NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2022

by | Jan 12, 2022 | News, NHL | 33 comments

Big nights for Evgeni Malkin and Nikita Kucherov, rapper Kodak Black creates a stir at the Canucks-Panthers game, the Oilers confirm interest in free-agent Evander Kane, Tuukka Rask returns to the Bruins & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored twice and collected an assist in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Malkin had been sidelined by offseason knee surgery. Jeff Carter also scored twice for the Penguins (47 points), who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With 45 points, the Ducks remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each finished the night with three points as the Lightning (53 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference.

The Florida Panthers 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks was overshadowed by a viral video that appeared to show rapper Kodak Black having sex in a luxury box during the game. Panthers forward Sam Reinhart tallied two goals and collected an assist as the Panthers (53 points) hold first place in the overall standings with two games in hand over the Lightning. It was the Canucks first regulation loss under head coach Bruce Boudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports claiming Black’s female companion was merely twerking against him. Regardless, this incident created a stir on Twitter last night.

Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville winger Luke Kunin also netted two goals. It was the fifth straight win for the Predators, who sit atop the Western Conference with 50 points. Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who were playing without blueliner Bowen Byram after he left the club for personal reasons. The Av didn’t release any further details about Byram.

William Nylander opened the scoring and tallied the winning goal in a shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. The Golden Knights forced overtime and the shootout by overcoming a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by William Karlsson and Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas sits second in the Western Conference with 48 points while the Leafs (49 points) sit third in the Atlantic Division.

An overtime goal by Logan Couture lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns collected three assists as his club has moved into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 41 points. The Wings were without captain Dylan Larkin as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He could return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Chicago Blackhawks got a two-goal performance from Alex DeBrincat to double up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Patrick Kane collected an assist to extend his points streak to five games.


NBC SPORTS: Player agent Dan Milstein, who represents Evander Kane, expects his client will sign a new contract with an NHL team by this weekend. The San Jose Sharks terminated its contract with the 30-year-old winger citing breach of contract on Sunday. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland confirmed he has an interest in Kane and has contacted Milstein. Holland acknowledged the winger’s well-documented personal baggage but said he has a responsibility as a general manager to investigate every situation.

I would want to get an understanding with what’s going on in that person’s life. I believe in second chances,” said Holland. He also gave head coach Dave Tippett a vote of confidence as the club attempts to reverse its skid in the standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s interest in Kane has already drawn some criticism in the Edmonton media. However, there’s speculation the Oilers could have the former Shark under contract soon. Stay tuned…

Speaking of the Oilers, goaltender Alex Stalock is trying to make a comeback. He’s missed this season with a heart condition but has received medical clearance by his doctors to attempt to return to action. He will report to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: To no one’s surprise, the Bruins signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $1 million contract yesterday. The 34-year-old goaltender had been recovering from offseason hip surgery. The club demoted Jeremy Swayman to their AHL affiliate in Providence to make room for Rask’s new contract.

SPORTSNET: New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore were among the notables to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: The ongoing loss of hockey-related revenue due to attendance restrictions on Canadian NHL teams is generating concern over its effect upon the league’s hockey-related revenue for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The salary will rise by $1 million next season to $82.5 million as per the CBA extension regardless of this season’s HRR. However, it will affect the players’ repayment of their debt owed to the NHL owners for maintaining the salary cap at its current level despite the decline of HRR over the past two seasons due to COVID-19. It could take longer than originally projected for the players to make the owners whole, which will affect salary cap projections beyond 2023-24.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings Hall-of-Famer Nicklas Lidstrom has been hired as the club’s new vice president of hockey operations.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was taken to task by Philadelphia Flyers legend and senior advisor Bob Clarke. Appearing on the podcast Cam and Strick yesterday, Clarke claimed Hextall alienated everybody during his tenure as Flyers GM. He accused him of ignoring the Flyers’ scouts by choosing Nolan Patrick over Cale Makar in the 2017 draft and trading Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues. Hextall declined to comment about Clarke’s comments.

NHL.COM: The league yesterday announced the Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, the Colorado Avalanche’s Jared Bednar, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour and the Vegas Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer have been named as the head coaches for the 2022 NHL All-Star weekend (Feb. 4-5) in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL appears determined to press on with the All-Star Game despite a plethora of postponed games requiring rescheduling due to the latest wave of COVID-19. The best players from every NHL team in one place for a meaningless game of glorified pond hockey in the middle of a pandemic. What could go wrong?

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Jon Merrill to a three-year, $3.6 million contract extension.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-assigned goaltender Zach Fucale to their AHL affiliate in Hershey now that Vitek Vanecek has recovered from a non-COVID illness.

THE ATHLETIC: Nate Prosser has announced his retirement. The 35-year-old defenseman played 360 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers from 2009-10 to 2020-21. He spent over nine seasons with the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Prosser in his future endeavors.


  1. Swayman doesn’t deserve to go to the minors but by bringing Rask in they have no choice … Ullmark and Rask look to split starting assignments I would guess …. Will be interesting to see how this plays out with the 3 capable goalies ROS

  2. Welcome back Gino… 2G, 1A…3 Pts, + 2

    Of course this pace can’t continue but great to see. Good win for Pens👍👍

    Leafs… win when they were seriously outplayed and almost let another come from behind victory against them👎👎

    Soupy Campbell basically the only way Leafs took 3 of the last 4 points 👍👍👍…. Leafs need to bubble wrap him…. He goes down, and add to that Rask is back…. Bruins catching Leafs and flipping Leafs to WC spot is more likely than not

    E Kane…. Looks like Leafs are not in on him; hoping for HexBurkie to convo with Sid, Tanger, Gino about acquiring Kane

    Re Hextall and not taking Makar…. Many saw Makar with great upside…. How many thought he’d be the absolute superstar he is??? Don’t forget… Stars passed on Makar and took Heiskinen . I think (Flyers fans correct me if I’m wrong) at the time, that Flyers had a greater future need at C than D… Y? N?

    Re All-Star game…. NHL wake up…. Covid is going on … games have been postponed by the dozens… ; Olympics for NHL players are canceled…; this luxury frivolity can easily be canceled and LV can do the ASG in Feb ‘23….. Mofos!!!

    • Pengy, I may just be a glass half empty B’s fan, but can’t see them being ahead of the Leafs at season’s end unless injuries (Campbell) hit the Leafs and not the B’s. Leafs are too good.
      Pens still rolling, enough already.

      Friedman reported a Philly scout told him it was Heiskinen they wanted, not Makar, which makes sense as he was more of a sure thing at the time. Same diff.

      • Hi Ray

        Concur… Soupy in; Leaf’s should stay ahead of B’s; but B’s will close the gap. How many more H2H Bruins/Leafs games left this year? I believe 2— see below

        Soupy out long term and Mrazek in; More likely IMHO; Leafs WC; AB’s 3rd in ATL

        B’s 9 points back; 2 games in hand…. H2H games remaining …I believe 29/3 and 29/4…. If B’s win 2 games in hand; AND win both Leaf games in Reg… difference is 1 point (to be settled from the other 40 or so games)

        So Leafs/Bruins order finish is not a forgone conclusion

        To me… what may have all but been decided , is the actual 8 Eastern playoff teams…. Wings won’t catch Leafs or Bruins; and only way (as at now) Jackets, or Flyers , or Devils , or Isles catch Pens is if there are major injuries to Pens , OR single lengthy injury to Jarry w/o a trade upgrade of DeSmith (that scenario is a vulnerability that HexBurkie MUST guard against)

        In the West…. Other than Hawks, Krakjen ; Yotes…. 13 teams have a chance for those 8 slots

      • Ray Bark…The Penguins are climbing fast. If Malkin can play team hockey (that is a big if) and Hextall/Burke make a smart addition or two (however that may be) this team can compete
        We have split with Washington, we have split with Tampa, we have split with Florida, we have beat Toronto twice and this is woith out a whole team and we are getting healthy.
        Carolina 50
        Rangers 50
        Washington 49 Penguins 47 two games in hand on Washington.

        This team can be a threat if the Gm makes a solid move or two at the deadline….we will see !!

      • BnG, I like Malkin. You guys have watched him more, but when I did pay attention in the ir playoff runs, the guy was a beast. All over the ice, including his own zone.

        Maybe with the clock ticking on this team a bit, he is highly motivated to play that way again?

        Hope not, until the B’s are out.

      • Malkin was over a point per game player last playoffs playing on one leg. He has faults … injuries a temper. But the other crap spewed about him is the fault of his teammates.

        I’m stoked he’s back. And I hope he re signs.

    • Pengy…..Yes it is good to see Geno back and he is off to a strong start. My concern is 5 games from now when he starts doing the stupid things he does normally.

      – Playing East- West Hockey
      – Undisciplined penalties
      – Aggreges turnover-
      – Lack of defensive effort

      This team is playing as a team, disciplined, straight line hockey, no stupid turnover, great team chemistry. This is why they are only three points behind Carolina and the Rangers for first in the Metro and two points behind the Capitals with two games in hand.

      Geno if he toes the line will be a major addition. We have Rust out, McGinn out, Zucker out, Heinen out, and Zack Aston Rese out so his return is welcomed.

      Stay tuned I guess to see if Malkin can actually play team hockey.

      Burke/Hextall make a nice addition or two at the deadline however that maybe we can compete. We have split with Florida, split with Tampa, split with Washington, beat Toronto twice we shall see

      • Hi BNG

        I’m a “cup is half full” guy on Gino

        I think (and hope I’m right) he’s all in on the team thing this year

        A MUST (as I’ve said many times) for HexBurkie…

        Flip DeSmith for an upgrade. If Jarry goes down; all that offence could be wiped out by repeated triple 8 save percentage performances by DeSmith

        You know my thoughts re Zucker

        Sully MUST let Friedman or Riikola start taking Ruhweedel’s place or HexBurkie needs to trade for an upgrade

        That’s 2 games in a row where Ruhweedel has played horrifically. No shutout for Jarry last night as Ruhweedel concluded that Matheson is good enough to cover two men while Ruhweedel “stands” in open ice 15 feet away

        That 3RD performance in the playoffs can (and likely will) lead to a loss (or 2; or 3) 👎👎

        Again… if there was some way (without seriously compromising the future), that DeSmith and Ruhweedel can be upgraded; AND E Kane ((if Sid, Gino, Tanger privately give the nod to HexBurkie) replaces Zucker…

        Sid Guentz Rusty
        Gino Carter Kane
        E-Rod Heinen Kappy
        Blueger McGinn ZAR
        Zoho, Bjorkquist

        ??/ Matheson


        That line up is seriously built for a run

        The DeSmith and Ruhweedel replacements won’t be that tough/costly to acquire; Kane can be had at $1.35 M Cap ($600 K SB, league min Sal… which is same gross pay to Kane ~ $950 K; vs $2M sal .. means $2M Cap… which is also $950 K to Kane [after pro-rated season and escrow)

        The issue is how costly it will be to move Zucker!!!

  3. Lyle,

    Have you heard separately from George?

    Have not seen him on in a while. Hope all is well with him and his fam

    • Haven’t heard from him, Pengy.

      • Thanks Lyle

        Hope all is OK with him and his fam

    • Pengy..Well Kane is in Edmonton far way from Pittsburgh.

      – You are right we do need some kind of quality NHL back up goalie…for sure

      Rudwhedel who isn’t one of my favs has been an unsung hero until recently where he has fallen in to bad habits again..yikes.

      we need a 3rd right handed defenseman whether it is Justin Woll Toronto or Josh Manson Anaheim we have to plug that hole.

      I think a nice addition to the roster that would make us deeper, better and younger.

      Mason Appelton center, 25, UFA $900,000 scored 12 goals and 25 points in 54 games last year. Kid has speed, size 6ft 2 195 and wouldn’t cost a ton.

      Also Matthieu Perreault Montreal 34, $950,000 a perennial 15 goal scorer in his years with Winnipeg. He can play center or wing, gives us versatility, and has some snarl to his game. He has had 5 15 or more goal seasons and would be a nice fit for the remainder of the year.

      • Hi BNG

        Kane has not signed with Oil yet

        He may sign with Panthers or Bolts… making them cup favs

        Appleton us pretty good but is a C (which Pens don’t need) and would cost too much

        E Staal would be a nice depth add… he’d sign for League min ; doesn’t cost any assets

        3RD …. Yes needed

        Schenn would be a nice add and low Cap

        Milker too but much higher Cap

        Psyk perfect… low Cap; plays equally well at RW as RW

      • You live in LA??

        Are you going to tomorrow’s game?

  4. Of course, Lyle doesn’t mention that it’s his cousin Mark who’s questioning Holland’s decision to reach out to Kane.
    Am I the only one who foresee numerous players selected to the All Star game just deciding not to go? Just cancel it.

    • Cousin Mark is entitled to his opinion…;)

      • Hi Howard

        Yep I think there will be several who say Nyet to ASG

        If Marchand is voted in …. After his rightful post re Olympics… I can certainly see him saying no

  5. Howard I so agree. So player does not go he misses 1 game if he goes and catches covid 5 days . Will be interesting . The players need the all star game for hhr only reason there is no one saying anything

  6. Wondering from Oiler fans, any new on Klefbom and how his shoulder is healing? Is he coming back?

    Evander Kane probably comes at a cheap deal and will improve the on ice talent.

    He will be signed just a matter of where.

    • hate to even think it but Oilers should sign E Kane. I am sure he prefers a stateside team but the allure of #97 and getting some stats to prepare for a summer as an UFA might entice him. but do they even have the league minimum in cap space available?

      The Oilers have no options to improve in the trade market thanks to their cap issues.

    • Ya he will Caper, rumor is FLA is the other team at the moment that is asking questions about him. I would think there are a couple more.

      ds, that is 100% the reason the Oil are looking at Kane vs a tender, they would have to give up good assets to get one as the deal would need to include Koskinen due to their cap situation. Nobody is going to hand Holland a life line when he is in this position.

      Mark Spectors article is interesting as he is having a hard time squaring the conservative long term approach of Holland with regards to his 1st rd pick as a trade chip, and the short term thinking with Kane. Unless he is thinking of signing Kane to a longer term deal, which would surprise me.

      Bottom line is the Oilers need to start playing better, is Kane gonna jump start them? Maybe. I would suggest it will take the guys already in that room. And I think they will whether they get Kane or not.

      • Holland probably kicking tires on eric staal and bobby ryan at this point

      • But Ray, who is going to stop the puck??? Pens were doing the same thing with Mario & Jagr until Tony Esposito went out and got Tom Barrasso … aging vet Mike Smith & middle of the road Koskinen will not get it done …

      • Ed, the Oil will give Smith some games to get it going and keep Skinner playing lots of games in Bakersfield.
        Folks forget, or don’t know outside of Alberta, Smith has been out almost all year until recently, and he was the 7th best tender in the NHL last year.
        So I get why Holland is doing what he is doing. Koskinen back to the back up roll, where he has been about average at over the years. It is when he plays 3/4 of the games he struggles.

        If that fails, Skinner gets a real shot and Koskinen goes to Bakersfield.

        The Oilers tending is slightly below league average, and they haven’t had their starter most of the year. The suck has been the last month. But Smith was hurt, and he is old, hence the concern up here in the North.

        Not like the rest of the team has played all that well in front of the tender either.

        Hopefully they take good advantage of this break and the extra practice time.

      • Ray Bark..
        – You make a great point about Malkin being motivated because the sun is setting……good call.

        His motor was going last night for sure..

      • Thanks Ray, sad story for a promising career.

    • Caper, here is all I can find on Klefbom, which is what most folks in the know predicted.
      Unlikely he plays in the NHL again.
      But should be able to sleep and play with his kids without meds. Gregor has good sources on the team.

      “Speaking with a few sources, I sense odds of Oscar Klefbom starting the season are quite low,” Gregor wrote on Sunday. “Surgery went well in regards to being able to do normal every day things (like pick up kids, he said), but being able to play in NHL without doing more damage seems low.”

  7. Sounds to me like Kodak was putting the biscuit in the basket …

    • Hi Ed

      A picture speaks a 1,000 words….. the video speaks …. A billion… something you can’t unsee

      • Pengy…yes i live in LA and am going to the newly renovated cyrpto.com arena…ugghh horrible name
        Mason Appleton also plays wing..

        Also if he plays center Carter seems to fit in well on Malkin’s wing..

  8. i would like to know just where was the 4th av player when the too many men on the ice call was made in ot..i counted 5 preds on the ice..what a sham

  9. Must be some serious acrimony between Bobby Clarke& Ron Hextall? I thought Hextall did a good job of managing Flyers. He made some good picks and trades but the Flyers squandered some of those years by constantly wearing a path to penalty box because that’s what fans like in Philadelphia? I thought Holmgren and Clarke did more of a disservice to the team. I’m not a Flyers fan but from afar it seemed Test all had them on the right track, keeping those other Flyer cronies out of the room. GO AVS!!!!