NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2022

by | Sep 18, 2022 | News, NHL | 12 comments

Jonathan Huberdeau talks about the pressure of playing in Montreal, Canadiens’ new captain Nick Suzuki hopes to improve his proficiency in French plus the latest on Shea Theodore and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Huberdeau recently addressed the offseason rumors linking him to the Canadiens prior to his re-signing with the Calgary Flames. A native of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, the 29-year-old winger acknowledged that “a lot of people” were saying he should play one year with the Flames and then sign next summer with the Canadiens as a free agent.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

As much as I love Montreal, I dunno. I think it’s a tough city for a French-Canadian,” said Huberdeau. “Calgary traded for me. If Montreal wanted to trade for me, they would’ve traded for me. That’s how I see it. And I want to play for a team that wants me. Calgary wanted me, so that’s why I wanted to sign a big extension.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau’s stating his own opinion but it appears to confirm the suspected reluctance of Quebec-born players to play in Montreal. The pressure of being a Canadien is intense for any NHL star regardless of nationality or background but the burden would be much heavier for a Francophone. They would be expected to become the next great French-Canadien star and follow in the footsteps of the legends who’ve donned the Habs sweater in the past.

It’s one thing to be drafted and developed by the Canadiens where you can be gradually prepared for what you’re about to face. It’s another to jump into that unique hockey hotbed as a free agent when you’ve never experienced anything like it before in your professional career.

Visiting players only get a small taste of it and then move on. Experiencing that fishbowl existence on a full-time basis can be daunting for players used to a less-stressful hockey market.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: New Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki is hoping to become more proficient in French. A native of London, Ontario, the 23-year-old center takes no issue with local and provincial politicians calling on him to improve his French language skills.

A lot of the Quebec politicians want (players) to speak French and that’s fair,” said Suzuki. “French is more spoken in Quebec than English.” He admitted living and working in bilingual Montreal can be challenging as he doesn’t get to use it in that city as much as he could. The Habs captain felt Canadiens players should have some level of French.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will become a non-issue for Suzuki if he becomes more fluent in French. However, it’s another factor that seems to make it difficult for the Canadiens to attract top free-agent talent to Montreal.

THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore recently announced another $50,000.00 donation to the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Las Vegas as part of his “Kay’s Power Play” fund launched in 2020.

The fund is named in memory of Theodore’s grandmother, Kay Darlington, who passed away in June 2020 due to breast cancer. “Kay’s Power Play” has already raised $250,000.00 to help women access breast cancer screening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another example of an NHL player giving their time and money for charitable causes. Well done, Shea Theodore.

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna on how a surprising number of NHL veterans are trying to earn contracts with professional tryout offers as teams invest more money in young stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap since 2020-21 is also a contributing factor. It’ll be interesting to see how the number of PTOs are affected once cap increases rise by 2024 as projected.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Speaking of the Golden Knights, team owner Bill Foley is reportedly heading a potential takeover effort of Premier League soccer club AFC Bournemouth. It could cost approximately $172 million USD to purchase the club.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski addresses everything hockey fans need to know about NHL jersey advertisements.


  1. Re: “However, it’s another factor that seems to make it difficult for the Canadiens to attract top free-agent talent to Montreal.”

    And Montreal is one of THE most cosmopolitan big cities in North America! Can you imagine what it would be like for a franchise in insular Quebec City to attract top free-agents, let alone hang onto their own when they reach that stage?

  2. It’s been decades since any Canadian team won the Cup. Maybe I just don’t get it, but isn’t building a great team and a top level coaching staff much more important than what language players and coaches speak? Especially in this technological age where a computer can translate language in a second or two.
    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it’s respectful for the team captain and head coach to speak some French. But with players coming from a dozen or so different countries, all but demanding that the head coach and team captain speak French, especially if French might be their third language (for players born in Europe), strikes me as very provincial and an unnecessary added road block to success.

    • Paul, can’t imagine Panthers telling Barkov he needs to learn Spanish! Florida plays in Broward.

      • Started to delete end of that comment. Was going to mention how they started in Miami

    • Everyone I have ever met from Montreal speaks fluent English. For work I deal with multiple people from MTL on a fairly regular basis, and I haven’t asked them about this specific issue, but if I had to guess what their response would be, it would be they haven’t spent any time thinking about it and really don’t give a crap.

      This is performative politicians trying to get attention IMO, nothing more than that and I don’t think reflects the opinion of the majority of folks in MTL.

      Folks from MTL can chime in if they wish, maybe I’m wrong. I dunno.

      If players want to learn it, go for it, if not don’t. If I was a Russian born player and basically nobody spoke it where I lived, for sure I would work to learn the language, but not the case with English in MTL.

  3. Huberdeau does have a point that, if the Habs really wanted him, they would have tried to trade for him. That’s why neither the team nor the fans should take it for granted that PLD will sign with the Habs once he becomes a UFA, no matter how much he processes his love as a fan of the team. Another team could step in and offer him more money
    Habs, especially small down the middle (Dach has size but doesn’t use it) should be making constant offers to WPG to acquire him ASAP. PLD has already stated he won’t resign there in 2 years, so he obviously doesn’t have a future there.
    WPG needs to clean house including Wheeler and Schiefele as well

    • Sorry Mike but you’re wrong about that. There was no way the Habs could hope to trade for Huberdeau as they don’t have a player of Tkachuk’s caliber who they could offer up. It wasn’t a matter of them not wanting to trade for him. And even had Huberdeau not signed and become a UFA next year, I doubt the Habs would have seriously bid for him. They are not yet in the position where it would make sense for them to give a long term deal to a 30 year old UFA.

  4. The language issue exists for politicians and folks outside the province. It was a battle fought and won 40-50 years ago.

    I’m bilingual but its pretty rare that I need to speak French in stores or government agencies though I easily switch into French if it makes communication easier.

    Montreal isn’t the only city where there is pressure to win and quite frankly French players don’t need to be stars in Montreal, they need to play up to their potential (like elsewhere). A mucker has to muck, a scorer has to score, a goalie has to steal some games.

    On the other hand as I have mentioned before that Teaching English/French asa second language is a big business in Montreal, teaching corporate and government employees online and personalised classes.

    It’s surprising that the Habs haven’t hooked up with one of the many available schools to make the lives of the players and their wives easier.

    As far as pressure, Montreal doesn’t accept missing the playoffs 5 years in a row like some others do.
    GMMB teams missed the playoffs 5/10 years went to the SCF, a ew conference finals, conerence semi finals….and he was run out of town.

    • To be fair, HF30, GMMB was “run out of town” because as Serge Savard put it on the Tony Marinaro show – ” he had a five year plan followed by another 5 year plan followed by we have to start from scratch” Needless to say Serge was not a fan.

    • Well said, HF30.

      This is Quebec politics, going back decades. Larry Robinson spoke of the “pure wool” politics in Quebec when he was playing.

      Suzuki has it right: this is the product of certain Quebec politicians playing the language card. Any time I’ve been in Montreal, Quebecers quickly switch to English when they hear me butchering French.

      To be fair, I understand the need for French to remain vibrant in Quebec. Language is deeply rooted in family, culture and history.

      The overall point that kicked this off, however, remains true: many Quebec born players feel extra pressure in Montreal and don’t want to play there. Why should they, when they can play elsewhere and have an undisturbed personal life off the ice? If PLD does really want to play in Montreal he is an exception.

      • Wait…fishbowl? I thought that only happens in Toronto.

  5. Baby Pens beat the baby Bruins in a 6-4 slug fest. Pens have 4 kids that look like legitimate NHL players. This trading camp is going to be a dog fight.