NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021
Marc-Andre Fleury reaches 500 career wins, Australian hockey pioneer Nathan Walker reaches a milestone, the sale of the Penguins is approved, the Canucks name Jim Rutherford as team president, the latest on the Coyotes’ arena saga & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury became the third goaltender in NHL history to reach the 500-win plateau as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Fleury made 30 saves for the shutout to join Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy in the 500-win club and sits 51 wins behind Roy for second place on the list. Jonathan Toews and Henrik Borgstrom scored for the Blackhawks. Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch for the Hawks.
Nathan Walker tallied his first career NHL hat trick as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The first Australian player to reach the NHL, Walker was playing his first game of this season after being recalled by the Blues on Wednesday. Blues fourth-string goalie Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves for the win. Robby Fabbri scored both goals for the Wings.
Steven Stamkos had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ondrej Palat also scored twice for the Bolts who won their fifth straight game. Tampa Bay forward Anthony Cirelli missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Lightning coach Jon Cooper became the fastest bench boss to reach 400 career NHL wins, doing so in his 659th game. Ondrej Kase scored two goals for the Leafs.
The Minnesota Wild extended their win streak to eight games by dropping the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Jordan Greenway scored twice, Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot kicked out 33 shots for the Wild, who sit atop the overall standings with 39 points. Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon returned to action after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.
Sebastian Aho scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes picked up a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Noah Hanifin scored for the Flames, who’ve lost three straight. The Hurricanes are on a three-game win streak.
The Boston Bruins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on a late third-period goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Linus Ullmark picked up the win with a 41-save effort. Leon Draisaitl potted both goals for the Oilers with Connor McDavid getting assists on both goals. Edmonton defenseman Cody Ceci returned to the lineup after being in isolation for the past nine days after testing positive for COVID-19.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Seattle Kraken. Kyle Connor scored twice for the Jets, who’ve won three of their last four contests.
Jonathan Quick made 27 stops for his 56th career shutout as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Dallas Stars 4-0. Kings forward Adrian Kempe netted his 11th goal of the season while Andreas Athanasiou scored in his first game after being in COVID protocol for the past six games.
A late goal by Eeli Tolvanen lifted the Nashville Predators over the New York Islanders 4-3. Predators forwards Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist. The Isles have lost 12 of their last 13 and still seek their first win in UBS Arena.
Anaheim Ducks goalie Josh Gibson made 33 saves to backstop his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Rickard Rakell tallied the winning goal in a shootout. The Ducks extended their points streak to six games.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The NHL board of governors yesterday voted to approve the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group. The deal is said to be in the range of $900 million.
THE ATHLETIC: The board of governors also approved the Respect Hockey program introduced by league executive Kim Davis to ensure its commitment to inclusion, diversity, safety and respect for its players and employees. Sheldon Kennedy and his Respect Hockey group will also be part of the initiative.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the result of the Chicago Blackhawks sex scandal in which two players alleged they were sexually abused by a former video coach in 2010. One of them, Kyle Beach, came forward with his story following an independent investigation that reveals efforts by senior Blackhawks officials to cover up the allegations.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also present the board of governors with a presentation on the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the league. Daly didn’t rule out the possibility of enhanced protocols beyond what the league is doing now.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday announced they have paid off their outstanding tax debt of $1.4 million to the Arizona Department of Revenue. This came after the City of Glendale threatened to lock the team out of Gila River Arena if the debt wasn’t paid by Dec. 20.
SPORTSNET: Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports reports the Coyotes still owe the arena operator over $2.7 million in unpaid rent and other expenses. The team will receive a timetable for future payments.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This saga just keeps rolling on, raising concerns about the Coyotes ownership’s ability to meet its financial obligations. The club’s situation will reportedly be discussed during Day 2 of the NHL board of governors meeting on Friday.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday announced Jim Rutherford has been hired as their new president of hockey operations. He will also serve as interim general manager while a full-time replacement is ongoing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, guiding both clubs to Stanley Cup championships. He also developed a reputation as a wheeler-dealer, though those moves sometimes came at the expense of each club’s prospect depth. It’ll be interesting to see how well he works with whoever becomes the next general manager of the Canucks.
TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens could have a new general manager in place by early January.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The front-runners are believed to be Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere. Darche is director of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning while Briere runs the day-to-day operations of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.
THE PHILADEPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers placed forward Joel Farabee (shoulder) on injured reserve.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (upper-body) has been placed on injured reserve as he sees a specialist regarding treatment for his injury.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Kurtis Gabriel to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Chad Krys. Both are currently playing in the AHL.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame formally welcomed its 2020 and 2021 inductees yesterday. Former NHL player Tony Granato was part of the class of 2020. Former NHL player and former Philadelphia Flyers executive Paul Holmgren, former NHL player and current broadcaster Peter McNab and long-time hockey writer Stan Fischler were members of the class of 2021.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to everyone on their inductions.