NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

by | Feb 16, 2023 | News, NHL | 25 comments

A record-setting performance for Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram, Bally Sports financial woes could affect 12 NHL teams and Alex Ovechkin mourns his father’s death. Details on these and other stories in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: A record-setting shutout performance by Connor Ingram carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 1-0 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ingram’s 47 saves were the most by a goalie in his first NHL shutout in league history. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller scored in the shootout for the 19-28-8 Coyotes. Steven Stamkos replied in the shootout for the Lightning (35-16-3) as they dropped into third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without defenseman Erik Cernak as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. William Nylander scored his 30th goal of the season and collected two points while Auston Matthews scored the winning goal in his return to action after missing five games with a sprained knee. With the win, the 33-14-8 Leafs vaulted over the Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. The Blackhawks dropped to 16-32-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed captain Jonathan Toews on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined for five games by a non-COVID-related illness.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each scored two goals and collected an assist in a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers (32-14-8) have won six straight and sit three points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points. Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the Canucks as they fell to 21-30-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Curtis Lazar left this game with lower-body injuries. In his post-game interview, head coach Rick Tocchet said the severity of Ekman-Larsson’s injury was unknown but Lazar’s might not be serious.

The Colorado Avalanche got a 41-save performance from Alexandar Georgiev to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche improved to 29-19-5 and remain third in the Central Division with 63 points. Kirill Kaprizov netted his 31st goal of the season for the Wild (28-21-5) as they’ve dropped five of their last six games and slipped out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to the lineup after missing 31 games with a lower-body injury. Wild blueliner Calen Addison was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Shootout goals by David Perron and Pius Suter lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri each had a goal and an assist while Ville Husso turned aside 41 shots for the Red Wings (25-20-8) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid collected two assists for the 30-19-6 Oilers as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings’ call-up Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch from this game while defenseman Jake Walman remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Seven Sabres, including Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch, collected two points each as they improved to 27-22-4 to sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Cam Fowler tallied twice for the Ducks as they dropped to 17-32-6 on the season.


ESPN.COM: The owner of Bally Sports regional networks skipped $140 million in interest payments due Wednesday, starting a 30-day grace period that could be the prelude to a bankruptcy filing.

Bally is owned by Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. It provides regional coverage to 12 NHL teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those 12 NHL teams are the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted yesterday that the NHL Board of Governors held an impromptu conference call to discuss the situation. No word yet from the league regarding the outcome of those talks.

This isn’t expected to affect regional coverage for the remainder of this season as the rights for those games were already paid before the start of the season. However, it will be a problem for next season and beyond if the league is left scrambling to find a replacement for Bally.

This won’t affect the salary cap for 2023-24 as that’s based on hockey-related revenue earned this season. However, it could have a substantial impact on the cap for 2024-25.

The salary cap is projected to increase by just $1 million for next season as the players still have to pay back the remainder of their escrow debt to the owners arising from the shortened seasons due to the pandemic. There is speculation suggesting the league and NHLPA perhaps reaching an agreement to increase it by up to five percent.

For 2024-25, the salary cap is forecast to jump to between $3.5 million and $4 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25. It is also projected to rise by $4 million in 2025-26 to $92 million. However, the potential hit to hockey-related revenue from losing Bally’s regional coverage could adversely affect those projections.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to an eight-year, $33-million contract extension on Wednesday. The average annual value will be $4.125 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable cap hit for Anderson, who is on a one-year, $1 million contract this season and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

The 23-year-old defenseman is earning first-pairing minutes alongside Kings blueline stalwart Drew Doughty. He can move the puck, play a solid physical game in his own zone, and leads the Kings in short-handed ice time per game (2:26) this season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced the death of his father Mikhail on Wednesday. He was 71 years old. Ovechkin will be away from the Capitals for an undetermined period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ovechkin and his family.


  1. Again I’ll say, keep scratching Chychrun. 2-0-1 without him.

    • Hmmmmmm….so just how valuable is he ???

  2. Hmmmmmm….so just how valuable is he ???

  3. He likes it! He likes it!

    • Mikey will eat anything.

  4. First COVID, now Bally. It makes me wonder what else will happen to keep the cap flat.

  5. No matter what the Coyotes do they just can’t seem to stay in last place LOL.

    Bummer about Ovechkin’s dad.

    Anyone with any insider knowledge of what’s going on with Killington? By insider I mean, beyond the silence of what the internet knows. Which is zip.

    • Other than his absence is not related to substance abuse but rather a “family issue” – which came out of the team’s head office – I doubt we’ll ever know the reason behind his entering the player’s assistance program – nor should we, I guess. In that, it’s similar to Vrana who, by the way, was recalled – and then promptly made a “healthy scratch.” Maybe something’s brewing there.

      • I wonder about that as well George. Is Vrana trade bait, or do the Wi gs just not want to mess with a 4 game winning streak. Personally, I want him inthe lineup, hopefully to become the scoring sniper Detroit needs.

    • The Coyotes are so bad they can’t even tank correctly. LOL

  6. The US Department of Justice forcing Walt Disney to sell the Fox Regional Sports Networks is the gift that keeps on giving for US Hockey fans.

    • These media monopolies like Sinclair Broadcast Group who’s owned by an Australian billionaire bought $90B worth of local broadcasters (bally sports included as part of the local broadcasters) and did it by borrowing over $80B. All this to control local broadcasters… seems legit to me.

      If you watch late night talk shows, you’ll notice they will rip on newscasters repeating dumb catch phrases and such so much it’s like they are reading the news off a script? Well, that’s Sinclair’s doing as well as the poor or standards and one view of the news. Fake news brought to you by Sinclair.

      This (fortunate) development and hopefully bankruptcy breaks the hard cap the NHL has in place and makes Gary and owners find another way to curb costs while they can still rake in the cash.

      • Like our own “beloved” Rogers. Monopoly is their middle name.

      • With the way that the family is feuding and how they are losing money from the NHL broadcasting agreement, Rogers is a ticking time bomb.

      • Well Rogers is trying to buy Calgary based Shaw as we speak. I’m pretty big on enforcing antitrust laws. Competition is kind of essential in a capitalist society, so I hope they get stopped. Hurts efficiency, prices and employees/wages when there isn’t any.

        While their media (TV stuff, not wireless or internet) business is losing $, Rogers isn’t going to blow up, they have a consolidated EBITDA of almost 47% and netted over $5.8B in profit. Those are really flippin’ good numbers. I dare say too good, and could use some more competition, not less.

        Link to their P&L below. They are publicly traded. Download the PDF and have a look.


  7. Bally’s …. 💩 show

    Ovi and fam…. Thoughts and prayers out

    Excellent start (and whole game) by Leafs👍👍

    Yes it’s BlackHawks and Leafs were expected to win…. But last weekend showed that Leafs need to be on point all hame every game…. So …. Good onya

    Also caught the Oil/Wing tilt…. That was an exciting game…. McD could have had 5 or 6 points

    Difference in this game for sure was Husso over Campbell. Oil doubled up Wings 45-23 in shots. Campbell 826 on night vs Husso (911). Campbell made a spectacular bang-bang play stop with stretched pads in the third; but other than that, let in 3 he definitely should have had (putting Oil trailing by 2 entering the 3rd) and made the first move (leaving him vulnerable) that allowed the Pius Suter deke win in the shootout.

    Ingram … 47/47 stops on thr explosive Bolts…907 on year (note: with Yotes in-front of him ).., RFA; with a Cap hit that EVERY team can fit in! Why not make the call and find out the ask for him as your back-up…. It’s only a phone call !!!

    • & The Lightning actually drafted Ingram — yet another reason for him to feel good this morning. re your suggestion: not necessarily Ingram but It’s always strange to me why NHL scouts don’t spend more time looking at ‘average’ players on bad teams trying to figure out which would be good on good teams rather than trying to fit aging rentals under the cap and taking hits in subsequent years.

      • Agree Richard

        DeSmith (Pens) was very good last game but inconstent…. Good/bad , Jeckyll/Hyde game to game

        Jarry is not yet back( has had injuries

        Ingram is RFA

        DeSmith should not (🤞) be back next year…. Buried (last year if contract) or bought out

        HexBurkie at least should make the call… never ever hurts to ask

      • Average players on bad teams are usually the bad team’s best players, so their value is inflated. Chychrun is a good example of this IMO. The odd time you can find the diamond in the rough though.

  8. Patrick Kane – Leaf HYPE

    I am hearing Patrick Kane has interest coming to Toronto .

    He has a no movement clause , no secret …,
    Toronto and New York were his only trade destination?

    1. His Hip concerns
    2. His performance to date – 6 goals
    3.’His outrageous cap

    As much as I like the guy, they would have to steal him and have Chicago partake 50% and and have another team involved for 25%
    Kypreos mimicked Chicago ‘s GM yesterday , as in folding – as per Kanes request .

    Tampa is very tough , hard to play against team , bottom 6 is nasty
    Highly skilled , better than average D and an elite goaltender

    Toronto needs a Barbarshev , Bertuzzi , Deslauriers types of forwards , Nashville has a couple as well , I am sure there are other suggestions ..

    I hear Bertuzzi has a 5 cent head , a disturbance in the dressing room , any truth to that , who knows ????
    Trading with Yzerman , he will get the upper hand , he is what he is , he’s not Rutherford and lay down and panick, make an asinine decision .

    Bostons bottom 6 is insane as well , it doesn’t get any better , if there is chance entering round 2

    • I too have questioned Bertuzzi’s brain before this year. But I have never heard any inkling that he is locker room poison. As far as his on ice brain, I am seeing an improvement this year under Lolonde….he is being more responsible with the puck, reducing turnovers, and gets back on defense more often. If he keeps that up, his real value is higher than ever.

    • Hi Ken

      Re Kane and “Toronto and New York were his only trade destination?”….

      Still chatter re Kane to Canes (is there a Poem there?) as well as Lou still being interested; Avs; Knights; and believe it or not … Wild

      If somehow Sabres meander their way to playoff WC spot…. Kane to his hometown not out of the realm of possibilities

      Unfortunately (for me as a Leafs fan)…, Toronto media has Leafs tied to almost every notable player on the trade block chart

      If Leafs got half of the players they were “linked” to; there’d be nearing 1/3rd of the team turned over; and with that…. All prospects and all ‘23 AND ‘24 picks gone

      My stance (hopes) remains at “stand pat” or “tweak” only… but I sense Dubas is itching for a big move; and fear it will be a costly (bidding war) endeavour

      Get ready for more “linked to Leafs” media posts; coming in next 2 weeks

    • People also forget fit…as in what type of a player is he, generally speaking, where does he play – position wise and what’s his play style – scorer, passer, line driver, defensive, etc. Even if you can look past the tricks needed to pull just to find a way to reduce his cap hit to fit with the Leafs, even if he was free, I still can’t see a fit for him.

  9. Re; Red Wing Dylan Larkin….

    He is haveing an other good year A 26yr old 1st Line centre who is the Captain & Leader on the Wings,

    Sounds like Steve Y is playing hard ball…❓
    offering $8.M… looking around he is more like $9.M
    player Next highest payed player on the Red Wings is Copp at $5.6M…..Steve Y has $37.M in Cap space nexy year …… I think they will end up signing him for $9.M✔️ all part of the Steve Y Slow re build Game Plan
    if your the Leafs top 4 make over $40+.M🙈

  10. @Ron Moore

    I totally agree with your above post !!!

    Hopefully no more of the Fox minding the hen house between us 2