NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2023

by | Jan 5, 2023 | News, NHL | 15 comments

Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild over the Lightning, the Red Wings make some roster moves, the 2023 Winter Classic ratings improve over last season’s, plus updates on Nicklas Backstrom, Max Pacioretty and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and Calen Addison had a three-point performance in a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kaprizov has 22 goals on the season as the Wild (22-13-2) move to within three points of the second-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division with 46 points. The Lightning (24-12-1, 49 points) remain four points back of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning’s Brayden Point also tallied his 22nd goal of the season.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Dougie Hamilton and Alexander Holtz each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (24-11-3), who hold a three-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. Lucas Raymond replied for the Red Wings, who fell to 16-13-7 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri made his season debut since suffering a lower-body injury last March. Jakub Vrana cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids while goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was assigned to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

No surprise that Vrana cleared waivers. With a large number of teams carrying less than $3 million in salary-cap space, there were no takers for his $5.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson turned in a 35-save shutout to upset the Dallas Stars 2-0. Mason McTavish scored and collected an assist on Adam Henrique’s goal as the Ducks sit with a record of 11-24-4. The Stars (23-11-6, 52 points) remain two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.


NHL.COM: 1.8 million viewers tuned in on Jan. 2 to watch the Boston Bruins down the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. That’s up 31 percent over the 2022 event.

ESPN.COM: The NHL has revamped its All-Star Game selection process to make it more inclusive for fans. The league’s hockey operations department has selected the first 32 All-Stars (one from each team), leaving the fans to vote for the rest.

THE ATHLETIC: Nickas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are close to making their season debuts for the Washington Capitals. Backstrom has been recovering from hip resurfacing in June while Wilson underwent surgery on his right knee in May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals will have to free up cap room when Backstrom and his $9.2 million AAV come off long-term injury reserve. They could put defenseman John Carlson ($8 million) on LTIR as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a facial injury suffered on Dec. 23.

SPORTSNET: Max Pacioretty could soon make his season debut with the Carolina Hurricanes as the club activated him off LTIR. The 34-year-old winger has been sidelined since suffering a torn Achilles during offseason training.

DAILY FACEOFF: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk reportedly suffered a fractured fibula. It’s uncertain if he suffered the injury during the Winter Classic (when he scored both goals for the Bruins) or sometime afterward.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers activated goaltender Carter Hart from injured reserve. He’d been sidelined with a concussion since Dec. 23.

OTTAWA SUN: Cam Talbot is willing to re-sign with the Senators. The 35-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s interested in signing a contract extension but indicated there haven’t been any formal discussions yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That conversation might not happen until the end of the season. Much will depend on how the Senators end the season and if Pierre Dorion remains general manager under the club’s new ownership. It’s expected the team will have a new owner in place sometime in March.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Jimmy Vesey to a two-year, $1.6 million contract extension. The average annual value is $800K.


  1. Re: The NHL has revamped its All-Star Game selection process to make it more inclusive for fans. The league’s hockey operations department has selected the first 32 All-Stars (one from each team), leaving the fans to vote for the rest.”

    Yeah, that’s the way to go – ensure it stays away from being a genuine “all-star” game and solidify it as a fan popularity contest.

    The only true all-star game in any sport would be one where the players do the choosing – on the proviso that they cannot vote for a teammate.

    • The game itself is an annual joke of shinny contest as it is … and in 2016 that aspect was highlighted by the write-in selection of John Scott.

      If they want to be accurate change the name from “All-Star Game” to “Fan Popularity Game,”

      • I agree, but it sure was fun to watch Scott do well…something I can’t say about every other all-star game I’ve watched, and as I’m almost your age, George, there’s been a few of them!

      • Rock, then you might recall when the all-star game used to be played at the start of every season with the all-stars taking on the defending Stanley Cup champions. Now those were some intense games,

        I know that’ll never happen again ever since it evolved into a glorified shinny last-shot-wins affair where any and all contact is purely accidental.

        The game itself might not change from what it has become but at least teams chosen by the players would be presenting players who their peers feel SHOULD be there rather than those named through ballot-box stuffing.

  2. Debrusk injury if fibula can be a min 4 weeks. Usually 6-8. Bad luck for him during a career year but if out on Ltir. Can accrue some $$ towards 36 and 46 bonuses

    • Mrbruib4 did you know Zac Rinaldo was the last Bruin to wear number 36 for Boston.

      12 players wore #36 for Boston 6 for a single season or late season addition

      Dave Reid wore it from 1985-1988 which was the longest any player wore #36

      You may now file this under information that you never cared to know but now you do.

      • I prefer to forget Zac was a Bruin 😂 Dave Reid was a decent defensive forward in his time with Boston in my opinion

    • MrBruin4, now look what you done; of not so interesting useless information:

      The Boston Bruins numerical numbers start with 1 and go as high as 94. There is only 5 numbers within that range that have never been worn by a Bruins player:


      Any new Bruin wanting to be unique can pick from them and after 95 up except 99.

      • Caper, that is pretty useless, but was kinda interesting.
        Gonna miss DeBrusk, was plying well.

        Zacha moves up seems most likely.

      • Caper if I made it 93 would be off the list lol. Year of sons birth wear it ever since

        Ray bark. Looks like pasta moves up and hall. According to practice lines

  3. I haven’t watched an “All Star” Game in years and this does not persuade me to change that this time.

  4. I for one am surprised Vrana wasn’t picked up. Sure the cap hit is high but the guy has a 0.8-1 PPG potential. Surprised a team with cap space didn’t take on the free asset.
    Maybe there is more to the story, Vrana removed all mention of the RedWings from his social media yesterday.

    Re: all-Star game, much like the rest I don’t care. Don’t be surprised if Justin Holl makes it though – the movement to vote him in as a joke has began.

    • Taz, that’s an interesting slant re Holl. Let’s see if it gets any traction. And I totally agree re the All-Star Game. Would rather watch re-runs of The Big Bang Theory!

      As for Vrana, I bet he didn’t put a stop on deposits from the head office on payments for his $3,350,000 cap hit. It was that and, as I’ve said, probably uncertainty as to the root cause of his going on the player’s assistance program, which has never been divulged. Those teams with sufficient cap are all within various stages of a re-build and likely didn’t want to have that uncertainty saddled with a cap hit that size,

      A Red Wings blogger named Jeremy Laura posted an interesting slant on the situation “Vrana cleared waivers earlier today as Fabbri suits up for tonight’s game. You wonder if Yzerman is putting together his trade deadline strategy with 3 NHL goalies plus Vrana who can now be assigned to minors by any team that may be interested. Each day his cap hit goes down so that may part of the catalyst of any moves that could be coming.”

      stay tuned, I guess.

      • By the way, the 3 goalies are Ville Husso ($4,750,000 with 2 more years to run), Alex Nedeljkvic ($3 mil – UFA at season’s end) and Magnus Hellberg ($750,000 and a pending UFA)

      • Good points George