NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021

by | Dec 10, 2021 | News, NHL | 14 comments

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.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

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.


  1. I’d like to see Darche as GM and Briere as Assistant GM. Darche has the NHL management experience that Briere lacks and is more ready for the job. Serving as his assistant would better prepare Briere to become a GM himself one day.

  2. I looked up at the sky this morning and the ceiling is pretty high.

  3. Maf definitely will beat out Roy. How far till Marty?

    Congrats couver. You are now certain to get a cup soon.

  4. Congrats to the Flower… 500 Ws (and done with a shutout to boot!)

    Condolences to ‘Nucks and ‘Nucks fans (HexBurkie needs to call Jimbo right away to see if Jimbo will do a straight up Bo/Zucker flip… LOL). Say goodbye to picking in round 1 for a 1/2 decade.

    Watched Leafs/Bolts and Bruins/Oil games last night….

    Bruins posters here… some of you have been complaining about goaltending …. He was great last night… that win , IMHO, was on his back

    The Kucherless Bolts are an excellent team….. danger danger Will Roger when he returns. I see Raddysh and Katchouk finally getting their NHL shots…. Raddysh looked very good IMHO

    Re Yotes…. Board of Govs… please approve sale and relo…. To anybody anywhere

    There are one or two in the media that try to lay the blame of failure on the franchise and it’s ownership and management. They have certainly exacerbated the problem; but an NHL franchise in Phoenix has not , is not , nor IMVHO (and almost all economic forecasting authorities) not going to work in the future. Approve a sale and relo (min of $300 M) …. takes a franchise from seriously draining from HRR to contributing (in a big way)…. Making all owners richer; league Revs rising (Cap increases.. players gain)

    I get that my repeated stance on this relo/sale has me coming across as Scrooge (and not caring about the current fans in Phoenix). I certainly am aware and humbly apologize to them.

    That said; the NHL is a business , and major decisions should always be with on the NHL as a whole , with the Lens of the current situation and more importantly for the future.

    With that (required lens and focus)… moving the franchise is an absolute MUST. Keeping the franchise there…. Does keep their current fans appeased but is massively at the expense of 31 other sites owners; the league as a whole; and the (at a minimum) expense of at least 3 fold # of “new” fans in a “new” city.

    Gary… your job is to get the best out of (now and the future) the NHL as a whole…. Keeping the franchise in Phoenix fails this mandate grossly

    Apologies out to the Yotes fans…just a businessman being brutally candid

    • Moving them only helps for the now and the immediate future. Long term for the nhl it’s not great.

      • Maybe not even any time soon, Chrisms.

        I see a lot of businessmen conducting their business out on the street, tin cup in hand.

        The NHL is a booming business, says Forbes, and its grateful team owners aren’t about to kick a successful businessman like Gary Bettman out onto the street and tell him to go rattle coins in a tin cup. They know that he knows what his critics don’t know.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Actually moving from Phoenix is helpful not only short and mid term; but long term…. And in a massive way

        Bettman has all this information at his fingertips; he’s been repeatedly advised re short, mid, and long term huge (H U G E) gains for the NHL for a relo from Phoenix to more than 6 cities…. The biggest boon of course would be a 2nd team in Toronto . Other cities that would mark a massive gain for the NHL include Houston, Portland QC, Baltimore, Hamilton

        Again… I know it sounds like I’m blind to the concerns and interests of the current and any potential future Yotes fans; but the NHL is a business, and keeping a franchise in Phoenix has hurt the NHL for years; is hurting the NHL; will hurt the NHL near and long term

        Bettman can save face by allowing a sale and relo to Houston (as he won’t do the far more lucrative near/mid/long term move to an 8th Canadian franchise). He still gets his way (no more Canadian franchises) and will get a big win with a team in Houston

        Again, I know this is upsetting from a personal standpoint….. but the massive (and they are massive) gains from a relo out of Phoenix absolutely dwarf the negative impacts on the current and future fans of Yotes as well as the middling eco spin-off that an NHL franchise has on Phoenix

        Yes… people in Phoenix will lose jobs. Yes heartache

        But the overall upside to the relo is so massive in nature… the decision is easy

        Put another way in broader economic terms…. Even though people would lose jobs in Phoenix and Phoenix economy gets a slight blip down….. the overall gain (massive) albeit in another American city …. actually (in terms of just the overall US economy) … is a gain in jobs…. now, near future , limping term ; and in the overall economy … now, near term and long term

        The NHL gains now, near future, long term

        The owners get richer now , near term , long term

        The players (Cap would increase short, mid, long term due to big uptick in HRR) would get more

        They (the franchise) have remained in Phoenix not for economic reasons; not for local concerns; not in the hopes of turning things around.

        They have remained there because of one man

      • So the owners who employ the man are just saying to each other… “gee willickers… we know we could bank more money if lean on this dude to move that team… but! We feel sorry he gets booed handing out the cup. Let him have his little pet project “.

        It has to do with long term growth of the game. Expansion to Canadian markets does nothing for that as the market is saturated. It wouldn’t be terrible to move to another large us market like Houston. But beyond a few years of the newness factor if the team sucks interest will dwindle. Arizona is a large market. It needs one or both of a winning team and a superstar player to jump it. Same as any other new city they would move to.

      • Chrisms–Reasoning with someone who frenetically proselytizes but refers only to 26-year-old projections and models as support for his case is like trying to train a rabid dog. There’s always a last-place finisher, but only yesterday Forbes magazine reported that the value of the Coyotes had gone up 40-percent since last year, in spite of COVID. That doesn’t happen to a business that should fold up its tent.

      • Hi Chrisms

        We agree to disagree…. It’s what this site is all about

        The current eco models (not the 26 year old ones Francis was referring to)…. Show the massive benefit of a relo and the dire outlook for the franchise (and continued negative impact to NHL overall) if it remains where it is

        I get your defence of the “local” fans in Phoenix…. It is honest and heartfelt. I am not blind to their concerns

        However …. The NHL is a business and a brand…. Both grow tremendously with a move

        It’s a big picture; long term thing

        Re Bettman…. I’m not sure if you saw him today…. He actually defended the franchise; and laid blame on the City… inferring that they (City) had an agenda…. The Yotes had defaulted on large payments and were in arrears on others…. How was this the City’s fault?

        Re owners and power…. It’s not 32…. As Lyle pointed out a couple of months ago…. 8 owners (per Bettman contract) have power over 24

        Bettman is extremely close (personally) to 6 or 7…, they’ll never go against him no matter what….he only has to ever worry about convincing just 1 or 2 of the remaining 25 or 26 owners

        Houston is the third best (relo) financial and growth option (immediate, mid and long term)

  5. MAF got a standing O at the end of the game from the crowd at the Bell Centre, a number of Hab players stick tapping him.

  6. Lyle, regarding the sale of the Pens to Fenway…I thought I heard they had discussed a merger of some sort with MLSE prior to the announcement.

    Have you heard anything from any of your channels?

  7. Fans in Vancouver are about to see what many fans in other cities only hope to see–someone unafraid to sort the seeds from the chaff and turn suspects and prospects into winners. Though so many GMs compete for a single Cup, Rutherford has separated himself from the pack, keeping Pittsburgh at or near the top of the NHL standings every year of his tenure.

    It’s impossible, though, for a GM to consistently finish high and and consistently draft high. There’s a good reason for the lack of prospects on Rutherford’s clubs: low picks are less likely to become top-level players than high picks. Rutherford’s bold solution is to give up his average-at-best projections for pieces of known quality.

    Rutherford’s active strategy wins his teams Stanley Cups, while other teams keep waiting for it to happen. Some have waited for decades.