NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2022

by | Jul 20, 2022 | News, NHL | 22 comments

More players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team issued statements denying involvement in alleged sexual assault and Johnny Gaudreau was close to signing with the Devils before joining the Blue Jackets. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: St. Louis Blues forwards Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou and Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh released statements on Tuesday denying involvement in an alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team.

The agent for free agent forward Sam Steel also released a statement yesterday on his client’s behalf denying involvement, indicating he had fully cooperated in every investigation into the matter and will continue to do so.

These statements followed a similar one issued earlier Monday by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins as well as those recently released by Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar and Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Victor Mete.

Rick Westhead reports lawyers for the eight players allegedly involved in the 2018 sexual assault plan to turn over to the NHL cellphone footage of the incident and 35 text messages between the victim and one of the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is pursuing its own investigation into the incident while Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation. A number of players on the 2018 WJC team are now NHL players.

SPORTSNET: An affidavit filed in an Ontario court suggests Hockey Canada has maintained a fund to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault. The organization has had its federal funding cut off while a number of corporations paused their sponsorship over its handling of the case and recent settlement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Globe & Mail reports Hockey Canada used player registration fees to cover the cost of those “uninsured liabilities.” In other words, it appears they used money that parents paid to register their kids in hockey as a slush fund.

The eight players involved in the 2018 incident have not been publicly identified. However, the recently released statements by several former members of that team has fans and pundits musing about their identities on social media. It seems only a matter of time until those players are eventually identified.

Last month, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised the league would be transparent in its investigation into this matter. The league intends to interview all members of the 2018 team with the cooperation of the NHLPA.

Whatever the outcome of these investigations, Hockey Canada’s reputation has been severely tarnished. A reckoning is hopefully coming soon that will bring about much-needed changes throughout the organization to address the rot that permeates its culture.

THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau said he was close to signing with the New Jersey Devils last week before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. He wanted to be close enough to his family and friends in New Jersey but maintain enough distance to ensure privacy as he and his wife start their own family. He signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Blue Jackets a week ago.

NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they signed restricted free agent Vitek Vanecek to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.4 million. The Devils acquired the 26-year-old goaltender from the Washington Capitals earlier this month.

TSN: Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said he’s looking for more offense from high-paid stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the coming season. “We have far too many players who are underperforming offensively,” said Gaglardi. “We need something to change.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Age and injuries could be contributing factors behind the declining production of Benn and Seguin. Benn is now 33 and his physical style of play could also be taking its toll on him. The 30-year-old Seguin, meanwhile, played through a hip injury in the 2020 playoffs requiring surgery that sidelined him for most of the following season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Stars captain Derian Hatcher and former coach and general manager Bob Gainey are the inaugural inductees into the club’s new Hall of Fame.

FLAMES NATION: The agent for Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane said the restricted free agent is willing to discuss a long-term contract with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames may be interested in that but their priority right now is determining the future of RFA winger Matthew Tkachuk. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings named Jim Hiller as an assistant coach.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL winger Larry Jeffrey passed away on Tuesday at age 81. He netted 181 points in 368 career regular-season games over eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers from 1961-62 to 1968-69, winning a Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1967.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Jeffrey’s family, friends and former teammates.


  1. As more and more of that team come out to deny…. The list towards narrowing down the 8 becomes shorter…. And the public is going to have a gong show of accusatory postings well before any investigation/findings

    Per article… the new “norm” is the cell phone consent video before an sex…. As Westhead reported his video had him saying “ You’re okay with this?””

    Now being past 60… it’s hard to imagine me at the age they were at the party…. Carrying around a super8 Cam and an audio cassette player in 1980 at a party… “ You’re okay with this?””

    • Pengy, when Rick Westhead first published his story, I commented the names will come out.

      It’s almost impossible to keep the names quiet, as more and more pressure was and is applied players are coming out and saying “not me”.

      It will soon switch to and may have already to; why hasn’t this player declared his innocents.

      I imagine these players are feeling the pressure and have legal council guiding them.

      Without Rick Westhead reporting this whole story including hockey Canada handling of it, would’ve have been swept under the carpet.

      • No challenge at all to the reporting… just pointing out that players will likely be raked over the coals prior to investigation let alone final findings report

    • Some of the statements coming from agents just say ‘the player cooperated and was cleared in the early investigation’…this does not mean the new one they are cleared in.

      • Absolutely true… neither guilty or innocent at this time… but I believe there will be accusatory finger pointing escalating in the next little while

  2. Pengy

    No. Doubt the world has changed where almost everything is caught on a cam somewhere. No more telling your parents. There was no phone around to call and let you know will be out late 😎

    • So very true

  3. What worries me – strictly from the team standpoint – is that neither Formenton nor Batherson have issued statements that they were not involved – yet.

    • GeorgeO exactly my point. The more players that try to separate themselves as Pengy pointed out, the finger pointing will start.

      Just to be clear, that not what I’m saying your doing. Just the list starts to shrink.

      • Caper, I agree – what happens as a normal course of events is, the longer it takes for some that were there with Team Canada to not issue statements attesting to their non-involvement. the more everyone begins to cast suspicious glances at them. And that would include not just ordinary fans of the game, but other GMs as well.

        I’m sure Dorion wants some sort of definitive answer as well before he concludes any RFA negotiations with Formenton, and whether he’ll then be back looking for another top 2 RW. I mention this in the other thread as well.

    • Process of elimination is now underway…..

      • Can you believe any of these kids ?

        They are all lawyered up and we all know that lawyers will…. and do lie………..

      • It is becoming a classic “cover-your-ass” situation. And I agree on the lawyers – how many have stood up in a court and uttered the famous words “my client is innocent of all charges” when everyone and his castrated dog knows the client is guilty as sin?

    • First off what happened is brutal and those involved need to be accountable as does Hockey Canada. IMO heads are gonna roll in that organization, and they should.

      But not sure what the NHL can do about holding them accountable as this happened before they were NHL players and there are contracts in place. But I get that they want to know.

      This should be a criminal investigation, and we will see what the evidence is and that should dictate what happens.

      • I agree, Ray, this should be a criminal investigation. It has become a political football with the politicians on all sides grandstanding.

        My understanding of the first investigation is that the girl could not ID her assailants, and that Hockey Canada forwarded the complaint to the police shortly after hearing about it. If that is accurate, I don’t understand the criticism of Hockey Canada.

      • Ya, it’s complicated LJ, and a bunch of stuff we don’t know. Sometimes it ain’t the crime but the coverup, or the lack of transparency. And the fact that they had a “liability fund” that was used and used player registration $ for it isn’t a good look to say the least.

        If the woman decides not to press charges, I’m not sure a criminal investigation can even begin. Her decision, but if the players did commit a crime, they won’t be accountable. I understand that civil cases and financial punishment is a process to do that, but it’s not like they paid the bill.

        I’m just suggesting it should be.

    • The Sens “Summer of Love” may come to a screeching halt. Good column here:


      Has it narrowed down to 7 remaining players from the 2018 roster that have NOT proclaimed innocence. Now the lawsuit says that there were 7 CHL players which may mean that some of the 7 were not necessarily on the Gold Medal team…

      But it’s not looking good for Batherson and Formenton that their lack of denial is glaringly obvious… Sorry George…

      • That’s exactly what I feared. The silence has been deafening … losing Batherson would be a blow – but if he was involved (and Formenton) they need to be held accountable.

        As I say elsewhere, if it turns out both were among the 8, and even though the freed-up cap would at least allow Dorion to pursue another top RW (Matthew Tkachuk?), the team would need to announce that they agree totally with any penalty handed down by the league. In other words, separate themselves instantly from the two.

  4. Mama gaudreau “Johny! You said the couldn’t sign in jersey! Now I hear you don’t want to be too close to your dear ol mum. You don’t think I’m good enough to help raise my grandchildren? I wiped your superstar buns but I’m not good enough?!?

    • Wants to be close to family but not too close. We must be related.

      • Yeah – not like Ray Romano!