NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

by | Jan 19, 2022 | News, NHL | 31 comments

The Bruins retire the number of hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree, the Canadiens hire Kent Hughes as their new general manager, updated COVID protocols are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins retired hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in a pregame ceremony last night. It was the 64th anniversary of O’Ree’s debut as the first black player in NHL history with the Bruins, becoming the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired.

The Boston Bruins raise Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 banner (NHL.com).

Following the ceremony, the Bruins were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored two of the Hurricanes’ five goals in the first period while Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo each finished the night with three points. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled after giving up five goals on 12 shots. The Hurricanes are tied with the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division with 54 points but hold three games in hand while the Bruins hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

Johnny Gaudreau collected four assists as the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game losing skid to drop the Florida Panthers 5-1, ending the latter’s nine-game points streak. Sean Monahan scored twice and Matthew Tkachuk collected three points. Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers in his first game in Calgary since being traded to Florida last season. The Flames (42 points) move within two points of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Panthers (57 points) slip to second in the overall standings.

Victor Hedman scored twice and chipped in an assist to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Despite playing with 12 forwards and four defensemen, the shorthanded Lightning picked up their fourth straight win to regain first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Kings (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 27th goal in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Tom Wilson netted the game-winner in overtime as the Capitals (53 points) sit one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be sidelined for more than one game after leaving in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals defenseman Dmitri Orlov. With 40 points, the Jets are two back of the Flames.

The Vancouver Canucks got a 31-save performance from Thatcher Demko to down the Nashville Predators 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson each scored for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Jets. The Predators, meanwhile are third in the Central Division with 51 points.

New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of a shootout to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost nine straight games. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 31 shots to give the Isles their sixth win in their last eight games. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced center Kevin Hayes will miss the next three to four weeks following a procedure to drain fluid from his adductor region.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Michael Hauser kicked out 43 shots in his season debut to backstop his club over the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Tuch and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Montreal Canadiens netminder Sam Montembault turned aside a career-high 48 shots in a 5-3 victory over the slumping Dallas Stars. Christian Dvorak scored twice while Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in his first game back with the Canadiens since Nov. 20. The Stars have dropped three straight and slip one point behind the Canucks.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Stars, the Canadiens announced they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. A bilingual Montreal native, Hughes was a player agent with a client list that included such notables as Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hughes hiring received widespread acclaim among NHL pundits. He built up an excellent reputation during his years as an agent. He understands the business of hockey, especially dealing with players and negotiating contracts.

Canadiens Executive VP of Hockey Ops Jeff Gorton is good friends with Hughes and reportedly wanted him for the job from the start. However, the latter apparently needed some convincing before agreeing to a five-year deal with the Canadiens.

This hiring should allay concerns among some Canadiens followers that Gorton was seeking a frontman while he pulled the management strings. Hughes wouldn’t have left his lucrative gig to be a puppet GM even for a friend.

Hughes and Gorton now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding a Canadiens roster seriously depleted by injuries to superstars Carey Price and Shea Weber, the departures of leaders such as Phillip Danault and Corey Perry to free agency, and significant talent gaps in the roster. They must decide the fate of embattled head coach Dominique Ducharme, who has two years remaining on his contract.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA announced it will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star Break in early February, saying COVID-19 cases are declining around the league. The current testing policy will remain in place until Feb. 3.

Testing of asymptomatic individuals will continue when it is needed for crossing the Canada-US border. One negative test result will be required for players to return to team facilities following the All-Star break. The 90-day testing “holiday” for those who have recovered from COVID-19 will remain in place. Both sides also agreed to maintain the five-day isolation period for those who test positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA want to avoid any further game postponements that could jeopardize their intent of ending the regular season on April 29. It also appears they don’t want rosters to become significantly depleted as teams jockey for playoff positioning over the final half of the schedule.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel, Montreal Canadiens wingers Cole Caufield and Joel Armia and Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat are the latest notable players to enter the NHL COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel have been named the Last Men In for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) will miss their upcoming games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl got into a testy exchange yesterday with Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson during a press conference yesterday. At one point, Matheson asked Draisail, “Why are you being so pissy?” after the forward declined to give much of an answer to one of his questions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ poor play of late now seems to have ratcheted up tensions between the players and some of the reporters covering the club. Maybe Draisaitl should’ve been more forthcoming but most hockey players talk in cliches when addressing the media so I don’t know what answer Matheson thought he was going to get out of him with that catty remark.


  1. I hate what the Habs are doing. Hiring competent individuals to build a winning club doesn’t sit well with me as a Bruins fan. I was really hoping they’d blow it.
    I give them 3 years or less and they’ll have it turned around, and have a contender built.
    Nuts to that!

    • Shoreorrpark, while I agree that they have managed to corral an excellent management team, and will eventually re-build the most storied franchise in the NHL, I’m not too sure it’ll be done that fast.

      There’s a lot to clear out and in some obvious cases it won’t be easy to move them before their contracts (and cap hits) run out.

      A great start would be for them to get the # 1 pick in the upcoming draft. But even then, I don’t see them being a top contender for at least 4 or 5 seasons.

      • @ George There’s 2 potential franchise players in the 2023 draft. If they can land one of those along with Wright this year you never know. Hopefully they’ll go with the philosophy of drafting the best player available and not by position. No more KK or Galchenyuck. Also trade anybody over the age of 22 and get as many picks as possible. Drafting if a crap chute and the more picks you have the better chance you get lucky. Montreal should also reorganize there entire scouting staff.

      • A sequence of events as you describe, What the heck, would or could certainly speed things up … but there’s a whole lot of “ifs” in there. And while I do agree that their drafting choices need to improve, what we don’t know is whether or not their GM ignored recommendations by the scouts when selecting the likes of Galchenyuk and Kotkeniemi (spelling?). If he did pick players like that based on scouting recommendations, then, yes, that department needs and overhaul too.

    • Shoreorrpark thanks for the laugh .As a Habs fan I like the changes so far and will take your proposed 3 years. But I think it will take a little longer . The Habs cap is a mess . Prices contract is basically imposable to move without retaining 1/2 and giving up something as well. Lots of long term deals still in place and besides Colefeild not much for grade A prospects .

      At least the rebuild is underway and looks like the right guys to do it.

    • You just might be right, George. I’m of the mind that they’re gonna be fairly aggressive right off the hop and right the ship sooner than later.

    • 2422,
      I have no idea how long it will take but the Habs haven’t played with a full roster yet all season so it’s difficult to gauge how much change is needed.

      One can hope that the new management has the ability to assess and act quickly to improve the team and rekindle dormant rivalries.

      Waiting for them to announce the hiring of Daniel Doré as Quebec scout

      • Several weeks ago no one would have guessed that Hughes would be the man. I would have gone with the safe choice of Mathieu Darche, but I think this will work out better. With their struggles over the past few years, trip to the SCF aside, some out of the box thinking is necessary. I’m hearing that Gorton wants to beef up the analytics and development departments which is needed. Hopefully they’ll bring in Émilie Castonguay as one AGM and someone with a strong scouting and development background as another AGM.

      • I agree, HF30, that it is difficult to sort who is and isn’t a keeper given that the Habs have had an AHL roster, or close to it, on most nights.

        Also makes it difficult to gauge Ducharme’s coaching. I feel for the guy, dropped into the deep end with injuries and covid last year mid season, and then saddled with this year’s gong show.

  2. Having watched a video of the hit that caused Jake Muzzin’s concussion and his subsequent actions after the hit, it is clear that he needed to be removed from the game and checked for concussion. I can’t believe the league spotters and the Leaf coaching staff didn’t realize the extent of Muzzin’s injury. He was obviously injured and should not have played from that point. Pretty bush league stuff in my opinion.

  3. After last nights game signing Rask to a cap friendly contract may be one of the best moves the bruins have ever made. He was awful lastnight I turned it off after the 5th goal. It’s obvious the bruins need Klingberg more than Klingberg needs them. The d just let these scorers basically walk right in. But Rask was terrible.

    • The Bruins need to pull the ripcord on a full rebuild as that team looked very old and slow vs the Canes. The idea this team would go beyond one round would be far fetched and without Marchand and Bergeron getting any older the time is to move them for picks and younger prospects.

      • Rob….Bruins can make a run at it this year with 3 additions (LOL)..A Dman who can defend, a 2nd line center & a big body scoring winger which isnt much to ask for…as for the future I agree changes will be needed throughout the roster

      • I agree with Joe but, they are going to have to get creative, I’m not sure Sweeney is the gm to do it. He’s blown it at every level. if you seek a trade for today and have little for tomorrow, You’ll end up being a bottom dweller and nhl patsy for years. Unfortunately the bruins have some of the weakest prospects in the NHL. Chychrun won’t be a bruin at least not what Arizona’s asking for him, personally I don’t think they’ll get that much. Klingberg’s more realistic but I’m afraid Giordano may be the player in play here and he’s 38 I would not give up a number 1 draft choice unless the player plans to stick around and is under 30. A second line centre will be hard but Hertl centering that second line would be the perfect fit.

    • I watched that first period, Rick, thinking it was a great matchup. Not last night it wasn’t.
      Boston are 8-2 in their last ten games – you’d take that for the rest of the season, right?
      And how many games has Rask played since his return? And how bad were the guys in front of him?
      C’mon, man.

  4. I was hoping the Senators would continue their recent successes in their first game at home following their recent road trip out west, but a brain fart at a key time and a rookie goalie doing what a lot of rookies do – i.e., stand on his head – combined to hand them at 3-1 loss to Buffalo. Garrioch explains the brain fart best in his column this morning:

    “Mark Jankowski scored what turned out to be the winner in the third period after a scrum near the bench turned into a confusing sequence that cost the Senators a 3-1 decision to the Buffalo Sabres at the Canadian Tire Centre.

    The scrum near the bench turned confusing when Erik Brannstrom hit Kyle Okposo, and that led to shoving around both benches.

    The officials never whistled the play down even though the music came on in the building, but Jankowski and Josh Brown were the only ones who didn’t go into the gathering along the boards. Jankowski caught Brown going the wrong way and beat Anton Forsberg on the stick side at 10:03.

    Both benches were as stunned at what they’d witnessed as those watching in their living rooms. Alex Tuch put it away into an empty net to seal the win.”

    As Brown later admitted, that was on him as they learn in Pee Wee to keep playing until you hear the whistle.

    But Houser was very good in the Sabres net.

    • The senators couldn’t a team from the echl

  5. Sorry Lyle; puppet might be a strong word; however, Jeff Gorton will be calling the shots. After all he is Hughes boss.

    As far as being a good negotiator, the Bruins are very happy with the deal he negotiated for Patrice Bergeron.

    Gorton was a good hire; other then being a player agent Hughes has no experience in his new role. Time will tell.

  6. Watched DeBrusk play last night and from my seat he’s quit playing for this team & it’s probably at the point now they just can’t get anything back for him of any worth he asked out a long time ago …. Why not waive him let someone claim him and add to their cap space for a need ….

    • LOL Joe, your going to single out one player from that game last night? The whole team didn’t show up and its not unusual after having the ceremony. Take that game and ignore it.

      • You missed the point DeBrusk hasn’t done squat all year so watching him last night proved to me he don’t want to be where he is it has absolutely nothing to do with last nights game …You see something else enlighten me …hey ED why do you feel the need you don’t like what you read don’t read it

      • Caper, the ceremony thing is what I was thinking for an explanation to be down 5-1 after the 1st. I didn’t see the ceremony, was CAR on the bench or in the room for it? The visitors usually wait until it’s over now.

        Wonder if it is a real thing or do we just think it is? Kinda of makes sense.

  7. More whining and crying from Bruins fans, same tissue, different day …

    • Ed i have to give you props that pretty good. Hopefully i’m not giving you credit for a type error.

    • So Ed what’s your story ?

  8. one more if I may…..what were the Bruins thinking giving Nick Foligno 4 million per for 2 years the guy is done they were better off trading a piece say a DeBrusk for the other #17 Milan Lucic

  9. It’s guys like Matheson who feel now that they are recognized in their field, they can disrespect the stars that they have been given access to which is a privilege given by the organization.

    The teams don’t need to talk to the press but they do for us fans. Guys like him, and many in the Toronto hockey media, really don’t get that. Yes, we fans like the insight and hearing what players or coaches are/were thinking. We don’t need a reporter ask a star why he is being pissy. To me that blows all credibility you have as a legit writer and more of a hack because you broke the first rule of journalism and that’s not to make the story about you. you hack!

    Why so pissy Jim, maybe you should come up with better questions and have some respect.

    • Ron agree it was a stupid question and trying to pin him down and get specific on what the Oilers biggest problem wasn’t going to work as Draisaitl, or any good team mate is not going to throw another team mate under the bus. We know the problems, they know the problems.

      Not sure what was going on between the 2 of them, but would guess Leon wasn’t thrilled about something Matheson wrote, but it ain’t his job to make friends. There is tension between the 2 of them, which isn’t good for either of them.

      It isn’t Matheson’s job to make friends, but to report it to the best of his ability, and yes that can include opinions. It is a sport after all.

      The teams demand players make themselves available. It’s part of the deal and unless the player is an idiot he gets that.

      More access means more eyeballs, means more revenue and the players get a significant share of that. Not a privilege, but part of the business today.

      Matheson made a mistake, but is a veteran guy and has a decent track record. The players make mistakes too. The 2 of them will likely discuss it and move on. They need each other and will get over it, everybody needs to chill out.

      No reason for the “outrage” we are seeing in Edmonton. IMO the fans are part of problem as well. Just a game and some get so angry you would think somebody got killed.

      • There you go again, Ray.

  10. Kent Hughes was introduced to Montreal media and was rather impressive in his responses.

    The French media who are the folks demanding a French GM have gone out of their way praising his French and calling him a “Quebecer”

    I’m not a fan of analytics but he made it clear that he intends to modernize the team, it’ll be an interesting ride.

    • I like both hires, Gorton and Hughes HF30. Hopefully MTL fans are patient with this as it will take a while. 5 years before they are a playoff team isn’t unrealistic IMO if they go tear down and full rebuild.

      I should rephrase that, I hope they aren’t patient!