NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

by | Dec 14, 2021 | News, NHL | 31 comments

COVID-19 outbreak forces postponement of three Flames games, the three stars of the week are revealed plus updates on Blake Wheeler, Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Three Flames games (including last night’s scheduled match against the Chicago Blackhawks) were postponed after six players (Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka) and one member of the training staff tested positive for COVID-19. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the players were doing well and asymptomatic but expressed concern for them and their families.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are the third team since mid-November to have games postponed because of COVID-19, joining the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. Future outbreaks among other clubs resulting in postponements could adversely affect the schedule. That could jeopardize NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out without suffering financial penalties.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Winter Olympics, several NHL stars have joined Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo expressing concern over the possibility of spending a lengthy period quarantined in Beijing should they test positive for COVID-19 during the Olympics.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs captain and potential Team Canada candidate John Tavares said he felt more uneasy about potentially going to Beijing than he did several weeks or months ago. Teammate Auston Matthews, who is already selected for Team USA, shared those concerns. Meanwhile, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said it would be an honor to be selected for Canada’s squad but he’d like more clarity about the COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states those who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for three to five weeks. There’s no word yet as to whether that will also apply to Olympic athletes from other countries. Clarification is expected in the coming weeks and could be a determining factor for some NHL stars selected to participate in the Winter Games.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt with some other NHL teams.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis entered COVID protocol yesterday. Defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are expected to rejoin the roster today after being sidelined since Nov. 28 by the coronavirus.

SPORTSNET: Christian Jaros joined New Jersey Devils teammates Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves in COVID protocol. Forward Yegor Sherangovich has not entered protocol but was withheld from practice yesterday for precautionary reasons.

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tyler Bertuzzi is rejoining the Red Wings after emerging from a 10-day COVID quarantine. The only unvaccinated player in the league, Bertuzzi isn’t reconsidering his position, saying he now has “natural immunity” from the coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control says unvaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it. Food for thought.

Speaking of the Red Wings, they signed Robby Fabbri to a three-year, $12 million contract extension. The annual average value is $4 million. The 25-year-old forward was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 12.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler will be sidelined for weeks with an apparent right-leg injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has returned to injured reserve after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. He returned to the lineup last Tuesday after missing eight games with a knee injury.

The Panthers also claimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Johansson likely means promising Spencer Knight could be heading to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Sergei Bobrovsky’s solid performance has limited Knight to just nine starts this season. There’s no fear of losing him to another club because he’s exempt from waivers.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman is listed as day-to-day but hasn’t been ruled out from tonight’s game against his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed goaltender Anton Khudobin on waivers yesterday. If he clears it’s expected he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin struggled this season and was a healthy scratch in several recent games as the club stuck with the tandem of Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Teams were reportedly interested in trading for him but wanted to see him play more games first. Sending him to the minors will allow him to get some games in while also clearing room for the Stars to recall another player if needed.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed David Perron, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on injured reserve, activated Tyler Bozak and Justin Faulk from COVID protocol, and recalled forward Alexei Toropchenko from their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

The Los Angeles Kings recently placed defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) on injured reserve


  1. Tyler Bertuzzi is in the wrong field. He should be in the medical field if he’s discovered natural immunity.

    We better just wait and see how that works out.

    • Just an FYI. Unless I’m reading it wrong, I think the comparison got garbled (“unvaccinated people are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it”). I assume the intended comparison is unvaccinated who have had Covid versus vaccinated.

    • Pretty clear now that vaccines don’t work or is everyone still blaming the unvaccinated. Read 4 people in NHL weren’t vaccinated yet lots have it seems like the scientists should stop gain of function work. Tyler could play on my team anytime love leaders not followers.

      • How is he a leader when he is just following the antivax crowd?

        Fortunately the data is abundantly clear they do work. The data on hospitalizations proves it. It’s irrefutable at this point.

      • You might want to start a breakaway league, Obe, strictly for leaders. There are several politicians who could play with you and Bertuzzi.
        Spectators restricted of course.

      • It’s weird that we still need to discuss this when the data is so obvious?

        Frankly I don’t give a crap what misinformed people do. If they want to not travel, or go to a restaurant, go ahead, stay home and do your Youtube and Facebook research, and the rest of us will get on with it.

        I’m past debating it, pointless, will get my booster Friday and enjoy my Xmas with family back home. Travel to the US in Feb for a vaca, go to the Oil v Leaf game tonight, where everybody will be vaccinated, and have beer(s) after in a bar, where everybody will also be vaccinated.

        Life is good for me and if I get it, it will be very mild, just like the Flames who had no symptoms yet. All my family and friends are also vaccinated, so good there as well.

        Life has to go on and now we have the tools to do it, if folks don’t want to use them, that is their choice but the rest of us shouldn’t have to wait for them.

    • Considering all the other players that have had it and were vaccinated, does it matter? Personal decision, like the flu shot. This idea that mass vaccination will make this go away is just not true. I am not an anti-vaxxer, I myself am vaccinated. Just tired of this false narrative and the shaming of those who stand up for what they believe.

  2. Rick Westhead reported he spoke with infectious disease Dr Andrew Morris.

    The Doc is predicting the Omicron cases doubling every 2-3 days. Estimates 10k daily cases in Ontario by the years end.

    Say Gov’t will have no choice but to close arenas to fans.

    If this is true i think you can say goodbye to the Olympics.

    • Hi Caper

      Saw the post (Westhead quoting Morris)…. Scary numbers and if true would for sure incite quick and seismic policy changes

      However I think the 10 K is hyperbole

      Ont hovering just north of 1,500 and rising quickly but not hyper exponentially

      Peak (all time) for Ont was around 4,800 (April) when basically only first responders ; danger pops and some 50+ had at least one shot

      Now Ontario is 88% fully vaxxed for those 12 and older

      I’m still paranoid and taking no chances…. spent an hour waiting on-line after booster booking opened up for 50+ yesterday

      Finally got through and the soonest my closest location still had left was New Years eve… so Mrs Pengy and I are booked for 6:30 New Years Eve… sucks… but doin’ it… not taking any chances

      Neither of us have traveled since the Pandemic started ; and won’t be until Spring minimum

      I didn’t go to any Leafs, Argos, Raptors, or Jays games this year; and probably won’t go to anything until next summer

      I’ve no underlying conditions; nor has Mrs. Pengy…. Just not taking any chances

      BTW … congrats to Bombers…. Exciting 4th and OT

      • I hear ya Pengy; just gave away for tickets to the kids for Sunday game. Hopefully they don’t bring me covid as a gift.

        Travel to Florida and Mexico every winter; haven’t been and won’t be for the foreseeable future.

        Crazy interception to end the game and the Bombers were one kneel away from a potential loss. Exciting game and thanks.

    • I’m an RN here in southern Ontario near Windsor and quite frankly myself and my colleagues are sick of fighting 2 pandemics. If everyone would just do their part maybe we could finally quell COVID and focus on the other one?

      • Dee that’s waaaaay too much to ask. These people just don’t get it which makes you wonder when did we fall like this?

      • Agree Dee

        and thanks goes out to you (on behalf of fellow Ontarians) and to Chrisms (Pitt and surrounds) and all on the front line during this awful pandemic

      • Ron, I blame the Kardashians for this world of rampant stupidity. And thank you Pengy!

  3. Bit steep for fabbri but not obscenely so.

    Khodobin would be a good pick up for cap space team. Could hold some salary and flip him for a decent pick at deadline

  4. Not a problem. We can just clone 23 Todd Bertuzzi’s he’s immune

    • Hahaha! Good one…

  5. “The US Centers for Disease Control says unvaccinated people are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it. Food for thought.”
    Natural immunity is stronger and proven to be many times more effective than any “vaccine”. But keep drinking the government Kool Aid.

    • The fact you literally had to alter the quote to make your “point” is as telling as can be.

    • You’ve got it wrong Johnny Z. He’s still 2.34 times more likely to be reinfected than a vaccinated person. His natural immunity could diminish quickly, especially against other variants. A vaccination now, would most likely boost his immunity significantly.

  6. Bertuzzi isn’t reconsidering his position, saying he now has “natural immunity” from the coronavirus.

    What was his excuse till now?
    rhetorical question

    • Being in peak physical shape and ingesting the right foods and supplements is his protection. This and having access to better treatments than the average citizen.

      • Mika Zibanejad’s personal experience was rather different.

      • I guess people like you johnny need the experience of being infected with a contagious disease and all the issues that this one’s brings for you to change your tune and until you experience it yourself, it’s all BS regardless of what many have shown us, right?

    • Does that work for when it hurts when I pee Tyler ? Lol can’t get anything twice lol

  7. Including both their goalies, the Blues are now playing EIGHT call-ups from AHL Springfield—I’m not sure that any other team can top that!?

    • That sounds like about every season for the pens up to this year.

    • The Habs can certainly do that, with half of their team in the injury reserved list.

  8. Obe is vaccinated but I’m not to proud to admit it was a big waste of time the vaccinations do not work for anything. Still die still spread it still need more vaccinations time to wake up but hey it’s all about a virus and government trying to keep us safe lol. Less people died and got sick with no vaccinations 99.8% survival rate and yet countries are being destroyed go Bruins go oh wait they all have Covid 2 lol must be Tyler’s fault. Oh well I’m in Arizona golfing life is good here.

    • So, how many NHL players have died from Covid?

  9. zero zilch nobody not a soul but many athletes have died from side effects from vaccines many hundreds maybe more if they told truth. This is the biggest fraud in mankind and unfortunately it’s about to get worse man up stand up for family and stay strong Merry Xmas you filthy animals