NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2023

by | Jan 3, 2023 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The Bruins defeat the Penguins in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic, the three stars of the week are announced, plus updates on sidelined stars such as Ryan O’Reilly and John Carlson in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 at the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Jake DeBrusk tallied the game-tying and winning goals in the third period for the league-leading Bruins (29-4-4, 62 points) as they extended their home points streak to 22 games. Kasperi Kapanen scored for the Penguins (19-12-6) as they’ve lost five straight games.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. No update was provided on his condition following the game.

The Pens also played without defenseman Kris Letang, who returned home to Montreal following the death of his father. He remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. My condolences to Letang and his family for their loss.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Nicolas Roy scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. With the win, the Golden Knights (26-12-2) regained first place in the Western Conference with 54 points and sit two up on the Dallas Stars. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the 19-14-3 Avalanche, who’ve dropped four games in a row.

The Philadelphia Flyers (14-17-7) picked up their third straight win with a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist while goaltender Samuel Ersson made 28 saves. Ryan Strome replied for the Ducks, who dropped to 10-24-4.


Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and Carolina Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 1, 2023.

The Seattle Kraken will host the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2024 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2024, at T-Mobile Field.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m taking a victory lap having predicted this during a Bleacher Report roundtable last week. OK, I picked the wrong stadium where they’d play but I’m not sweating the minor details here.

TSN: Bad news for the St. Louis Blues as captain Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) will be sidelined for six weeks while winger Vladimir Tarasenko (hand injury) will be out for four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are struggling to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. Losing their two core forwards for a month could sink their postseason hopes.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir recently reported Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson could be sidelined for months with a head injury suffered against the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 23. His estimated return could be late in the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals will miss Carlson’s presence on the blueline. He had 21 points in 30 games this season before his injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings have extended Jakub Vrana’s conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate from three days to the full two weeks. He only played two games with the Wings this season before voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in mid-October.

The New York Islanders activated goaltender Semyon Varlamov off injured reserve.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed defenseman Nick Perbix to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1.125 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: Top NHL prospect Connor Bedard broke the Canadian World Junior record for all-time goals (16) and points (33) to lead Canada to a 4-3 overtime victory over Slovakia in the quarter-final of the 2023 World Junior Championships.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard was considered the top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft prior to the 2023 WJC. His performance in this tournament will cement his spot in that position.


  1. Tough break for blues. But looking at the cup half full. This should allow them to drop in standings with a higher chance at Bedard. Then they should sell off who they Barbashev. Achaea including both ROR and tank for additional assets. Then with the cupboard restocked they should have enough talent to compete again next season

    On junior’s. Bedard looked incredible. Keep it coming 2 more games

    • MrB,

      Regarding Vladdy, O’Reilly, Krug, L. Brown….. I feel like a “good cry”!

      Agree with your “sell off”—-Vladdy, O’Reilly, Parayko, Krug, Saad, even Binnington (not Barbashev)


      • Iowa Prince, isn’t it amazing how some teams can go through an entire 82-game schedule with no injuries to their top players, while there are always several who, when long-term injuries crop up, it always seems to be to one or more of their key players?

        Crushing. But just curious as to why you include Logan Brown in your lament? Drafted 11th overall by Ottawa in 2016, this 6’6″ 220 lb giant has never been able to realize the potential power his sheer size could bring to his excellent skating – he plays like a wimp and has to be included in any list of top disappointments drafted in the 1st round over the years.

      • George O the same analysis you gave for Brown was was used when the Blues traded Tage Thompson. Big guys take longer to develop and toi matters plenty. Tough to get better playing 4th line minutes.

      • Yes, I agree Snold49 that that can be said about a lot of players their size … but both Brown (11th overall) and Thompson (26th overall) were drafted going on 7 years ago.

        But, whereas Thompson (21g 20 41pts averages at the AHL level) has only played 79 AHL games and hasn’t been there since the 2019-20 season, Brown (21g 49a 70pts averages in the AHL) has appeared in 115 AHL games and has been up and down like a yo-yo every season since being drafted.

        For whatever reason, he seems to freeze up when given his opportunities in the NHL and just does not use his tremendous side to full advantage (like Thompson does game in game out earning him that big contract).

        How long does he keep getting opportunities?

        Since then Thompson has appeared in 258 NHL games scoring 83g 71a 154 pts for an 82-game average of 26g 23a 49pts.

        Since them Brown has appeared in just 78 NHL games scoring 5g 17a 22 pts.

        From that one can gather that, either the organizations (Senators – Blues) who held/hold the rights to Brown have been stubbornly refusing to give him increased ice time or, he simply hasn’t done anything to warrant such consideration when given minimal ice time. I don’t think he needs to go on some sort of scoring blitz – but he does have to show he can be a force out there with his size on every shift.

      • I have no problem with the Blues selling off. Barbashev has value for PO Team. Guy is a .4 point per game player with some grit. The only guys I would say are off limits are Kyrou, Thomas, and Buch. Everyone else can go for the right price.

      • George and all

        The only reason that I included Logan Brown is that he also went down with injury yesterday in practice. Ironically, he probably would have gotten some increased playing time, although his time with the Blues has sure been disappointing . I don’t see a “Tage Thompson in the making”! Everyone who initially thought that Buffalo got fleeced in the O’Reilly trade has to feel ALOT better right now with Thompson’s development and future—BUT the Blues have a Cup!!

        The injuries are probably season killers as far as playoffs, but the Blues were not in great shape anyway. I know I don’t get any sympathy regarding injuries from BlueJacket or Vegas fans, and several other teams as well.


      • Iowa Prince, understand re Brown. Thanks. You know, he always reminded me a lot of Nick Paul – up and down also like a yo-yo in Ottawa after coming over in the Spezza deal because he would play like the big man he is. It finally dawned on him what he needed to be and do on the ice, and turned into a very useful F in Ottawa and now Tampa Bay. Maybe Brown can eventually get the message when he returns.

    • If anyone didn’t catch Bedard’s OT winner last night, Google it. Well worth the watch. Absolutely incredible!

  2. O’Reilly will be off of the radar for Leafs

    Nashville Predators – I believe is a target for the Leafs , IMO – No rumour as per

    1. Tanner Jeannot – LW – 2021-22 – 24 goals-17 assists-130 penalty minutes .
    Low cap hit
    2. Niedereiter – LW – 12 goals – power forward – 4 mil – per

    Leafs are weak at LW – 2nd , 3rd and 4th lines

    As George would call them – dime a dozen players , as per his description recently of 1 of the bottom 6 Leaf forwards

    They could use both players above players as mentioned

  3. The outdoor classic was entertaining.

    Pittsburgh absolutely owned the face off dot.

    Not sure why the ref blew down the two on one shortie chance, considering if the Bruins scored the Penguins could simply challenge for offside.

    The feed i watched didn’t show the Swayman / Ullmark hug at the end of the game. You may consider it cheesy but it’s show some personality which the game shouldn’t turn away from.

    If Boston losses their remaining 19 games at home they will finish with a 19-19-3 home record.

    Connor Bedard will be the first selection of the upcoming draft.

    NFL putting life before sports; prayers for Damar Hamlin

    • Hell yeah. And props to the response team. I can’t imagine doing cpr in front of and in camera millions of people watching

    • It was a good game Caper, the ice, as expected, not the best, so more of a simple game. Get it deep, win battles, get the puck on net and go there hard.

      Once the B’s got with the plan and got on their horse they played a better game.

      Good to see DeBrusk have a moment in a game they really wanted to win. Heard Foligno gave a pep talk after 2.

      Was watching MNF (recorded to not conflict with WJC) last night and saw that happen. I have never seen anything like that. Can’t imagine watching a close friend go through that like his team mates had to. Hope he is going to be OK.

      True that chrisms, stick tap to those guys.

  4. First

    I know this is a hockey site; but prayers out to Damar Hamlin for a full (and Speedy recovery)

    Condolences out to Tanger and his family on the loss of his father

    WJs and upcoming draft:

    Are we going to see any apathetic team performances down the stretch for bottom teams in the hopes of increasing their Bedard odds? This kid is completely mesmerizing.

    Gajan stood on his head…. Was not picked in draft…. So any team can try and sign him

    Knights still plugging away AND winning in the Mile High City; Knights still 1st in PAC and West (albeit Stars have 2 games left n hand)…. Didn’t think (pre-season start) that Knights would be 1st in West; 3rd in League to start the new year

    Blues….: ouch re injuries to RoR and Taresenko…. Tough hill to climb into playoff picture

    Pens v Bruins…. Eventual Outcome as I had thought…. That said…. Pens could have secured 1 point…. This one all on Sully….dressing 11-7 with an older team and outdoor???? All this just to allow CR in the outdoor game????

    Then with the extra D; Sully plays the massively struggling Dumo (bad penalty; – 2 on night) over 19 minutes!!!!!; but the true reason Pens left without a point…. After Sully watches CR single handedly almost hand deliver 3 goals to Bruins (De Smith on the CR bailout); with game tied and only 2 1/2 minutes left…. Sully allows CR out!!!!! ….and the CR did what CR does….. blows coverage …. 2nd JDB goal…. B-bye tie point. So this (loss of the tie point) is all on Sully.

    Pens on the playoff bubble; Ilses tied with Pens (but Pens game in hand) ….. continued playing of Dumo and CR…. Expect things to worsen.

    • Pengy, gotta call you on today’s Ruhwedal post as I actually watched him play for the first time this year, not sure what you would have had CR do on that last goal?

      He didn’t blow coverage he was forced to move to Hall after Malkin totally loses him by watching the puck, and Dumo blows a tire. And if you want another guy who didn’t give enough effort on that play, Mr Zucker, who waved at Krecji entering the zone when he was actually in position to do something. Allowing Krecji the time and space to make the play to Hall.

      The only guy who played it right was Ruhwedal who got left hanging by his team mates.

      First goal, same thing, he was forced to challenge the shooter and leave DeBrusk, because the fwd, I think Rakell, gets badly out of position while they are still basically short handed as the Pens player just got out of the box. Rakell can’t get on the wrong side of the puck in that situation that far out from the net short handed. Bantams know that, so not sure WTF he was thinking.

      Could CR made a better play and taken out Marchand? Way easier said than done when you have to move out at a guy who is coming at you with options as you are out manned, especially a guy like Marchand. He had a choice – stand there next to DeBrusk and let Marchand skate in unchallenged to the slot, or challenge him. He made the same decision every D man would have.

      CR was minus 2 and wasn’t to blame for either goal. IMO.

      • Sorry Ray

        I fully agree re Malkin/Zucker; and cavalcade of many mistakes and circumstances that lead to 2nd goal

        But this is exactly what CR does all the time…. Switches coverage; leaving an easy open man

        This is NOT CR’s fault…. It’s Sully’s

        I fully believe he (CR) did the wrong thing…..again (5th time during the game)

        No ifs ands or buts; Dumo had a rough game. CR just had his “regular” game…. almost always out of position; almost never being able to move man out of way/control him

        Would CR or Dumo out mean Pens win…. No; but 2 1/2 mins left and a tie you weren’t expecting; you have 7 D to pick from; and you play the worst two (that night and recently) D men you have…. TOGETHER….zero points when 1 was up for grabs…. That’s on Sully

        Put another way…. I can’t see that 2nd goal happening with any other D-duo from the remaining 5 (of 7) dressed

        This MUST be a wakeup call for Sully

        When all are healthy….. CR and Dumo must sit; Freidman and Smith in

        Huge improvement

        HexBurkie went all in…. Key players getting older; can’t possibly think there is a greater chance next year…. Why play a weaker D over an available healthier and better one available

        It’s mind bloggling

      • We can agree to disagree Pengy, but CR was left out to dry on both. One guy can’t play 2 guys, which is what he was forced to do on both those plays. Not his fault IMO.

        Can’t speak for the rest of the year as I only have time to watch the B’s or Oil.

  5. Nice one, Lyle, is the victory lap on a snowmobile?

    • Sadly, there’s not enough snow here on PEI thus far this winter for snowmobiling.

      • Weird winter. 2 weeks ago we had snow up to our knees – not it looks like spring out there. Big rain headed for southern Ontario and on into Nova Scotia. Possible freezing rain for the Ottawa Valley. Sheeesh.

  6. I’m just glad that the Winter Classic is played on National TV, and we didn’t have to endure those “tools” from Boston to call the game. Worst play by play in all of sports.

  7. As a lifetime Bruin fan I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much from them this year and I’m thrilled and shocked at how well they have played although I keep expecting the wheels to fall off. Without Ullmark they would be a very different team I think…

  8. Probably the worst hockey game Boston has played all year. Ullmark was God and Boston played a decent third and pulled one out. Pasta still trying to one man his way through everyone who does he think he is Bedard ? 1200 athletes passed out and 898 died of heart problems in the last year they better figure things out pretty quick. Prayers for Hamlin and his family way to young.

    • Obe, where did you get them numbers? That is mind blowing.

      • From 1966-2004 there 1001 athletes under the age of 39 who had heart failures not all died. 2021-2022 -1598 heart episodes. Pretty scary lots of Soccer and tennis players.

  9. Vrana is on waivers, interesting move by Detroit.
    I can’t imagine him clearing Anaheim or Arizona.