NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

by | Nov 20, 2021 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The Avalanche thump the Kraken after signing coach Jared Bednar to a contract extension, the Canucks get a much-needed win, plus the latest injury and COVID updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Seattle Kraken 7-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Andre Burakovsky also tallied two goals for the Avalanche as they collected their fourth straight victory.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

The Avalanche also announced head coach Jared Bednar inked a two-year contract extension. He’s two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley’s team record for most wins (193) as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumor suggesting Bednar was on the hot seat following the Avs second-round elimination from the 2021 playoffs and their shaky start to this season. They’re climbing back up the Western Conference standings, sitting just outside of a wild-card berth.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 37 shots as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a five-game losing skid. Conor Garland scored what became the winning goal in the second period. The Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in the third period to make it interesting.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He will be monitored by the club’s medical staff and follow the protocols by the NHL and public health officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another hit for the reeling Canadiens in what’s becoming a season from hell for the Stanley Cup finalist.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will be sidelined until early-to-mid December with a broken finger and blueliner Slater Koekkoek will miss three to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the status of injured goaltender Mike Smith has relapsed from day-to-day to week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Nurse will be a big blow to the Oilers’ defense corp. Smith’s status will put more pressure on netminders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone in his right hand.

OTTAWA SUN: After five days without a positive COVID-19 test, the Senators are ready to emerge from quarantine and resume skating on Saturday. Their last three games were postponed as a result of a COVID outbreak but they’re scheduled to face off against the Avalanche in Denver on Monday. Eight of the 10 players who contracted the coronavirus will return to the ice today after completing their 10-day quarantine.

THE PROVINCE: The police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been handed over to crown prosecutors. The police will be waiting to hear if there will be charge approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: Quebec premier Francois Legault will be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the coming months with regards to bringing an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. The league has no plans for further expansion and there’s no indication an existing franchise will be relocated.

The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg a decade ago happened very quickly as the league had to find a new home for the Thrashers after their dysfunctional ownership couldn’t find investors willing to keep the club in Atlanta. Perhaps a similar situation takes place with another franchise but Quebec City hockey fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

TSN: Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes on Jan. 15. It won’t adversely affect the NHL or NBA as the percentage of unvaccinated players in both leagues is negligible.


  1. While the return of 8 of the 10 Covid players is welcome news for the Senators, unfortunately the 2 still out until at least the Anaheim or L.A. stops – Batherson and Zaitsev – are key ingredients. As for the rest, with just 2 days of skating and unable to fly into mile-high Denver until game day Monday, their legs just won’t be there and so they’re in for a thumping.

  2. Must be an election coming in Quebec.

  3. Sure like to see the Yotes head to la belle province. Just can’t see them surviving where they are much longer, especially with the team they have. Will take a long time for all those 2022 draft picks to be ready to play.

    • Hi Rock

      I’m with you

      I’d love to see QC get a franchise. The arena is spectacular ; sight lines fantastic; the city is itching for a return.

      Just like with Jets; a return to QC would mean sellouts and for quite a while. Those average ticket prices would be a great deal higher than in Arz; and of course a sellout compared to a vastly empty arena in the desert

      The logic is there. The want/need is there. It would massively turnaround a franchise

      That said… the biggest hurdle (in reality the truly only hurdle) is Bettman

      For this to happen; he’d have to admit he was wrong….. how many here think he’ll ever admit that?

      As soon as Bettman retires…. The door is wide open for QC

      As we found out from Lyle a couple of weeks ago…. 8 GMs (and there are 8 tight close friends with him) can overrule 24 and keep Bettman in power… absolutely ludicrous, butbtrue

      • There’ll be a team in Houston LONG before Quebec City gets even a sniff. Like it or not, THE biggest road block to a return there is the language issue which is way more prevalent in QC than in Montreal.

        That factor alone will make it difficult enough for the franchise to draw key UFAs – and retain their own – never mind having the highest combined taxes in the country. It could also see a repeat of the Lindros episode whereby top draft picks hesitate about going there.

        Add to that the issue of it being paramount that all management and coaching staff will have to be francophone (being bilingual won’t be enough), which will, of course, severely weaken the pool of choices (remember Pierre Pagé?)

        Not a comfortable topic of discussion (and, being bilingual, I LOVE QC and made my way there whenever I could) but it is what it is, and the last thing Bettman will want to see is politics and the game mixing.

      • Why would he admit he was wrong when he wasn’t?

      • The hurdle isn’t Bettman, or the language laws (which are provincial, not municipal) same goes for taxation, none of the supposed hardships have kept the Canadiens from being one of the wealthiest teams in the NHL.

        The roadblock is the lack of corporate availability and ability to finance a team.

        The fan base is rabid enough to support a team but there is no ownership with deep or willing pockets to make it happen.

        Quebec City is a government town without a corporate base to sponsor and fill luxury suites. (unlike Ottawa’s corporate base)

        MLB was successful in Montreal as long as there was ownership willing to support the team, the Expos drew massive crowds, players didn’t avoid Montreal on account of language or taxation. “Nos Amours” had the fanbase but not the ownership in the final years.

      • Exactly chrisms. The population of Quebec City is 832,000. That’s it.

        Larger cities in the U.S. without an NHL franchise include:

        Houston – 6,491,000
        Atlanta – 5,911,000
        Portland, Or – 2,174,000
        Kansas City, Mo – 1,698,000
        Milwaukee – 1,443,000
        New Orleans – 1,000,000

        I know Atlanta has had two kicks at the can – but there were a lot of factors in both instances that would be overcome by sound ownership, not to mention a lot of things have changed with regard to the game in general in the U.S. since then.

        What would be gained for the league as a whole by going back to a small center under 1 million rife with political overtones that would only hinder sound operation?

      • Hi George, Chrisms, HF30

        No matter what… a move to QC from Arz would massively increase League Revs.. H U G E revenue increases.

        Arz draws from league rev sharing; a new franchise in Quebec would sell out; TV rev goes up; cross province rivalry would increase merch sales substantially over that of Yotes. All models show a team in QC would also have an increased rev impact on Habs (viewership) just due to cross province rivalry

        Yes…. Corp. sponsorship is not as big as in some cities…. But certainly not barren… Quebecor (based in Montreal) , would IMVHO, still jump at the chance …. Note Videotron Centre

        Language…. Yes Some issues, but I certainly don’t see it stopping any bid; in no way prohibitive.

        It IS stopped by Bettman. He has full control. He stopped bids for Hamilton, GTA, Kitchener/Waterloo; QC/PQ

        He won’t admit he’s wrong…. And yes Chrisms he IS wrong. The original move there (Phoenix) may have been a reasonable risk at the time; it didn’t pan out ; and that franchise loses money (sucking Revs from pooled NHL to stay afloat) every year. There is absolutely zero logic for maintaining a franchise there

        This franchise should have moved to ANY other city years and years ago. It makes zero sense to keep it there. The hold on the move does lie with Bettman

        Any new commissioner (ANY) would read the repeated economic reviews and outlook forecasts for the franchise staying; and would call for and allow it’s relo post haste

        Quote from Ken MacMillan (Times-Herald Record): “Also, most importantly, in Gary Bettman’s time as Commissioner of the NHL, we have seen him bend over backwards to keep franchises in non traditional hockey markets. “

        It is not the size of a city by population; it’s the size of the potential NHL fan market in the area. Phoenix is massively bigger in overall pop to QC, but has less NHL and hockey fans

        Agree, that Houston is the more likely destination if somehow Gary wakes up…. That is a good market; but Gary would take that over QC no matter what. No matter what!!! He does not want another Canadian franchise

        He has repeatedly been shown the economics of another team in the GTA that shows not only a sellout for several years (note at top dollar average seat prices); but a massive source of revenue in TV and Merchandise ; a massive increase in league HRR; AND the models have shown not only no loss to Leafs; but in fact a projected increase in Leaf TV viewership and overall Revs just due to the home-town rivalry

        The NHL could ask for (and likely get) close to $800 M to $1B expansion fee from another GTA team (Seattle paid $650 M)

        Gary refuses to consider it

        Put another way (so I don’t sound so much Canadian-centric)….

        Moving Yotes to Houston, KC, Portland; San Jose; Baltimore or even Indianapolis , all would have dramatic rise in revenues for the franchise….. all would increase NHL HRR dramatically ….Gary repeatedly says NO

      • He’s not wrong and his growth of the nhl in his tenure proves it. The temptation to get immediate revenue growth has been avoided, thankfully, by bettman. He is playing the long game and that is growing the league fan base in non traditional markets. It also grows the talent pool… prime example being mathews. You gain little to no new fans placing a team in Quebec (or essentially any Canadian market) You certainly don’t grow your talent base as those kids are already entrenched in playing hockey. I could get behind the idea of another us city like Houston but only if the yotes actually build a good team and the area still doesn’t fully embrace.

        Sorry pengy. Bettman is still right to give the situation more time.

      • Well, Pengy, clearly there are widely differences of opinion when it comes to whether or not the language issue would have a major impact on the overall operation of a franchise in Quebec City.

        I simply look at the undeniable fact that, when it comes to top-of-the-line UFAs from Anglophone backgrounds in Canada and the U.S. and, to a lesser degree, from some European centres, deciding between offers from Quebec City and several other sites, the former would take a back seat from two main viewpoints – taxes and the question of moving a mainly anglophone family to a place where their language is officially relegated to virtual non-existence.

        I get why why chose that road, but in doing so they’ve pretty much shut the door on the acquisition of a major pro sports franchise.

        In your opinion the effect would be negligible – in mine it would have a profound adverse effect.

        Bettman’s job is to foster the sport and clearly his best route to that – if there’s to be further expansion or franchise moves – is to stay with U.S. locations.

        It’s not surprising that there is just one franchise in each of MLB and the NBA in Canada and 0 in the NFL – with little or no chance that we’ll ever see one of those in Toronto despite open salivation to the contrary. None of the foregoing need another Canadian location to foster their game. It is what it is.

      • Pengy,
        Corporate sponsorship doesn’t exist in Quebec City and Quebecorp, Peladau is a vulture in Quebec who has had political ambitions (failed)

        The “Videotron Centre” was given to Peladeau, no bidding and no cost.

        Your enthusiasm is noted but it isn’t shared by the business community or it would have stepped up at some point.

        Times have changed politically but even in those Nationalist days the team wasn’t selling out.

        If Bettman saw Quebec City as a profit centre, as a generator of TV revenue he’d jump at it, and for a “guy who won’t admit he’s wrong”, the owners love what he has done to expand the league’s profit, attendance, tv deals, growth in the USA

      • Hi George, Chrisms, HF30

        We agree to disagree… all good, that is what this site is about

        Bettman’s job is to maximize revenues (and from that profits) for the league (owners)

        By keeping Yotes in Arz, he is actually doing the opposite

        I cede that Houston is more likely to get a team than QC, but that decision above all, rests with Bettman

        Remember… Bettman won’t allow another GTA franchise that would automatically have 32 owners each gaining a minimum of $25 M in expansion fees; and then all of them gaining in the massive increase in League Revs

        Has the NHL increased Revs over Bettman’s tenure…yep…. So has every other major sport.

        He refuses to move on from the greater Phoenix area

        It was an experiment. It was risky, but may have paid off. It didn’t. It annually bleeds loses and is a drain on the shared NHL rev pool

        He could allow it to move to 10 other cities (some of which I have named) including Houston and QC…. but he won’t

        He won’t because he just won’t admit that his experiment failed. It did, and did badly

        I get the grow the game and interest…. it is not working in Phoenix

        Yes one player (top 5 or 6 player in the NHL), and maybe some in the future.

        We can’t use others born there like Coutourier , or Tage Thompson, or Tkachuck bros…. Their interest and learning of hockey had zero to do with their place of birth

        Time will tell on Boucher and Josh Doan

        Again my point is strictly from a business look/viewpoint…. Keeping an NHL franchise in Arizona, is losing money for the league, has been losing, is losing, and will lose. Moving the franchise to any one of 10 cities…. Increases league Revs and profits, makes 32 owners happy, grows the game…. It has not happened solely due to one man

        The other point is that raw population within driving distance of the arena does not mean success…. Had that been the case the NHL would have put a franchise in North America’s largest city…. And that won’t happen…. 22 million people… but how many would watch/go to a hockey game

        I have a great deal of confidence that a franchise in QC would work; but regardless of beliefs…. I cede your issues/concerns…. Regardless… Yotes in QC would improve the league overall and by a lot

        Set that aside…. Just try and convince Bettman to allow Yotes to go to Houston…. He won’t

        Again, we agree to disagree on this … just what this site is for

        The 4 of us hail from 4 different cities, are different ages, and possibly different heritages . I know George is a retired civil servant, Chrisms boldly on the front in the medical field; I’m a business owner. Not sure of your work background HF30.

        Just 4 guys, who love hockey, with differing opinions . All good

        Yes, no guessing needed on my bias. I’m not a Gary fan

        I’ve actually never met one. That’s not a joke. I actually have never met one.

        I know there are some out there….Chrisms likes him and probably some of his friends. Perhaps George or HF30 like him or have friends who do.

        Set my bias aside… Yotes are draining from NHL HRR…. move anywhere… 32 owners gain…. gedderdone !,!

      • Nice post pengy. We do absolutely disagree. On most of it at least. One of my biggest issues is the utter gut punch a team leaving a city means and how callously people can present that. I say that knowing I’m a hypocrite in many of my historical posts. I lived through the fear of my team moving…even though I never believed the pens would. And I was an adult. I feel so bad for those 4-14 year olds in Arizona that have to believe their team… and remember what that means to a kid that age…. Would get moved.

        It’s a terrible reality in sports.

        I believe it n bettmans plan. It’s working. I sincerely hope Arizona works. If not it will be a sad day.

  4. Curious timing to Bednar’s extension, I would have canned him after the playoffs …

    • Good for Coach Bednar, the problem at times is between the ears of the players IMHO! The Avalanche when they pay attention to details are well oiled machine. They get in trouble when they take game for granted, especially the defensive responsibilities! GO AVS!!!

  5. Finally it’s game day for the Bruins!!

    Last game was Sunday, hard to keep any flow going.

    End of the season the play almost every 2nd night.

    • With ya there Caper. Would rather have the light schedule at the end of the year, than the beginning.

  6. I live in Houston. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles to the NHL moving here. The Toyota Center is controlled by the Houston Rockets. They don’t want the competition and figure they can make more with 40 other presentations during the year. The arena itself is not well suited for hockey. Not as bad as the Barclay Center but compared to some of the other new arenas…

    • Cliff, money talks and if push comes to shove the Rockets will come around. Maybe even a new arena. They did it in Seattle. Imagine the Dallas-Houston rivalry!

      • In this neck of the woods NBA money trumps NHL money. The owner of the Rockets, who is a billionaire, would have to own the NHL team to make it work since he controls the arena. If the economics and politics involved to make a team viable, the Coyotes would already be here. If the NHL was to place another team in Canada, it would be in Toronto.

  7. A chart published by The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, “Personal disposable income per capita,” shows that the average for Quebec is well below the average for Montreal, which is far below the averages of Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, with the average of all of these cities being greatly lower than that of Calgary.

    The population of Montreal is 1.7 million, Ottawa 1,407,928, Toronto 6,254,571. Vancouver 2,606,000, and Calgary1,581,000.

    If I’m thinking of moving a team to Quebec City, I’d have to ask myself how well its relatively poor population of 834,350 could support that team relative to teams in other Canadian cities. No matter how much its residents love hockey, their number limits potential growth, and their income limits potential spending. Ticket prices being what they are, I wonder how a Toronto native can afford to see a game and still feed his family.

  8. Could I just say the NHL would be better off with fewer teams rather than more?

    • Could you put that question to a hockey lover who lives in a city without a hockey team?

      • Nice. That attitude is so incestuous. I implore any individual to sacrifice their own team on that alter.

        So leafs fan…. You going to cut them off first?

  9. One has to look askance at somebody who tries to minimize Bettman’s contributions to hockey’s growth by saying that every major sport has seen increased revenue. Lest we forget, hockey is still a relatively minor sport in the U.s., and was even more so in 1993, when Bettman took office.

    Wayne Gretzky was paid $3,000,000 back then. What would he be worth now?

    Most players in the NHL were Canadian in 1993.. Most might still be if Bettman’s business acumen hadn’t told him that a largely untapped source of wealth was to be found in the U.S. like nowhere else.

    He’s still at work mining it.