NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2021

by | Dec 21, 2021 | News, NHL | 9 comments

The NHL and NHLPA agree to begin its holiday break on Wednesday as COVID cases continue to spread among the teams, the three stars of the week are revealed, an update on the Coyotes arena dispute, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league and the NHL Players Association agreed to commence its holiday break on Wednesday, Dec. 22, as COVID cases continue to spread among its 32 teams.

The two remaining games on the schedule will be played today as the Washington Capitals face off against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Vegas Golden Knights.

Players will report back to their teams on Sunday, Dec. 26, for testing, practice and/or travel only. No individual in a team’s traveling party shall enter team facilities (other than for testing purposes) until they have a negative test result.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rapid spread of the coronavirus and the resultant multiple game postponements left the league and the PA with no choice but to commence its holiday break two days earlier than planned. The hope is it will slow the spread and allow players emerging from mandatory 10-day quarantine more time to return to their respective lineups.

This move casts further doubt over the NHL’s participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. An announcement is expected in the coming days.

SPORTSNET: provides a daily updated list of players currently in COVID protocol and the number of games postponed.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames reopened their practice facility yesterday after a third straight day without a positive COVID test. The club was the hardest hit by the latest wave with 19 players, three coaches and 10 support staff in COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Jamie Benn and Miro Heiskanen each had a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars downed the Minnesota Wild 7-4 in the only game on Monday’s schedule as the other four were postponed. Kiril Kaprizov had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who’ve lost four straight games.

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 19, 2021.

SPORTSNET: cites reports indicating the Arizona Coyotes met the deadline for paying the remainder of its outstanding bills (totaling $930K) with the city of Glendale. The city council had threatened to lock the club out of Gila River Arena for the remainder of the season unless it paid off its outstanding debts for this year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will remain in Gila River Arena for the remainder of 2021-22. However, the city of Glendale announced it will not renew its lease with the club following this season.

The Coyotes have submitted a bid to build a new arena in Tempe, Arizona. Assuming they receive approval it will take several years before they’ll be ready to move into the new venue. It’s believed the club is exploring local alternatives.

THE SCORE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Buffalo Sabres sought a high asking price from the Anaheim Ducks for Jack Eichel. He said the Sabres wanted Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and two first-rounders but the Ducks didn’t want to give up that much. Eichel was subsequently traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Alex Tuch, prospect Peyton Krebs, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Zegras and Drysdale are two promising youngsters playing key roles in the Ducks’ surprising improvement this season.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Alex Edler (left ankle fracture) and Sean Walker on long-term injury reserve and called up center Quinton Byfield.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Jacob Zboril recently underwent knee surgery. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 2 and there’s no word as to how long he’ll be on the shelf.

NHL.COM’s Dave Stubbs reports former NHL goaltender Curt Ridley has passed away at age 70. He played 104 games over six seasons from 1974-75 to 1980-81 with the New York Ranger, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ridley’s family, friends and former teammates.


  1. “Damaged goods” Tarasenko one of the 3 stars. Teams must be kicking themselves. Especially Seattle.

  2. For the sake of two games the temporary stoppage of season waits until after tonights’ games???

    Why not start it this morning?

    Olympics are gone…. there is 2 weeks to make up games

    Re Yotes and Gila debt and looking for an arena to play in next year……call Fertita…. Toyota Centre….. $450 M for sale of franchise (more than Forbes says its worth) ; $300 M in relo fees (to 31 owners) …. star “new” NHL franchise…. No Div realignment. NHL expands. HRR goes up significantly… owners win; players win

    BTW…. Not seen George on here lately…. Hoping all is well with you George (and your fam)

    • The Athletic had an article about using the Olympic break to reschedule games, however there are issues as many of the facilities took the opportunity to use this dates to book other events. Some venues may only have 2 or 3 days during that span now to host hockey so even if no Olympics it is going to be a real challenge to reschedule games during that window

    • Fertita? Toyota Centre? Who/Where? Please elaborate.

      • HarryO
        Fertita owns the Houston Rockets and they play in the Toyota Center where the Houston Aeros used to play hockey.

      • Habfan30, thanks for the info.

      • Hi Harry

        Not back to reading/responding until late… I see HF30 covered the answer

        Thanks HF30

        Sorry, was in a hurry and lazy this morn

  3. Zegras, Drysdale & two firsts??? for a headache like Eichel? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha h a ha ha ha

    I wouldn’t have given up either one for Eichel …let alone both

  4. I njust saw this on ESPN “The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have come to an agreement to not participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic men’s hockey tournament in Beijing, multiple sources told ESPN”. It’s also reported on Swedish radio this morning with referenses to ESPN and Toronto Star.

    One perk of following NHL from the other side of the pond 😉

    Link: https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/32918026/sources-nhl-not-going-olympics-due-covid