NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

by | Jan 20, 2022 | News, NHL | 36 comments

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the league announces updates to its 2021-22 schedule, the Canadiens introduce Kent Hughes as their new GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz turned in a 34-save shutout to blank the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win and their ninth in the last 10 games. They also opened a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues atop the Western Conference with 55 points.

New York Rangers forward Ryan Reaves (NHL Images).

The New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit and rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Adam Fox and Ryan Reaves each scored two goals as the Rangers moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who remain in third place with 51 points in the Atlantic Division.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Lawson Crouse and Loui Eriksson each had two points. Coyote defenseman Jakob Chychrun picked up an assist in his return to action after being sidelined for 11 games by an upper-body injury and COVID protocols.


NHL.COM: The league will play 95 games from Feb. 7 – 22 as part of its comprehensive update to its 2021-22 schedule. That three-week window was originally scheduled for the 2022 Winter Olympic break. With the NHL withdrawing from the Beijing Games, this period will be used to make up a number of games postponed by COVID protocols.

THE SCORE: Newly appointed Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes held his introductory press conference yesterday at the Bell Centre. His plans for the club include building an offensive-minded club with a focus on speed and puck possession.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes will have two months to determine which players he could shop before the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs such as Ben Chiarot are the most likely to be moved. There are also questions over the futures of veterans such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin over whether they’ll want to be part of a full rebuild if that’s the direction the Habs take under Hughes. Those will likely be addressed in the offseason given their expensive contracts.

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel will be traveling with the Vegas Golden Knights on its four-game road trip next week. However, head coach Peter DeBoer said the 25-year-old center is at least a month or two away from making his debut with the club. The Golden Knights acquire Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in November and he underwent artificial disk replacement surgery on Nov. 12. He started skating with the club earlier this month in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET’s Nick Kypreos reports he’s heard the NHL will need until the end of this week to complete its investigation into whether Evander Kane violated COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. No decision is expected until next week at the earliest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Kane could soon sign a new NHL contract if the league rules in his favor, perhaps with the Edmonton Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov received a two-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety for a knee-on-knee hit on Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehlers is expected to be sidelined for at least three games.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault received a $5,000.00 fine for a dangerous trip of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings claimed center Gemel Smith off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s the older brother of Red Wings winger Givani Smith.

NBC SPORTS: One day after the Boston Bruins retired Willie O’Ree’s No. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to award the 86-year-old the Congressional Gold Medal. He was a hockey pioneer by becoming the first black man to play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree for this recognition of his work as a hockey trailblazer during and after his playing days.


  1. Getting out to an early and good lead and then having that lead taken away later in the game seems to be trending for Leafs… not good

    As a Leafs and Pens fan I was certainly hoping for a regulation Leafs win …. Great for Leafs in maybe moving towards catching one of the to FLA state juggernauts; and great to get a loss by one of the top Metro teams that Pens are trying to catch

    Alas…. Extremely poor defensive play for 2/3rds of the game along with a sub-par game by the usually very good and very reliable Soupy…. and my hopes for the double whammy were squashed

    Bag skates for next practice??? Or just put it in the rear view mirror and move on?

    Rangers are a very good team and move the puck very well. Certainly not taking away from how good they are or how well they played last night. Just stating that Leafs lately are surrendering leads with glaring errors, and poor efforts later in games

    • Maybe the Lafs trade Marner to AZ for Chychrun, Crouse and a late round 1st. LOL

      • Hi JZ

        That would certainly make team better defensively AND save Cap… but I can’t see either side agreeing to that swap

    • Muzzin is a big piece missing
      and imho the Rangers were not clicking until the 3rd

      • Hi ds

        No question Muzzin out is a big difference… but he’s one player out… Leafs played poor defensively overall; and Soupy would like a couple back.

        Rangers were definitely clicking in third but also had some good spurts in 2nd

        Still think that Leaf’s are in tough first round this year… about a 95% chance IMHO that they play one of the two FLA teams; starting on the road

        If Bruins catch them…. They start on road likely vs Canes

    • Lmao. That Kreider goal. All alone in front of net.

      • Us Leaf fans weren’t laughing


  2. Willie O’Ree deserves all the accolades – he took a lot of crap when he played – and not just at the NHL level.

    Looking back, the one that should have preceded him as the first black in the NHL was Herb Carnegie of the Quebec Aces … but he was never even given a sniff. Loved watching him in the QSHL/QHL.

    • Agree one hundred per cent, George. I heard Herb Carnegie speak at his high school alma mater in Toronto and his story is both amazing and sad. He was definitely an NHL level talent according to people in the know.
      Conn Smythe, that heroic Canadian, allegedly said of Carnegie, “If only he was white.”

      • Hi George and BCLeafFan

        I’ve seen interviews with Herb Carnegie … very likeable

        However I’ve never seen any video of him playing so can’t comment on his NHL snub

      • I saw him a lot at the old Ottawa Auditorium playing for the Aces against the Ottawa Senators in the QSHL/QHL along with a young Jean Beliveau in the early 1950s. He most certainly should have been given a shot in the NHL. Not a big guy – but fast and slick.

        Whenever they were in town the old bard, which held about 8,000 for hockey, was packed to the gills including SRO and fans sitting on the steps in the aisles (all fire regulations went out the window).

        His brother Ossie played for the Sherbrooke Saints – about the same size but not as fast or as slick with the puck.

  3. Re Eichel and “ at least a month or two away from making his debut with the club”…. two months puts him at mid/late Mar which was around the originally speculated return time-frame

    Obviously they’d like to have him “up to speed” come playoffs (so returning a few weeks left in reg season)… but do have Cap issues… could they prolong his return until day after reg season? Or count on one or more LTIRs for balance of season? Prob need to give up an asset to move Dando by TDL. They should keep Smith (as an own rental) .

    Re Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Willy O’Ree…. Excellent

    Loved his speech. Great Ambassador for hockey

    • LVG will have someone on LTIR till the play-offs to insure that no big contract will have to moved by the TDL…..unless they find a buyer for Daddy….stay tuned….a lot of click bait will be appear on this topic!

      • Hi JZ

        Not overly hard to “manipulate” the system by keeping somebody on LTIR that is already there; but “creating” a new LTIR situation… that’s extremely hard to “manufacture”

        Does anybody know time-frames on Patches and Martinez?

  4. Weren’t there a few people thinking Eichel would be out no longer than 6 weeks?

    It’s hard to imagine how having an artificial disk replacement in your neck in a contact sport could possibly take so long?

    • Hi CO

      I had not heard any media source or medical expert declare that he’d be back playing games in the nhl in 6 weeks

      Did anybody here post that they thought he’d be back playing in 6 weeks?

      • I think that Slick62, who was the standout proponent of disk replacement among posters here, said that his research told him that the recovery period would be about 6-8 weeks, but that’s not quite the same as saying Jack would be playing in 6 weeks. Others came up with that same number. I don’t recall if Slick predicted a “return to play” period.

        I think it would be wonderful if Spector added a search engine to this site. As if he didn’t have enough problems already.

      • Thanks Francis

        I just can’t see how 6 weeks from that surgery back to playing in the NHL would ever be possible

        His surgery was 12/11/21…. 10 weeks ago; per DeBoer … min another month… that’s 14 weeks min

        If memory serves most big hockey media talked about 3-5 months … 14 weeks is 3 1/2 months…. So seems on target

      • Pengy,
        proponents of Eichel’s “rights” were using his doctor’s claim of being back on ice in six weeks and full practise in eight.

      • Thanks HF30

        Sounds like perhaps they were using the “miracle” earliest recovery date possible…. That “recovery” being for a toned athlete , and being able to actually “skate” alone; no neck brace; without equipment; or stick; and covered in bubble wrap

        I challenge any “miracle” doctor that could defend Eichel actually playing IN an NHL game; 6 weeks post surgery

        I think what they meant was that Eichel was going to get EA Sports NHL ‘22 (for PS5) from Santa… Christmas was 43 days post op (6 weeks)… and play that NHL game on Christmas Day

        What a “spin”

      • Pengy….You are absolutely right that Rudwhedel was atrocious and most of the Penguins defenseman weren’t very good vs Ottawa..

        We need two defenseman to make a serious run for the Cup. We have moved in to third in the metro and only two points behind the Rangers….I don’t care who we need to move to get these two defenseman. Rust, Kapanen, Zucker or Petersson.

        – Add Robert Hagg 6′ 2″ 205 pounds plays a physical in your face type of defense. UFA at $1.6 million
        – Add Nick Leddy good top 4 guy, can skate, pass and move the puck…or Calvin DeHann

        Zucker and Leddy match up pefect both 30, both have salaries at $5.5 million…Leddy a UFA and Zucker one more year

        Now to the elephant in the room !!

        ” The Malkin Effect ”

        – The team defense, structure and attention to detail (that has brought them a long way) goes to s**t when he returns to the line up. I’m not saying it is all his fault but the team details go down the drain which Sullivan addressed last night.

        – We Gave up 6 goals vs the Kings
        – We had two crappy periods vs San Jose and Louie Dominque saved the game in goal
        – We were awful vs Vegas for a period and a half pulled that one out
        – Come home to play Ottawa get out played in period one 22 shots against and we were up 3-1. We were out played in period three Ottawa scored 4 goals we eeeeeked that one out

        It is like ground hog day every time malkin is out we play well band together he comes back team structure suffers..

    • There were multiple people here saying he’d be ready to play in 6-8 weeks. It wasn’t just one particular person.

      Typically, any type of neck surgery takes 2-3 months. And that’s for the normal guy working behind a desk.

      If there was severe nerve compression, a full recovery can take 1-2 years!!! (Google).

      As far as “I told ya so” on Eichel, that’s not a 1 or 2 year evaluation. Eichel could come back and put up 100 points in 20 games this year.

      The bigger question, where will he be in 2-3-5 years from now, and will that neck hold up? How many games will he miss over the next few years?

      • Agree CO

        I was floored re any thought of him actually playing 6-8 weeks post op

        His quality of play upon return also (on top of this serious surgery) has to take into account the lengthy time between last game played and return game; AND he will be playing without pre-season warm up AND against players who are already in mid season form. AND new team AND new line mates AND new system

        Bully for him if he can finish season as a PPG guy… I am sceptical though

  5. Watching this Leon Draisaitl and the nitwit reporter all over sm for the last couple of days.

    Leon owes his nothing and to think he does is just wrong.

    Leon answer the question and he didn’t like “too bad” write your column.

    Disagree with the thought They need each other; no they don’t.

    Write your column and give the answer you want.

    Do you want Leon to write the column for you? You are an immature reporter but your supposed to be seasoned.

    • Figured you and I may disagree on this one Caper, makes for interesting discussion.

      My point is as a whole the NHL needs the sports media, and the sports media needs the NHL. Both are especially true in Canada.
      Players get a share of revenue, media attention drives revenue.
      In Edmonton that includes Matheson. Ya, he made a mistake, everybody does. Cancel him?

      I would bet $100 they have spoken to each other already.

      It’s not the first blow up between players, teams, coaches and the media. Not the first in EDM. Happens all the time, and the reporter still covers the team and or players, still deals with the reporter.

      Look at Torts and Brookes?
      Now what does Torts do? Does he hold back or does criticize players and teams now that he is on the other side? Let’s it rip, and some guys got mad about it already. So did he when he coached. Then they move on. Dwelling and rehashing it over and over accomplishes what from either side?

      Much ado about nothing.

    • Hi Ray, no i’m not about cancelling anyone. Agree move on; however, the internet and social media is a funny place.

      Story out there about how Matheson and how he made up story about what a player said about Goerges Laraque, and Laraque put a pounding on the player only to find out Matheson made it all up.

      Negative and positive media brings attention to the game and that is a good thing.

      In this case i stand with Leon; the reporter came across as if thought he was better then the player.

      Nothing wrong with difference of opinions. All good. Debates are always fun.

      • I can’t argue against the exchange between the 2 of them Caper. Was not a good look for Mr. Matheson, and hurt his reputation.

        My guess is he will be back in there asking questions already.

        This is as much SM as I do, there is too much BS out there for my taste and wouldn’t believe a thing somebody posts, unless it is from someone who you already know as a trustworthy source.

  6. FYI. I quoted surgeon who performed surgery who stated he could be skating in 6 weeks and cleared for contact in 8. Given Vegas’ cap situation, I think Deboer fine with keeping him out as long as there’s no threat of missing playoffs. Still2 months till trade deadline and I’m sure they’ll do all they can to pull a Tampa and avoid having to gut roster. ’

    • Thanks for your reply, Sllick. It’s comforting for me to know that New Year partying hasn’t blanked out all my brain cells.

      If Jack comes back good as ever, nobody can more deservedly than you say, “I told you so.”

      • Francis S. I really wanted Eichel on Rangers. Just wasn’t happening. Vegas made the bold move and stand to reap rewards. I’m curious to see how it works out moving forward.

    • Until this injury/surgery drama never gave much thought to Jack Eichel, but I find myself kind of rooting for the guy.

      Never cared or thought about Vegas, other than they did a great job in the expansion draft and side deals.

      Now kind of rooting for them too (unless the play B or E). Have to appreciate the nuts to make that move, and frankly a few of the other ones they have made. Those boys don’t F around.

      We’ll see if it works out for everybody involved, but still have to respect it for now.

      • Ray–Just the advancement in sports medicine that Jack’s recovery would bring makes me root for him. But it would be fantastic to see him go against McDavid.

  7. Price and Gallagher are obviously not going anywhere during the season. But Drouin would be a possibility. Only has one more year left on his contract and hadn’t played too badly. The Habs could get a decent return. If so, they should trade him.

    • I agree but I can’t imagine too many players that less typify playoff hockey.

  8. My heart soars that the accolades continue for Willy O. and that he should be with us to enjoy them.
    Grace , humility and a dogged determination are the stuff of
    heroes, he personified all of these.
    We can all take a lesson from this man…listening Mr. Kane ?