NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2022

by | Dec 29, 2022 | News, NHL | 41 comments

The Red Wings stage a big rally to defeat the Penguins, the Bruins continue their winning ways, the Leafs are fined for violating the CBA and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jake Walman. Magnus Hellberg stopped all 19 shots he faced after replacing Ville Husso in the Red Wings net while David Perron scored the tying goal as his club improved to 15-11-7 on the season. Jason Zucker tallied twice for Pittsburgh as they dropped to 19-10-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang were all held scoreless in this contest as the Penguins were outshot 46-31.

Third-period goals by Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Zacha lifted the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils (22-11-2). Linus Ullmark stopped 30 shots for the 28-4-3 Bruins as they extended their points streak to nine games and sit atop the overall standings with 59 points, seven ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. The once red-hot Devils, meanwhile, have dropped eight of their last nine contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Devils placed defensemen John Marino (upper body) and Ryan Graves (lower body) on injured reserve. Both are considered week-to-week.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Bruins fourth-line forward Tomas Nosek (undisclosed) was kept out of the lineup for this game. Head coach Jim Montgomery called it nothing serious, preferring Nosek not to play in back-to-back games during his recovery.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made a season-high 49 shots backstopping his club to a 3-2 shootout upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. Adam Henrique scored twice in regulation while Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry tallied in the shootout for the 10-22-4 Ducks. Mark Stone and Ben Hutton replied for the Golden Knights (24-12-2), who hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Gibson’s fifth game this month and his first since Dec. 13 as injuries and illness limited his playing time.

The Calgary Flames nipped the Seattle Kraken 3-2 as Jonathan Huberdeau snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period. Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist for the Flames (17-13-7) while Philipp Grubauer made 41 saves for the 18-11-4 Kraken.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point scored twice to drop the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Victor Hedman collected two assists as the Lightning improved to 21-11-1 while the Canadiens (15-17-3) dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also set a franchise record in this game by starting five rookies (Kaiden Guhle, Johnathan Kovacevic, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Justin Barron) on their blueline.


TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs were fined $100,000 by the NHL for violating the collective bargaining agreement. They traveled to St. Louis on Dec. 26 for their game the following day against the Blues. That date was a mandated off-day for all team purposes, including travel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans criticized the league for this action. However, it was the NHL Players Association that mandated off days for players in the CBA. The league is merely enforcing the rules.

Meanwhile, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was fined $25,000 by the league for what it called “demeaning conduct directed at the officials” during the Leafs 5-4 overtime win against the Blues. Keefe was upset over what he considered two uncalled infractions by Blues players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second infraction was Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese getting cut by a high stick from Blues winger Brandon Saad. I don’t think Keefe was unjustified in his anger at the officials over that missed call.

Speaking of the Leafs, Morgan Rielly is set to return to the lineup in Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. The 28-year-old defenseman has been sidelined since Nov. 21 by a knee injury. During his absence, the Leafs went 12-2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not to imply that the Leafs are a better team without Rielly but rather an indication of how well they adjusted during his absence. Having their best defenseman back in the lineup should only make them better.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers placed goaltender Carter Hart on injured reserve despite the fact he practiced with the club earlier this week. He is expected to play in the final two games of their upcoming road trip against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks provided he clears concussion protocol.

THE SCORE: Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has reinjured his surgically repaired left ankle. There is no timetable for his return. Nichuskin underwent the procedure in early November and returned to the lineup on Dec. 9.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 3 by a concussion.

YARDBARKER: The Minnesota Wild placed winger Marcus Foligno (lower body) on injured reserve.


  1. Wow , Leafs getting fined $100,000 , as per the mandate

    Mixed opinions on this note ..

    Then again , how would the Leafs not know .
    The fine against Keefe was totally unfair , he was in the right as per the high sticking infraction Aston- Reese , would have been a 4 minute penalty , drawing blood – pretty obvious .

    Leafs 12-2-1 with Morgan Reilly out of the lineup .
    As much as I like the player , but to manipulate the chore – Matthews, Marner , Tavares, Nylander , Reilly – Reilly would definitely be the odd man out , improve the team up front – Left Wing

    • This kind of protection of officials in all sports just annoys me. If you are going to take the check to be in the position of authority then you owe it to do your best. When you are wrong you deserve the consequences. Since we do not get interviews with officials or public disclosure of their fines for failing to do their job we are left with speculation which is never good. They need to put on big boy and big girl pants and own up to failure publicly so people see they are learning from it and working to improve

      • Would have been justified if Keefe was ejected and given a bench minor…..They could have done that which could have greatly affected the outcome of the game. Instead, the refs took the abuse and Keefe was fined later…which was wise’

      • Good points from both here. First the refs are people who are bound to make errors….but having said that, AZ is bang on. I wouldn’t mind having reporters have a q&a scrum with the refs but I doubt Gary wants no one else besides him and daily to be the league’s mouthpiece. Also Keith was lucky the ref didn’t kick him out and assess a penalty. I bet that happens next time tho.

        As for that “infraction” I read the team (players) preferred leaving when they did rather than the time the rule dictates. So the team paid $100k so their players travel at their preference. All rules need exceptions…ever see the F1 rule book?

      • There is a very good reason the refs don’t do media. Lots of people are in positions of authority in the workplace, they don’t have to deal with media if they make a mistake. Which we all do. It’s not like they are government officials paid by the citizens money.

        The reason is the fans and the last thing you want is for the refs to become public figures. Not sure if folks pay attention, but there are plenty of, lets call them “passionate”, fans out there.

        You want them to get as little publicity as possible. They get a small fraction of what players, coaches and GM’s get paid. Their performance is dealt with like any other employee, and their discipline is private with regards to the what and why. As it should be, or nobody would be stupid enough to do the job.

        Anyone who has spent any time in a minor hockey rink know exactly what I am talking about.

    • Rielly isn’t going anywhere till maybe July 1, 2028′ His NMC sez so. 😁

      • OMG – Another No Movement Clause
        Another boat anchor contract to compliment Tavares

      • Wow! That’s amazing.

      • Hi JZ

        Of the 7 Leafs with cap hits of $5 M or more…. only AM, MM, and WW don’t have full trade protection

      • That contract was signed right after Seth Jones and Nurse signed their deals.
        A pretty strong argument that Reilly took less money than the market was dictating because he wanted to stay in Toronto – the NMC made total sense.

    • Maybe the NHL needs to make a fundamental change and take the lead from the NFL.

      2 coaches challenges per game if you win your challenge you get another. that’s the max 3 challenges.

      Can challenge any miss calls. Ie the high stick on Kyle Connor, The too many on the ice that lead to Ottawa second goal.

      Doesn’t matter when or where the infraction is. There would be things a coach wouldn’t challenge, maybe to early in the game, didn’t lead to a goal.

      Argue against potentially 6 stops per game reviews to long, game to long, takes away flow of the game. Team could use it as a ploy to get a bonus time out, rest players late in the game.

      Maybe lose your time outs if you lose your challenge.

      Just spitballing but i do think the league should to more with the coaches challenge.

    • I think the only punishment that’s fair is to strip the leafs of their latest cup championship! Really send a message!

      • Bwahahahahaha

      • 🍁Congratulations to Sidney Crosby
        Nominated to the Order of Canada today……❗️👌👌👌

  2. Time to show some love to Linus Ullmark, his name doesn’t get mention in the way to early Vezina conversation.

    Linus Ullmark 20-1-1 that’s worth repeating 20-1-1

    20 wins 1st
    gaa 1.90 1st
    sv% .938 1st

    yes he plays on the to date best team in the league and they are in that position because of him, he isn’t just a passenger.

    Any early conversations that don’t have Linus Ullmark as the early favorite for the Vezina isn’t worth listening.

    • Caper

      I agree with you Ullmark has been lights out Sweeney took some heat for his signing last year looking very smart move now

    • I beat that drum after we signed him.

      • Sop

        Yes you did😀

  3. Wings strongest comeback since 1984! Good to see a team that does not quit!

    • Johnny Z didn’t see the game, but i watched the Walman celly more then once. Not sure why some folks didn’t like it; i for one thought it was impressive.

  4. Congrats to Sid (Order of Canada appointee)

    Pens…. Blowing 4 goal lead …💩👎💩👎💩👎

    Great to see the P-OJ/Freidman combo…. P O-J playing fantastic…. Mmmm…. Almost like he had a 189 lb boat anchor untied from him…. P-O J a “Freid” man so to speak (sorry, had to).

    D still an issue…. Note …. Dumo on for 6 (of last 10) GAs…. Not good…, They called up Smith…. why not finally sig Dumo; and go

    Freidman/P-O J

    Metro uber tight…. 4 points separating 2nd through 6th (one of those to miss playoffs)

    Pac Div also tight…..1 point separates 3rd to 5th (Flames; Krkakken: Oil)… likely one of those will miss playoffs

    Re Keefe losing it over missed high stick….I can’t believe Boness didn’t go absolutely ballistic re the Kyle Connor facial gash late in game the othee day…. He was the puck carrier…. How can 2 refs and 2 linesmen (they can call high sticking penalties) completely miss that?

    • I was at the game. I usually only go to one live game per year (cost, hatred of large crowds). And chad was definitely responsible for 4/5 of the goals. I’m completely with you now pengy!

      • Hunh? Which game were you at

      • Re “And chad was definitely responsible for 4/5 of the goals.”… I thought you miss-typed “Chad” meaning to type “Dumo”)….but…

        Dumo only on for 3GAs v Isles (Barzal’s first, Lee’s, Bailey’s); and 3 GAs last night (Larkin’s , Veleno’s; Peron’s)…. and CR not on with Dumo for those goals in Isle’s game and CR was injured and not in (Freidman replaced him) for last night’s game…. Which game are you referring to?

      • 🙄

      • ??

      • Sarcasm, has completely been lost.

      • Apparently

        Pengy. It was a joke. Poking at your obsession with chad.

      • Thanks Chrisms

        Sorry… I thought you’d finally seen what the rest of Pens fans have been seeing 🤓. To my knowledge, CR has been responsible for 4 goals in one game only twice and neither were this year; so that is why I was confused

        Setting aside CR… (and no… I would never wish injury on any player…. But it certainly was a huge improvement; and I was not joking re how P-O J played… certainly played with much less trepidation with Freidman than with CR)….

        But you can’t possibly also support keeping Dumo in the line-up….. almost every site covering Pens has been consistent this year (and a fair portion of last year) with their criticism and dire concerns re Dumo on D

        Now Ruuta’s stats have plummeted since he’s been paired with Dumo… I think the most reported stat they throw around is Ruuta’s expected goals for with and without Dumo…. Almost as if they fell off a cliff

        There was some talk that Sully might sit Dumo (Bring in Smith) for tomorrow’s game v Devils….a Pens win…. Leaves them tied with Devils…. and next up after Devils… Bruins @ Fenway… by end of 3/1…. Pens could possibly be below the playoff line

      • Nope dumo is toast. Hextall gonna have to upgrade the d. But dumo is also a problem that takes care of itself after this year.

      • Agree… he’s not re-upped…. But also not needed for balance of year

        Earlier I had suggested Dumo (for Cap reasons, and only there for balance of year); 2nd ; O’Connor for Toews (50% retained by Chi)

        Toews in full control…. But if he (and Davidson) agreed….

        Toews in @ 3C; Smith in for Dumo….. you can’t possibly say that line up isn’t much better than what they’ve been fielding

        at a cost of 2nd and O’Connor…..

        Can that be outbid…. can’t be outbid unless it is offered first…HexBurkie…. At least make the call

  5. Can anyone explain the stoppage of play during a Bruins PP where someone, somewhere, thought Hall high sticked Mercer during some previous play?

    Who made that call? Who brought it to the refs’ attention?
    I had no idea you could just stop play on a suspected infraction, which neither on ice official saw or called.

  6. Refs likely had money on the Blues at +1.5 so they needed to keep it close. NHL is going to have a huge match fixing scandal eventually, the officials are clearly compromised.

  7. Missed calls are missed calls. The last thing I want to see is the NHL mold itself after the NFL.

    More challenges? No thanks. Specifically on missed calls.

    Next thing you know we’ll have full bench clearing “cellys” for a blocked shot in a game the team is losing 6-1 in the final minute of the 3rd.

    I loved Gallants response when asked about missed calls in Washington the other day.

    “We were garbage tonight,” head coach Gerard Gallant said bluntly. “We didn’t deserve to win. [The refs] had nothing to do with us losing, trust me.”

    Perfect! Sometimes, you just have to own it!

  8. As I continue to pay attention to goalie saves stats, the more I have to adjust my expectations of the Sens defense haha. I do not remember the last time I have seen so many games won because goalies are making 40+ saves. I know it’s not a majority of games, but it definitely seems that teams are generally shooting the puck a lot more than they used to.

  9. I see why Gallant does not last as a coach even with a winning record

    Trouba has been terrible and Panarin looks disinterested 5on5. and so much line juggling and too many minutes for a few players

    • Are you watching the Panarin with 41 points in 36 games or a different one? What’s the realistic expectations of a small play making left winger? 2 points per game?

      Trouba, I can’t disagree. He just doesn’t look like the same guy.

      Ny, as I mentioned last year and off-season need more out of players not named Panarin, Kreider , Fox, Sheterkin and Zibanejad. When they don’t contribute, NY doesn’t win.

      I’d also disagree with too much line juggling. He has been notoriously stubborn and does the opposite. It was actually mentioned and broken down by Brooks in the post a few weeks back.

      His line juggling is what sent them on that recent winning streak.

      Ny is 8-2 in their last 10? Fire Gallant?

      • @capt
        you dont know which Ranger team will show up. Panarins #s are deceiving….. 37 giveaways and -7. that is terrible.

        They looked terrible vs the Caps.
        Laf and Kakko looked good with Zib. coach is confusing

      • +/- is an awful stat. Possession players tend to give the puck away more often than non possession players.

        Draisaitl, Pastrnak, Kucherov, Malkin and Mcdavid all have more giveaways than Panarin . Fox is tied at 37.

        Not stats I’d judge these type of players by.

      • my eyes see Panarin on half caring backchecks and little effort once losing possession. i think its a team issue that is causing the some of the situation

        Fox is +11 and his giveaways to take aways is almost even. and he gets the other teams 1st line

      • Again, look at his comparable players. Offensive/ possession players give the puck up a lot! Barzal, Marner, Mcdavid, etc.

        And the guy is about 5’3” and 85 pounds. Lmao.

        No, he won’t be winning a selke any time soon. But that’s not why they pay him the big $$$’s

        He’s been a top 5-7 point producer the last few years.

        And again, +/- is even a worse stat than giveaways.

        An errant pass = a giveaway. Not necessarily the fault of the guy dishing the pass.

        The problem in NY isn’t in the top 6. Nor leadership. The problem is in that bottom 6 with inconsistency.

        But every one of these young players were also rushed in their development.

        Time is what this team really needs.

        This team is exactly where I thought they’d be at the moment. A young, bubble playoff team.

        Kakko, Laffrienere, Chytil, Fox, Miller, Schneider Lindgren are all still very young. They need time!