NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2021

by | Nov 2, 2021 | News, NHL | 28 comments

Commissioner Bettman publicly apologizes to Kyle Beach while attempting to defend the league’s disciplinary actions in the Blackhawks scandal, NHLPA votes for an independent investigation of its role in the scandal, the Rangers re-sign Adam Fox & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


TSN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman publicly apologized yesterday to Kyle Beach for what he endured since he alleged he was sexually assaulted by former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010 during a video conference call with the media.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman also defended the league fining the Blackhawks $2 million, allowing Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville to be behind the bench during last Wednesday’s game after the report was released regarding his role in the coverup (Quenneville stepped down as Panthers coach following a meeting with Bettman on Thursday), and absolving Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff for what the commissioner considered his minor role in the process.

Bettman said he felt Cheveldayoff, who was the Blackhawks assistant GM at the time, was a “minor player” in the affair who thought the allegations would be handled and properly resolved by his superiors. He believed Cheveldayoff wasn’t in a position to speak out because he didn’t have access to the information about the situation.

Reporters questioned Bettman about the Blackhawks’ fine when the league fined the New Jersey Devils $3 million for violating salary cap rules in signing Ilya Kovalchuk and in docking the Arizona Coyotes two draft picks last year for violation of the draft combine rules. “Different context, different facts,” Bettman replied.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That press conference was certainly not Bettman’s shining moment. He was roasted in the media and on social media for his responses and actions in dealing with this scandal. His answers were beyond disappointing.

Daily Faceoff’s Scott Burnside believes the league seems more concerned with rationalizing their criticized responses rather than having a frank and open discussion about the problems the scandal unveiled. The Athletic’s Sean Gentille felt Bettman’s goal was protecting the league, its owners and its money. “Doing the right thing…is somewhere down the list”, he wrote.

Gentille also took note of Bettman’s response when asked if the league would reach out to Sheldon Kennedy, a former player, sexual assault survivor and advocate against abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination in hockey. “Sheldon’s experience was not at the NHL level,” replied the commissioner. Kennedy told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun the league and the NHLPA has never reached out to him over his two decades of tireless work that has earned him several honors, including the Order of Canada.

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox summarized Bettman’s performance: “Manage the situation. Cloud it with lawyer-speak. Move forward.” He also reported deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league had closed its investigation of Bill Peters and had been in touch with the representatives of former player Akim Aliu, who was the victim of alleged racial taunts by Peters years ago. Aliu’s representative Ben Meiselas denied the league has contacted him.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported NHL players voted for an independent investigation by outside legal counsel in response to the NHLPA’s mishandling of the alleged sexual assault suffered by Beach. PA executive director Donald Fehr made the recommendation for the investigation. While Fehr is reportedly under fire for his handling of Beach’s allegations and concerns, Seravalli said there was little discord among the 80 players who took part in the call yesterday.


NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl had two goals and two assists as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Draisaitl (17 points) is tied for the scoring lead with Connor McDavid, who picked up an assist to extend his points streak to eight games.

Patrick Kane tallied a hat trick as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Ottawa Senators 5-1 to pick up their first win of the season. Jonathan Toews collected three assists and Brandon Hagel scored twice for the Blackhawks (1-7-2).

The Tampa Bay Lightning got 31 saves by Andrei Vasilevskiy to hold off the Washington Capitals 3-2. Anthony Cirelli had two points for the Lightning, who snapped the Capitals’ eight-game points streak.


NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed Adam Fox to a seven-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $9.5 million. Fox, 23, became just the second sophomore defenseman to win the Norris Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox left some money on the table. His Norris Trophy win last season gave him ample justification to seek over $10 million annually considering the $9 million AAV Cale Makar accepted this summer with the Colorado Avalanche.

This move ensures the Rangers have their best blueliner under contract through the prime years of his career. It also leaves the Blueshirts with a bit of a salary-cap crunch for next season. The Post indicates they’ll have about $11.6 million available under a projected $82.5 million cap for 2022-23. They’ll need to re-sign or replace second-line center (and pending UFA) Ryan Strome and backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Meanwhile, promising winger Kaapo Kakko is in the final season of his entry-level contract.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson, and Lightning winger Alex Killorn are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 31, 2021.

NBC SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson will be sidelined for about six weeks with a broken foot. The Golden Knights have already lost forward Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alex Tuch and Nolan Patrick to injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could affect the Golden Knights’ rumored trade talks with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi is quarantined in New York after a positive COVID-19 test.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi can’t catch a break. He returned sooner than expected from offseason shoulder surgery and from a fractured rib suffered earlier in the season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks added Kevin Labanc to the COVID-19 protocol list. Currently, seven Sharks players, including Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, are on the list along with head coach Bob Boughner.

It was a busy day for the Montreal Canadiens. They sent struggling winger Cole Caufield to the minors, announced defenseman Joel Edmundson suffered a setback in his recovery from an undisclosed injury and is 10 -14 days from returning, and learned Cedric Paquette received a two-game suspension for boarding Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield entered this season considered a favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year following his strong performance in the 2021 playoffs. He and his teammates have struggled to score thus far. The Habs are hoping the 20-year-old winger can regain his scoring touch with their AHL affiliate in Laval.

THE PROVINCE: Travis Hamonic has returned to the Vancouver Canucks lineup after missing training camp and the start of the season dealing with a personal issue. He’s expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the near future.


  1. What a disgrace, we did our due diligence now that matter is closed and time to move on.

    Arizona worked out some guys before the draft and forfeited their 1st round pick.

    The Blackhawks cover up a sex abuse (for 10yrs) in fear it might jeopardize their run for the cup. The receive a $2m dollar fine.

    Losing a 1st round pick is much more costly then a $2m fine.

    To me this says the league is still blinded because its a male sex abuse and they are still placing some blame on the victim because he is male and much bigger then the predator.

    Still have a long ways to go.

    • Agreed. That news conference was a complete joke, just like Bettman and how he didn’t handle a thing.

  2. “Different context, different facts,” Bettman replied.

    What does THAT have to do with it? The league can assess penalties – such as the loss of draft picks – as and where they see fit. THEY call the shots … so start acting like they’re serious about establishing effective deterrents against a repeat of this sort of thing.

    He looked and sounded just as wishy-washy as Kane and Toews.

    • I wonder if that is really what is going with the fine George.
      Bettman has authority to issue fines, penalties, etc, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t limited in scope.
      Yes he runs the NHL, but he also works for the guys that own it.

      Say he threatened them with a $10M (suggested amount by a caller on EDM TSN radio), and they say FU, not paying that much. What does he do? Taking Wirtz to court seems unlikely IMO. This may have been an ask as much as a tell.

      My guess is it is Wirtz that cares more about his money than this issue, vs Bettman.


      • Do it any way – put the ball in the owner’s court and if that is what transpires then all the attention is focused where it should be.

        But even if Bettman is limited as to fine amounts, he can still remove drafting rights and there the Wirtz’s of the world can’t say FU, we’re drafting anyway.

        Make the penalty fit the crime, Ray, and hurt them where it’ll hurt them the most. They had no problem doing it to Arizona and for an “infraction” that pales in comparison.

      • George, don’t disagree that the fine didn’t fit the crime, that seems unanimous amongst hockey fans and I am no different.
        My guess, and it is just a guess, is that perhaps Bettman doesn’t have authority with regards to things outside the normal operations of the league when it concerns the owners.
        Team breaks cap rules or draft rules, have at er, all teams agree. Team’s top management covers up a sexual assault may not fall into his level of authority with regards to fines or penalties.
        He works for them and doesn’t have unlimited authority over them or how they run their teams.

      • I guess what I’m saying is, do it anyway and do it publicly. That way he’s showing his utter disgust as League Commissioner. If Wirtz wants to challenge his authority he’d have to do it publicly and ALL the media attention then focuses squarely on him. Even if he wins the challenge he comes out looking bad.

      • That would show some courage George, and ethically it is hard to argue against what you’re saying.
        Bettman is a lawyer, and a good one, courageous and lawyer don’t often get used in the same sentence!
        No offence Howard.

  3. Congrats on Fox deal. I missed yesterday’s convo. Busy at work and went out for Giants MNF game (big mistake) never doubted he’d get big deal and would like to point out I never pushed for a bridge deal. Only suggested if they were going for Eichel that possibly they put off long term deal a year. A little surprised they didn’t do an 8 year deal to bring AAV down. As far as next years cap. Kakko hasn’t done anything to earn a huge raise. Rangers have been hit with bonus overages on their elc’s, so will offset Kakko raise by not having that penalty. Dead cap on buyouts comes down a mil next year and 3.4 mil the year after when they’re all off books. As far as Eichel, I still don’t see him getting moved without retention. Vegas has less players under contract next year than Rangers and less cap space. They also have less prospects to give. Really looks like Buffalo just don’t want him in NY.

    • Or maybe N.Y doesn’t want Jack Eichel for that asking Price.

    • Rangers sewed up someone who figures to be among the very best all-round dominant Ds for years to come.

    • Slick, what’s the deal with Kakko?
      In the NHL too soon?
      Not just because he is Finnish, but the situation seems similar. Shouldn’t have been in the league as an 18 year old. I am sure he doesn’t want to spend 20 games in the minors to work on his game away from the spotlight, but might be a good idea. Find his offensive confidence.

      Don’t know, but he isn’t producing offensive like one would expect of him. Maybe he just isn’t that player.

      What’s the scoop in this guy Slick?

      • Similar to Puljujarvi is what I wanted to say.

      • I think it’s a combination of being rushed and not having any significant time on Ny’s top 6 or pp. Also, Nys bottom 6 the last couple of years would make Mcdavid look ordinary.

        I think NY has rushed too many of these prospects. Miller, Chytil, Kakko, Laffrienere, and now Nils Lundqvist as well.

        Not sure why NY would rush this kids when the expectations of NYs success were low in a rebuild.

        Nils shouldn’t be a healthy scratch to Tinordi at this age. Either keep him in the lineup or send him down.

        As a matter of fact, nobody should be a healthy scratch to Tinordi. That guy is god awful! Paired with Nemeth only makes it worse.

      • I think Kakko has looked good this season. Missed a few games due to injury.
        I think expectations on a lot of players around league based on draft position has been unfair. Kids playing in a men’s league. Drafted at 18 years old.

      • Rangers treatment of kid forwards has been questionable for years. Especially when the offensive players really need ice time WITH other creative players. Laf and Kakko barely get a sniff on the powerplay where you see the Stuetzles etc get to get used to the NHL pace faster.

        If Laf was drafted by say Detroit I think now in his 2nd year he would be a point per game with being on the 1st PP unit etc

        Kakko looked like his footspeed was not ready at first but he can already be dominate downlow with the puck

      • Spending time in the minors or in a Euro league as a teenager never hurt anybody. When in doubt and they are in the first couple years of their ELC’s, there is no need to play them with the NHL club.
        Last couple years have been different with Covid and some leagues not playing, but Kakko could have gone home and played.

        Again, I don’t watch him enough to know, just my general thoughts on it, having watched a few teenagers struggle in EDM for a decade.

      • @Ray
        Yes kids need ice time. not 5-8 minutes per game watching mostly

        Its different when you need to bench a kid a bit to get them to be defensively responsible etc

  4. Bittman is an even bigger douche than I imagined.

    Listening to the Fan 590 yesterday. They were speaking about the players that were apparently taunting and making sexual remarks directed at Kyle Beach. My question to you fine folks(most of you) is, does Kyle name the players that participated or leave it be?

  5. I’ve been browsing Chicago’s main paper and see nothing on main page and almost nothing on the “sport” section.
    A lot about the Bears, some about Blackhawks games.
    The Bettman interview is a sidebar, in fact the entire Beach story appears as a sidebar, not front and centre.

    Any Chicago fans here who can shed light on how this situation is being taken over there?

  6. And now a suit against the Penguins organization for sexual assault that was Rut roh raggy!

    Looks like Guerin , Lemieux and co. May be joining Quenville and Bowman on the unemployment line soon.

    • Lemieux is a part owner of the team. If he did something wrong this is Betmans chance. I hope he didn’t and he’s just named in the suit because he’s one of the owners. Lemieux is my favorite player of all time.

      • I know he’s part owner, but I’m sure if he was aware he will no longer Nuer be part owner.

        If not, than the NHL shouldn’t hold coaches, gms and assistant gms to a different standard than an owner.

        But knowing the NHL, it wouldn’t shock me one bit.

        Loved Lemieux as a player. But if he was at all aware, he needs to go.

  7. Why does one feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more being left unsaid than we realize. This could turn into a real gong show.

  8. I was rooting for the Dens hard last night. Was really hoping the Hawks would go 0-82…

    • They played a stinker of a road game … and heard it from the coach. There’d better be an improved effort tonight or there could be roster changes. Thompson and Bernard-Docker are playing well in Belleville, as is Brannstrom. And get Watson in the line-up.

      • I really like Brannstrom

  9. The $2 million Chicago was fined should go to Beach as compensation. Then take away a first round pick.