NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2023

by | Feb 4, 2023 | News, NHL | 11 comments

Results and highlights from the All-Star skills competition, the Capitals re-sign Dylan Strome, details behind the Senators’ farm-team coaching change and the despair of Canucks fans in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Here are the winners of the seven events staged on Friday’s All-Star skills competition at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

Discover NHL Tendy Tandem

Connor Hellebuyck, WPG/Juuse Saros, NSH (Central Division) – 13 points

Upper Deck NHL Fastest Skater

Andrei Svechnikov, CAR – 13.699 seconds

Chipotle NHL Pitch ‘n Puck

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (left), Ovechkin’s son Sergei, and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the 2023 NHL All-Stars skills competition (NHL.com).

 Nick Suzuki, MTL – 3

  Enterprise NHL Discover Splash Shot

Cale Makar/Mikko Rantanen, COL – 18.7 seconds

 GEICO NHL Hardest Shot

Elias Pettersson, VAN – 103.2 mph

 Great Clips NHL Breakaway Challenge

Sidney Crosby, PIT/Alex Ovechkin, WSH – 40

Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting

Brock Nelson, NYI – 12.419 seconds

Among the highlights:






WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals signed Dylan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. The 25-year-old center is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After spending 3 1/2 seasons trying to prove his worth with the Chicago Blackhawks, Strome signed a one-year deal with Washington last summer. He turned out to be a solid addition, especially as injuries piled up for the Capitals during the first half of this season. Strome is seeing top-six minutes playing at center. With 36 points in 52 games, he’s third among Capitals scorers.

TSN: Claire Hanna reports sources said trust issues were behind the Ottawa Senators’ decision to fire Troy Mann, the now-former head coach of their AHL affiliate in Belleville. “I’m told the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Mann gave some of the Ottawa Senators’ pre-scouting material to another NHL team.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that was unexpected. It’ll be interesting to see if there are further details about this story in the coming days.

THE PROVINCE: Some Vancouver Canucks fans are growing frustrated with the club’s ongoing on-ice struggles and the lack of answers from the front office. “We’re stuck in a state of perpetual mediocrity and it’s extremely frustrating because hope is disappearing,” said fan Andrew Melo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melo probably isn’t the only Canucks fan sharing that feeling right now. In the 12 years since the franchise came within a game of winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, they’ve reached the playoff just four times and are poised to miss this year’s postseason.

The Canucks have had difficult periods before, from their first eight seasons where they made the playoffs twice, their mid-80s struggles, and the late-90s that saw the departures of franchise stars Pavel Bure and Trevor Linden.

Melo isn’t wrong when he describes the Canucks’ current woes as those of perpetual mediocrity. Former general manager Jim Benning deserves his fair share of the blame. The current management of hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin has done little thus far to improve things.

The main reason, however, seems to be owner Francesco Aquilini’s stubborn resistance to a proper roster rebuild. That’s resulted in a scattershot approach toward “retooling” that threatens to waste the best years of young Canucks stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.


  1. Does Vancouver deserve a good team! ? A city that had a full blown riot that tore up their own city when they lost the last Cup final they had! Have they grown up since then? Actually I hope so, but IDK.

    • Pretty sure Montreal had a riot one year too…

  2. My old timer team-mates in BC would rag on me about the Leafs – “Let me know when they win their next Cup.”
    I’d always reply, “Let me know when the Canucks win their first.”
    We had so much in common but brutal owners topped the list.
    I’ll see your Ballard and raise you an Aquilini.

  3. Really? Handing over internal pre-scouting information to a rival? IF – and I stress nothing has been proven or even confirmed yet – that turns out to be true, the next question is “WHY?” For monetary return? As a “favour?” For “future considerations?”

    There had to be a reason to do it – and I doubt Ottawa management would just up and fire their AHL development coach over “team performance” when you consider that, just about every top prospect they drafted in recent years is now in Ottawa, leaving the cupboard essentially bare of Grade A prospects.

    In their latest assessment of each team’s prospect pool on January 23, the Hockey Writers had dropped Ottawa from # 14 to # 22, saying this:

    “Top Five Prospects: Ridly Greig, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Zack Ostapchuk, Tyler Boucher, Roby Jarventie

    Ottawa is the biggest faller since the last edition of this article, but that’s actually a good thing. The reason they’ve fallen is that Jake Sanderson and Shane Pinto have earned full-time spots on their NHL roster, improving the NHL squad while decreasing the overall talent of the prospect group. The Senators hold the eighth-worst points percentage in the league at the time of writing giving them a great shot at a top-10 pick in the loaded 2023 Draft, and they also hold seven picks in the first two rounds of the next three drafts so their prospect pool is set to level back up again in the near future.

    Even after watching Sanderson and Pinto graduate to the NHL, there are still quite a few prospects to be excited about here. Ridly Greig is every head coach’s dream as a two-way center with a limitless motor and a physical play style. As a 20-year-old rookie in the AHL this year Greig has managed to score at just under a point-per-game pace. Greig isn’t long for the AHL and the Sens’ prospect pool will likely take another hit soon when he cracks the NHL roster. Zach Ostapchuk is also trending in the right direction, taking a massive step forward in his production in the WHL this year. ”

    Since that article, Greig was elevated to Ottawa (he’s back in Belleville now but that’s only to keep him playing during the All-Star break – a number of teams have done that with their younger prospects.

    In that regard there has never been any criticism of Troy Mann’s capabilities – so, this looks like a classic case of “where there’s smoke there’s fire” when it comes to Claire Hanna’s article.

    • Good points George! And when you trade DeBrincat, the Sens could have 3 more picks in the top 2 rounds! 😁👍

      • Hi Johnny,
        I dont know if they Trade the the Cat he is still very young at 25yrs old last december..?
        and can play both Wings LW&RW…🤔

        if they can sign him to a Low $8.M contract for 8 years that would be Great he would be right in with the other Great Young Core players like

        Brady Tkachuk $8.2M
        Tim Stützle $8.35M
        Joshua Norris $7.9M
        Drake Batherson $5.M
        Thomas Chabot’s salary $8.M
        Zub $ 4.6M

        and then you still have a great under 22 club…
        Jacob Bernard-Docker

        down in minors…..the 20 & under club to name a few….
        Tyler Boucher
        Zack Ostapchuk
        Roby Järventie

        for goaltender they have young 22 yr old Mads Søgaard, who looks like he needs 1 or 1.5 more years in the minors to develop…

        The Sens Dont need to trade for picks now..⁉️
        its players, 26, 27, 28 29 years old to balance
        the team out,
        Sen’s 2 main Big Priority’s going forward Are…..

        #1 A Starting goaltender ✅
        UFA, My Choices are these 2 are UFA Trisan Jarry, $$6-$7.M signing for x7 years
        A Trade for Demko✅
        3-4 peice deal Big cost; A 1.st, and 3rd, and Shane pinto or a Jacob Bernard-Docker and maybe a salary dump Nikita Zaitsev $4.5M❓

        #2 A 2nd pairing RD….
        maybe at July 1st when UFA opens up they get one there a steading Defencive one like
        NYI big Scott Mayfield RD
        Big Carson Soucy LD-RD
        to play with young Sanderson on RD in the 2nd paring….❓🤔

        ❓Trade Nikita Zaitsev and a 2nd or 3rd pick to one of the teams under the cap like AZ and save $4.5M next year use the extra cash to get the goaltender…..
        This would give them $22.5 M next year in Cap space✅

        other deadline Trades, that sen’s can move are UFA
        Derick Brassard, C&LW, 6/7th pick
        Travis Hamonic RD, 3rd pick
        Cam Talbot, a 4/5th pick
        Tyler Motte, pick
        Austin Watson pick


    • As an aside, when that Hockey Writers assessment was written they may have sat in the 8th pick spot – but today, they sit in the 11th spot – 2 pts back of Florida and 4 pts back of NYI with 2 games in hand on each.

  4. Hanna is fairly new on the scene as far as I know. I just hope she’s not being used by Dorian as a conduit to embellish issues.
    I just smell a rat here. Seems very odd that you would throw away your reputation like this.

    • Isotopes, as I indicate above, the firing of Mann cannot realistically be associated to “team performance” when you consider that there’s very little left in Belleville in terms of Grade A prospects – or, for that matter, top-of-the-line career AHL players (which some teams actively seek out every year to remain high in AHL standings as a matter of team approach).

      There had to be another fundamental reason despite Bowness’ carefully-phrased “team performance” crapola, and I’m sure Hanna is savvy enough not to fall into any sort of convoluted “trap.”

      We’ll hear more about this in the coming days and if, what Hanna writes, turns out to be true, I think Troy Mann can kiss any future NHL connection goodbye. One thing the Ottawa organization has is a Grade A Scouting Department and putting the results of their efforts into the hands of a rival organization is, in a word, despicable.

  5. I didn’t watch any of the skills stuff but if McDavid goes 4 for for in under 10 seconds how does Brock Nelson wins the Accuracy Shooting segment in 12.419 seconds?

    • 3 rounds Gored1970.
      Knockout format.
      Kadri knocked out McDavid in RD 2, lost to Nelson in final.