NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2022

by | Dec 17, 2022 | News, NHL | 11 comments

The Wild’s Mats Zuccarello sets a franchise record, the league considers expanding its schedule from 82 to 84 games and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello became the oldest player in franchise history to tally a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The 35-year-old Zuccarello finished the night with four points while linemate Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists for the Wild (17-11-2). Jonathan Toews scored for the Blackhawks (7-18-4), who sit at the bottom of the overall standings with 18 points.

Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello (NHL Images).

The St. Louis Blues got two goals from Jordan Kyrou to beat the Calgary Flames 5-2. Thomas Greiss kicked out 41 shots as the Blues (15-15-1) picked up their third straight win. Rookie defenseman Connor Mackey scored both goals for the Flames (13-12-6), who’ve won just four of their last 10 games. Flames winger Milan Lucic returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in their last three games.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller scored twice as his club held off the New York Islanders by a score of 5-4. Nick Schmaltz collected three assists and Jakob Chychrun had two helpers for the 10-14-4 Coyotes. The Islanders drop to 17-13-1 and have lost six of their last eight games. Isles forwards Kyle Palmieri and Anthony Beauvillier returned to the lineup after being sidelined by injuries.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports sources claim the NHL is considering expanding its schedule from 82 to 84 games to create more regional rivalry matchups. The league has been considering alternatives to its current schedule after some teams complained about an imbalanced number of games against rivals.

Wyshynski observed the New York Rangers played divisional rivals like the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers only three times this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is of course to generate more revenue but it’s not the worst idea I’ve heard. The NHL previously played 84-game schedules in 1992-93 and 1993-94. It would be the simplest solution to provide teams with more games against divisional rivals while ensuring every team plays in all 32 arenas.

The fact that long-time rivals like the Rangers and Islanders only face each other three times is ridiculous, especially when both clubs are playoff contenders and each game could have implications for potential postseason placement. On the other hand, the Rangers facing the struggling Flyers more than three times this season might not be as strong a draw.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Jakub Vrana has been reinstated from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program and has returned to the Red Wings. He was back at practice yesterday as were Dylan Larkin and Filip Hronek, who had suffered injuries earlier in the week.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars winger Mason Marchment was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for embellishment during a Dec. 8 game against the Ottawa Senators.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets recalled defenseman Ville Heinola on an emergency basis and placed blueliner Nate Schmidt on injured reserve.


  1. I had no idea that some interdiv match-ups were as low as 3
    84 games….

    16 home and away inter-conference…. 32 G

    Interdiv…. 4 games v each of other 7 teams…. 28 G

    3 games intra-conference; other Div(3*8) ….24 G

    With 82 games; should have been as above with two less intra-conference (other div ) games (say only 2 Jets v Kings; 2 Jets V Ducks; next year 2 Jets v Krakken; 2 Jets v Knights; etc)

    How in the hell could they have short changed an Isles/Rangers match-up season to only 3 games???

    Interdiv games more important than intra-Conference other div match-ups

    And…. Make the B2B games interdiv

    • Pens Vs Flyers only 3 times too

      • Makes no sense

  2. Hindsight is glorious!

    • Not only that, but the formula suggested doesn’t take into account a perennial weak sister going head to head more often with a perennial top team, giving the latter a decided points advantage. simply because they share a geographic location.

      Young generation fans now becoming the bulk of the total fan base probably aren’t even aware of or, if they are, could probably not care less, about historical rivalries such as Leafs-Canadiens, Canadiens-Bruins, whatever.

      • Maybe not george. Think of how many inherited rivalries there are

      • Pretty sure most young Pens fans are well aware of the hatred between Pens, Flyers, Caps, Rangers, and Islanders.

        I think an increase in the number of games played vs geographic rivals is a good idea. At least here in the metro where teams are actually geographicly close. I don’t like increasing the number if games in the regular season to accomplish this though.

      • No matter how good each team is from the “Geographic rivalry” it’s a competitive travel advantage to those teams which are a 1-2 hr flight away much less a cross-town game vs any teams not in the NE. I personally like seeing teams from outside the East not a COVID 19 like schedule…I guess the Rangers would like playing the Isles over traveling to Tampa Bay, and was never mentioned until the entire Eastern Conference became murderer’s row. 82 games is enough with injuries as it is.

      • 100% agree George with younger fans the luster has worn off the original 6 and historical rivalries that have been reduced by some team’s being awful for a period of time.

  3. Not only the NY rivalry, but CGY and EDM only play each other 3 times this season.

  4. 76 game season instead please, 82 is already too long