NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2022

by | Feb 3, 2022 | News, NHL | 45 comments

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz berates reporters during town hall event, Alex Ovechkin sidelined from the upcoming All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers blew an early 3-0 lead but recovered on two goals by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane also scored for the Oilers (49 points), who remain three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images)

Speaking of the Flames, they maintained their lead over the Oilers by doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Chris Tanev scored and collected three assists while Blake Coleman tallied twice. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault netted two goals in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Kings are tied with the Anaheim Ducks with 55 points but sit in second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored his 22nd goal of the season.

The Minnesota Wild got a 30-save shutout from goaltender Cam Talbot to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Kevin Fiala extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 59 points.

Seattle Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer turned in a 19-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. Mason Appleton and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz lost his temper during a town hall meeting yesterday when The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus asked him about the club’s work to protect their players in the aftermath of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations.

We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We’re not going to talk about anything that happened. We’re moving on, “ said an obviously angered Wirtz. “What we’re doing today is our business. I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t work for the company. If somebody in the company asks that question, we’ll answer it.”

Asked the same question by another reporter, Wirtz angrily told them to “get off that subject.”

Wirtz later issued an apology to the reporters and the fans, saying his remarks “crossed the line.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see Wirtz’s outbursts in this link. The Blackhawks’ chairman has been roundly condemned for his petulant remarks. Wirtz acted as though the investigation into Beach’s allegations was an annoyance to be forgotten instead of a very serious issue that still resonates among fans and media. He undid everything his club had done since the investigation concluded to assure the public that what happened to Beach will never happen to another player again.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports former NHL star Pat Verbeek is set to become the next general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. Verbeek spent 21 seasons as a player and has worked with Steve Yzerman as an assistant GM with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could make the official announcement as early as today. Verbeek has had considerable experience working with one of the league’s best general managers. The Ducks interim GM, Martin Madden, was considered among the front-runners for the role. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains as their assistant GM.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss the upcoming NHL All-Star Game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday. He will be replaced by teammate Tom Wilson while Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux will take over from Ovechkin as captain of the Metropolitan Division. Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault was also added to the All-Star Game roster.

The Columbus Blue Jackets report forward Eric Robinson will be sidelined for six weeks by a knee injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have sent forward Noel Acciari to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on a conditioning stint. He has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury.


  1. Lyle

    Re “ Wirtz acted as though the investigation into Beach’s allegations was an annoyance to be forgotten instead of a very serious issue that still resonates among fans and media. He undid everything his club had done since the investigation concluded to assure the public that what happened to Beach will never happen to another player again.”

    I am in full agreement. That whole back and forth was painful to watch.

    He (Wirtz) came across (to me) as almost hating the name (and therefore the man) Kyle Beach; as if Blackhawks should be sympathized as perhaps victims

    It (the QA forum) was a joke and an atrocity at the same time

    • Agreed, Pengy. Lazerus admitted his question (which was for Dan Wirtz, Rocky’s son) was a bit of a softball. Rocky just lost it for no good reason and even refused to let his son try to salvage the situation.

    • Re: Chicago – so they’re trying to pretend that it never happened.

      Um, isn’t that what caused much of their problems to begin with?

    • How does this happen . Even if he wants to just move on he has to be smarter than that unbelievable !!!!
      I wonder if the league can fine them again?

      • Aww, would that make you happy today?

      • Ed what would make me happy is if Bettman grew a pair and forced him to sell the team .

        Adam Silver did this in the NBA but I don’t think Gary will go that far . But the Blackhawks looking awful this past year with all the off ice stuff .

      • It just seems to me that people who inherit great wealth, vs the ones that earn/built it (Rocky’s grandfather), are used to never being challenged in their life so when they are, they often deny, lie and attempt to just wiggle out of it if covering it up fails. Because they have been able to their entire lives because of that wealth and influence.

        Don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush, because obviously not true for everyone in that position, but you see this type of stuff over and over.

        Maybe just what hits the news.

      • Hi Ray

        With you in generality…. Proportionately More “inherited” wealth individuals are like that over “self made” individuals

        Exceptions on either side

      • Ray Bark is spot on, Rocky Wirtz is a member of the lucky sperm club and those people have had it given to them on a silver platter their whole lives and don’t know how to deal with unpleasantness … not sure what fining him again would achieve other than making Bettman and Daly richer than they already are …

  2. Yesterday when Dark G proposed a deal involving C Colin White and D Josh Brown for Jake DeBrusk, and Ray Bark asked if White was out for the season, both Dark G and myself responded – I indicated April 1 was a targeted return date while Dark G thought it would be sooner. Stick tap to Dark G judging from this excerpt from Garrioch’s column this morning quoting Pierre Dorion:

    “As for Colin White, he’s been out since camp after shoulder surgery. He has resumed skating and could play later this month. “We’re targeting Feb. 26th but that’s fluid,” said Dorion. “With an injury of this magnitude, we’ve got to make sure the surgeon will okay it, the strength has to be at 100% and there’s got to be a minimum of one week of contact in practice.”

    So, who knows, maybe Boston would look at that proposal after all. White does play with an edge and Brown can be physical.

    • Hi George

      The offer (offer course pending White’s return and playing performance upon return) seems reasonable

      White a hometowner …. Born in Boston but also went to (and played for ) BC

      I believe Bruins were looking for a big LD though…. Bruins fans do I have that right ? I think that Brown just plays RD…. Not sure… is that right George/Dark G?

      If so… I believe it would be Brown replacing Clifton , or as 7th D…. Bruins fans …. Is that the way you see it?

      Lots of things to view on that…. Again… all depends on how well White comes out of the chute after his return

      As an aside…. What is the cost of acquisition of Brown by himself? Brown in replacing Ruhweedel (Pens) would certainly be an improvement. Neither are offensive D-Men; but Brown for sure is an upgrade in 3RD just in play alone; add to that , Brown’s size is a gargantuan upgrade to CR (who gets manhandled by opposing forwards). Pens would gladly take the 4 years younger, 6” taller; 30lbs heavier Brown over CR. I realize Sens don’t want CR in the deal…. So what level of pick is required for Brown straight up?

      • Bruins need a top 4 Dman who plays LD …..size and grit is a must … this is a real soft team that will have problems in the playoffs they need some protection for their top players ….Broken Recird … they also need a 2nd line center and a physical winger

      • I doubt Dorion is looking for more mid to lower range picks. He barely has enough roster room throughout the system for those has has already drafted, and adding picks of that calibre really doesn’t solve anything.

        Brown, if not included in a package of the type suggested by Dark G, may as well finish off his contract in Ottawa and see what UFA status brings – and Dorion likely sees it that way as well.

      • Hi Joe

        Thanks… agree Bruins need LD over RD; and size/grit always important come playoffs


        Thanks, makes sense. Would have loved a Brown pick up for a 5th (if Dorian would have taken it)

    • I was hoping Debrusk would be packaged with other players,picks in a bigger trade.White is a poor man s Charlie Coyle,no real place for him.Brown they could use to Toughen the team up.I recall the check earlier in the year when he blew up Frederic and injured his shoulder.

      • That is a fair point Steve.
        Putting him between Pasta and Hall may push those point totals up though.
        I don’t mind it because we have no C depth, and our best one turns 37 this summer. And is a UFA if he decides he wants to move on.

        We have no prospects that have shown they can be even a 3C in the NHL.

        My guess is OTT wouldn’t make that trade anyway without an adder by BOS.

  3. congrats to Patty Verbeek on the Ducks GM job. He was one of my favorite Devils in the mid-80’s when I was growing up during those lean years (before they first made the playoffs in ’88)

    • …and a favorite Whaler, too.

  4. At least the Ducks didn’t recycle someone like most teams do … Verbeek will inherit some pretty good young players and has a couple of valuable trade chips in his pocket … good luck

  5. would a cbj trade of korpasalo to pitt for kapanen make sense. i hear pitt looking for a backup goalie and mwith robinson out for a extended time. kapanen could play on pk and also bring some goal scoring to cbj

    • The value is fair but I don’t think korpi is an improvement over desmith.

      • Fair? wow … delusional

      • Agree

        Believe it or not DeSmith has slightly better numbers this year

        Neither is the BU solution for Pens

        Domingue looked good….. but only 1 game this year so that excellent performance could be an anomaly; and he’s injured

        ‘Nucks are 6 points out; Flames have 4 games in hand; media musings are Jimbo now open to exits rather than holding on and hoping….

        Would still love to see a trade with Pens that nets Halak and Schenn

        I’d love DeSmith and CR going the other way…. But that jumps up the trade request…. Bury DeSmith and Cr…

        Schenn in ; CR down costs $100 K in space

        After burying DeSmith ($1.08)… then adding Scheen net….net 0 .98 M in Cap space freed up for Halak…. Once his PB kicks in …. $3M…. So net needed … just over $2 M in Cap space … Pens have it

        What’s the ask for Halak and Schenn ?

        Ideal …. Zucker and a 3rd

        If Jimbo is moving Miller anyway…he’s down a top 6 LW (yes I know he also plays C)

        Zucker is by no means anywhere near a Miller in talent ; but something in (for next year… transition year)… is not so bad

        If Miller gets (as has been suggested) ; a 1st, and a good up and comer and a prospect…. Then

        Basically converting :

        Miller into Zucker ;
        Halak into Martin
        Schenn into Bowery or Juulsen or Woo

        Saves ‘Nucks in Cash and Cap
        Gets ‘Nucks younger
        Nets ‘Nucks a
        a 3rd,
        AND an up and commer roster player;
        AND a prospect

        Bruins or Rangers ??? get Miller for this playoffs… Paying with futures

        Pens massively improve at 3RD , and get bigger, stronger, grittier; and improve big time at back up; AND net Cap space …. For the cost of Zucker and a 3rd

        Would be nice

      • Ok Ed. What’s fair value for a guy who can’t perform in a top 6 or bottom 6 role? He’s a career .5 ppg guy despite playing with some of the top players on the league. He was drafted 8 years ago. Doubt he’s ready to crank it into another gear at this stage of his career.

        So what’s his value? Let’s see who is delusional

    • God No … Kappy is a top 6, his coach just doesn’t know it …

      • Kappy is a top 6, yet you say Debrusk is trash.
        Look at their respective stat lines again and explain how we’re all delusional and you are so knowledgeable regarding player analysis.

        I’d like to buy you for what you’re worth, and sell you for what you think you’re worth.
        I’d make a tidy profit, me thinks.

      • I’ve wondered if a 1:1 swap might be a useful experiment for both players and teams

      • I’d go with the Devil I know, rather than the Devil I don’t in this case, Chrisms.

  6. Martin Madden was not the interim GM. Jeff Solomon was, while Madden remained an assistant. I’d love to see him come to work in the Habs front office.

  7. While it is going to be a big loss for Detroit I think it will be a great add for the Ducks. I just hope Steve can fleece the little ball of hate in the future Ala the way he did Holland.

  8. Just want to give a stick tap to Mikko Koskinen.
    After getting roasted by the local fans and some local reporters, even his coach blamed him publicly, he has played really well lately.
    Multiple big saves last night, again.

    Oil 11 points in last 6 games. Mikko 4-0-1 in his 5 starts. Skinner got MTL for his.

    While not a starting caliber tender, the guy has stepped up when they really needed him and after getting kicked around.

    Now 16-8-2 this year.

    Good for him.

    • With you Ray

      I wouldn’t definitively say that for sure the Oil’s “ship has been righted” and that they are on a reasonable path to playoffs; but there has been noted improvements and this recent set of games looked good

      Only 3 back of Flames but more importantly… only 6 back of both Kings and Ducks…. With 5 and 6 games in hand respectively , on them…. And Head to Heads on the horizon

  9. Tom Wilson is in the all-star game? Wow, the NHL never passes up a chance to sh*t the bed.

    • And, to add insult to injury to the paying fans, as a replacement for Ovechkin!

      That’d be like sending Kassian in place of McDavid.

    • Hi Gored1970

      New ASG competition category…

      Manikin (with calibrated sensors in head) placed 6’ from rink corner, facing corner….. looking for most kinetic energy driven into head….. competitors start at Center Ice

      Competitors raw score (kinetic energy delivered) is weighed equally with style points (scale of 1 to 10…. Single judge ….. Parros) to determine winner

      Winner of competition given an ADDITIONAL “get out of jail” card by Parros …. good for 60% reduction in any future suspensions; AND automatic return ticket (automatically on roster) to following year’s ASG

      A certainty to be a crowd pleaser

      • Savage, Pengy.

      • SOP

        100%….Savage he is

        The fact that Nashville hasn’t tried to get him (as their team name personifies his main attribute) is tragic

      • I would watch that Pengy.

      • By that logic pengy they should have drafted Logan m and Reid should be on the 4th line.

      • Good point Chrisms

        Top headhunter (predator ) in league is Wilson for sure.

        He’s been mentoring Hathaway and spending extra time after practice with Ovi on “Elbows forward, Elbows high Alex, you can do it”; followed by film studies lead by George P, then an 18 oz. Blue rare steak for lunch…. No utensils allowed

    • Per NHL.com…. Re Metro ASG choices….”Others receiving votes: forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov (Capitals), Sidney Crosby (Penguins) , Mathew Barzal (Islanders), Jesper Bratt (Devils); defensemen…”

      Kuznetsov already in (replacing Ranger Fox BTW) so Washington is already represented

      Josi (Predator) replaced MacK (Avs)

      No requirement that replacement must be from same team (as long as team is already represented …. Tkachuk in for Batherson as no other Sen already on)…. cite Kuz in for Fox; Josi in for Mac K

      Per NHL (above)…. Bratt, Barzal, Sid all got votes (and certainly way more than the zero votes Wilson would have received!!)

      Wilson instead of any of those three is mind boggling

      Canes alone have at least 4 players (on top of already chosen Aho) waaaaay more deserving than Wilson

      How did this happen?

  10. ASG skills competition is rumored to have fighting added.

    • Good one HF30….

      NHL Gladiators on the Vegas strip….. full wagering…. Pure entertainment

      HRR to skyrocket

      Might cover the HRR losses elsewhere in the desert (for a MINIMUM of 3 years….. 5,000 seat arena be damned )

      • Nice one Chrisms… what a way to fight Semin …. Flapping the “punches” baby finger side first… weird

        Notice who started the whole thing???…. Charging , hit from behind , numbers , full inertia….. and he has being doing that (and getting away with it) for 17 seasons (and counting); note: long before Mr. Goon arrived in Washington