NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

by | Sep 17, 2021 | News, NHL | 26 comments

98 percent of NHL players expected to be vaccinated for the coming season, Sidney Crosby hopes Alex Ovechkin breaks Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Carey Price, P.K. Subban and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates 98 percent of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the 2021-22 season opens on Oct. 12. That will leave between 10 and 15 players unvaccinated among 700 players on 32 teams.

The NHL and NHL Players Association didn’t impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions (including restrictions at the Canada – US border requiring lengthy quarantine) contributed to the high number of vaccinations. Teams can also suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of its protocols.

Fully vaccinated players will have any positive COVID-19 tests treated as hockey injuries and continue to be paid. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted during road trips. Regular COVID testing will remain in place for vaccinated players. Coaches and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Daly confirmed that teams who suspend players without pay under the terms of the league’s COVID protocols will receive salary-cap relief from that player’s daily salary-cap hit.

Unvaccinated players can be ruled exempt from suspension if they have legitimate medical reasons for avoiding vaccination or if it conflicts with “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Johnston also reported at least one Caucks remains unvaccinated but the team declined to comment citing medical privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL isn’t fooling around with its protocols this season after a number of game postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of last season led to a series of scheduling changes. It took a physical toll on the players as they endured multiple games within a much more compressed period of time.

Unvaccinated players will have a more difficult time navigating through those strict protocols this season. Those restrictions could encourage the remainder who lack medical exemption to get vaccinated. The risk of suspension without pay for a positive test is too great over the course of the season.

SPORTSNET: Daly indicated the salary cap for the 2022-23 season is expected to increase by $1 million to $82.5 million.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has the support of a long-time rival in his quest to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he told Ovechkin he hopes he does it. “It would be awesome. He’s in range, “ said Crosby. “He can score anywhere from insider the blue line.”

Crosby added one caveat. “I just hope that all his goals that he gets are against the other teams as he’s trying to add toward it.” Gretzky has 894 goals while Ovechkin sits at 730 to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s legacy is secure as this generation’s greatest goal scorer and one of the all-time greats. Most of Gretzky’s records are out of reach of today’s players, so the opportunity for the Capitals superstar to break the goal record would be a phenomenal achievement.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane remains confident that the league will clear him of allegations by his estranged wife that he gambled on NHL games. In an interview with ESPN’s Linda Cohn, the San Jose Sharks winger called the allegations “incredibly false”, claiming he’s never bet on any NHL games or intentionally altered the way he plays.

The NHL opened an investigation into the allegations in July. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he anticipates it will wrap up soon and to have a full report by the start of training camp.

Kane admitted he has a gambling addiction which led to his filing for bankruptcy in July. He also downplayed reports claiming some of his Sharks teammates don’t want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz believes it’s what’s Kane didn’t say during the interview that’s newsworthy. “This was a missed opportunity for him to signal to his teammates/organization that he’s ready to come back, change his ways, and be a solid teammate. Instead, nothing’s changed.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price took to the ice yesterday in full equipment with a member of the team’s training staff. It’s believed the first time he’s skated since undergoing knee surgery in July. He spent 10 minutes on the ice doing stretching and skating drills.

TORONTO STAR: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is an executive producer on an upcoming docuseries entitled, “Black Life: A Canadian History.”

THE ATHLETIC: Andrew Ladd is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NHL again. He was traded this summer to the Arizona Coyotes by the New York Islanders. He played just 30 NHL games over the past three seasons with the Islanders.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will face off in the 2022 Heritage Classic on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

THE SCORE: Two suspects were arrested in the robbery of a St. Louis Blues prospect and a woman on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. The name of the prospect has not been released.


  1. Not going down the rabbit hole again but I love the COVID response from nhl. It allows those foolish enough to make a bad decision, as should be their right, but strongly tries to protect those who want to protect themselves and others. At least in writing they handled this perfectly

    • 100% agree!

    • The Leafs players are 100% vaccinated. Word is they all got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Because it’s only one round.

      • Hi Howard

        Leafs booster shots to be Astro Zeneca perhaps?? LOL

    • Not going down that rabbit hole again, but I’m going down that rabbit hole again?

      • I meant in lengthy debate regarding the issue. I said my piece in regards to the article.

  2. Go ovi! It’s always been a shame that the record holder of so many nhl records never was among the most talented nhl players of all time. Great player but you’d like to see some other names up there that didn’t benefit from some of the good fortune that Gretzky got.

    • Chrism, what are some of these good fortunes you speak of?

      • Era. Health. Team mates.

  3. 98% 👍👍😀👍👍👍

    Heritage Classic….👍👍👍👍

    Location of Heritage Classic…. As an Argo fan … I could never give this a thumbs up…. N E V E R …. LOL

    Re Kane interview…. A step (baby steo ??) in the right direction , but agree with Kurz… missed Golden opp to state a change of mindset and new direction in his life… time will tell

    With Sid…. Ovi, may all your future goals be scored against teams not named Pens of Leafs

    Will agree that Ovi is greatest scorer of HIS generation but not of all time …. That well earned moniker goes to a certain former Islander…. Can you imagine his numbers sans the back issues that ended his career… 12 or more straight 50+ goal seasons would have been a reasonable outcome

    His career ended (waaaay too soon) just shortly after his 30th Bday…. A healthy 29/30 yr old season and say 3 more…. He could have been at 13 seasons straight of 50+ and nearing mid 700’s in goals…. just sayin’

    • So who was the former Islander. Not all of us are as well versed as you must be. Thanks!!

      • Mike Bossy?

      • Hi Snuffy

        Sorry, wasn’t trying to be coy

        Yes…. George is correct….Mike Bossy…. 9 straight seasons (including his rookie year) of 50+ Goals

        Highest career goals/game ever…. 0.762 (Ovi 0.610); and Career point and a 1/2 per game guy

        Lifetime shooting % of 21.2 %(Ovi 12.8 %)

        Ovi isn’t even the top goals per game Russian born NHLer… Pavel Bure was…. 0.623

        Bossy’s last season (started at age 29)…. He was in so much pain he often had to get the trainer to tie his skates; had to have backed iced before game and between each period…. Missed 17 games when he basically couldn’t walk let alone skate…. Still in all that agony ; scored 38 goals and 37 assists (in 63 games)…. Retired after the season

        That’s the best NHL goal scorer of all time

  4. From this article: “Evander Kane remains confident
    ” … we’re talking about the confidence of a guy who walks out on $500k+ of debt and files for bankruptcy while making $7mil a year. I don’t think there’s anything reliable here. He obviously makes really bad decisions and is the first player his peers want to leave the locker room. I put MY confidence at ZERO on the subject of HIS confidence.

  5. From this article: “Evander Kane remains confident
    ” … we’re talking about the confidence of a guy who walks out on $500k+ of debt and files for bankruptcy while making $7mil a year. I don’t think there’s anything reliable here. He obviously makes really bad decisions and is the first player his peers want to leave the locker room. I put MY confidence at ZERO on the subject of HIS confidence.

  6. Love those numbered comments on this page!

    • I hope the numbered comments continue. I often times want to look back at a posting and the numbers make it so much easier. Mr. George O. after going through the Islanders top 10 players of all time I kind of figured it was Bossy. My good friend who passed away a couple of years ago was a police officer in NYC. He was a die hard Islanders fan. Whenever they played in the Garden he would volunteer for security so he could see them for free. He was a great guy.

      • snuffy1953,

        At the Montreal Forum he was always announced as Michel Bossy and despite playing for the Isles, Bossy was always respected.

        He was a classy player and a real sniper, if I had to choose one player of all time to take a last second shot it would be Bossy.

      • Al Arbour at the time he was drafted said, in reference to the options at the Islanders’ pick: “let’s get the goal scorer … I’ll teach him to check …”

      • Being a rabid Habs fans at that time – 1977 I believe – I recall hoping they’d take Bossy at # 9 or 10 – forget which exactly … but instead they picked Mark Napier – who went several picks later.

        Not a bad pick, certainly, but when it came to putting the puck in the net he wasn’t even close to Bossy.

        Class all the way.

      • Sad thing is, chronic back issues cut his career short at 10 seasons when he was still just 29 y/o. His 573 goals in 782 gp (seasons were 80 games then) gave him a yearly average of 61. Had he been able to play longer he could have been pushing 900 goals at the end.

      • Hi George


        Reading posts late in the day and top to bottom

        Had responded (unknowingly) to snuffy above with info you’ve already provided


  7. There were some great goal scorers playing in the 80s. Be that as it may, Gretzky’s goal production fell dramatically into the 1990s, after he’d exceeded age 30. I don’t think that was because of his age, though. I think it was because Gretzky shot against goalies who stood 5’8-10″ and weighed 165-180 pounds when he was in his 20s.

    In the 1996 season, at age 35, Gretzky scored 25 goals in 82 games. Ovi was 34 the last time he played more than 80 games, and he scored 51 goals in 81 games back then.

    Ovi is playing in an era where goalies bigger than 6’2″ and 200 pounds are the norm. There’s not much space to be seen between the posts and beneath the crossbar.

    I don’t think that Ovi would have required the space that would have been available to him to score if he’d played in the 80s. His shot might have carried both goaltender and puck into the net, maybe along with a 170-pound defender or two..

    • Ovi also would have got hit way harder when Wayne played and probably would headed back to Russia, remember when the Canadian juniors constantly hit him he literally cried and went to the dressing room before the game was over

      • I wasn’t aware of that, but I do remember reading that if Wayne didn’t have bodyguards like Marty McSorely following him around, he might have fled to Russia.

    • His production fell dramatically after a vicious check from Gary Suter in early 90’s. He was said to have worn a heavy flak jacket for the rest of his career.