NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2021
The Rangers’ winning streak comes to an end but they become the NHL’s first $2 billion franchise, the Coyotes could be locked out of their arena, plus the latest on Carey Price, Jake Guentzel, Jason Spezza and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Rangers’ seven-game win streak came to an end as they fell 7-3 to the Colorado Avalanche. Mikko Rantanen and Logan O’Connor each scored twice while Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists before exiting in the third period with a lower-body injury. Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves in his return to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
Three straight third-period goals rallied the Vegas Golden Knights over the Dallas Stars 5-4 to snap the latter’s seven-game win streak. Vegas captain Mark Stone scored twice and set up another while Joe Pavelski tallied two goals for the Stars. Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner got the hook in the second period after giving up three goals on 10 shots while Dallas netminder Braden Holtby finished with 40 saves.
Shootout goals by J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat gave the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Brock Boeser scored for the Canucks and Patrice Bergeron replied for the Bruins in regulation. It’s the Canucks second straight victory since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach on Sunday. Vancouver defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game in the second period following a hit by Bruins winger Brad Marchand. Canucks blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson missed the game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
The New Jersey Devils got a 25-save shutout by Mackenzie Blackwood to blank the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod scored for the Devils. The Flyers are winless in their last 10 games.
FORBES.COM: The New York Rangers are the NHL’s first $2 billion franchise, topping the franchise value rankings in Forbes’ annual “The Business of Hockey” issue. The Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.8 billion), Montreal Canadiens ($1.6 billion), Chicago Blackhawks ($1.4 billion) and Boston Bruins ($1.3 billion) round out the top five.
The Edmonton Oilers made the biggest jump in the rankings, moving from $550 million last year to $1.1 billion into seventh overall. The Ottawa Senators ($525 million), Buffalo Sabres ($500 million), Columbus Blue Jackets ($475 million), Florida Panthers ($450 million), and Arizona Coyotes ($400 million) are in the bottom five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete rankings by following the link provided above.
While COVID-19 still affected hockey-related revenues, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian indicated the annual franchise value rose by 32 percent this year. He pointed to several factors accounting for that increase, including the impending $900 million sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the league’s new seven-year media deals with ESPN and Turner Sports, the construction of several state-of-the-art arenas in recent years, an increase in sponsorship revenue and the debut of the expansion Seattle Kraken.
Ozanian also projected hockey-related revenue will reach $4.8 billion for 2021-22. It’s expected to reach $5.4 billion in 2022-23, $5.6 billion in 2023-24, $5.8 billion in 2024-25 and $6 billion in 2025-26.
THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang reports the Arizona Coyotes could be locked out of Gila River Arena by the City of Glendale for delinquent tax bills and unpaid arena charges totaling $1.3 million. The club has until 5 pm MST on Dec. 20 to pay the outstanding arena invoices for 2020-21 and the outstanding tax bill.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly did not respond to requests for comment. The Coyotes released a statement claiming they’re conducting an internal investigation and initial indications suggest the unpaid bills appear to be the result of “unfortunate human error.” The club claims it will clear its debts today and will ensure this doesn’t happen again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Coyotes off-ice follies garner more headlines than anything the team does on the ice. While there are calls from fans and pundits in outside markets to move the team, that’s not going to happen.
The NHL remains determined to maintain the struggling Coyotes in the lucrative Phoenix media market. Until Bettman and the league board of governors finally run out of patience, calls for relocation to Houston or Quebec City or Kansas City or Portland or Hamilton will continue to fall on deaf ears.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price practiced on his own yesterday in full gear for the first time since rejoining the club following a month-long stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. The 34-year-old continues to recover from offseason knee surgery and isn’t expected to return to action before the upcoming Christmas break (Dec. 24 to 26).
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel is sidelined on a week-to-week basis with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big blow for the Penguins. Guentzel is the leading scorer with 27 points in 24 games.
TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza regarding the league’s decision to suspend him for six games for hitting Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk in the head with his knee earlier this week.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira was released from the hospital yesterday after being stretchered off the ice during Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers. Khaira was knocked unconscious by a hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian Cole was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele on Tuesday. Cole received a game misconduct while Scheifele was able to continue the game.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are out of COVID protocol.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano also emerged from COVID protocol but Colin Blackwell became the latest member of the Kraken to go into the protocol.
CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt will undergo additional testing to determine if the upper-body injury he recently suffered is the same as the one that sidelined him for 21 games earlier this season.
NHL.COM: With Jordan Binnington in COVID protocol and Ville Husso injured, the St. Louis Blues signed goaltender Jon Gilles on a one-year, two-way contract.