NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2023
Jonathan Toews to take some time away from hockey, updates on Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, and long-time Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret passes away. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Toews issued a statement yesterday regarding his plans for the future. The former Blackhawks captain indicated that he is not fully retiring but is taking some time away from the game of hockey.
Toews cited the health issues he suffered through long-COVID and chronic immune response syndrome that sidelined him in 2020-21 and hampered his performance over the past two seasons.
The 35-year-old center became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, bringing to an end his 15 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Toews’ statement, he intends to spend the coming season “to fully heal and enjoy life to the fullest once again”. However, he also seems to be leaving the door open to a possible NHL comeback.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito provided an update on Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour. Both defensemen are recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Zito said both players are healing and on schedule with their respective recoveries. “It’ll be a month or two. Is it four (months)? Probably not Is it one (month)? Probably not. That’s as well as I could get, but every time I check in, I’m told (they’re) on schedule.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month or two would put both players within range of returning during training camp or the start of the regular season.
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Long-time Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret passed on Thursday at age 81 from multi-organ failures. The iconic voice of the Sabres began broadcasting their games in 1971 until his retirement at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Jeanneret received the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Award in 2012 for broadcasting. He was also a member of the Sabres Hall of Fame.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tributes to Jeanneret are widespread on traditional and social media. He was one of hockey’s greatest broadcasters. His call of Brad May’s series-winning overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the 1993 playoffs (“May Day!”) ranks among the best in sports history. It still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it.
DAILY FACEOFF: Mathieu Schneider and the NHL Players Association are parting ways after 12 years. He began working with the PA after his playing career ended, going on to become second-in-command to former executive director Donald Fehr. The move comes several months after Marty Walsh took over from Fehr.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks top prospect Connor Bedard isn’t the only member of his family to skate for the club. His great-great uncle, James Bedard, played 22 games as a defenseman for the Hawks from 1949 to 1951.