teammates and co-workers.


  1. Kessler and his $6.9 M in LTIR is still available.

    Many top end teams still hovering either side of the cap ceiling…. I am surprised there has not been discussions re a trade.

    Ducks certainly don’t need his LTIR space; and he can be traded to any of 23 teams without his approval

    The return in trade is also irrelevant to Ducks… as at now they are getting zero in return from RK…. a 7th in ‘24 is better than nothing (I would think that the return would be greater than that but it was just to show my point)

    • Pengy, I’m looking for an education on how the LTIR space from Kesler’s contract can help a team currently over the cap. I’ll use one of your favorites as an example, the TML’s:
      Say they trade for Kesler’s $6.9M hit to LTIR for future use. In that trade they give up a 7th Rd draft pick. So no player is exchanged. They are now at $89.8M in salary, $8.3M over the cap with 24 signed of 23.
      My understanding is that they would have to demote $8.3M of salary to the minors in order to take advantage of this space. Which is impossible! It would take 8 salaried players, putting them at 16 on the roster.
      Is it that TML is a bad example as they couldn’t benefit from it or is it that I misunderstand?
      I’ll also use STL, as they need to find a way to sign Thomas. Same trade puts them at $6.1M over the cap with 24 signed (of 23). Again, how could they take advantage?
      The only plausible scenario I could see right now is if someone like the Seattle Kraken trade for his contract to put them close to the cap, then maybe swing a trade for Tarasenko after the opening day of the season. But why would the Blues wait until the opening day of the season to trade Tarasenko? Maybe because it is the only way they get Thomas signed?
      Anyway, just looking to finally understand the confusion surrounding the use of LTIR in my head. Thanks.

      • Hi BPB

        Unfortunately I am not the one to ask re how the LTIR works. It is (to me) the most confusing part of the CBA.

        That said… it woks somehow… Leafs have used it in the past; and Bolts did last year.

        I doubt Leafs would acquire Kessler this year; Dubas was asked re acquiring an LTIR player (not specifying anybody in particular) and he sloughed the suggestion off as something he was not looking into. So there are reporters (with much more knowledge of the CBA re LTIR, than I have)… so if they are asking if Dubas was looking into it; it must be somehow viable.

        To me a weird practice (kind of counterintuitive to pragmatics)— but if the CBA allows teams to use it and go over the Cap (effectively) then no rules have been broken… “fair game” IMHO

        If I’m guessing re the math of it all …. 23 roster players have to come in at $81.5… On day one of season 22 players at $81.4 (just to be safe) and Kessler… rounding his to $6.9 M for simplicity…. that is 23 players with a Cap hit of $88.3; less LTIR of $6.9M… $81.4 against the Cap… they can use most of the LTIR for the full season (Kessler’s $6.9 M less the amount they have fell short of the $81.5 after allowing for LTIR [$81.5 less $81.4])

        I’ve read the explanation and examples in CapFriendly a few times… and believe it or not; I’m not dumb. My wife says I am; but I somehow made it through Grad school and I run my own firm. That said— I’ll be dang doodled if I can understand the explanations and examples on CapFriendly; so my above math is just a stab based on my repeated reading of the CapFriendly examples.

        A Lawyer is needed on this one… Howard… can you help?

        Vegas apparently had some thoughts a few weeks ago re acquiring some LTIR “help”; I don’t believe any name was mentioned.

        Kessler is the biggest “available” “LTIR” out there.

        We’ll see if it goes down

        Anybody else that can explain the LTIR benefits/usage…. Please and thanks

      • This is posted on PuckPedia’s site


        I’d still have a better chance of comprehending The Theory Of Relativity

      • To my understanding the $6.875 million of Keslers cap hit doesn’t come straight off the cap hit.
        If a team isn’t cap compliant to begin the year the pay of the player on LTIR can be used up to the amount of non compliance and not banked.
        In other words if a team is $5million over the cap trades for Kesler, the team can use $5million of Kesler’s $6.875, the other $1.875 is not used AND can’t be used later

  2. Sayonara Sylvain…

    • The Jackets probably don’t know how lucky they are. Bergevin’s biggest mistake was keeping Lefebvre as AHL coach for six seasons. Likely harmed the development of several young players. I was actually happy when he was hired, but it had become obvious long before he was finally let go that he wasn’t up to the job.

  3. memo to Dubois … nobody cares

    • Ed – you can’t seriously be faulting Dubois for answering the question he was asked – right?

  4. Maybe evander kane could become a coach and john tortorella could become a player then they both could be nightmares to their teams from a different direction.

    Maybe Pierre-Luc Dubois could avoid playing on that team but kane and tortorella could both work for the same team! What a treat for the rest of their organization. Errrr, maybe more of a treat for the MEDIA!

  5. In today’s world of political correctness, is there any way Bowman could possibly remain as GM of the olympic team?

    Do you folks think Bowman will be terminated as chicago gm?

    • We should hope authorities take no punitive action against Bowman because of allegations. If we throw away the rule of innocent till proved guilty, we’ll start burning witches at the stake again.

      • And what if proven guilty????

        Would he be terminated from as GM olympic team AND GM of chicago?