NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2022

by | Jan 4, 2022 | News, NHL | 17 comments

The Rangers move into first place in the overall standings, the three stars of the week are announced, the latest COVID protocols updates, the Flames new arena deal is dead and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers (48 points) moved into first place in the overall standings by dropping the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, Adam Fox collected two assists, Chris Kreider tallied his 20th goal of the season and Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with 33 saves. The Oilers (38 points) have only two wins in their last 12 games and are clinging to the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (NHL Images).

Last night’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Seattle Kraken was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns affecting the Senators. Thomas Chabot, Zach Sanford and Chris Tierney entered COVID protocol yesterday, bringing the total number of Senators players in protocol to eight.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski and Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart were among those who also entered COVID protocol yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The total number of players going on or coming off the protocol list changes daily. For example, 10 Dallas Stars players (including Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, Esa Lindell, Jason Robertson and Ryan Suter) were removed from the list yesterday.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth missed practice yesterday after submitting positive rapid COVID-19 tests. Both are asymptomatic and are awaiting the results of their PCR tests.

Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he doesn’t expect many more Canadian franchises will have games postponed due to attendance issues because the league is running out of time to make up games already postponed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the seven Canadian franchises had asked for their home games in January to be rescheduled for later in the season when attendance restrictions in their respective provinces are lifted when the Omicron COVID variant fades. Those clubs will see a significant reduction in their hockey-related revenue (HRR) under the current capacity limitations which will have an adverse effect upon the league’s overall revenue, in turn affecting the salary cap down the road.

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau are the league’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 2.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis recently started skating after being sidelined for weeks with a lower-body injury. However, there’s still no timetable for his return to action. Acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators, the 31-year-old Ellis appeared in just four games and hasn’t played since Nov. 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis’ absence is one reason why the Flyers are struggling to stay in the hunt for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot is nursing a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s Winter Classic. Winger Jordan Greenway entered COVID protocol.

CBC SPORTS: The City of Calgary’s deal with the owners of the Calgary Flames for a new downtown arena is officially terminated due to “unresolved issues.” It’s estimated the two sides had already spent between $20 million and $25 million on the $600 million project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This doesn’t mean the Flames will be relocating to another city. The club’s ownership group indicated it intends to remain in the Saddledome. However, they’ll be looking at investing millions in updating and upgrading the building.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars hired former Buffalo Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley as their new director of hockey strategy/scouting and development.


  1. Its over-time for the NHL to decide if they want to play hockey or shut it down. They are slowly understanding no matter what they do they cannot stop or even significantly impact Covid spread.

  2. Why build arena if don’t allow fans New buildings will be just ice surfaces with great cameras zero seats.

    • It takes a couple of years (minimum) to build a new arena, by which point we can only hope this pandemic has subsided. If not, and if spectators are no longer permitted, the NHL’s business model will collapse anyway. There might be an upside to postponing construction until gate revenue returns and/or a new CBA gets done, but I can’t see any franchise owner throwing in the towel completely.

  3. The Rangers are a very good team. Full stop.

    No challenge

    That said…. There was a glaring difference yesterday in two teams that clearly made the difference…. A certain Bulgarian born Russian seriously out-duelled a Finn

    Oil are sliding…. A move (or 2) seems to be needed

    Flames and City of Calgary….. you can’t get things done on a $600 + M massive project over a disagreement on just a few million….. ?????

    Re Can teams asking for postponement of home games due to limited fans in seats now…. My VP had me in stitches when he threw out the question yesterday….. “does that mean that the Arizona Coyotes will ask for their home games to be postponed until the 2040’s?”


    Have you heard anything from George? Haven’t seen him on in a while. Hope he and his family are OK

    • Pengy my pre-season finals prediction:

      Rangers vs Avalanche

      long ways away

      Nazem Kadri 31 will be a Ufa season end, coming off a contract that paid him $4.5 per

      Presently leading the team in scoring 11g 28a 39pts in 25 games played.

      What does his new contract look like?

      3yrs at $6.5 per?

      • Hi Caper

        IMHO Kadri would want (he SHOULD want) more term….. 5 @ $6.5 M ask (Kadri agent)….. settle at 5 @ $6/$5.75 M or 4 @ $6.5 M

      • Good question guys. This is the first time he has produced like this, but also the first time he had the minutes with the top line for a long stretch.

        I think he gets the term as well. I will go 5x$6M if he likes it in COL and stays. 5 X $6.5 – $7M if he tests the market.

    • other than Goodrow & Reaves the Rangers have essentially the same team as last year … shows what a difference Gerard Gallant has made … the guy can flat out coach …

      • Gallant stopped Kreider from overthinking and look at the results.

  4. SERIOUSLY HOPE THE RANGERS WOULD CRASH AND BURN. They fired all the architects that put this team together. And Adam Fox pulling a Lindros and refusing to play for anyone but the Rags…Lindros got overpayment in that trade, whereas Fox burned 2 teams with underpayment for him.

    • Let’s hope the architect that helped build a strong Rangers team will do the same for his new team.
      As to Fox, while I certainly quibble with the attitude that he showed, the fact is that he played by the rules in place. Maybe they need to be changed but it’s not on him.

      • They need changed so all players have the same advantage Fox did.

      • Maybe Chrisms, showed some serious belief in himself, so good on him.
        Methinks there won’t be many players willing to wait it out that long and want to start the pro development as soon as they can.
        Would be an issue in Canada as they don’t have an option after Major Jr. Maybe the Canadian University game would get a boost! Or Europe I suppose.

        Interesting idea none the less.

      • I’d say three years after drafting if not signed then ufa. Still with elc contract limits. Nhl could create a compensatory pick system. I also think the nhl should eliminate the draft after three rounds. Have an escalating cap for elcs with first rounders making the most and all other players re-enter draft next year. After two eligible drafts they would be ufa at the start of the next years fa period. Still with elc limits, cheaper than any drafted player. This would spread the talent around tremendously. A guy who plays ld for example who was a mid to late round talent could target teams shallow in depth thus increasing their nhl chances. Players could play close to home if they prefer. Teams would have to invest in facilities etc to attract these players. I think the system works so much better that way

      • That is a well thought out idea/post chrisms.

        Sounds good to me!
        Email Gary.

    • Johnny Z don’t disagree with the fox sentiment but Hall did the same when leaving Buffalo to Boston.

      Fox salary goes from $925,000 to $9.5 m next season

  5. “ It’s estimated the two sides had already spent between $20 million and $25 million ”

    So every that lives in Calgary took out a $20 bill and set it on fire. Man helping billionaires is great.

    Obe unfortunately because the NHL can’t market itself, it used to be #3 in the rankings of major leagues is way done now. It still makes most of the money from gate sales!