NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2023

by | Mar 23, 2023 | News, NHL | 23 comments

Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallies his 60th goal of the season, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reaches a goal-scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals, including his 60th of the season in overtime, to nip the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also tallied twice while Leon Draisaitl collected four assists for the 41-23-8 Oilers (90 points), who sit two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Clayton Keller scored twice and Nick Schmaltz had two assists for the 27-33-12 Coyotes.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid joins Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Auston Matthews as the fourth active player to reach the 60-goal plateau. He’s also the fastest player to score 60 goals in a season (72 games) since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 and is on pace to reach 68 goals, which would be the most since Lemieux netted 69 goals in ’95-’96. McDavid is one goal away from 300 career goals and on track to become the third-fastest active player to reach that mark.

Keller, meanwhile, is a big reason why the Coyotes aren’t wallowing near the very bottom of the overall standings this season. The 24-year-old is enjoying a career-best performance with 34 goals, 44 assists and 78 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reached the 30-goal plateau for the 11th time in his career in a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Jeff Carter scored two goals for the Penguins (35-26-10) as they moved one point ahead of the Florida Panthers into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 80 points. J.T. Compher had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves for the 41-23-6 Avalanche (88 points), who remain two points back of the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby becomes the 20th player in NHL history to record 11 30-goal seasons and ties Lemieux for the most in Penguins history. He’s also the first player in NHL history to have a 30-goal season at age 18 and another at 35 or older.


NHLPA.COM: The results of the NHL Players Association annual player poll were revealed on Wednesday. Among the notable results:

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid was named the most impactful forward in a must-win game. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was named the goalie the players would want on their team if they need to win one game.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche was named the best defenseman while the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby was named the most complete player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list and results by following the NHLPA link above.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks will not wear Pride jerseys for warm-ups before Sunday’s Pride Night game against the Vancouver Canucks. The decision was made out of safety concerns for the club’s Russian players due to Russia’s homophobic law banning “gay propaganda”.

The law makes it illegal for Russians to promote or “praise” LGBTQ relationships or suggest they are normal. Blackhawks roster players Nikita Zaitsev, Philipp Kurashev and Anton Khudobin are of Russian heritage or have family in Russia.

This decision was made by the Blackhawks’ front office and not the players. The club still intends to hold a variety of Pride-related events on Sunday at the United Center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could be justified in their concern that their Russian players and their families risk persecution by their government over this issue. It was two years ago that New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was the victim of an unsuccessful smear campaign for supporting Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

There’s also the possibility that another club uses this as a convenient excuse to scrape its participation in Pride Night on-ice events for reasons other than protecting their Russian players.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is expected to remain sidelined for the rest of this season due to a sprained ankle suffered on Feb. 15.

DAILY FACEOFF: Brian Boyle announced his retirement as an NHL player on Wednesday. He will be joining NHL Network as a studio analyst.

Boyle, 38, played 14 seasons as a center with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

In 871 games, Boyle scored 141 goals and 111 assists for 252 points along with 33 points in 124 playoff games. He was a two-time Stanley Cup Finalist with the Rangers (2014) and Lightning (2015) and won the Masterton Trophy in 2017-18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Boyle in his new role with NHL Network.


  1. McD McD McD…. I had a gut feeling that he was going to get his 60 last night….. so I stayed up….. until quarter after 1….. but was not disappointed…. Congrats Connor👍👍👍

    I also watched the Pens game before that. I had already concluded that there was no way they could (after their recent crash in the standings) win in Avs land…., boy was I wrong

    Pens came out strong; hard and loaded with confidence. Most Pens had great games. Credit where credit is due…. Dumo had a turnaround (hoping) game. 4th line was on fire. O’Connor had the b st game I’ve seen him play. Great goal Sid

    Speaking of Sid…. Setting an NHL first time mark that literally is impossible to match for another 11 years (only Laine [current players] ) can match it (11 years from now)…Probably will have to wait at least 18 years (Bedard)… Sid first NHLer to score at least 30 Goals at 18 AND after turning 35. Good onya Sid! 👍👍👍

    • That was rhebest game I have seen the Pens play all season, across all 200′ of the ice. Crosby, Malkin, and the Pens 4th line were most impressive.

      • Well said

        I was extremely impressed with O’Connor

        Friedman also had a very very good game as did Fedun. Carter? Is he maybe ??? turning the corner

        Poehling…. Fantastic on forecheck

        Jarry…. Timely saves

        Hope they have the same effort tonight


    • I am thinking one or two of Connor, Wheeler, and Scheifele will be moved in the off-season.
      On the positive side, Ehlers seems to still be his usual steady self, and Morrissey is looking like the d-man I thought he would be. That guy can skate!

      • Re; the Jets

        A few Thing’s in Winnipeg

        I think its 2 players that HAVE to GO….
        They also need to name a New Leader/Captain & Assistants to get this _ _ _ _ Show sorted out.

        The Jets Stop Messing Around, show the fan base your on it now. if not in 2 years you could loose some very good players as UFA. Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele, and a couple of d/men…. others say they want OUT🤔

        Blake Wheeler, Get him out of there…..
        1 yr left at $8.2M, eat half the salary and send him on his way
        Pierre-Luc Dubois,
        Send him to Qubec city tell him to wait for the Franchise to Arrive😂
        it not good on a Team when a player say’s he wants and to go to the Habs…..
        Now he is Still on the team 2 year’s latter ⁉️
        they should have moved him back then.

        Maybe is its time in Winnipeg for a New leadership at the Top… A New GM too…🤔

    • Caper, sad is the right word. Same issue the previous coach was dealing with, so not sure how Bowness turns this around with the same core.

      Here is the key part of that article IMO:

      Bowness turned the question on the reporter.

      “Who motivates you when you wake up in the morning,” he asked.

      “Myself,” the reporter responded.

      Changing the coach only worked for a couple months, then the payers went back to being who they are. Not sure which guys are the issue, but changing the coach again won’t work. Time to change the players.

      But hey, this might wake them up and get it going, who knows. I know folks in Edmonton will be rooting for them against LA on Saturday.

      Go Jets

      • I don’t know how any player would need motivation from outside of themselves when they get to play hockey for a living. A chance to play for the Stanley cup would be all the motivation any one player should need.

    • I was at the Jets game last night.
      All I’m going to say is that the entertainment value for the last 6 weeks at these games has me very concerned

  2. Poor effort by the Avalanche, they got what they deserved. Out worked by the Penguins the entire game. The more desperate team won and no guarantees for them because things are so tight? Better wake up. GO AVS!!!!

  3. I guess America is no longer a free country if Putin is dictating a sports teams policies… Gutless.

    • I think it has more to do with protecting the family of an NHL player back in Mother Russia from the warped vengeful actions of a lunatic.

      • So what will happen if Russia bars women from attending male sporting matches? These guys choose to come to North America, they need to adapt, not the other way around.

      • I’m not disagreeing with you – simply pointing out that, while they may, indeed, have no personal objections to the lifestyles of the LGQBT community, religious or otherwise, they know that their family back in Russia (who can’t all just pack up and come to North America thanks mainly to restrictive Immigration laws in both countries) will face severe repercussions if they show any support whatsoever, so they use the “religious rights” crutch – which also proved useful during two world wars for those who wanted no part of taking up arms. Oh, they were quite happy to live in relative freedom thanks to those who were serving and dying for their “right” to do so — but just don’t demand that they do their part. Weird sort of paradox that I, for one, could never understand.

      • “ These guys choose to come to North America, they need to adapt, not the other way around.”

        So in other words, put the Jersey on an adapt even if it means tossing your personal , religious or moral values in the garbage.

        Wow! That sounds more communist than a China or Russia could ever dream of!!


        What next, force a pro life player to celebrate pro choice day?

      • Strawman argument much? If they don’t want to do something, they can quit and play elsewhere. Wearing a jersey to show LGBT+ people are welcome is in no way a violation of a religion either, unless you’re talking about Taliban viewpoints. So ridiculous.

      • Really? You go ahead and list the religions that allow homosexuality with open arms.

        2000 + years of religious beliefs flushed to pacify?

        Yeah , zero!

        Get a clue!

        You literally are talking out of both sides.

        Confirm or else! Lmao.

        And again. Where do you draw the line? You use women as examples? Lmao.

        You really need to step away. You’re grossly out of your element!

        Wear the damn jersey no matter what it says or stands for? Lmao! Hilarious!

        Side note, is there ANY group out there that REALLY wants someone to support them by forcefully making them?

        I seriously doubt it!

        Hey, I’m catholic. So I want a Jewish player like Adam Fox to be FORCED to wear a crucifix to celebrate Christian holidays.


      • Brock Landers,
        If you seriously believe the excrement that you post, you have such serious mental health issues that a team of psychiatrists working together for half a century would only scratch the surface of your problems.
        Have you ever heard of freedom of speech? The First Amendment? How Putin retaliates against anyone who disagrees with him?
        Dude, I’m an American veteran and I wasn’t willing to die for Nazistic views like your’s to become the law.

      • Slow day on here so I will jump into this debate.

        I am big believer in freedom of speech and the ability of people, and businesses to do what they want as long as don’t infringe on someone else’s ability to do the same. Then, that is where the law steps in. Even the people with views I don’t like and even detest.

        In 1978 the ACLU defended the American Nazi Party and their right march in Skokie Illinois. A predominantly Jewish area. The ACLU also defended African American’s right to protest during the Civil Rights movement(s).

        One movement was noble and ethical, Civil Rights. One I detest, the Nazi’s. But they both have the right to do it.

        I was raised Catholic and studied it in school, was an alter boy, I know it well. Then I took biology and began to understand evolution, and am now an Atheist. As I simply don’t believe it is real, as there is zero evidence that there actually is a god. When there is count me in!

        But my parents and most of extended family are still practicing Catholics, and people I admire and respect. And we all donate significant amount of time to charity and worthy causes. We understand each other, it is a non issue.

        No speech should be suppressed, and we have freedom of religion, and freedom from it. Just keep it out of public policy and keep church and state separate. That used to be the “Liberal” position, and it was “Conservatives” that tried to shut it down by trying to ban metal records and such.

        Hockey teams can do what they want, players can too as long as they don’t infringe on others rights. We need to respect their decisions. Our laws in North America apply to those that are working here and they are afforded the same rights and protections that we are. That’s why folks from other countries want to be here, we should want to keep it that way.

      • The threat to Russian player’s families is real. I think we can all agree on that. Should a player choose not to parcipate, they can sit out the warm-up.
        For an organization to rescind their planned jersey night is a capitulation which seems to say hockey is for everyone… when convenient.

      • George. I’m happy to see you’ve come around on the Russian hockey player debate.

        Ray. I’ve always been dubious about yins atheists. Cause I’m from a strong catholic faith I turned away from. I turned away cause I said there is no proof. But there ain’t any proof they are wrong either. Hell. The pastafarian fella who worships the great speghetti monster might be right. So I figured it was all irrelevant.

      • Plenty of passages in the bible that are wrong chrisms and disproven. Really think the earth was created 5000 years ago? Some plucked from previous not so popular religions, like the virgin birth and such.

        You can argue that you can’t disprove almost anything. Too easy.

        I’ll go with Sasquatch. You can’t prove their ain’t one!

        I’m fine admitting I don’t know, I don’t need to know. But sure seems unlikely don’t it?

    • Welcome to the United Soviet America…

      BTW open support of Navalny, the direct political opponent to Putin is not the same as opposing a Russia policy position…..