NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2023

by | Jan 22, 2023 | News, NHL | 20 comments

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid reaches 40 goals on the season while Canucks fans bid farewell to Bruce Boudreau during Hockey Day in Canada, Canadiens winger Cole Caufield to undergo season-ending surgery, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallied his league-leading 40th goal of the season to double up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three points for the Oilers (27-18-3), as they vaulted over the Los Angeles Kings into third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid becomes the fastest player to reach 40 goals in a season (48 games) since Jaromir Jagr did it in 46 games in 1995-96.

The Canucks (18-25-3) have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Before the game, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported they’re expected to announce the hiring of Rick Tocchet as their new head coach on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news prompted an outpouring of support for embattled head coach Bruce Boudreau on social media and from Canucks fans during this game. Boudreau was touched by the cheers from the fans, bidding them a tearful farewell at the end of the game.

As I said before, the Canucks’ front office handled this situation very badly. They could’ve just fired Boudreau and named one of their assistant coaches to replace him on an interim basis until a full-time bench boss was found. Instead, they left him to twist in the wind as rumors ramped up over his future, forcing him to answer questions from the media day after day over his impending fate. It reflects poorly on the Canucks as a franchise, raising concerns over the direction of the club.

An overtime goal by Rem Pitlick lifted the injury-depleted Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pitlick finished the night with two points while Sam Montembeault stopped 36 shots as the Canadiens (20-24-3) overcame a 2-0 deficit to win three of their last four games. The 28-11-8 Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 64 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced that Cole Caufield will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his injured right shoulder. Caufield’s agent revealed his client had played with the injury over the past two-three months and was willing to continue but team doctors decided he would risk worsening the damage. The 22-year-old winger is the 11th Hab currently sidelined, joining such notables as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan, Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Kaiden Guhle, Jake Allen and Juraj Slafkovsky.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho tallied a hat trick to lead his club over the New York Islanders by a score of 5-2, handing the latter their eighth loss in their last nine games. The Hurricanes (29-9-8) hold a four-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points. With 51 points, the Islanders (23-20-5) remain two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders recalled forward Aatu Raty to replace Cal Clutterbuck, who is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to blank the Arizona Coyotes 4-0. Radek Faksa tallied twice for the Stars (28-13-7) as they hold a two-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 63 points. The Coyotes dropped to 14-27-5.

Speaking of the Jets (61 points), they improved to 30-16-1 with a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists to reach his 900th career point while Mark Scheifele scored twice and collected an assist. Josh Norris replied for the Senators as they slipped to 20-23-3.

The Vegas Golden Knights remain one point behind the Jets for third overall in the Western Conference by downing the Washington Capitals 6-2. Paul Cotter tallied twice while Nicolas Roy had a goal and two assists for the 29-16-2 Golden Knights while T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson replied for the 25-18-6 Capitals, who remain three points ahead of the Penguins in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

A shootout goal by Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. Alex Newhook scored in regulation for the Avalanche (25-17-3) as they’ve won five straight and vaulted over the Calgary Flames into the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 53 points. Ryan Donato replied for the Kraken, who’ve dropped three of their last four contests. At 27-14-5 (59 points), they sit one point behind the first-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

The Flames, meanwhile, defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 as Rasmus Andersson had a goal and two assists while Tyler Toffoli and Dillon Dube each had a goal and an assist. Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli and Vladislav Namestnikov scored for the Lightning (29-15-1) as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames (22-16-9) have the same number of points as the Avalanche (53), but the latter has three more wins and holds two games in hand.

Third-period goals by Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and Cole Smith powered the Nashville Predators to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Duchene scored twice while teammate Roman Josi collected three assists for the 22-18-6 Predators, who move within three points of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Kings (25-17-6) have lost three straight games and slipped into the first Western wild-card berth with 56 points.

Florida Panthers goaltender Alex Lyon kicked out 29 shots to win his first start of the season by beating the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell each had a goal and an assist as the Panthers improved to 23-20-5. With 51 points, they’re two points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Kirill Kaprizov had three assists for the Wild (25-16-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild played without winger Marcus Foligno as he is sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

The Chicago Blackhawks got a 29-save performance from Jaxson Stauber in his NHL debut to upset the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Jason Dickinson had a goal and two assists for the 14-26-4 Blackhawks, who’ve won six of their last seven games. Jordan Kyrou and Ivan Barbashev each had a goal and an assist for the Blues (23-21-3), who sit four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

Buffalo Sabres forwards Victor Olofsson and Peyton Krebs each tallied two goals in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Ilya Lyubushkin collected three assists for the 23-19-3 Sabres as they moved to within four points of an Eastern wild-card spot with 49 points. Trevor Zegras scored twice and collected an assist for the 13-29-5 Ducks.

The Philadelphia Flyers got goals from Scott Laughton and Noah Cates to hold off the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Carter Hart turned aside 30 shots for the Flyers (20-20-7) as they’ve won five of their last seven games. Lucas Raymond replied for the Red Wings as they slipped to 19-18-8 on the season.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Patrik Laine, Gustav Nyquist and Sean Kuraly lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Jackets improved to 14-30-2 while the Sharks fell to 14-24-9.


  1. It’s becoming abundantly clear that, with the sale of the team “imminent,” Senators management is in a state of paralyses. In “normal” times Dorion would be looking at the team he assembled and thought, at the very least, that at this stage of the season they’d be somewhere close to the playoff position hunt – a conclusion probably shared by the owners. That alone would have resulted in a change behind the bench, and possibly even a trade or two. Instead, with Melnyk’s death and a period of “marking time” by his daughters, the decision was finally reached to sell the team, so while “normal” times probably would have galvanized Dorion into doing SOMETHING to stop the bleeding if for no other reason than to preserve his own job, he does nothing, no doubt knowing that he, Smith and most of the rest of the crew at the top are eventually history here. And let’s not fool ourselves … that indifference (for wont of a better word) has filtered down into the team and, very soon, into the paying public who entered this season with some hope after 5 dreary years. In plainer words “if management doesn’t give a s&^t why should we?”

    • A frustrated post George. Small consolation, but who do you think is further ahead in the rebuild, your boys or the Habs, who are one call up short of dressing the zamboni driver? Rebuilds don’t proceed in a upward 45 degree angle.

      One reason for no action may well be impending new ownership. But another is the well known cap space crunch of most teams, the competitive race for playoffs spots (are we getting in, or not).

      Then what is best for the Sens? They don’t have an abundance of draft picks and don’t have a lot of cap space. So the best they could likely do is bring in some middle class talent. That is unlikely to move the needle much.

      This is your season of discontent. Much like mine.

      • LJ, while all very true, at the very LEAST the repeated stuttering performances should have – and very easily could have – resulted in was a change behind the bench.

        As for the re-build, the Habs aren’t as far into theirs as is Ottawa’s – now heading for a 6th year – but they at least realized a change in both coaching and management was paramount – and so took action. Here they’ve appeared to have shoved a thumb up their rump and have done absolutely nothing.

        At the very least Dorion must realize that, either the D and goaltending tandem HE handed Smith isn’t working OR, the “system” installed by Smith involving those components and the Fs isn’t working OR, some among those Fs are either incapable or unwilling to play a 200 foot game and actually back check on occasion.

        The fan base won’t be filling the arena to anywhere near 75% capacity, never mind 100%, for much longer with dismal performances such as last night against Winnipeg and the night before against Pittsburgh (both 5-1 setbacks where they went through the motions). Nor do I put much “understanding” in the back-to-back excuse. These are, for the most part, young players and while both the jets and Penguins are, admittedly, better teams at the moment, neither is THAT much better.

        As I keep saying, losses with effort I can take as a fan – losses where they’d obviously rather be somewhere else is unacceptable considering what they’re being paid. SOMEONE has to be held accountable for that.

      • Good Mornong George & LJ,

        I think Both the Hab’s & Sen’s are at Very Simmiler points in there re-builds❓

        1)Both Teams have Very Good young d/den in there Stables and future looks Very Good.

        2)Both Teams have Very Good young forward groups of 23yr old’s and younger

        Habs have, Suzuki’ Dack, Caufield, Slafkovsky,
        and have a deep crew of young forwards coming up not on the curent roster.

        Sen’s have Brady Tkachuk, Stutzle, Norris, Batherson & Pinto and a number of young prospects coming up Also

        ) 1Both Teams have Poor Goaltending and Need a Starter in Net, The Sens look to have more prospects coming up in Goaltenders department.

        2) Coaching you have to Give it to The Habs
        in Martin St Louis

        The NHL Draft.
        Looks like the will pick very close to each other between 6 &10th Both team picking a forward position maybe Centre..❓
        Habs will have lots of picks after there trades in the next 6 weeks also have the Florida 1st pick maybe thats a big Trade Chip for a Goaltender….

        The Sales of the Sen’s may slow things down a little hopfully not to much the can still do some trades, working with in the budget and get a sale done bye late Feb early March.

        The Alex DeBrincat situation is hanging over the Sens also maybe thats something thats going to happen at the NHL Draft in july if they cant sign him to a freindly contract before then….

      • Not bad assessment WW. I’d only quibble with the assessment of the Habs goaltending, as Montembeault shows signs of developing into a good starter. Hard to tell for sure given the gong show in front of him some nights ..

  2. As I said before, the Canucks’ front office handled this situation very badly. They could’ve just fired Boudreau and named one of their assistant coaches to replace him on an interim basis until a full-time bench boss was found. Instead, they left him to twist in the wind as rumors ramped up over his future, forcing him to answer questions from the media day after day over his impending fate. It reflects poorly on the Canucks as a franchise, raising concerns over the direction of the club.

    Pretty much ch sums up the character of the ownership and Jim Rutherford

    Good timing – Sequel Documentary on Harold Ballard tonight at 8:00

    • like I stated yesterday, if you look at Rutherford’s career in management, this isn’t usual for him. The Canucks ownership has a history, though, of unusual decisions, so I tend to think Aquilini is the root cause. He probably didn’t want to pay an extra salary to a interim coach, and probably played salary hardball with Tocchet

      • @ Mike P

        I think U R accurate !

  3. Above paragraph , I should of noted
    As per Spector !

  4. Gutsy win by the Habs last night. Especially considering the gut punching news that their top goal scorer is done for the year and lost to an already injury depleted lineup.

    Unfortunately with Caufield done for the season, all that’s left for the Habs season is seeing who goes at the deadline and for what return and how their Connor Bedard lottery odds turn out.

    • Howard do you think Caufield injury takes a long term contract off the table?

      • It didn’t for Josh Norris in Ottawa … can’t see why it would for Caufield. Same with Pinto who’s an RFA this year … if he stays in Ottawa (which I doubt) he’ll be offered a long-term deal, and will still get one if and when he’s dealt (which I expect will happen).

      • Not a chance. Anderson had shoulder surgery and has said it made that shoulder stronger than the other one. Anderson hasn’t been as productive this year (who except Caulfield has) but it hasn’t affected his physical ability one bit.

        Not signing Caulfield would be a clear regression for the Habs, and would send a bad message to his team mates, and certainly the fan base who would have a s&*t hemmorage if he were to walk.

      • LJ, sorry for the confusion.

        I should’ve stated a bridge deal to long term.

      • Caper I think the injury makes a long term deal somewhat less likely. Both team and player may want to see how Caufield recovers from surgery going forward. I think it’s now more likely that they agree to 3 years in the $7m. range. He’d still be an RFA after that. If he comes back strong and continues to develop as an elite scorer after that, as I expect he will, Caufield will cash in and the Habs will be happy to pay.

      • Tarasenko shoulder injury sure changed the outlook on his career.

        Truth is we don’t know the injury, the surgery, the expected recovery time and success.

        An undersized player with trademark shooting skills needs to be healthy to be effective.

      • Actually HabFan, Tarasenko has bounced back fairly well since the surgeries. Last year he potted his usual 30+ goals and hit a career high in points. This despite his difficult situation in St. Louis. And you have to remember that he’s nearly ten years older than Caufield.

  5. Watch your back Tocchet!!

    • He’ll need to in that environment. So, how long does Boudreau remain jobless?

  6. Sorry to be nitpicky Lyle but Wheeler isn’t the captain any more…..