NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022
The Canadiens name Nick Suzuki as their new captain, an update on Carey Price, the Avalanche sign Evan Rodrigues, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday announced Nick Suzuki had been named as the 31st captain in franchise history. The 23-year-old center succeeds Shea Weber, whose playing days were cut short by injuries. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson were named alternate captains.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels pointed out that this is a departure from the old way of doing things when it comes to choosing the Canadiens captain. In the past, the honor was bestowed upon a long-time veteran of the team.
Suzuki is the youngest captain in franchise history with just three seasons under his belt. The move is in line with the club’s efforts to build around promising young talent. His best seasons remain ahead of him and he would be in a better position to lead by example.
The new Canadiens captain is already facing pressure from Quebec politicians to learn French, something he’s been doing during the offseason. Suzuki also has the support of Gallagher and Edmundson, who praised his maturity and pointed out how quickly he garnered respect in the dressing room.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price isn’t expected to suit up with the Canadiens this season. However, the 35-year-old goaltender intends to spend the season in Montreal and be around the team as he continues receiving treatment for his nagging knee injury.
Price has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He’s been placed on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. The indications are he’d like to play again if he can. That could require more surgery on his knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spending time with the Canadiens could also serve as a stepping stone toward scouting, coaching or a management role for Price if he’s unable to continue his playing career.
The Canadiens will also be among seven NHL teams that will take advantage of a new league rule allowing them to carry advertising on their jerseys. They’ll sport a small RBC patch on their right chests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news generated howls of protests on social media among some Canadiens followers and other fans who are against ad patches on NHL jerseys. I don’t have a problem with it as long as they don’t end up looking like the jerseys of some European leagues where they’re covered in ad patches. The league has limited them to just two small patches per jersey.
We’ll soon see every team in the league sporting those patches because they can earn between $5 million and $10 million annually from jersey ad deals. It’s part of hockey-related revenue, which will help to increase the salary cap, making it a little easier for your favorite team to retain your favorite players.
Besides, it’s silly to get upset over a couple of small ad patches on jerseys. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out, you’ve been watching a game for years in arenas named for corporations where the boards and ice have been covered with ads.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old center was an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, enjoying a career-high 43-point performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues didn’t get much term on this contract but he does get a nice pay raise over the $1 million he received last season. He’s expected to fill the second-line center position with the Avalanche vacated by Nazem Kadri after he signed with the Calgary Flames last month.
A strong effort with the defending Stanley Cup champions should ensure Rodrigues gets a more lucrative contract next summer, either with the Avalanche or another club via free agency.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Good news for the Flyers entering training camp as Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes both received clean bills of health. Hayes missed 34 games last season due to two abdominal injuries and an infection in his groin area. Couturier, meanwhile, was sidelined for 54 games due to persistent back problems that required season-ending surgery.
CALGARY SUN: Michael Stone has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Flames. The 32-year-old defenseman has spent the past six seasons in Calgary.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Matthew DeFranks reports former Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been hired as their player development coordinator.
THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes recently reported Chris Phillips has returned to the Ottawa Senators as their vice president of business operations. The former Senators defenseman had severed ties with the club last summer by announcing his departure from the Senators Community Foundation. Phillips’ return is seen as another step by the franchise to repair the relationship with the local community.