NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

by | Sep 18, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Patrick Kane says he didn’t know anything about sexual assault allegations against the Blackhawks former video coach, the Canadiens will host the 2022 Draft, James Neal is among the latest PTO signings & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he has participated in the investigation into allegations the club’s former video coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010. The 32-year-old winger denied having any knowledge about the incidents at the time.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s remarks run counter to those of former teammate Nick Boynton, who claimed everyone knew about the incidents during an interview with the lawyers hired by the Blackhawks to investigate the allegations. “I said talk to Torch (former assistant coach John Torchetti). I called out Brian Campbell, and said talk to Patrick Sharp and talk to Kaner (Patrick Kane),” he told TSN on July 29.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The NHL announced Friday the 2022 Draft will be held in Montreal at the Bell Centre on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8. The 2020 Draft was originally scheduled to be held there but was instead conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first round will be on Thursday evening and rounds two through seven the following day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Returning to a live venue should significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for teams to make their selections. The recent virtual drafts saw teams take an inordinate amount of time selecting prospects, with each round taking much longer to complete.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced the signing of wingers James Neal and Michael Frolik to professional tryout contracts.

TORONTO SUN: Nikita Gusev was invited to Maple Leafs training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils inked center Fredrik Gauthier to a PTO.

SPORTSNET: Zack Smith is hanging up his skates after 12 NHL seasons, all but one with the Ottawa Senators from 2008-09 to 2018-19. He spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith, 33, tallied 98 goals and 204 points in 662 career regular-season games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Smith and his family in his future endeavors.

PHILLY.COM: Former NHL forward Lou Angotti passed away Thursday at age 83. He spent 10 seasons in the league from 1964-65 to 1973-74 with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. Angotti was the Flyers’ first-ever captain. He had 103 goals and 289 points in 653 career NHL contests. He also went on to coach the Blues for two seasons (1973-74 to 1974-75) and the Penguins in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Angotti’s family, friends and former teammates.



  1. Mask-less, vaccine-less ,,, and brainless

    • Tell me something. If the vaccine is 100% effective, why do I have to wear a mask to attend Blue Jackets games, fly, enter a hospital or any of a dozen other things even though I have been vaccinated?

      • Paul Bowles,

        Nobody has ever claimed that the vaccines are 100% effective so your premise isn’t correct.

        The number of people hospitalized and dying from covid has dramatically declined with the increase in vaccinations and mask wearing.

        Wearing a mask is easy to do, has upside and no downside.

      • First of all, show me where it says the vaccine is 100% effective.

        What I’ve heard consistently is that, by being doubly-vaccinated it greatly reduces the need for hospitalization or, worse, a trip to the ICU.

        NO ONE has come out and said you can’t get the virus if fully vaccinated … many do and are, in effect, asymptomatic – they don’t even know they are carrying it. THAT’S why it’s necessary to wear a mask – to prevent spreading it to others who, although themselves vaccinated, may also have underlying issues which could result in serious effects.

        Large gatherings would increase that risk.

        It’s an insidious disease – a protein virus unlike the flu – which is going to be around for a long time. Do you not care about others? Should we just adopt the attitude “to hell with it – let everyone just take their chances?”

      • Paul: seriously, man, how big a deal is it to wear a mask? The government tells you you have to drive on the right side of the road – has that inconvenienced you? Hell, the law requires you to wear clothes. Is putting pants on more difficult than wearing a mask?

        You’re a military guy, right? Then you have put your life on the line for others. Isn’t wearing a mask so much less risky for you, and just as much a commitment to others?

      • No one EVER said it was 100% effective.

      • As for wearing a mask even though you’re vaccinated is just another safe guard for prevention since still nothing is 100% effective. Also since one who is vaxxed, can pass it on to someone who isn’t has other health issues, you could potentially be personally responsible for their death.
        Think about that.

      • C’mon Paul, if we don’t wear masks, how else will we show our virtue?

      • Except it has nothing to do with “virtue.” Just common sense.

      • The science says you are just as likely to be killed in a motorcycle accident as you are to contract the virus while vaccinated. The science also says that though masks work, mask mandates don’t. There is 0 proof of lower transmission in areas requiring mask vs those that don’t. Vaccines prevent the virus, not masks. Masks are a virtue signal. Get vaccinated. Enough said.

  2. Blues signed Box for $750K; maybe they’ll also get Neal for the same

    I’m not overly familiar with Gusev (PTO Leafs)…. outside of his stats, anybody here have anecdotal viewpoints on his upside/downside? Thanks in advance. Will read later in day

    • gauthier to nj—hahahaha
      gusev for pto in toronto worth a look
      blozak 750 st louis—hahahaha junk

      • jeff, I think a lot of these pto signings are simply to flesh out AHL farm rosters with veterans who could be called up for short-term injury replacements. They’re not “junk.”

    • Pengy,

      That 750k for Bozak is filled with incentives and might be $2 million.

      games played
      playoff success

      I imagine this structure is to squeeze in Thomas

    • Pengy, there’s no denying Gusev is fast and in 66gp for Jersey in 2019-20 he did pot 13g 31a 44pts.

      But at 5′ 9′ 160lbs to say he’s diminutive would be putting it mildly and what I can recall from the limited times I’ve seen him (on TV) is that he does get bounced around like the proverbial ping-pong ball.

  3. There is a choice – ignore the covid statistics or get vaccinated.
    The NHL claims 98% of players will be vaccinated by the start of the season.
    The NBA has said that players do not need to be vaccinated.
    My question is where will the Raptors play this year?

    • Not that I care … but, Buffalo? It sure as hell won’t be Toronto. Can’t have one rigid rule for NHL players and another for basketball players.

      • Here’s a bet BCLeafFan … IF there are significant numbers of players who choose not to be vaccinated (any stats anywhere?), before this season is 20 games old the NBA will be ravaged by variant infections, resulting in game suspensions and a fundamental change in approach.

        There’s nothing I’d like more than to be proven wrong and to see them go through the season unscathed because that would call into question the whole accepted approach to the pandemic. But I don’t think I will.

      • Can’t wait to see Ford and Tory skirt around that scenario – requiring unvaccinated visiting hockey players to provide immediate negative tests/quarantine/proof of vaccination while turning a blind eye to visiting NBA players. In the middle of the 4th wave.

        Same with U.S.-based OHL teams. While Quebec cracks down.

    • BCLeafFan ,

      The NBA says 85% of players are vaccinated, all refs and staff are mandated to be vaccinated.

      The NBA informed teams in early September that new laws in both New York and San Francisco regarding vaccine requirements will be enforced for members of the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors — including for their teams’ players.

      So while there’s no mandate, they have structured new protocols making it very uncomfortable and difficult for stubborn players.

      As for the “choice” Rinaldo mentions, National Health comes before “personal choice” .

  4. While the PTOs are interesting I think the waivers will be much more interesting and a lot of decent players will be available as teams need to get their cap situations cleared up.

    The taxi squad prolonged a number of careers and isn’t available, while the AHL is meant for development not parking players.

    • “… while the AHL is meant for development not parking players …”

      No one said it is. But I’ll wager here and now that some among the pto will be signed to 2-way deals to do just that – provide veteran presence at the ahl level and be available for 2/3 game call-ups.

      The loser refrains from posting for 1 month.

  5. it’s somewhat funny/odd that Christian Dvorak has been in Montreal all week, skating in Brossard and has a new number, 28. all of it flying under the radar.

    The Habs marketing department must be chafing at the bit but somebody (Bergevin?) put a lid on it and is letting his entry to Montreal match his low key personality.

    • Good morning Habfan30.

      At this time shouldn’t the focus be on the guys at the development camp? I’d like to know more about how guys like Norlinder and Guhle look, and learn more about guys I don’t know anything about.

      Once the NHL training camp gets going we will have all sorts of Dvorak stories, I’m sure.

      • Guhle should be a very good pro. Floor is Kyle McLaren. Ceiling is somewhere between Mike Rathje and Johnny Boychuk.
        The kid plays mean.

      • I can only hope, SOP.