NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2023

by | May 18, 2023 | News, NHL | 14 comments

The fallout from the Coyotes’ failed arena bid, Eastern Conference Finals starts Thursday, plus the latest on Lindy Ruff, Ken Holland, Mike Sullivan and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will play in Mullett Arena for 2023-24 amid uncertainty over the club’s future in Arizona after their bid to construct a new arena in Tempe was rejected in a public referendum.

Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez released a statement to season-ticket holders indicating the franchise has “started re-engaging with local officials and sites for solidify a new permanent home in Valley.”

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan examined possible “Plan B” options for the Coyotes.

Arizona Coyotes (NHL.com).

One would be partnering with the Phoenix Suns and moving back to their old arena, now called Footprint Center. However, they would be a tenant in someone else’s building leaving them with the same revenue issues that forced them to leave in 2003. He doesn’t see them building a new downtown venue and thinks it’s a stretch that Suns owner Mat Ishbia would purchase the Coyotes.

Mesa is another possibility though that would also require a public vote of approval. Reservation lands is an option but could be complicated given the state’s gaming laws plus they wouldn’t own the land. Morgan does not see the Coyotes returning to Glendale.

Morgan believes it would take a while to facilitate one of those options and time is not on the Coyotes’ side. He pointed out that the NHL Board of Governors isn’t happy with the club’s current arena arrangement and its effect on hockey-related revenue while the NHL Players Association is unhappy over the players competing and training in substandard facilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ time in Arizona appears to be running out. Unless a suitable local arena option can be found quickly they’ll have no choice but to relocate within the next couple of years.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy wonders if Salt Lake City might be a destination for the Coyotes. It’s been a minor-league hockey town for decades.

Ryan Smith, the owner of the NBA’s Salt Lake City Jazz, recently said he’d met with Bettman about the possibility of bringing an NHL franchise to his city. The Coyotes could play in Vivint Arena, home of the Jazz.

SPORTSNET: Salt Lake City topped Paul D. Grant’s list of five potential destinations for the Coyotes. Houston, Sacramento, Kansas City and Oklahoma City are also on the list. He considers Quebec City to be a pipe dream.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary included Milwaukee, Atlanta and Toronto on his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best hockey market would be Quebec City with its 18,000-seat state-of-the-art arena and a strong hockey fan base. However, it would also be the NHL’s second-smallest market and that’s not enticing to league commissioner Gary Bettman and the league’s board of governors.

The only reason the NHL returned to Winnipeg (the league’s smallest market) is that there was no local buyer to take on the financially ailing Atlanta Thrashers and no other potential owners in larger markets willing to purchase the club at the time. True North Sports & Entertainment had quietly lobbied for an NHL franchise for several years. They were in the right place at the right time.

That’s not the case now. The success of expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Seattle could draw bids from potential owners in several of the American-based cities listed above if the Coyotes have to relocate.


NHL.COM: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers starts tonight in Raleigh at 8 pm ET.

TSN: New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald confirmed Lindy Ruff will return as the club’s head coach next season. Ruff is in the final season of his current contract but he’s already in the midst of negotiating a new deal with the Devils.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland said he intends to honor the final season of his contract. “I’m enjoying the challenge, I have a year to go and I have unfinished business,” said Holland, who dismissed conjecture suggesting that he might hand over the GM reins to assistant GM Steve Staios. “I’m not sure where all the speculation comes from,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes it comes from well-connected insiders within the media. Sometimes it comes from pundits musing out loud (“I wonder if…”). And sometimes it comes from questionable sources.

NEW YORK POST: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed he’s not a candidate for the Rangers’ vacant coaching job. “I am under contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, here for the long haul,” he said in a phone interview with Mollie Walker.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Penguins, the Calgary Flames rejected their request for permission to speak to former Flames GM Brad Treliving, who stepped down from the role last month. Treliving remains under contract with the Flames until the end of June.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm said that he played with a fractured foot during the playoffs as well as the final few weeks of the regular season. It’s why he declined an invitation to join Sweden in the IIHF World Championships.

DAILY FACEOFF: Andrew Brunette, Spencer Carbery and Mike Velluci are among the candidates for the Anaheim Ducks’ coaching gig.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals are also believed interest in Carbery, an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL defenseman Ron Hainsey has been promoted to NHLPA assistant executive director. Hainsey was part of the search for the group’s appointment of Marty Walsh as their new executive director.


  1. Yet another injured Bruin playing meaningless games down the stretch. Quality player management and playoff vision right there.

    Curious as to why the Flames would deny that request…..

    • Dark G: Probably because the Flames don’t want him using his knowledge of their draft plans to perhaps thwart their efforts at the draft table.

      • Which, theoretically, he could do anyway with any other team, even if he wasn’t in their employ.

      • I think he would be breaking a non-compete contract if he did that George. I believe he is still under that contract, even though he said he isn’t coming back.

        I don’t know that he has one, but would be surprised if he didn’t. Heck I have one.

      • Ray, barring a microphone glued to his body, who’s to say there could not possibly be a casual conversation between him and some scout he knows personally with another team, wherein Treliving mentions the name of a player who probably should go higher in the draft than projected – based on information to which he had access when GM?

  2. The Yotes are done in the desert. There have been so many arena options discussed over the years that were not looking at plan B now. More like plan Z. Time to give it up.
    Milwaukee would make sense, but KC or Houston more likely. I’m wary about OKC or Salt Lake City, doubt there’s too much of a market there. Atlanta would be ridiculous. Not enough interest. Failed miserably twice already. Sacramento is too close to San Jose. Enough teams in California already. The Toronto area won’t happen either, though I’m surprised Hamilton has not been mentioned. If I had to pick the most likely destination it would be Houston.

    • Howard. Both the Flames and Thrashers where doomed by ownership failures. The Flames essentially went bankrupt and had to sell the team. The ownership group for the Thrashers and Hawks, where way more interested in the Hawks, and the Thrashers should have never been playing in downtown Atlanta. Atlanta has a massive youth hockey program, and the bulk of hockey fans in the ATL, live in the northern suburbs. The new facility is being built in one of the fastest growing counties in the US.
      You look at the financial windfall the Braves have had since moving out of Downtown, and you will see the same with a NHL Team landing in the northern suburbs.
      However to your point, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Colorado have all lost NHL Teams , all due to basically ownership issues.
      When you look at the group of potential locations for the Coyotes, is pretty clear that the NHL is going to Vet the heck out of the potential ownership groups, in each location.
      Of the five cities that are being discussed in the national media, all have pro’s and cons.
      Quebec City and Salt Lake would be 2 of the smallest metro areas by population among NHL Teams. However both have fantastic arenas ready to go.
      Houston has a massive population, and a great facility.
      Kansas City has a fantastic sports fan base, and a great facility.
      Atlanta is building a state of the art facility, and has two ownership groups who are working together to bring the NHL back to the city. Atlanta Resident Anson Carter has been walking NHL officials thru the facilities in the city and has been meeting with both the local groups for months.

      The one thing we can all agree on, is that any of the 5 locations being discussed the most will be a major improvement over the situation that has been rotten in Arizona for nearly 20 years.

      • Ya Brian, the owner matters, and not just how well financed they are.

        Neither Seattle or Vegas has an NBA team to compete against during the winter months. I wonder if that has anything to do with their success is “non traditional” hockey markets.

        I think Quebec City would make a bunch of $$ for the NHL. Heck, the Remparts average 9700 fans and have been selling out 18,000 in the playoffs.

        Problem is that they are not in the west, so somebody would need to change conferences if they came in.

  3. .
    Re;The Coyotes will play in Mullett Arena for 2023-24 amid uncertainty over the club’s future in Arizona

    This has been going on for to many year’s now….

    Gary need to move his club to Houston and be done with this AZ Mess …‼️

    Houstons Arena is ready to go for the NHL…..
    the Toyota Centre it holds 17,800 for a hockey game..
    if they had season tickets they would sell out
    10,000 to 12,000 tickets in a day or two….👍

    • Totally agree Houston is by far the best scenario being the 4th largest TV market and still in the west so no realignment wrangling…ATL would be fine up by the Braves new stadium out of the crime and traffic nightmare around the Phillips arena Downtown which was the major gate draw problem among the locals which hated the place and having went to games in that barn it was sketchy as Ive ever saw in any city.

  4. I know it doesn’t make much sense to frame it this way, but —- Atlanta gets ANOTHER chance? Like!? Come on.

  5. Some good points Ray. I also think Quebec would do just fine. How could you not want such a hockey-mad base to have a team? I realize the financial end to some degree, but there’s also the tradition of the sport to think of. Bettman must know why he’s so unpopular with the fans…

    • Ya Rock, Que City has a lower ceiling with regards to revenue long term, but also a higher floor. I have zero doubt they will be profitable.

      I also get Bettman’s long term strategy of expanding in the USA; of course he would the market is huge.

      If you need to act quick on the Yotes, in 2 years, QC makes a bunch of sense.

      But not gonna happen.