NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2021

by | Dec 6, 2021 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The Canucks fired Jim Benning and Travis Green, the Flyers fire head coach Alain Vigneault, Blake Wheeler reaches a career milestone, the Lightning picked up a notable win, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks fired general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. Assistant GM John Weisbrod and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner were also relieved of their duties.

The Vancouver Canucks fired head coach Travis Green (left) and general manager Jim Benning (NHL.com).

Bruce Boudreau takes over as head coach on a two-year contract. Stan Smyl replaces Benning on an interim basis as the club begins its search for a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Team owner Francesco Aquilini reportedly decided to remain patient with the club following a meeting with Benning last month. What likely spurred Aquilini to clean house was their 4-1 loss on Saturday to the Pittsburgh Penguins in which a fan tossed a jersey on the ice in the third period as others chanted “Fire Benning”.

That frustration among Canucks fans has been building for some time. The club reached the playoffs only twice in the past seven years under Benning’s management.

They seemed to be on the rise in 2019-20, coming within one game of reaching the Western Conference Final. A poor start and a COVID-19 outbreak scuttled their 2020-21 campaign. Things didn’t get any better this season despite a healthier roster, the additions of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland and the re-signing of core players Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Canucks respond to Boudreau’s coaching. He’s an experienced NHL bench boss who’s had success in turning struggling or rebuilding clubs into playoff contenders. He faces a daunting challenge this season. With 18 points in 25 games, the Canucks are nine points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Mike Yeo will replace Vigneault behind the bench for tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Seravalli also believes Rick Tocchet will be high on the Flyers’ list as Vigneault’s full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault was on increasingly thin ice as the Flyers dropped their last eight games. Last night’s lifeless 7-1 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the last straw for general manager Chuck Fletcher.


NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler celebrated his 1,000th career game with two assists in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who’ve won three of their last four games. Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin departed in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with the Jets’ Neil Pionk. There was no update on his condition following the game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning collected their 1,000th regular-season victory by crushing the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Victor Hedman, Corey Perry, Ryan McDonagh and Ross Colton each had three points. The Flyers have dropped eight straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canucks cleaning house yesterday and the Montreal Canadiens conducting a front-office purge a week ago, could the Flyers be next? Their season has rapidly gone off the rails following a promising start, prompting calls from their fans for Alain Vigneault to be relieved of his coaching duties.

Speaking of teams mired in a winless skid, the New York Islanders dropped their 11th straight in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane potted the game-winner while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 499th career victory. Mathew Barzal assisted on both Islanders’ goals while teammate Matt Martin was a late scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries and a COVID outbreak decimated the Isles’ lineup over the past month. However, they also seemed to lack the spark that sent them to two straight conference finals and had them projected as a potential Stanley Cup contender this season.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner made 23 saves as his club held off the Calgary Flames 3-2. Nicolas Roy had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights while teammates Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov netted the other two goals. Following the game, Lehner announced he had withdrawn from consideration for Sweden’s Olympic team citing health reasons after consulting with his psychiatrist and his agents.

Drew Doughty had a goal and two assists and Adrian Kempe scored twice as the Los Angeles Kings upset the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Kempe in the third period. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse scored in his first game since being sidelined six games with an injured finger.

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the San Jose Sharks 6-4. Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Timo Meier and Matt Nieto each had two assists for the Sharks.


  1. Pulling for Bruce Boudreau, one of my favourite people in the NHL.
    Cart before the horse in Vancouver but a pretty darn good cart.
    Good luck to Gabby and the Canucks.

  2. It was clear that Sheldon Keefe but Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford on the ice for one reason and one reason only after the Sandin knee on knee.

    Then after his 12 minutes penalty expired went after a much smaller man in Josh Morrissey.

    I’ve been a fan of Simmonds for year and its sad to see the one top 6 power forward to turn into a 4th line goon.

    With that said it falls on Keefe for the antics and putting Simmonds on the ice late in the third period.

    Best quote after the game Austin Matthews “it was a gong show in the third period, that wasn’t hockey.” might not be exact but very close.

    • Simmonds was a goon with Philadelphia, didn’t you watch hockey back then?

      • 28,29,28,32,31,24 goals per season for Wayne Simmonds in Philly, that makes him a power forward.

      • So the difference between a goon and a power forward is entirely based on offensive production?

      • Chrism fair question; no my point is in Philly days he was a power forward played top minutes and top lines and would fight and protect teammates but didn’t simply go out skate around looking to attack someone like he did yesterday.

        Now that is offensive skills have eroded he relies on his physical presence and able to handle himself. He plays the fourth line with fourth line minutes and knows his role.

        Yesterday he acted like a goon

      • FD, typical one sided? not sure what you mean; however, your more then welcome to give the other side.

      • Interesting. Counter point. Skills erode. Setting aside whether goonism is needed or belongs in the sport at all, many old school hockey people value that “skill”. Players are often lauded for evolving their game as they age as a way to stay relevant. Is that not what Simmonds is doing?

      • It’s exactly what he has done Chrism and gets paid $900,000 a year to do it.

        He can still play tough and chip in; I’m just not a fan and never was of a player (watch the highlights) just skating out of control for the so purpose of trying to goat or attack a player for the sole purpose of engaging or injuring an opponent. Wayne Simmonds doesn’t need to do that.

        He can place punishing bodycheck, rub outs and try to encage that way. Not chase after players and crosscheck them in the back and to players who are not in his category.

        I will add he did try to engage big Stanley earlier but Stanley declined and Simmonds spent 2m plus a 10m misconduct in the box and the jets scored on the pp.

        At the end of the game when he got out of the box with 45 seconds remaining in the game and went after Josh Morrissey, then Stanley stepped in and engaged him.

        What is the point in a 6-3 game; sending a message? you don’t play each other until March or April. There is no point.

    • Typical Caper, one sided comment.

    • A fair share of the blame of what happened in the third has to be put on the shoulders of the referees. Not the loss, Leafs weren’t gonna win this game, but the way the refs managed the game. How is it not a penalty when you trip a guy who’s carrying the puck at the time, never mind the knee on knee hit. The penalty Bunting drew was a terrible call. Those were two obvious calls that should of been called.
      I think the league who does everything it can to create excitement and scoring should really look at its officials and fix it…do you know in two full playoff series McDavid has yet to draw one penalty. Impossible.

  3. Thank God the Benning era is over.
    Canucks fans are anxious to hear stories leak out about what AGM John Weisbrod actually did.

    With Philly about to clear out their coaching staff, Im betting this made Canucks anxious to hire Boudreau before he gets snapped up.

    Further rumours from local media Sekeres and Price that the George McPhee might be the incoming President so it’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out with Vegas

    Makes sense now why Aquilini was on the Canucks road trip thru Vegas.

    • makes sense, McPhee built Vegas and then was kicked upstairs …

  4. Haven’t posted since Friday

    First off, I know it’s a hockey sight… but I sadly congratulate the Bombers (I was rooting for the Riders and wearing green). I can in no way, in good conscience congratulate the TiCats. If you get a chance to see the game… watch it and let the tape do the talking

    Leafs—— B2B losses…. Good that they came back v Wild to get a point. But 2 losses do sting. Leafs deserved 0 points; got 1. AM continues his scoring streak 👍👍👍

    Pens on Sat… great game by Guentz and Sid. 👍👍👍

    Re Benning/Green… not a big surprise …. Something had to be done. Easier to fire 2 men than shake up 1/2 the team in mega trades. BB will settle things but ‘Nucks need to be looking at next year and beyond now

    Reffing…. This has got to change…. Things not called…. Escalations…. Injuries…. It is out of hand… now on to the consistently inconsistent Parros

    Here is who should get suspensions from the games I saw….

    McD, Pionk, Spezz, Simmonds, Tkachuck (Mathew)

    Now with the absolutely brutal and inconsistent Parros….. How can anyone really predict who gets suspended… My views….

    McD should…. But Parros has let Ovi off 4 times already this season; and Sid once…. If McD does get suspended …. Oil country should rightfully freak at the exceptions given 4 times to Ovi and once to Sid. As I said when Sid did his rag doll…. Give Sid (and in this case McD) a game…. Sends a message that no one is free and clear of suspensions …. Doing that, hopefully wakes all players up and perhaps saves a career or life …l from a Wilson head shot

    Pionk and Spezz and Simmonds should be no brainers for suspension

    I think Parros lets Tkachuck slide

  5. Am I the only one who sees the Canuck process as bass ackward? Why would one hire a new coach before the new GM? Isn’t the GM the architect of the on ice product, including hiring coach?

    And really, the trigger is a fan throwing his jersey on the ice a knee jerk reaction? Suppose another fan throws a jersey on the ice a month from now? Does Boudreau get fired then?

    I have more questions, but I will stop here.

    • Ya LJ, they said they would take their time and follow the process, that went out the window.
      IMO Boudreau goes into this eyes wide open. New GM will come in, assess what he has for much of next year or rest of this year (depending when he gets hired), and will likely rely on what Boudreau says as well. But will eventually fire him if things don’t go well.

      My prediction – short term bump in play that usually happens. If they slip back, then it is on the players as the coach excuse is gone. Then the problems are much harder to fix.

      Boudreau is a good coach and knows the drill. Should be interesting.

      • Ray, nice to hear from you.

        I agree that Boudreau comes in with eyes wide open and with a lot of experience in starting anew.

        My bemusement is the order. If I am the GM candidate the Canucks are pursuing, one of my questions is: what happens if I determine Boudreau is not my guy – how long a leash does he have with me?

        My biggest question is a riff on that: what is my overall authority? Every GM has to manage the owner, but Aquillini has a reputation as being difficult to work with; a family legacy, as the patriarch was supposedly a grumpy, iron fisted old boot.

      • With ya LJ and Pengy, GM should be first. I didn’t word that part of my response well.
        That’s what I meant with Boudreau knowing exactly what you suggest. I think he knows his time won’t be long unless he pulls a rabbit out of his hat.
        GM’s always hire their own guys, but this buys the Nucks some time as he is a veteran coach and knows why he has the job and he took it anyway. I think some guys love the job, and he seems like one of them.

        You don’t want to rush the GM hire, and there are candidates that won’t be available until the off season, or at least after the TDL. Gorton now gone. Not sure how those contracts work or what teams view as acceptable as far as letting an asst. GM leave mid season.

        My guess he will have an ally in Miller and Horvat getting this group to buy in. Other good news is that the Filthy Bruce spots will start again on TSN 1260 in Edmonton.

      • They could also have his man but has yet to announce it due to some legal or timing issues. From what I have gathered, teams don’t care about anything other than making money and winning and interest are just two ways they hope to utilize. No long term plan is made in haste and reactionary, not to say if certain situations can speed up the time frame as well as prolong long them.
        I don’t think it matters other than they got their man even if he’s going to be perceived as a stopgap.

    • Hi LJ

      I agree …. GM should come first

      That said…. If they waited , interviewed and got a GM…. perhaps (likely IMHO) BB not available at that time

      I’m not familiar with ‘Nucks assistant coaches or their AHL coach to weigh in on them as a potential fill in

  6. Vigneault and Therrien out in Philly , Tocchet or Torts should slide in IMO. This team does not play with enough grit , something those 2 coaches would demand.

  7. Stan Smyl is the acting GM in Vancouver now and has been the Senior Advisor to GM & Director, Player Development for a number of years.

    Interesting who The Hockey News claims is high up on the list of candidates for the GM job.

    Pundits and reporters get giddy with “scoops”

  8. Pionk’s knee on knee hit on Sandin mysteriously didn’t get called despite the ref several feet away. When teams can’t trust officiating to hold others to account for nasty hits like that then the inmates take over the asylum.