NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 15, 2021

by | Oct 15, 2021 | News, NHL | 49 comments

The Kraken get their first victory, impressive opening-night performances by Anze Kopitar & Tyler Bertuzzi, the Blue Jackets honor the late Matiss Kivlenieks with a big win, my take on the Senators finally signing Brady Tkachuk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken picked up their first-ever NHL victory by holding off the Nashville Predators 4-3. Brandon Tanev scored twice and Jared McCann and Alex Wennberg each had a goal and an assist. Mikael Granlund had a goal and two assists for the Predators.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a historic night in his club’s 6-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. He matched his single-game career-high (five points) with three goals and two assists, joined Luc Robitaille and Jari Kurri as the third King to score a hat trick on opening night and became the oldest player (34 years, 51 days) in league history to collect five points in a season opener. Teammate Drew Doughty had a four-point night. It was a tough loss for the Golden Knights as captain Mark Stone left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period.

Detroit Red Wings center Tyler Bertuzzi scored four goals but it was the Tampa Bay Lightning emerging victorious with four unanswered goals in a wild 7-6 overtime victory with Ondrej Palat tallying the winner. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman each had four points and Steven Stamkos scored twice for the Lightning.

The Columbus Blue Jackets honored the memory of the late Matiss Kivlenieks with a pregame ceremony, then went on to thump the Arizona Coyotes 8-2. Elvis Merzlikins made 36 saves for the win while Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied two goals and two assists and Max Domi collected three points.

Two unanswered third-period goals by Aaron Ekblad set the stage for Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime winner as the Florida Panthers rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4. Penguins forward Jeff Carter tallied his 400th career goal.

Andrei Svechnikov scored twice and added an assist to power the Carolina Hurricanes over the New York Islanders 6-3. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for his first victory with the Hurricanes.

An overtime goal by Miro Heiskanen lifted the Dallas Stars over the New York Rangers 3-2. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg left the game twice with an apparent leg injury while goaltender Braden Holtby was sidelined by dehydration with 11:53 remaining in the third period. Anton Khudobin stepped in and stopped all six shots he faced.

The Buffalo Sabres got off to a good start to this season with a convincing 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Victor Olofsson and Zemgus Girgensons each had a goal and an assist.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg made a career-high 46 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators opened a 3-0 lead in the first period and held off a third-period rally by the Leafs, who also lost goaltender Petr Mrazek with an apparent injury to his left leg late in the second period.


OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, they finally signed Brady Tkachuk after he missed all of training camp and their season-opener. The 22-year-old left winger agreed to a seven-year, $57.5 million contract. The annual average value is over $8.33 million for this season, followed by an AAV of $8.205 million for the remainder of the deal. It also pays him $10.5 million in actual salary during the third, fourth and fifth seasons of the deal, and includes a full no-movement clause in the final three seasons. There are no signing bonuses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a significant signing for the Senators, getting one of their best forwards under a long-term deal without ponying up any money upfront in each season. It’s still a good deal for the winger, making him the club’s highest-paid player in terms of annual average salary.

The Tkachuk camp had reportedly sought a three-year deal but general manager Pierre Dorion said what impressed him was the winger’s desire to stay in Ottawa for the long term. This move sends a positive message to the club’s long-suffering fans that they can retain their best young players.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL approved the Montreal Canadiens’ request to place Shea Weber on long-term injury reserve. The league will continue monitoring the defenseman’s health and injuries but he legitimately cannot play right now. This move also allows the Canadiens to activate Carey Price when the goaltender returns from the league’s player assistance program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cynics believe Weber could return to the Canadiens’ lineup in time for the 2022 playoffs when his cap hit no longer applies. While that’s possible, everything I’ve heard and read coming out of Montreal suggests it’s also unlikely. Weber is reportedly recovering from three different injuries (knee, ankle, thumb) that could bring his career to an end.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog received a two-game suspension from the league’s department of player safety for boarding Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach on Wednesday.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Emil Bemstrom is out four-to-six weeks with a left oblique strain suffered during practice on Tuesday.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals claimed defenseman Dennis Cholowski off waivers from the Kraken.

SPORTSNET: According to Sportico, the Toronto Maple Leafs has the highest value of all NHL franchises. The New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins round out the top five. In last place are the Arizona Coyotes.



  1. Sens showed very well last night, we’ll earned V

    Can’t believe NHL put out the position that “as at now” we are not challenging the Weber LTIR…. That’s like saying…. we know he’s lying, we just can’t prove it yet…. He’s dealing with 3 different body ailments that he has to recover from… and there is a fair chance that he may have played his last NHL game…. Give me a break Dailey

    Yep… Uber “Wild one”…Wings/Bolts… love high scoring games

    • Pengy,

      Don’t you think this tied to the NHL not questioning the injuries as much as wanting to push retirement ?

      The penalty to Nashville would be prohibitive and would be quite the broadside to any team manipulating the CBA that Bettman has a long memory.

      LTIR being accepted or not has an impact on any Montreal/Nashville handling of the contract.

      • I think Philly should be involved in any recapture penalty. They are the ones who originally offered that contract to Webber. That put Nashville between a rock and a hard place. Just my opinion.

      • Im not Pengaroo, but I Agree with you.

      • Is there a downside for Weber being on LTIR until his contract expires? Is it better for Weber to retire instead?

        If not then what is this push to have Weber retired as vengeance from Bettman? I can’t stand Bettman but it’s a little much to think that this now is part of his agenda. Surely the more valid reason for the NHL watching this situation is in anticipation of the Habs’ pulling a Kucherov.

        As long as being on LTIR doesn’t penalize Weber financially I can see him wanting to stay there to help the Habs’ cap problems.

      • LJ, Weber’s contract was signed before the CBA put a maximum length and a maximum gap between the highest paid season to the lowest paid season. It’s a 14 year contract with the first 4 years he was making $14 million and the last three years making $1 million. In the CBA it was stated that if the players with these types of contracts (Weber and Luongo) retire the teams that signed the contracts and any other team that they played for will get recapture penalties for cap circumvention. So if Weber ends his career on LTIR neither Nashville or Montreal will receive recapture penalties. If he retires than Nashville and Montreal will receive repature penalties like Vancouver and Florida did when Luongo retired. that is why the NHL is looking at this situation closely.

      • Thanks, Kevjam, but that is not the answer to the question I am asking, which is:

        What is better financially for Weber: staying on LTIR, or retiring.

        Habfan30 says the NHL is pushing for Weber to retire, not that I think that makes any sense at all. Or that I expect him to actually answer any question put to him. At least, an answer to the actual question as opposed to some dismissive missive.

        So if you or others don’t know we can just leave this as a comment that was dead on arrival.

      • Sorry. I think staying on LTIR is better for Weber as he still collects his paycheque. If he retires he gives up his paycheque.

    • Weber is done playing. I’ve long said that he would not be playing in any event following the 2022-23 season. This season, his actual salary is $6m. Next season, it goes down to $3m. Then it’s $1m. for the final three years of the deal. I don’t believe he ever intended to play those final three years. It was done to lower the contract’s cap hit.

      • There is nothing in Weber’s actions or demeanor to suggest that he had no intention of playing out his contract.

        In fact the league is full of players who used to earn millions and continue to sign contracts near and under $1 million eg. Perry and Perreault.

  2. Sens showed very well last night, we’ll earned V

    Can’t believe NHL put out the position that “as at now” we are not challenging the Weber LTIR…. That’s like saying…. we know he’s lying, we just can’t prove it yet…. He’s dealing with 3 different body ailments that he has to recover from… and there is a fair chance that he may have played his last NHL game…. Give me a break Dailey

    Yep… Uber “Wild one”…Wings/Bolts… love high scoring games

    • Déjà vu all over again

      • Pengy, over the first 2 periods Mrazek kept the Leafs within striking distance before he injured himself near the end of the 2nd, The score could have been 5-0.

        Then, as is seemingly always the case with many teams, the Sens decided to play Katy-Bar-The-Door hockey in the 3rd and let the Leafs come to them. Which they did with a vengeance. And this time it was Forsberg’s turn to shine.

        As far as I’m concerned Mrazek and Forsberg were the stars of the game.

        If the former is out for a while with a hamstring (that’s what it looked like), who becomes the back-up?

      • My guess would be the veteran Hutchinson. And whatever happened with Ho-Sang? At CapFriendly they don’t show him at all anywhere in the system. Did they offer him a contract?

      • They gave Ho Sang a minor league contract George. That way he didn’t have to pass through waivers. If they call him up they will need to sign him to an NHL contract.

      • Thanks WhatTheHeck … so, if he’s playing under that contract with the Marlies I wonder why they don’t show him at CapFriendly?

    • TGIF

  3. Yesterday there was some speculation that, if inserted too soon into game action, Tkachuk could be a candidate for the dreaded groin injury. In his column this morning, Garrioch reports

    “D.J.and I are going to sit down on this one. We all want him in the lineup. We’re all excited, but on this one we have to be prudent,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said. “We’ll have a better idea after a day of skating. Let’s see how he is (Friday), and then we’ll make a decision.

    We don’t want a player getting injured just because we rushed him into the lineup.”

  4. Great to see 40-year-old Craig Anderson stop 30 of 31 shots last night for Buffalo in that win over the Habs.

    • Instead of Sam Montembeault we need Ricardo Montalban from Fantasy Island fame. Boss da plane!!
      Maybe a healthy Carey will fulfill our fantasy.

      • LOL. I didn’t mean that as a crack at the Habs … just that I always liked Anderson’s approach to the game – a consummate pro who works very hard to keep fit and, when he gets in a game, you may be sure he won’t be allowing “soft” goals.

        As for last night, the Habs didn’t do much to help out Montembeault, allowing the Sabres to fire 36 shots at him – many of them quality scoring chances.

      • Montembeault hasn’t looked good in any of his appearances, but what does one expect of someone with an .890 career save %?

        That said, he had zero help from his teammates last night.

      • Agreed. To steal a line from Torts – “they sucked from head to toe”

      • I see the Habs have placed Brooks on waivers just days after plucking him off waivers from Toronto. Be interesting to see if someone else claims him now.

  5. McAvoy deal is done. 8×9.5

    • Seems like the going rate SOP, kind of made it an easy negotiation I would think.
      Glad they have him for the max 8 yrs.

      • Ray
        Knowing that you are a bruins fan , who lives in Edmonton and also likes the oilers . Who do you take , Darnell or Charlie.
        I love both guys , would take either , just curious on your take, I lean to Darnell because I’ve watched him more and think he has a positive impact in more areas of the game but it’s a close one

      • I am biased the other way Craig, because B’s fan, but really like Nurse. He would make a great Bruin!
        My take:
        Nurse bigger with toughness and has a little snap in him, but Charlie plays hard too and battles and isn’t small. Charlie is an elite skater IMO, but Nurse moves really well for a big guy and can motor.
        Offence? Nurse get more PP minutes on the best PP in the league but Charlie seems more natural with the puck on his stick and has great IQ. Nurse has started to score goals which is great for the Oil and no longer speeds up when he enters O zone, which he used to.

        Really flippin’ close after you made me think about it.

      • I have no skin in this game, but honestly I take Mcavoy over Nurse.

        Here’s where it even gets more interesting. I’d take Mcavoy over the other big name d signings this year. Hamilton, Jones, and Werenski probably even Makar. I know a lot will disagree.

        Fantastic signing for the B’s imo. My only concern going forward is the erosion of the team around him. But if the B’s play their cards right, they can still maximize his prime years by rebuilding/ retooling around him.

      • Ray, it’s the other way around. McAvoy lead the Bruins defenseman in power play time last season. Barrie is the lowen d-man on the Oilers first power play, with Nurse on the second unit.
        What surprised me is that McAvoy is also on the Bruins first pk unit.
        I’m an Oilers fan with a liking for the Bruins, so I will pick Nurse. The guy has improved his game every season he has been in the NHL. He lead all defenseman in 5on5 goals last season. However I wouldn’t say no to having McAvoy on my team.
        It sucks that McAvoy is American and Nurse is Canadian. So we won’t be able to see them as a pairing in the Olympics.

      • Hey KevJam, your right about Nurse.
        Charlie got more 1st PP minutes when Grzelcyk go hurt last year, so ya went up. Grz still more per game.
        I would like to see Charlie on 1st unit right off the bat this year. We’ll see, maybe both will with Krecji gone.

  6. Not saying this because of LA’s thumping of VEG last night but the Kings are an interesting team.
    Gotta think VEG and EDM get 2 of the top 3 spots in that division, but after that pretty wide open.

    I like what LA has done over the last few years. Solid vets at key positions and should have tending. Plenty of young talent on the way, maybe this year.
    D not very deep, but either is the Pacific Div.

    I think they battle VCR for that 3rd spot, am I way off with that?

    • And young Byfield should be back soon from his injury.

      • Actually, not “soon” but rather at some point in the season.

      • Likely back before Christmas, probably closer to the start of December. Which is too bad as he had a great camp for LA. They were really excited to see what he could do.

    • I believe the Knights and Oilers will be the top 2 teams on the Pacific. Canucks, Flames, Kings, and Kraken will be fighting for that third spot. The two wild card spots will be Central teams.

    • Not at all, Ray. I see them anywhere from 3rd to 6th. They will be a contender again soon. I expect the Flames to wash out. Treveling off to dad’s Boston Pizza empire. Sutter to ride off to the family ranch and an extreme makeover (teardown?) in the offseason. Canucks, Kraken and Kings to battle for 3-4-5 spots

      • Swamp Dragon, not trying to be confrontational, but isn’t that kind of what I said?
        I said LA battles VCR for 3rd spot, you included the Kraken and suggest 3-4-5.
        Unless you meant something else by “not at all”.

        I have no idea how good the Kraken will be seem kind of meh to me.
        Agree 100% on the Flames having a tough go.
        Sellers at the TDL. I think the Trelivings own Mr. Lubes as well he could run that franchise for Pops.

      • Well Sparky, they will be a Torts kinda team.
        Physical, D first other than the fist line.
        Sutter will tighten them up and they got bigger.

        I just don’t know where enough goals come from.

    • No, your not wrong in that assessment, Ray. Given their additions throughout the lineup, I have the Kings fighting for the last playoff spot too. But if I was to have a gun to my head, Id say they just miss.

      The X factor for them is how much the young guys coming up can contribute. The vets are proven and showed it again last night.

      For the first time in a long time, Im excited about what I see on the ice.

  7. So is the chuck signing a sign that the era of players signing team friendly contracts to play for Boston is over? Or is it an outlier? Be interesting to see what happens

    • Bergevin may go with a hometown discount given his age but I would bet Pastrnak will be looking to cash in when he is due in 2 years. B’s were lucky to sign Bergevin , Pasta and Marchand for what they did.

      • Bergeron not Bergevin

    • Chris what?

      Lyle, how is Tkchuck at $8m+ per year a good signing….I’m confused because William Nylander is paid $6.9m and his contract was an overpay?
      Did one player have the team over a barrel more so than the other? It can’t be based on skill, talent, scoring…so it’s something else. Players like tkchuck making that money raises the bar when it comes to overpaying good but not great players.

      Also 7 years? Why not the eight? Is it harder to score another big payday if you’re 30 but 29 we can bulls#it how he’s still in his prime? And a guy who plays his style how much will his play regress (as it’s not even good enough to justify this current contract) look then especially if he becomes your captain.

      • Ron, I don’t recall saying Nylander’s contract was an overpayment. Compared to Matthews’ and Marner’s deal, it’s quite affordable.

        As for Tkachuk, I explained why it’s a good signing. Yes, you can make the argument that he’s not worth $8 million+ but I believe if he continues his trajectory he’ll end up being worth it. As is often the case with these type of deals, the team is paying for potential. It could blow in the Senators’ face but I don’t think so. He was on pace for a 55-point performance last season and was on pace for 49 points in 2019-20 and led them in scoring both years. On a deeper club, his offensive stats would’ve been higher. He also brings other aspects to his game, leading them in hits and sitting third over the last two seasons in takeaways. He’s emerged as a team leader who genuinely enjoys playing with his fellow young Senators.

        As for the term, I don’t know why they settled on seven years but it still assures Tkachuk remains under contract through his playing prime. Given his style of play, maybe his play will regress. Given he’s a chip off the old block (referring to father Keith), that might not be the case.

      • Lyle I was talking about in Dec when he finally signed paraphrasing at what was regarded as an over payment and what Dubas had to do to avoid missing the season. Still even back then, under $7m for a player who’s consistently been a 60pt player would be a steal…him doing that in his first three makes it all the better but that wasn’t the case here…perhaps we value different things differently. I like players that score, others like player full of intangibles.

  8. Montembeault played a decent game last night, made a few great saves, let one in he’d like back.
    He was hung out to dry again and given the low effort the night before they couldn’t be tired.
    The team hasn’t shown up across the board for some reason, time will tell.

    • They have very poor defensemen and started a poor goalie. The bottom six is nothing short of terrible. That’s the simple reason.