NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

by | Dec 17, 2021 | News, NHL | 31 comments

COVID cases keep rising among NHL teams, Steven Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines


CALGARY SUN: Forward Dillon Dube and defenseman Oliver Kylington are the latest Flames players to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number to 18 players and five staff members, including head coach Darryl Sutter. Test results also showed several players appear to have the Omicron variant.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers now have seven players in COVID protocol. They are forwards Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Lomberg and defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have three more players in COVID protocol as goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh were added to the list. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were placed on the list earlier this week.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s COVID protocol list grew to five with forwards Andrew Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joining defenseman Devon Toews. Toews is the only player with symptoms and those were described as mild.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Lawson Crouse and Jay Beagle were placed on the COVID list yesterday.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore joined teammate Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett in COVID protocol.

The Nashville Predators placed forward Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote on the COVID protocol list. They joined head coach John Hynes, forwards Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tamasino and defenseman Ben Harpur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reported Cousins took to Twitter wondering why the NHL doesn’t pause the schedule until after Christmas to get this situation under control. “This is ridiculous!”, he said. They added that Cousins fully supports advanced protocols but doesn’t think it’s fair to have the threat of COVID hanging over the players and their families in this way.

There’s no indication thus far the league intends to pause the schedule. However, there might not be many choices if the number of infected players keeps rising. The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.

The league could be hoping to make it as far as their scheduled three-day break next week. That could slow the spread while allowing time for those who’ve already tested positive to be cleared to resume play following the holiday break. Let’s hope we’ll get some clarification soon because so far there’s little indication of what the league’s intentions are at this point other than soldiering on as cases mount.

NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February could soon be out of the question if more teams have games postponed by the league due to rising COVID numbers. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players but the league can opt-out by Jan. 10 if it believes mounting COVID cases will adversely affect the remainder of this season’s schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).


NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos collected an assist to reach his 900th career point in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. With 42 points, the Lightning now sits first in the overall standings.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist as the Nashville Predators topped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colton Sissons picked up three assists as the Predators extended their win streak to six games. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brock Boeser scored twice and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced Stan Smyl was promoted to vice-president of hockey operations.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and assisted on another as his club dropped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to snap a six-game losing skid. Connor McDavid chipped in two helpers while goaltender Stuart Skinner picked up the win with a 36-save effort.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win in eight games by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Jonathan Drouin’s shootout goal. The Habs played without fans in the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec public health officials concerned over the rising cases in the region. They received assurances they will be able to return to a partial capacity scenario in January.

Jonathan Quick kicked out 41 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Florida Panthers 4-1. The King extended their points streak to four games while handing the Panthers their third straight loss. Anze Kopitar was among the Kings’ goal scorers.

The Vegas Golden Knights got goals 33 seconds apart by William Karlsson and Nicolas Roy in the third period to hold off the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had two points apiece for Vegas. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 contests.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter tallied two goals in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The COVID-depleted Hurricanes iced a roster of just 16 players. One of them was rookie Jack Drury, who scored his first NHL goal. Drury is the son of former NHLer Ted Drury.

Semyon Varlamov turned aside 40 shots for his first win of the season as the New York Islanders downed the Boston Bruins 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck tallied twice for the Isles.

A shootout goal by Tage Thompson lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Sabres played without defenseman Robert Hagg as he’s month-to-month with a lower-body injury.


  1. Break up the Canucks!

    Use some common sense and pause the season, this is getting out of hand yet again …

    • Who knew Bruce Boudreau could turn that club around? I didn’t see that coming, to be honest.

      Remember that time he did that TV interview with wing sauce on his face? Road to the winter classic or some such show.

  2. ‘Nucks and Predz certainly have “picked up their socks”

    Best records in league of late…. Both on 6 game winning streaks and 8-2-0 in last 10 👍👍👍👍

    I did believe BB would have an influence… I did. NOT see a 6 game winning streak coming tho

    On the flip side…. Some struggles happening with Panthers….yes the Captain has been injured …. Lost 3 straight…. 4-5-1 last 10…. Knight struggling, and Bobo’s earlier (in season) great goaltending; has certainly not been as sharp recently. I still think they’ll finish 1st or 2nd in ATL tho

    BTW…. haven’t seen George on here for a bit…. Hope everything is OK with you and your fam George

  3. All players have mild to no symptoms. The vaccine is working! Which means keep playing! Stop the asymptomatic testing!

    • Oh yeah vaccinations working wonderful lol how embarrassing 99.8 percent survival rate jumped to 99..85 with vaccine. 14 days to flatten the curve is on year 3 soon.

      • Vaccines are working wonderfully. The hospitalization data irrefutable proves it. Which is why asymptomatic testing shouldn’t be happening. If vaccine’s didn’t work then testing would be necessary

      • Obe, glad life is good in the neander valley.

      • Can you post the link where you’re getting these numbers?

      • This is for Obe: “ Can you post the link where you’re getting these numbers?”

      • Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know vaccines are a waste of time more people dead since vaccinations have come out than before that’s a fact. Plus thousands have died from side affects another fact plus millions have died from suicides and and not having regular check ups for heart and cancer another fact. Plus I still don’t know of one person who had died from Covid who didn’t have issues before hand. Plus athletes collapsing on fields rinks and tracks on a daily bases wake up. Vaccinations are a waste of time period I know it and I’m vaccinated.

    • Below is a link with the data from the CDC regarding the difference in getting infected and deaths for vaccinated vs unvaccinated. The math is simple and clear, make up your own mind, but seems pretty obvious to me, being vaccinated, while not perfect (nobody ever said it would be), helps huge. Unvaccinated are 14x more likely to die than vaccinated.

      Not sure why the NHL doesn’t adopt a similar policy to the NFL. If unvaccinated you quarantine a min of 10 days, and then test negative twice in a set time frame to return. If vaccinated, 2 negative tests in a 24 hr period, back on the field.

      I think I got that right, and seems more logical now that we have a mountain of evidence and data on this and the tools to deal with it.

      Obe, you can argue all day that Covid is no big deal, which is what I think you are saying, but 800,000 folks are dead so far in the US, and without vaccines, shut downs, other protocols that # would be over 2 million, likely higher. You may not think that is a big deal, but most folks understand it. Methinks we will never change your opinion on this.


      Doesn’t include the variant yet, which is way more transmissible, but will when data is available.

      • Covid is the biggest con in history stay tuned.

      • Obe, I’m asking again…..where’s the link to where you’re getting your information….I’d hate to think you’re making up “facts” just to support you’re opinion.

    • @Chrisms, I agree this Omicron variant is benign and almost harmless, however since that’s being overlooked the league and the NHLPA need to cancel the Olympics since the loss of the season and games is already happening and staying in a bubble and/or a 21 day quarantine in China screams pull the plug now and focus on the season…Nobody in the Western Hemisphere can watch a live Olympic tournament game anyway and will already know the results, so trash can this thing now.

      • Agree with you 100% Rob. Ridiculous to even be thinking about it.

  4. I agree with Cousins, it would not be popular because there is a lot of lost $ at stake but this is what I believe should be done to keep the NHL season going .
    The NHL players should advise the IOC that they will not send athletes to the 2022 games.
    The NHL should conduct a full pause in league play for 10 days effective Monday Dec 20th.
    All players and personnel would have to undergo Covid testing prior to the season restart.
    Once the season resumes games will be played at maximum 50% seating capacity, masks mandatory at all times once in the rink.
    Scrap the All star game Feb 5th and use the February 3-22 black out period that was reserved for the Olympics to reschedule missed games.

    • Hi Fergy

      Your strategies are sound and prudent👍👍

      However a pause of that long and so soon, is unlikely (the logistics of getting that strong a decision made/implemented) … perhaps canceling next Wed and thurs games (19 in all)…. with Christmas break… that’s 5 days. Agree re full Covid testing before any player can return

      Olympics reality waning, and rapidly

      Re seating capacity…. Unfortunately that decision is done jurisdictionally

      Can’t see the FLA Gov mandating similar changes that Ford and Legault have just announced

      I like the new policy (Ont )…. All 18+ can sign up for booster come Monday (they also dropped wait requirement between 2nd and booster doses from 6 months to 3)…. I get my booster New Years Eve

      • Pengy agreed there is no magic formula. I am just sick and tired of this cloud hanging over our heads.

      • I think the league should shut down right now because it’s going to just get worse! The Avalanche vs Predators game was the worst hockey game I have seen all season. The Avalanche looked bad with all the guts out and same for Predators. Saaros was great but terrible game!!! Shutdown for holidays, start over in 2022! GO AVS!!!!!

  5. “The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.” And 100% are in top physical condition and are young, has NOTHING to do with it. And now 50% have natural immunity.

  6. I know this is an NHL discussion site and covid comes up when discussing olympics, game cancellations, fan attendance and such.

    Why on earth is there a daily dose of misinformation getting posted making light of vaccinations?

    Its the same people feeling the need to post bs hoping for an argument.

  7. Watching that game lastnight was like being locked in an eight by four foot windowless room with a large screen & the volume turned up full blast listening to Sheldon of Big Bang Theory repeat The Spock Mantra repeatedly. Rebuild …this teams going nowhere..

  8. By pausing the season does not mean when resume a second wave doesn’t hit.

    Has any player in covid protocol been hospitalized?

    Not going to the Olympics does not meaning rescheduling games as some arenas are already booked for concerts and other events during the Olympic Break.

    • Caper, exactly.

  9. Paul Maurice resigned this morning. No reasons public yet. Heat from fans? disagreement with management over player usage? doesn’t want to do another ‘bubble’ season and gets to spend Christmas at home? personal issues?

    Anyway thanks to Maurice for taking the team as far as he could in service to Jets, Winnipeg and Manitoba. I see him as one of the good guys, however, it was time for a change. All the best to Maurice and family.

    • 2.0 there been a lot of heat on Maurice and a good portion of the fans wanting him gone. Today they got their wish.

      Not sure of i heard of a coach resigning before; makes you wonder what if anything happen behind close doors.

      I agree it was time for him to go, should’ve happen at least a year ago.

      Maurice is stubborn in his ways and loyal to a fault of team success.

  10. Just continue the season, cut out fan attendance and keep a tighter line on the players. That should be enough. Anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated is off the team till they are inoculated.

    • Their are 4 total not vaccinated and they are healthy and playing every Bruin is vaccinated yet most have Covid and are not playing seems to me maybe stop over reacting and call it what it really is the common cold or the flu. Rumor I heard today from a valuable source Kane is going to Pittsburgh.

  11. Paul Maurice rumors are starting to circle; the following rumors was just made up by me:

    Maurice wife has threaten to leave him if they have to spend one more winter in Winnipeg!

    • Caper, those damn mosquitoes in the summer aren’t helping either.
      Flew into Winnipeg once and stayed for a night before driving to Kenora for work.
      Holy fuggin bugs, nonetheless lovely town to visit.

      • lol Fd, this is why my cottage has a screened in deck.