NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2021

by | Oct 9, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The Panthers signed Aleksander Barkov to a lucrative extension, more nations name their first players to their respective Olympic teams, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Mackenzie Blackwood & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers yesterday signed Aleksander Barkov to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension. The 26-year-old center will earn an annual average value of $10 million.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal is heavy with signing bonuses, starting at $11 million annually in the first three seasons, dropping to $10.6 million, $9 million, $7 million and finally $6.2 million in the final two seasons. Barkov also gets a full no-movement clause in the first eight seasons, becoming a modified no-trade for the final two seasons.

Barkov earned this contract as the Panthers’ captain and franchise player. He’s one of the NHL’s elite two-way forwards, earning the Selke Trophy last season. He’s crucial to their hopes of becoming a Stanley Cup contender.

TSN: More countries yesterday named their first players to their respective 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics mens’ hockey teams.

Russia (also known as the “Russian Olympic Committee” since they’re barred from competing under their country’s name and flag due to a doping scandal that has “banned” their athletes from international competition) named Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov and Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider joins Germany’s team.

Denmark named Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstrand and Seattle Kraken center Alexander True.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier, and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier were named to Switzerland’s squad.

Slovakia named Dallas Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera, Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and Vancouver Canucks goalie Jaroslav Halak to their roster.

Latvia added San Jose Sharks winger Rudolfs Balcers, Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kristians Rubins.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Speaking of Ovechkin, the Capitals captain will be re-evaluated for a lower-body injury suffered during Friday’s preseason contest with the Philadelphia Flyers.

THE ATHLETIC: Mackenzie Blackwood underwent two inconclusive COVID-19 tests on Thursday and Friday. The New Jersey Devils expected to know by Sunday whether their unvaccinated goaltender has contracted COVID for the second time.

If he tests positive on Sunday, he’ll be unavailable to the Devils for 14 days and ineligible to play or practice until Oct. 21. The Devils could also suspend him without pay during that period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood’s about to learn the consequences of being an unvaccinated player in the NHL. The league has implemented strict protocols to protect its players and staff and to avoid a repeat of the outbreaks last season that wreaked havoc on its schedule.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. It doesn’t necessarily mean he has the coronavirus but could instead be a close contact of someone who is infected. The Kraken recently announced all their players were fully vaccinated.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Max Domi could be returning to the Blue Jackets roster much sooner than expected. Told he’d require five months to recover from shoulder surgery in June, he could be in the lineup for their season-opener next week against the Arizona Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones is expected to miss six weeks with a left wrist strain.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian will be in concussion protocol for the next several days after striking his head on the ice during a fight with Vancouver Canucks forward Zack MacEwen on Thursday night.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins forward Curtis Lazar is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Auston Watson suffered an ankle injury during Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. There’s no timetable for his return.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators assistant coach Todd Richards could be back behind the bench for the club’s season-opener against the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 14. Richards suffered a heart attack on Oct. 1 and has been resting at home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s great news for Richards. Here’s hoping he continues making a full recovery.

NHL.COM: The Devils signed center Frederik Gauthier to a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche released forward Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout offer.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have approval from the Ontario government to host full capacity in their respective arenas for their home games this season.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes played only four preseason games instead of the mandatory six as per the CBA. However, they were among several teams granted an exemption this year due to the pandemic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A supposedly juicy aspect of this is the Montreal Canadiens apparently brought the number of Hurricanes’ preseason games to the attention of league officials. It’s something else that some observers believe could stoke the recent rivalry between the two clubs.


  1. I guess, the Montreal team has one member of the front office who has the job of watching what the Hurricanes do. Maybe, they should concentrate on their own team?

    • Montreal organization are a bunch a stoolies !

      • That is kindergarten stuff. Don’t you have a comment with some substance?

  2. Gmmb mismanaged his cap and then the team does this petty crap?


    • I’m hearing the League may have them forfeit KK. Rule 27.6 states ” A team must play an established amount of preseason games. Failure to do so results in forfeiting any accepted and signed offer sheets with the player returning to the organization that drafted him.”

      • Had me there for a second! Nice.

  3. Lyle re: “The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have approval from the Ontario government to host full capacity in their respective arenas for their home games this season” – the last I heard, in the province next door, the Quebec government as set a limit of 3,500. Is that still in effect?

    • Quebec has given permission for full house at the Bell Centre, double vax and masks.

    • Thanks. Although you have to wonder what the situation is in that mess out in Alberta where they’ve had to call in military and other provincial medical assistance.

      • The Oilers and Flames are also allowed to have full capacity for their games. No change in those plans.

      • Hi George, the feds sent Alberta 8 nurses from the military. Better than nothing I guess.

        Alberta has one of the youngest populations in Canada & unfortunately youth 18 to 29 appear to be the largest group that are unvaccinated.

        Not defending Kenney, but the military has helped out in eastern Canada as well.

  4. Carolina announced their pre-season schedule on July 19,

    Tuesday, Sept. 28: vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
    Friday, Oct. 1: at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
    Tuesday, Oct 5: vs. Nashville, 7 p.m.
    Saturday, Oct. 9: at Nashville, 4 p.m.

    lol, making a story where there isn’t one

  5. Regarding Kassian I think it’s the only time I ever saw a guy win a fight and get knocked out at the same time …

  6. Nhl.com has picked Vegas beating Toronto for the cup.

    Interesting the team from the east who I’m predicting to lose to Colorado for the cup. Is predicted not to make the playoffs.

    The New York Rangers.

    • That’s a hoot! As matters now stand, the Leafs are going into the season with a roster of 21. one of which is a backup-goalie on the bench. They couldn’t keep Robertson around because there’s not enough under the cap to do so.

      Their line combinations are projected to be:

      Ritchie – Matthews-Marner
      Kerfoot-Kampf-Kase (the KKK Line?)

      The extra F seems to be Engvall

      Their D pairings (no 7th D):


      THIS is going to get past Florida or Tampa, never mind the Islanders or Rangers according to NHL.com? Whose doing the predictions, The Three Stooges?

      • And the kkk line has a fellow named kampf. Yikes

      • I certainly hope no one has tried tagging him with the nickname Mein!

      • They project Ritchie with Matthews and Marner? He had trouble keeping up with Coyle and DeBrusk on the 3rd line last year. He’s a solid net front presence but lacks even average speed.

      • Good hands though Mike and not just for scrappin’.
        If he stays there he will get some goals.

        Kind of like it for the Leafs.

  7. I don’t get it there are some guys on this site are able to say what they want about me, but most of the time I respond you won’t post my response why? I don’t feel that’s fair.

    • Rick a few things…sometimes comments need no further comment, sometimes logic has no place here and lastly, don’t upset the hierarchy here. Comment, enjoy and ignore.

      • Ron I thought you were a monitor for this site if you are than I appreciate your comments but if you’re not keep your opinions to yourself and Mike do yourself a favour and go to take a nap the local highway I like to say a few other comments but I know they’ll never make it on here.

    • I for one happen to think you’re pretty special, Rick.

    • Nothing worse than a troll complaining he’s not being treated fairly. Your return is equal to your investment.

  8. At this point, who else wouldn’t mind seeing the Habs play the Canes in a series of back to back games.

    • I can still proudly wear my bunch of jerks t.