NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2023

by | Jan 21, 2023 | News, NHL | 25 comments

The Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon and the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel reach scoring milestones, Canucks fans voice support for embattled coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty is sidelined again. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (24-17-3), who moved ahead of the Calgary Flames into the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Both clubs have 51 points but the Avs hold three more wins and two games in hand over the Flames. Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks (18-24-3), who’ve now lost six of their last seven contests.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon reached the 50-point mark for the eighth consecutive season.

Meanwhile, Vancouver fans supported embattled Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau by serenading him with cries of “Bruce, there it is!” Another fan unfurled a sign that read, “We Stand With Bruce”.

There’s been intensifying rumors over the last two weeks suggesting Boudreau could be replaced by TNT hockey analyst and former Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet. The Canucks’ front office (specifically, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin) has the power to make coaching changes if they wish.

Boudreau was already in the job when they took over and he isn’t the guy they want behind the bench. The problem, however, is they’re just letting him twist in the wind.

Everyone knows, Boudreau included, that he’s going to be replaced by Tocchet. If they don’t want him, they should’ve replaced him with an interim coach until they brought in his permanent replacement.

Their shabby treatment of Boudreau reflects poorly on the franchise and deepens the frustration among their fans over the club’s direction under team owner Francesco Aquilini.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored two goals and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Tristan Jarry made 44 saves in his first start for the Penguins since Jan. 2 following an injury as the Penguins (23-15-7, 53 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators, who dropped to 20-22-3 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel reached the 20-goal, 40-point plateau for the sixth straight season. Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry also returned to action for the first time since Dec. 10. Meanwhile, winger Kasperi Kapanen missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as week-to-week.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Bad news for Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty as an MRI revealed he tore his right Achilles tendon for the second time since August. The 33-year-old winger made his season debut on Jan. 5 and appeared in five games with the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This injury not only ends Pacioretty’s season but could potentially derail his career. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Hurricanes could pursue a potential replacement before the March 3 trade deadline.

TSN: The Minnesota Wild will scratch defenseman Matt Dumba for Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. He was also scratched from Thursday’s contest with the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s been the subject of growing trade speculation. I’ll have more later today in my NHL Rumor Mill update.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi suffered a lower-body injury during their 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. He’s not expected to be out of the lineup for long.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $5,000.00 for interference on Florida Panthers center Eric Staal during their game on Thursday.

Speaking of the Canadiens, former Hab P.K. Subban helped raise $6.3 million for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital. The original goal was to raise $10 million by 2022 but fundraising was slowed by the pandemic. Subban said he’ll extend the pledge to 2025 to reach the $10 million goal and he hopes to continue his partnership with the hospital for the long term.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers have assigned goaltender Spencer Knight to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte for a conditioning stint.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken will take to the ice for their warmups before Saturday’s game against the Avalanche wearing jerseys to honor the Year of the Rabbit.

DEFECTOR: Vox Media yesterday announced layoffs that will shut down all but six of their SB Nation NHL websites as well as most of their MLS websites. 130 employees will be affected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will affect a number of sites such as Blueshirt Banter, Broad Street Hockey, Copper and Blue, Davy Jones Locker Room, Die By The Blade, Five for Howling, Hockey Wilderness, Japers Rink, Knights on Ice, Nucks Misconduct, On The Forecheck, Pension Plan Puppets, Raw Charge, Second City Hockey, The Cannon and Winging It in Motown.

Many of those sites began as blogs between 15 and 20 years ago. I followed most of them for years and got to know some of the good folks who wrote for them, showcasing their work for several years with my Hockey Blog Beat.

Those blogs/websites provided an invaluable hockey community for fans and aspiring writers to share their views on their favorite teams and on the NHL in general. I know how painful it is to be laid off so I really feel for those who worked so hard to contribute to and maintain those sites. It’s such a shame to see them cast aside like this. Here’s hoping those sites can live on in some form.


  1. Excellent comments on how disappointing it is to see Rutherford’s treatment of Boudreau. It’s humiliating for the coach and allows players who don’t want to adhere to his system to continue to not play his way. It’s like the players have lost complete respect for the coach. Bruce is s winning coach in this league and doesn’t deserve it. The GM needs to find the rotting fruit and get rid of them as they are the ones who are being paid to produce!

    • i tend to think the issue is with the Canucks owner. Rutherford doesn’t have a history of stringing along coaches previously. goes to show what a sideshow the owner operates in Vancouver

      • JR hired and fired Paul Maurice twice so he can be a bit goofy at times.

    • 🍁TSN long time Canucks reporter Farhan Lalji
      shared his thoughts on how the Canucks organization has been handling the situation involving head coach Bruce Boudreau, and said he believes it could negatively affect the team’s ability to attract and retain free agents.❗️

      Talking about UFA
      I Wonder if the UFA Russian RW Andrei Kuzmenko,
      even want’s to re-sign there in Vancouver now⁉️
      they could Rip it down to the Bones…. or is he going to wait for the UFA route in July to see how its shapes up in Vancouver

      They have 6 UFA
      and have 7 of there players that’s names have been mentioned in trades over the past Month….🤔

    • How could any of the Canuck UFA’s/potential UFA’s want to re-sign with this crap show of a front office…Horvat likely a Hurricane with Patches ON LTIR now.

  2. “Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $5,000.00 for interference on Florida Panthers center Eric Staal during their game on Thursday.”

    Too bad the refs can’t be fined for failing to call a penalty on the play.

    That is the kind of miss that lets the game get out of hand.

    • Habfan30 Caufield done for the season.

      • Gives Ylonen the opportunity to show his one timer.

      • And a better shot at Bedard 😉

  3. Imagine being a young player and the GM has confronted you with news , you have just been traded to them Vancouver Canucks – the “armpit” of the hockey world right now !

    Talk about the sky is “falling”
    Only worse case scenario , would be – going over to Russia …

    • The current situation with Boudreau is a black eye for the organization without a doubt – but while the team is struggling to pick up points in recent weeks (2-8 in their last 10), and sit with 39 points and an overall aggregate of -28, it’s also clear that their need (to improve) is on the blue line and in goal.

      As a team, they’ve scored 152 goals which is better than 20 teams (or two-thirds of the league): Columbus, Chicago, Anaheim, Arizona, SJ, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis,, NYI, Calgary, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, NYT, Vegas, Winnipeg and Carolina.

      In goals allowed, however, their 179 is surpassed only by Anaheim. Their “balance” between defense/goaltending and offense is reflected in the overall team aggregate of -27. In that regard, they are far better than Anaheim (-83), Columbus (-63), Chicago (-56); Montreal (-47); Arizona (-46); and SJ (-33). Their 39 points has them 2 back of Montreal, 4 back of Ottawa, and 6 back of Philadelphia and Detroit.

  4. Rutherford supposingly has a solid reputation and folks are pointing the finger at the owner.

    Isn’t Rutherford the one who said he is looking for a coach?

    Maybe the owner should’ve steped in and said get it done.

    Have to wonder if this has any long term affect on signing potential ufa and any new ufas in the off-season.

    • I think it’s a safe bet that any owner has a say in who gets hired as coach, and for what term and price. Which is not just the owner’s prerogative, it’s a responsibility.

  5. I read The Cannon for years. I’ll miss the insights of that fabulous team of writers.

  6. I hope those players who do not follow the Chinese Zodiac sit out warm up and refuse to wear those sweaters.

  7. The way Boudreau is being treated by Canuck management is atrocious. If the team really wants to improve then they should start at the top and clean house…

  8. @George

    I can’t compare stats , as per this “mess” in Vancouver

    Aquilini comparison- Harold Ballard

    Rutherford- Punch Imlach

    The fish rots from the “head” down in Vancouver !

    Perception , attracting UFA ‘s , “ugliness “of the destination – No light at the end of the tunnel! Poisoned sports environment !!

    Rick Tochet as coach – what’s his resume like ?

  9. With all that has happened I am wondering why anyone would consider going to Vancouver on their own free will. Disgusting treatment of a human being.

  10. All good comparisons Ken. Not denying the hierarchy there is functioning without a clue. But as I point out, their need – regardless of who is behind the bench or behind the desk – is clearly on D and in goal and, in that regard, they are no different than roughly half the league.

    The question is, obviously, who best to negotiate the trades we keep hearing about in the rumor mill in order to bring in the necessary improvements?

    The biggest boost would, undoubtedly, come from a returning (and return to form of) Demko from LTIR who’s been out since December 3 – estimated then to be 6 weeks.

    Any trades will no doubt involve their pending UFAs led by the big C, Horvat, coming off a cap hit of $5.5 mil, and currently with 30g 19a 49 pts and a +3 in 45gp. Any return would HAVE to be a young C prospect who has already shown he can put up points at the NHL level (such as Shane Pinto – and I hasten to add I am NOT suggesting Horvat could wind up in Ottawa – just showing the sort of prospect I mean – AND a top 4 D-man.

    That last would be a necessity if they also decide to move pending UFA Schenn (2g 12a 14 pts and a +4 in 45 gp), whose return would have to be in the nature of a good D prospect from someone’s system.

    Their other pending D UFA is Burroughs and they won’t get much – if anything – for him. He likely just plays out the string there.

    And then we come to the struggling Boesser and his $6,650,000 cap hit which has 2 years to go after this. His 9g 18a 27pts and -13 in 37gp is a reflection of how much he has struggled – but this is a guy who has had 4 seasons of 82-game averages of 35-39 goals and 50-60a and might just need a change of scenery.

    Finding a taker won’t be easy at that cap hit – but there are a number of teams at or near rock bottom in their re-builds who might be willing to relinquish a D-man of some quality who could step into Vancouver’s 3/4 pairing. Maybe with some of that cap hit withheld.

    But as I say, WHO best to handle those negotiations?

  11. @George

    Topic – Remedy for the Trudeau Senators – or whomever is taking direction of this franchise ..

    As per example – case study in Vancouver – Ottawa doesn’t want to fall into that trap !

    U and SOP can offer to purchase the Senators – rumour has it , “gobs” of gold from those 2 prospects – 2 high hockey IQ’s

    All kidding aside – proof – U need grounded ownership , Positivity – Communication A welcoming environment ..,
    A Mario Lemieux type , A famous upbeat celebrity , other … ?!?!

    Finally – your last entre – P.K. Subban /aka Don Cherry behind the bench !

  12. Did get a chance to see the P Bruins and Wolfpack last night … Bruins have a nice AHL team with some nice talent on the team ….have to say C Wagner belongs in the NHL somewhere …Lysell & Beecher should be knocking on the NHL door soon

  13. How did Rutherford even get his current position? He inherited a strong Pittsburgh team, when he was named GM, there. So, all he had to do is make minor acquisitions and keep his stars happy. He began slipping and making stupid decisions (Jack Johnson’s multi-year, multi-million dollar contract when even the Jackets didn’t want him, anyone?) and Pittsburgh fired him. About 3 years after they should have, if you ask me. And, yet, Vancouver gave him an even more responsible position.

    • The two Stanley cups probably helped. And he was always active so his finger prints are on both cups despite inheriting the stars.

      • Two Cups due to players already on the roster.

    • He didn’t get fired in Pitts he resigned because he wanted to trade one of the stars and the bosses said no way.