NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2023

by | Aug 11, 2023 | News, NHL | 12 comments

The Flames’ Oliver Kylington opens up about his mental health struggles, Sam Montembeault receives reassurance from Canadiens management, the Hurricanes sign Caleb Jones, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington explained to a Swedish news outlet about why he missed the 2022-23 season, saying he had to prioritize his mental health.

Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (NHL Images).

Kylington, 26, said he went through “a challenging year”, dealing with escalating family issues that took a toll mentally and psychologically. “I needed to face these problems we had as a family and today I am incredibly grateful for this journey I started and then had to finish,” he said.

A skilled mobile defenseman, Kylington is training for the coming 2023-24 season. He said that he’s now feeling “absolutely fantastic” and is looking forward to rejoining the Flames. General manager Craig Conroy said that his return would be “a very big thing for us.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mental well-being is every bit as important as one’s physical health. It sounds like Kylington had plenty of support which will continue as he resumes his NHL career.

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens’ acquisition of Casey DeSmith on Sunday raised questions about Sam Montembeault’s role with the club. However, the 26-year-old goaltender said he received assurances through his agent from GM Kent Hughes not to worry. Montembeault was pleased that Hughes took the time to do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes has yet to meet with the media regarding his role in the Erik Karlsson three-team trade. The acquisition of DeSmith in that deal sparked speculation that the Canadiens could shop Montembeault or Jake Allen or flip him to another team before training camp opens in September.

TSN: The Carolina Hurricanes signed defenseman Caleb Jones to a one-year, $775K contract. Jones, 26, played 73 games last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: IndyCar driver Zach Claman DeMelo took to social media accusing Red Wings forward Daniel Sprong of assaulting him in a nightclub during the week of the Detroit Grand Prix.

DeMelo has not indicated if he’ll file criminal charges. Sprong, 26, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Red Wings after scoring a career-high 21 goals last season with the Seattle Kraken.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres hired former NHL defenseman Zach Redmond as a development coach. He played 133 games over six seasons (2012-13 to 2017-18) with the Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and the Sabres and spent the past three seasons in Germany with Munich EHC.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) formally announced they will ban fighting from their games starting this season. Players who engaged in a fight will be immediately ejected from the game. An instigator will receive an automatic one-game suspension while an aggressor will automatically receive a two-game suspension. An automatic game suspension is imposed with a player’s second fight of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers believe this will be another step in the path to eradicating fights from the game of hockey. Critics think this will lead to a rise in dirty play like spearing, slashing, slew-footing, blindside hits and butt-ending.


  1. It’ll only lead to a rise in dirty play if refs and coaches don’t do their jobs. Refs… call the penalties. Coach’s… sit the players that are putting you shorthanded.

    • it’s never going to work at the NHL level until the players says that’s it, no more fighting. They’ll have to do it because the league never will.

    • 100%. It’s on the refs and commissioner (through fines and suspensions) to control this now.
      I hate this story that hockey needs fighting to police it’s own. It’s a lame, outdated position. Why doesn’t the NFL need fighting? Because the refs control the games and everyone in the league understands the suspension possibilities.

      • The NFL players understand that a football helmet is way harder to fight against.

  2. There’s already a fair amount of dirty play. Let’s be honest, players outnumber officials. Players will always try to get away with anything they can, which is why enforcers have always been a part of the game. While I understand why there’s a push to eliminate fighting, I’m not sure it’s a good thing. I can see eliminating staged fights, maybe eliminating all fighting is a mistake. We’ll see.

  3. every big league sport has fighting, even if it is not allowed. a whole bunch of testosterone, alpha personalities, and money involved means they will fight and you can’t get rid of it.

    • No other sport has fighting that just gets you a brief 5 minute time out and then you return to the game. Sure there is fighting in other sports, but you get ejected immediately and usually fined/suspended for future games as well. That is totally different than hockey.

      • By reading the comments, you can tell we define fighting differently. The one thing that is clearer and we seem to agree is that staged fighting or fighting roles are needless.

        I’ve seen fights break out in every sport so it does happen and it doesn’t matter much once it was over. My line with fighting is being a player in the league getting paid to take and give punches to the face. That’s when the game looks it worse and gots to go for me.

      • foleyd7, I have family in the game and I don’t like the enforcer role, nor do I like the current convention that a big hit, clean or not, needs to be responded to with a fight. That’s just stupid.

        Each sport has its features. But not other sport that has fighting gets you a 5 minute penalty is both accurate and misleading. You seem to have omitted boxing and MMA, where even the best get punched multiple times in the head every context.

        You note that football has no fighting but likely way more issues of CTE trauma. I don’t want to be flippant over player health, but players keep choosing to play football with those risks understood.

        So do hockey players. Note that the players themselves have not called for a ban on fighting. Players can and do decline to fight.

        And while HF30 is optimistic that the Quebec league will be the thin edge of the wedge in changing the OHL and the WHL, I doubt it.

  4. There’s no fighting in International hockey and its growing by leaps and bounds just look at the percentage of Europeans in the NHL compared to 20/30 years ago.

    Sport is evolving to cut down on head injuries and each step is met with calls of how it won’t/can’t work yet it does.

    Bench clearing brawls, line fights, head shots, boarding were considered normal as old time hockey, not anymore.

    By cutting it out in Junior it will roll into the NHL smoothly.

    • From an outside view it’s quite fun to read your comments on fighting and enforcers. Myself I’m a NHL fan and a big Rugby Union fan. RUF is a brutal sport were there is very little fighting after the whistle and such. All players have a really big respekt for the ref’s and their opponents. When someone is called for a bad tackle, they will take it wirhout protest or arguing.
      And yes there’s no “enforcers” in RUF rugby. No need, you play the game within the law. Thats painfull enough.

    • As an aside, the “30” in my screen name is for Chris Nilan, an enforcer who pushed himself to become a solid player, checking line 20 goal scorer.

      Times have changed and while I appreciated the role of a sheriff, tougher regulations will allow for real intimidation, highly skilled players that put the puck in the net.