NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2023

by | Sep 13, 2023 | News, NHL | 34 comments

The Blue Jackets refute a privacy violation accusation against coach Mike Babcock, Carey Price admits his playing career is likely over, the Blues’ Torey Krug will miss the start of training camp, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Columbus Blue Jackets released statements from head coach Mike Babcock and team captain Boone Jenner refuting allegations that he invaded his players’ privacy.

Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast host Paul Bissonnette said he got a text from an unnamed player claiming Babcock called Jenner into his office asking to see his phone in order to view the photos on it to determine the type of person he was.

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock (NHL Images).

After looking into the allegation yesterday, the Blue Jackets released statements from Babcock and Jenner with their versions of what happened, stating Bissonnette’s depiction wasn’t delivered in the proper context.

Babcock said that he asked players and staff to share family photos off their phones as a way of getting to know them better. He called Bissonnette’s depiction of events “a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive.”

Jenner, meanwhile, said he was “happy to share” some of his photos of his family, pointing out Babcock had done the same with him. “I thought it was a great first meeting and a good way for us to start a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”

Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau fully supported Babcock and Jenner. He said the coach also asked him to share some of his family photos. “It was his way of kinda getting to know me, and I got to know him,” said Gaudreau, adding he had no problem with it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock was hired as the Blue Jackets coach earlier this summer. He is under a harsher spotlight following allegations in 2019 that he bullied players during his coaching tenures with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bissonnette is standing by his comments claiming “tons of players” have confirmed the accusation. However, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league doesn’t consider this to be an issue. He also said the NHLPA has followed up, claiming Bissonnette’s depiction of the events wasn’t consistent with what the players reported to the PA.

Babcock and Jenner also spoke to the media yesterday after their statements were released. They insisted what happened was taken out of context and blown out of proportion.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price admitted that his knee injury has likely ended his playing career. He missed all of 2022-23 and is expected to be sidelined again this season.

Price, 36, said his knee feels good on a day-to-day basis and he can do things that are strenuous for a short period of time. However, he cannot handle the brunt of a full season of goaltending as he still gets tremendous swelling in his knee as a result. Price indicated that it was swollen for two weeks following his participation in a charity softball event this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price still has three seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He will be placed on long-term injury reserve this season once he completes his training camp medical next week.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug will miss the start of training camp after injuring his right foot during off-season training. He’ll be reevaluated on Oct. 1.

Krug, 32, has been hampered by injuries in recent years. He missed 19 games last season and 18 contests in 2021-22.

NHL.COM: Seth Jones said he’d be honored if he were to be named the next captain of the Chicago Blackhawks. “I’ve always wanted to be a captain,” said Jones, adding he’d learned from some great leaders such as Shea Weber, Nick Foligno and Jonathan Toews over this career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have yet to name a replacement for Toews, who captained the club from 2008 to April of last season. Jones could be the front-runner for the role.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets named center Adam Lowry as their new team captain. Lowry, 30, takes over from Blake Wheeler, who was bought out of the remaining year of his contract in June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness cited Lowry’s work ethic, competitiveness and ability to communicate with his teammates as reason why he was tapped as the new captain. The Athletic’s Murat Ates cited Lowry as “a level-headed, inclusive, passionate, honest and consistently hard-working player.”

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed free-agent winger Tomas Tatar to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors linked Tatar to the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. Instead, he lands with one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

The 32-year-old winger has a reputation as a solid regular-season performer who struggles in the postseason. Perhaps he’ll have better luck in the playoffs with the Avalanche.

CALGARY SUN: Mikael Backlund hasn’t closed the door on signing a contract extension with the Flames. The 34-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Backlund is taking a wait-and-see approach to this season to determine if the Flames are ready to become a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backlund could be shopped by the March 8 trade deadline if the Flames are out of playoff contention by then.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed winger Maxime Comtois to a professional tryout offer (PTO).

TSN: Speaking of the Golden Knights, Nick Holden is joining their front office after announcing his retirement yesterday. The 36-year-old defenseman played 654 career regular-season games over 12 seasons (2010-11 to 2022-23) with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, the Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators, finishing with 178 career points.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Adam Erne to a PTO contract.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken prospect Shane Wright will be granted an exemption from the OHL allowing him to play for the club’s AHL affiliate if he fails to make the Kraken roster this season. In other words, he won’t have to return to his junior club because he missed the age eligibility cutoff by just five days.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins announced their “Historic 100” list of the 100 most legendary players in franchise history ahead of its “All-Centennial” all-star roster reveal on Oct. 12. Among the notables are Bobby Orr, Raymond Bourque, Phil Esposito, Eddie Shore, Brad Park, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Gerry Cheevers, Tim Thomas, Brad Marchand, Jean Ratelle, Rick Middleton and Joe Thornton.

ESPN.COM: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly believes a third attempt at operating an NHL franchise in Atlanta could be more successful than the previous two attempts. He indicated the market demographics have significantly improved in that area but noted that the rink location would be important.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated that league commissioner Gary Bettman has said that expansion isn’t a priority for the NHL right now.

Nevertheless, there’s been speculation among some pundits that another franchise in Atlanta could become a possibility down the road. In addition to the construction of an arena in a suitable location, it will also require a deep-pocketed ownership group willing to pay over $1 billion in expansion fees.

TSN: The NHL and NHLPA are planning on staging a scaled-down version of the World Cup of Hockey in February 2025 given the timeframe and uncertainty over the participation of Russian players. It will not be a “typical tournament” of eight national teams playing over 16 days.


  1. I guess Quebec City’s best chance of getting another NHL team would be if the Atlanta franchise moves there after failing again in Atlanta.

    • So very true Howard

      Zero chance for Quebec while Bettman is still commish

      Once he retires (I keep hoping for 24 Govs to over-ride the 8 and fire him… but that seems very far fetched)…. THEN Quebec has a shot at a Franchise

      Gary will go down in flames vis a vis his brutal mistake in Arz…. He’ll never do the right thing; move the franchise; admit his mistake

      If he can’t do that…. No chance for Quebec

      Arena is built, and BTW … very nice inside

      No excuses

  2. Of course, publicly, the Jackets are backing Babcock with how much they’re paying him. But this was the first “WTF was Jarmo thinking” event.

    • Sounded like a nice gesture to me. And the player involved supported it. I kinda wish I could have names and faces of my employees children. Would help me keep track to I could better get to know them. As it is it’s hard to keep ‘em all straight.

      • It was more than one player. And Boone is a “don’t rock the boat” guy who would be the one wanting to give Babcock a chance. There’s also the possibility that Babcock asked Boone and a couple of the top players to share innocent pictures while intimidating younger and “lower level” players into showing less innocent pictures.
        Let’s face it. Babcock is a controversial choice as head coach. Maybe half of Jackets fans like him while the other half want him gone.

      • He could be a d bag. He coulda learned. Extrapolating this to fit a preconceived narrative isn’t fair.

  3. No doubt – Babcock is an odd “duck”
    He should maybe try and fly under the radar and be more subtle
    Creates exciting news though , never a “dull” moment with him in the spotlight

  4. Welcome to 2023 where any accusation from unnamed sources is treated as the truth.
    Bissonnette needs to keep his relevant.

    • Yep. Simple answer seems to be, if there’s no news just create some. Enough will believe it to make it topical.

      • Exactly my thinking too.

    • How do you know Bissonnette is wrong?

  5. I guess Tatar changing to an agent that represented numerous islanders players was just coincidence. Go figure. Coincidences are a thing

    • …so is not signing with the Islanders….

  6. Good signing by Avalanche….Tatar is a team player, well liked in the locker room and a pretty consistent player.

    Would have liked him in Montreal as a mentor to Slafkovský.

  7. Paul Bissonnette I’m not a fan. Kadri has also said that Babcock did it in Toronto and said he didn’t take issue with it or see anything wrong with it.

    I don’t believe any malice or anything is meant by Babcock actions; however, I do think there are better ways to get to know your players. As some may not be willing to share and keep it private.

    It could feel pressure to do so.

    Carey Price isn’t officially retired, but as a Boston Bruin fan I have a ton of respect for Price. He has always kept things classy and played in one of the most pressure filled city to play in. Price had a great career and may go down as one of the best to never win a Stanley Cup.

    Reading comments on line from Winnipeg fans, some are not happy to have a third line guy a the captain of the team who high season goal total is 15 back in 16-17 season. Stating how is he going to call anyone out for not producing?

    Lowry always give a 100% and does turn away from the physical play or back down.

    With that said I thought Josh Morrissey would’ve been named captain. Morrissey 16g 76pts in 78gp is Winnipeg #1 dman and always was marched out to speak with the media.

    This is Bowness team now and sorry to say I have little faith in his abilities. Best suited for an assistant coach. Hopefully this year he can be more concern about how to coach then throwing his players under the bus to the media. Maybe take some of the responsibility himself; considering it’s his job to coach.

    • Sounded like a nice gesture to me as well, and more importantly players who are speaking on record – ie we know who they are – are saying the same thing.

      Unless some of the “tons of players” make public controversy, this needs to be filed under Marginal Ex Hockey Player Seeks Attention Irrespective of Damage To Others.

      • Sorry, that should have read “make public comments”, and it should have been posted as a reply to Chrisms.

      • Right on the money LJ. Bissonnette, like a few others, seem to make up news when there is none. I enjoy Lyle’s articles, one reason being that he avoids doing this. Keep up the good work Mr. Richardson.

  8. Some thoughts on good column Lyle:

    Happy Tatar chose Avalanche. We need him and maybe he will produce here in playoffs. I am not that worried about his past playoff history…..

    Any list of 100 “historic Bruins” list better include Wayne Cashman & Don Marcotte. Honorable mentions for Bobby Schmautz or Peter McNab….

    I don’t get insistence to have Atlanta in the league again? Give
    one back to Quebec…..

    Bowness is a good hockey man and coach in my book

    Looking forward to hockey getting started. GO AVS!!!!!

    • Schmidt, Dumart and Bauer have to be on it too, along with Leo Boivin and Fern Flaman

      • Is that the “kraut line” as it was called back then George O? I am familiar with the names Milt Schmidt and Woody Dumart

      • That was, indeed, the Kraut line, tommy boy. Good goalies back then, too – Sugar Jim Henry and Frank Brimseck come to mind.

    • P.S. Bissonette is a fool and shouldn’t even be on broadcast but because he’s tied to Tocchet and Gretzky, there you go! He’s terrible and when he and Liam start up, I turn the station until the next period starts. They need to replace those guy’s

  9. The Edmonton Oilers need a big physical forward like Adam Erne….. A Good to a PTO signing 👍

  10. Orr should be all alone…l then the “next” 100 best

    I have been a Leaf fan for more than 5 1/2 decades…. Same with all of my friends….. but our street hockey games were filled with Orr idols….. we ALL thought we were Orr if we deked two or three others then made a sick dipsy doodle around the goalie for the score

    #4 in your programs
    #1 in our hearts

    • No, I don’t check every link!! Lyle said ” notables”. Relax, no big deal is it? I was just commenting that any list should include the guys I mentioned. I’m glad it does. Just guys who I saw play when I lived back in NY and Massachusetts when I became a big hockey fan . Sorry your so sensitive habsfan30. Maybe your still reeling from a Stan Jonathan fight against the le Habitants or a Don Marcotte check on Jacque Lemaire, LOL!!!!

      • By the way habsfan30, I respect your comments on here and always respected the great Montreal teams. I grew up watching those great teams in 70’s

      • tommy boy,

        I noticed the notables didn’t include “the chief” so I naturally checked the link and of course he’s on it.

        Jonathan had a role and played it well, Marcotte was a heck of a player and those Bruin teams were great despite living in the Habs shadow.

    • I go back a bit further than that, pre Orr. In Detroit, we were all Gordy Howe, but some idolized Hull, or Mahovlich. Many of the players lived in the same blue collar neighborhoods that I grew up in. Norm Ullman lived in ours, and was the local hero. Orr played for the hated Bruins, so no one idolized him when he started. Great player, but no hero in Detroit.

      • Iago, remember the green ice at the Olympia? Alex Delvechio was always one of my favourites to watch back then.

  11. Do you guys bother to check out the links before commenting?

    Cashman, Marcotte, Schmautz, McNab, Schmidt, Dumart, Bauer, Boivin, and Flaman are on the list.

    • There’s your answer, HF30. Some great players played for the Bruins. A couple just retired…. thank goodness.

    • So?

      • Hypothetically speaking, George, but would you be interested in being my guide for sporting events of years past? Meaning specifically in the event that I can figure out this blasted hypothetical machine we may or may not have found.
        I think we’d have a blast.