NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2021

by | Sep 8, 2021 | News, NHL | 33 comments

Elvis Merzlikins talks about his offseason and his plans for the coming season, the Senators re-sign GM Pierre Dorion plus updates on Charlie McAvoy, Gustav Nyquist, Jake Virtanen and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: In an interview with Aaron Portzline, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins spoke about the tragic death of teammate and close friend Matiss Kivlinieks and the birth of his son Knox Matiss Merzlikins during the offseason. Kivlinieks’ loss has given Merzlkins motivation to win the Vezina Trophy.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (NHL Images).

I don’t want to make any promise, but I can tell you, Aaron…my plan is to win a Vezina Trophy. I’m gonna win a f*****g Vezina for him.”

Merzlikins credits Kivlinieks with saving the life of his family when his late friend was struck in the chest by a fireworks mortar on July 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins will be jockeying for the starter’s job with Joonas Korpisalo. He said he and Korpisalo have a good relationship and understood the duo could split the playing time this season. A Vezina-worthy performance by Merzlikins, however, will ensure he gets the bulk of the starts and could help the Blue Jackets rebound from a lousy performance last season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed general manager Pierre Dorion to a three-year contract extension through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion has done a good job handling the Senators’ rebuild. He drafted young core talent such as Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson and acquired Josh Norris. Promising prospects such as Jake Sanderson, Tyler Boucher, Shane Pinto and Jacob Bernard-Docker are also in their pipeline.

The Senators showed real signs of improvement last season. They’ll attempt to build on that with those youngsters playing key roles.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and his agent aren’t concerned over the lack of contract extension talks. “I’m just really excited for the year, just worrying about this summer, being in the best spot to be ready for camp,” said McAvoy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McAvoy is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. Both sides are probably willing to wait and see how this season pans out before engaging in serious contract discussions. Given how much defensemen such as Colorado’s Cale Makar, Chicago’s Seth Jones, and Edmonton’s Darnell got this summer, I daresay McAvoy’s next contract will average over $9 million per season.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist is looking forward to the coming season after missing the entire 2020-21 campaign recovering from shoulder surgery.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen signed a one-year contract with KHL club Spartak Moscow. The Canucks released the 25-year-old forward this summer following an allegation of sexual misconduct against the former first-round pick.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks hired John MacLean as an assistant coach. He replaces Rocky Thompson, who stepped down last week due to medical reasons preventing him from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

THE ATHLETIC: The Seattle Kraken signed defenseman Dennis Cholowski to a one-year, two-way contract worth $900K at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Simon Gagne, Paul Holmgren, Bob Kelly, Lou Nolan, Mark Recchi and Rick Tocchet are the six finalists for inductions into the Flyers Hall of Fame. A voting committee will make the final selection and the induction ceremony will be held during a game this season.


  1. some very solid candidates for the Flyers HOF , not sure how many are selected but they are all worthy. Lou Nolan should be automatic given his tenure with the team.

  2. Next season Arizona should offer sheet Charlie McAvoy over $11m per and Boston should take the 4 1st round picks.

    • I’m not convinced McAvoy would sign that. He seems pretty happy in Boston and I think he enjoys winning games.

    • Armstrong is accumulating first rounders, why would he give up four of them for McAvoy??? delusional

      • Typical fan boys, eh, Ed?

    • Not delusional Ed, it was a joke.

    • It’ll never happen Cappy now go crawl back under your log.

      • Right next to the rock you live under 365/24?

  3. 1/3rd of those flyers nominees are actually penguins. Gotta feel sorry for all yin’s out east.

    • Virtanen wasn’t actually released due to his off-ice issues, he was bought out for his disappointing *on-ice* performance

    • Word on the street here is that Jake like being in the NHL, but not doing the work required to be in the NHL.

      • That was the word on the street – and in the newspapers – in Vancouver too.

  4. I’m hoping Chuck will be a big boy and accept a reasonable salary. Gotta take one for the team. Also wouldn’t hurt for Sweeney to get off his lazy carcass and tighten this unit up with a couple of trades this club is far from a cup contender this season. I’m this is Sweeney’s last season.

    • I like how people can sit back and suggest a player should leave money on the table to be a “team player”.

      Imagine if this applied in the real world? Imagine the look on your wife’s face when you came home and told her you took less, so someone of a lesser skill set could take more, in any walk of life?

      Most people don’t have the type of loyalty in the real world when it comes to a dollar. Never mind millions or tens of millions.

      It’s easy to sit back and make decisions that don’t have any impact on your bottom line.

      The way I see Employee Employer relationship on ANY walk of life? Engineer, Accountant, Hockey player , Fry guy?

      You provide a company or organization with a service to a dollar amount agreed upon prior to employment. They provide you with a salary. At the end of the day if you do your job and they pay you, it’s a wash. You owe NOBODY anything, and they owe you nothing above and beyond that agreement.

      • 7 million is plenty if Chuck asks for more trade him

      • 7 is plenty in your mind, because it’s not your money.

        So if your boss came to you and said take 70k over 90k to be a team player, you’re in? If yes, please send me your resume!

      • Correct Captain

  5. Don’t be greedy Chuck

  6. I was curious about the medical condition that prevented Rocky Thompson from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, simply because I had never heard of any such condition. The reason for that, I found, is that there are no known medical conditions which absolutely prevent a person from getting a Covid-19 vaccine. However, about 5 in a million people experience what appears to be a severe allergic reaction to the Covid-19 vaccines, called anaphylaxis, which is easily treatable. Rocky’s case is exceptional, to say the least.

    • @ Francis there are over 10000 deaths related from people taking the vaccine. In perspective, that is about 40% of the total number of deaths in Canada since the Covid pandemic started. Dont understate the fact people have medical predispositions that increase the possibility an adverse reaction may occur getting the vaccine. It’s a horrible position for Rocky to be in but his decision not to be questioned.

      Maybe a solemn thought but the number of breakthrough positive cases of Covid is fast approaching 30%, so much for the 95% efficacy being preached. We’re not even a year out of when the vaccines first got rolling out. Perhaps compassion would be better than judging, second guessing & finger pointing these days until we see what happens.

      • Kevin, where did you get the # of 10,000 deaths from the vaccine? And where did those happen?
        I haven’t seen any proven link to the vaccine that would suggest that is remotely accurate?
        30% breakthrough cases? Not from any reputable source that I have seen?

        Here are the #’s in Canada, and below is the link for the data.

        Since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 14, 2020, PHAC received case-level vaccine history data for 81.7% (n=689,265) of COVID-19 cases aged 12 years or older.

        Of these cases:

        607,579 (88.1%) were unvaccinated at the time of their episode date
        35,283 (5.1%) were not yet protected by the vaccine, as their episode date occurred less than 14 days after their first dose
        36,227 (5.3%) were only partially vaccinated, as their episode date occurred either 14 days or more after their first dose or less than 14 days after their second dose
        10,176 (1.5%) were fully vaccinated, as their episode date occurred 14 days or more after their second dose.

        20.9 million achieved partial vaccination status, of which 36,227 (0.17%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 while partially vaccinated
        18.2 million achieved full vaccination status, of which 10,176 (0.06%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 while fully vaccinated.
        Not close to 30%.

        The link:

        Adverse events are rare, and serious events even rarer. There have been only 14,000 in Canada, and vast majority of those are minor. This includes all events, with the vast majority, if not almost all, not even having a proven link to the vaccine. These are all reports with no causation proved, but they track anyway.


      • Kevin–Although medical sources have issued cautionary statements about the vaccines, those same sources, including the CDC, will assure you that an allergy to the ingredients in the vaccines is the one known medical condition that could absolutely prevent a person from getting vaccinated. I’m not sure of what deaths you are including as deaths “related” to the vaccines, but I am sure that you won’t be able to present a single accredited source that says 10,000 deaths are directly attributable to the vaccines.

        One doesn’t display a lack of compassion by questioning a statement that seems to contradict evidence. That’s why I’m questioning yours. Neither is it pointing a finger to speculate that an unknown factor, like the recently reported incident between Evander Kane and Thompson, might have had something to do with the resignation.

        So, there’s no need for you to proselytize about compassion for Covid victims. It would be better to lament the potential deaths that could result from the spread of misinformation.

      • Way to go, Ray.

        Kevin: get off the psychotropics. Nothing will scuttle attendance at NHL games – or any other public gatherings – faster than lunatics showing up in the seats without vaccinations, spewing virus and anti-vaxxer idiocy, or using false figures completely out of context.

        Pre-existing health issues that make getting a vaccination riskier than getting Covid are incredibly rare – as any credible medical source will tell you. Stick to hockey, stick to facts.

        Yes to vaccination requirements to attend hockey games.

      • I’ve seen people spewing these numbers, seems to be that they counted anyone who has died of any reason after receiving a dose of the vaccine. If they got a vaccine and died in a car accident on the way home that’s a ‘vaccine death’. Also discounting the fact that the first groups of people to get the vaccine were all over 80, and though people over 80 tend to die at a faster rate than younger generations for some unknown reason they are counting those as ‘vaccine deaths’ as well. Can’t argue with delusion.

      • OK, guys, let’s not stray too far off the beaten path here. Let’s stick to hockey and avoid the personal insults. Cheers!

      • Sadly Lyle I doubt one can even blame this on bots or Russian trolls.

      • Lol nice crowd. Not saying unvaccinated should be allowed to go to games or concerts or anything like that. They would be nuts to go.

        The site to check for types of side effects is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Systems & some of the numbers are found on the CDC website under this category for just the US. To think there arent people that have a much higher risk of taking these vaccines than the other mainstream of people is just wrong. Its sad if they happen to lose their jobs over this. Anyway, have a nice everyone & I apologize for having any kind of opinion or different perspective.

  7. Jake DeBrusk is both a common whipping boy and held out as trade bait for a top six player.

    Considering he’s an arbitration eligible RFA . will the Bruins Qualify him at $3.675? Let him go UFA?

    • The good news HF30 is that they don’t have to decide that until next off season.
      The bad news (for him and his trade value) is that the B’s now have LW depth that pushes him to #3 on the depth chart for LW’s.
      It’s easier for a winger than a D to play their off side, but the B’s have forward depth now, so can’t see him getting better scoring minutes than he had last year.

      Best guess is trade for a player in a similar type situation, under performing to their contract.

      He is an expensive 3rd line LW IMO.

      • I can’t stand the suspense! By suggesting trading an under-achieving LW for another contract under-achiever, you’ve opened the door for Pengy to propose a deal involving DeBrusk and Zucker. Where is he?

      • I should have added – younger and underperforming Francis.

        Methinks Pens fans are more concerned that Crosby will now have surgery and be out 6 weeks. Plenty of hard minutes played by Sid, eventually the bill comes due.

        Not ideal for them.

    • Isn’t Jake’s qualifying offer $4.85 million?