NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2022

by | Feb 5, 2022 | News, NHL | 31 comments

Results of the All-Star skills competition plus Commissioner Gary Bettman talks about Flames and Coyotes arenas, Canadian teams, the 2022 Draft and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.com: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman won the hardest shot competition at 103.2 mph while St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou was the fastest skater with a time of 13.550 at the 2022 NHL All-Star skills competition in Las Vegas on Friday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho won the accuracy shooting in 10.937 seconds while Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell and Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy combined for nine consecutive saves in the Save Streak event.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski was the Las Vegas 21 in ’22 winner, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski won the Fountain Faceoff Challenge and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo won the Breakaway Challenge.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Pietrangelo, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras should’ve won the breakaway challenge for his blindfolded Dodgeball trick shot routine. Honorable mention to Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov for mimicking his idol, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin.

A stick tap as well for former USA Women’s star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson for finishing third in the Fountain Faceoff, which saw the participants attempting to hit targets while standing on an island in the Bellagio Fountain. At one point, she led by hitting all of her targets in 16.253 seconds.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed the Arizona Coyotes plan to temporarily play at a 5,000-seat venue at Arizona State University, provided the club secures commitment to building a new arena at Tempe. Bettman made the remarks during a press conference along with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly prior to the skills competition yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes would spend at least the next three seasons at the ASU facility while awaiting the building of their new venue. This season is the last for the Coyotes at the Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale announced it was terminating the club’s lease.

Bettman also approved of the Calgary Flames decision to skate away from a new arena deal with the city of Calgary but stressed the club remains committed to the city despite the collapse of the agreement. He believes the team’s ownership worked hard to get a deal done but felt the city pushed too hard to include additional costs that the team would have to pick up. Bettman believes the sooner both sides figure out how to get a new arena the better given the long-term cost of maintenance at the aging Saddledome.

The commissioner also raised the possibility of the 2022 NHL Draft moving from Montreal to another location if the city and the province of Quebec remain under strict COVID regulations. The draft is scheduled for July 7-8, 2022 at the Bell Centre.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman also indicated the slow reopening of Canadian NHL arenas has affected the revenue of the Canadian teams, prompting some of them to look into playing games at other locations where COVID restrictions on attendance aren’t as strict. So far, the league isn’t going that route but that could change depending on how long the current Canadian restrictions remain in place.

Bettman announced the Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, the 2023 Winter Classic will be hosted by the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park while the 2023 NHL Stadium Series will feature the Carolina Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Bettman excused Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz for his “emotional moment” during a Wednesday townhall when he lashed out at two reporters who asked what measures the club had implemented to protect its players in the aftermath of an investigation into the sexual assault allegations by former player Kyle Beach against Brad Aldrich, the club’s former video coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wirtz’s “emotional moment” was a PR disaster that has his critics questioning whether he should remain in his role.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they continued conducting interviews for the vacant position of general manager with Kyle Davidson and Eric Tulsky. Davidson is currently their interim GM while Tulsky is assistant GM with the Carolina Hurricanes.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced Shawn Horcoff has taken over as assistant GM. He replaces Pat Verbeek, who was hired as the new general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’s David Schoen reports Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer said Jack Eichel will be cleared for contact drills following the All-Star break.


  1. Re “ NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed the Arizona Coyotes plan to temporarily play at a 5,000-seat venue at Arizona State University”…. Baaaaad endorsement….. very very very baaaaaad endorsement

    When I saw this banner (from TSN) on my phone today : “ NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league will consider moving” (that was all that was visible on my screen without opening the article….I was feeling very positive…. Then I opened the article… he’s considering moving the draft not the Yotes

    So he’ll consider moving a venue due to some inconvenience and small rev losses…. But endorses Yotes playing (for 3 years minimum) at max 5,000 seat arena, poor sight lines , many logistical issues, NHL can’t use current dressing rooms (National college rules) so new extra auxiliary ones have to be built …. All while massive negative impact on HRR; longer imposition of make right clause ( players will take longer to pay back… longer with escrow payments); artificially delaying expected Cap increases; peeving all of the 700 + in theNHLPA; 31 franchises and their owners; millions of fans across the continent (especially those in potential relo cities) ….. this is completely idiotic

    Then ….” Bettman excused Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz ”….. are you kidding me?

    I have a few choice descriptive words I would like to add, but Spector’s rules (which I respect)…. Prohibit these

  2. The all star comp and game has lost it’s lustre. Not interested. Miss the regular season. I even subscribed to a couple of ahl games during the six day layoff. As well as a pickup game at one of the outdoor rinks in town.

    • I have to agree with that.

  3. Personally, I have/had no interest in an NHL all-star game, I would have scrapped it and rolled on with the regular season …

    • Hi Ed

      Mark this time and date on your calendar …. 3:06 PM EST , 5/2/22….

      I agree fully with you on this…. Did I just say that (???)

      1) not an All Star game…. mandatory selection from each team classes this game more in line with a “Participation Game” rather than “All Star”…. Cite…. Wilson as a participant

      2) No Olympics due to Covid , moving missed games in to that Olympic Break’s spot… the so called “ASG” is not needed

      So I as well… have no interest in it AND at the very least would have moved LV as host, to Feb of ‘23; scrapping (unless old format of true All Stars brought back) altogether…. Also a fair and rational mindset and certainly should be discussed

  4. To be honest I couldn’t care less about the entry draft spectacle and would be perfectly happy with an announcement of a list after a private boardroom or virtual meeting of the GMs.

  5. Watched some of the skills contest.

    By far the most entertaining part of the night was Trevor Zegras.

    His costume, the c-thru sheet, the control and the move.

    Wow that was cool, and entertaining.

    • This is why the all star game and competition is a total embarrassment to the NHL.

      Why? Just why? This gimmicky crap will come in handy on a real game day?

      I beg the NHL to stop embarrassing themselves!

      • CO, no it won’t come in handy in a game.

        I guarantee you there is a ton of kids out on the ice practicing that move today.

        Its a gimmick but entertaining and the kids love it. The kids are the future of the game.

        Imagine how many zebras sweater will be sold in Anaheim.

      • The ASG isn’t a real game, nobody is saying it is or pretending it is.
        Like Caper said, good for the kids. But also good for the team hosting it.
        Sponsors get to rub shoulders with the players, players get a night out in Vegas to go have a good time with fellow players they don’t usually have an opportunity to do that with.

        It’s about having a good time, making some $, and taking a break in the season. Chill.

      • I’m not overly excited. I don’t need to chill. It’s an opinion, I am just as entitled to mine as anybody.

        No kids are in the streets emulating this garbage. Not sure how many young kids you’re around, but I can say I certainly don’t buy that kids find this entertaining.

        It’sgimmicky garbage, and the all star games have continued a downward spiral in ratings since the inception of making it gimmicky.

        That is a fact, not an opinion.

        If people are that starved for entitlement, they need a new hobby!

      • CO,
        the gimmicky crap is working its way into the.
        the between the legs back hand, the Michigan are done by a few players and fans love it.

      • That’s a far cry from being blindfolded and having sparklers on your helmet while wearing a tutu.

        Apples ti battleships.

      • CO,
        The “gimmicky crap” I mentioned that have become commonplace would have gotten players hospitalized or embarrassing the goalies.

        Regular season OT and shootouts are skill competitions that decide games nowas it is,

      • Cmon man, goalies were getting embarrassed regularly in the 80s and 90s. Nobody was going to the hospital if they pulled that.

        But again, much bigger part of the game than sparklers on your helmet, blindfolds and tutus.

        You may get leveled wearing a tutu and sparklers.

  6. Bettman is a joke and a total disgrace. Resign!

    • Worst nhl president ever he is slowly turning the nhl into a Ballet on Ice. I totally agree with the rules on checking someone in the head and boarding, but some of the other garbage. You cannot touch a player without getting a penalty and Bettman’s refusal to allow Canadian Teams in the league why does everybody think think this guy is doing a great job?!

    • Brock and RW

      Fully agree

      Unfortunately he can’t be ousted… apparently only needs support of 8 (over-ruling 24)…. And there are at least 6 that will never ever waiver in their support of him (don’t know why… nut ‘‘tis what ‘tis).

      Realistically at best, he only ever has to worry about maybe 2

  7. Bettman works for the owners not us fans so his motive is simple, make his billionaire bosses more money, period. If that makes us fans upset who cares, it part of his job.
    His comments were perfect for his bosses; he asked us to forgive his boss in Chicago for what we now know they valued the win at all costs mantra, in a league that practices revenue sharing (talk about an anti capitalist term) tells other owners and fans that the one team you’re all propping up won’t need much more than they already receive since they aren’t expecting high attendance during this aggressive rebuild anyway, and last, Bettman making threats to the government where the teams propping up the league the most, to stop interfering with their profits over the public safety of its people, a place that clearly prioritizes it’s people over the profits of the owners, especially for ones that aren’t even Canadian.
    However you can count on him to hype the idea of the government (you and your tax dollars – fan of the team/sport or not) to pick up the costs so his billionaire boss can reap the profits with their colleagues.
    So basically, anything, anyway to make them money, he’ll do. He’s garbage to us but good to them. He’s a lifer.

    • Hi Ron

      I will cede perhaps his motivation re sucking up to Wirtz… got to keep one of his owners happy

      But as you’ve posted…. “ make his billionaire bosses more money, period.”

      That he doesn’t do….. not at all….just one example needs no more explanation….. ‘Yotes….. not moving them (after several opportunities and even more so now)….. is in fact completely opposite to making more money…. It’s losing more money AND losing it at a faster pace

      The Franchise is a drain on HRR sharing

      Giving his backing to at least 3 years in a 5,000 seat arena with loads of other issues regarding the arena ….. costs millions and millions more. Cap flattening will be longer; make right (and therefore how long large escrow amounts continue) will take longer;

      This move…. Deeply angers 31 franchises (who embraces losing more money????) and all of their owners; all 700+ in NHLPA; fans all over NA, and especially the massive number of expectant fans in potential relo cities

      He could force a move or better still sale and relo….. that makes everybody win (except for himself… well except for his ego)

      A forced sale gets Yotes owners out of a repeatedly losing investment and will get a good deal on the sale. The “new” franchise pays a relo where 31 franchises share in the relo rev

      The team moves to a location that will sell out for at least 2-3 years straight… HRR rapidly rises…. Escrow/make right completed sooner; Cap increases (vs flattening) comes sooner

      Bettman is NOT doing what is in the best interest of the NHL and especially not in the best interest of the Billionaire owners

  8. I’ll always have bettmans back. Has grown a niche game into a world sport. Had the balls to lockout the league and get a salary cap. (Here’s hoping mlb follows suit this year). My pens might not be my pens no more without him.

    And that tiny man can take a booing like a champ.

    • Hi Chrisms

      You and I (and millions of people) will never see eye to eye on Bettman

      All good… it’s what this site is all about… sharing hockey viewpoints

      He did maneuver the salary cap…. Kudos…. No ifs ands or buts

      Booing him…. Yes he takes it on the chin , perhaps stoically , some might say arrogantly in that he doesn’t care what they (fans) think…. So I’m not taking that away from him either

      Growing the game…. All major sports were on the upswing when he came in; and all major sports in NA have had big growth in the last 3 decades; any commissioner would have grown the sport…. there is no exact comparison as he’s been it the job for basically 3 decades…. So we can never say definitively if he grew the sport more than others could have

      The fact alone that he refuses to allow HRR to go grow (and in fact to suffer tremendously)by keeping Yotes in a 5,000 seat arena (for a MINIMUM of 3 years) speaks volumes

      Re your Pens might not be your Pens without him….. absolutely valid…. They would have been the KW whatevers …. And I would have had season tickets for Sid’s first year as Captain…. I would have gladly driven almost 3 hours round trip every game ; and would be doing so today (setting aside Covid issues)

      I certainly understand the angst by Yotes fans ….. but the NHL is a business…. Keeping them there is costing millions and is NOT growing the game

      There are waaaaaay more expectant fans to be; in at least 6 other cities; than are in the greater Phoenix area now; or will be for the next 4 years; and almost certainly, fore decades and decades

      We agree to disagree on this (him)…. As I said…. All good

      I’ve met him…. he comes across in non NHL settings exactly as you see him on TV… I (and my colleagues there) was/were not thrilled to have met him

      • Pengy,

        “Growing the game…. All major sports were on the upswing when he came in; and all major sports in NA have had big growth in the last 3 decades; any commissioner would have grown the sport…. there is no exact comparison as he’s been it the job for basically 3 decades…. So we can never say definitively if he grew the sport more than others could have”

        This is a point of you advanced by you and many others that may be empirically sound but logically suspect.

        Football, baseball and basketball were all over the USA so increasing the fan base and revenues through expansion could be called natural growth.

        Hockey was in pockets of the country and not understood by much of the country.
        The sport would have grown here in Canada with anybody as commissioner but not in the USA.

        Bettman took his fundamental understanding of marketing the NBA and dragged the NHL ownership into growth they never dreamed of.

        While he isn’t perfect, he’s far from the devil imho.

    • Chrisms–I read the Morning Coffee Headlines pretty much daily and, funny thing, I’ve never seen them to be rife with quotes from hockey’s business officials calling for Bettman”s decapitation or the Coyotes’ transplantation. Much of the angst about him seems to be coming from those who fret that reviews of critical in-game plays may someday be conducted in a city other than Toronto.

      • Oh sick conspiracy theory burn!

        He’s a great businessman. He deserves the benefit of the doubt. Three plus years in a college venue strains that benefit to the max. One year? Fine. Three or more (and what construction projects finish on time these days) is tough. But even that stretch he has more than earned with his track record. It’s funny that people think it’s a pride thing that keeps him in zona. He would move them in a heartbeat with a smile if he thought the long term outcome was better. He would wipe his butt with a signed Doan jersey from a make a wish kid if it was best for the league long term (kinda like pengy and company want him to do… cause it’s just business).

        This is a man who takes it in the rear every cup final. He has no pride. He’s doing his job. And doing it very well. To the tune of 💵💵💵💵

        Rant done.

  9. Gary Bettman – what a knob! Too many examples and Pengy probably covered them in detail above but Bettman’s take on Rocky Wirtz tells you all you need to know about the guy.
    And if Arizona is a fine hockey market, the league might as well fold its tent.

  10. I like the All-Star events because they produce significant numbers that would otherwise not be available to hockey devotees for discussion. Do you want to argue who is hockey’s fastest skater ever, or who had the hardest shot? The All-Star contests give you a recorded reference measurement that is a lot more reliable and provable than the memory of a fan who watched his team play in the 70s.

    • Yeah I want to argue about the fastest skater competition. I haven’t watched it but heard about it . You’re going to try and tell me Kyrou is faster than Mcdavid?! I don’t care what happened at the competition I didn’t watch, didn’t want to. But you ask the players, and they’ll agree Connor is the fastest no questions asked. I disagree with the way that event is handled. If they were to race head To head Connor would win every time. Eric Karlson and Tyler Seguin say there is no one quicker in the first three steps than Mcdavid.

    • @Francis…my memories of hockey Do go back to the 70’s but I certainly don’t dwell on which player was the fastest skater, who had the hardest shot, etc. Instead my memories are of the players who combined skills of skating, stickhandling, shooting, position play and contributed to their teams success. They may not have been the “best” in any of these categories but they were “complete” players and they were a pleasure to watch and fond to remember. Is it really that important to know who is the fastest or who has the hardest shot? Will anyone remember or even care who held these titles 2 years from now. In a sports world filled with gimmicks this is only one the NHL’s contribution.

      • If you were to argue your memories with those of a friend from the same era, how would both of you ever reach a decision, or even a compromise, with no recorded proof. Aren’t numbrers, whether comparative or superlative, the basis of most sports debates, and aren’t debates a fun part of being a fan?

  11. The longer Gary Bettman remains as NHL commissioner the longer the NHL remains as a sport that isn’t on the same level as the NFL, NBA, or MLB.
    No matter how many homes the Coyotes burn through Arizona, they will be a liability to the rest of the NHL.
    Calgary’s owner is one of Gary Bettman’s most loyal supporters so whatever he wants is what Bettman will do.
    One day the smarter owners in the NHL will finally realize that Bettman has cost them a ton of money and get rid of him.
    Does anyone want to wager that the first thing the next commissioner will do is move the Coyotes out of Arizona?