NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2023

by | Sep 15, 2023 | News, NHL | 24 comments

The league and the NHLPA will discuss the Mike Babcock photo investigation, the Bruins will name a captain before the season begins, plus the latest on Jake DeBrusk, Pavel Francouz and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL and NHL Players Association will discuss the next steps in an investigation regarding Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock requesting his players share personal photos from their cell phones.

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

The discussion will be taking place as part of a previously scheduled meeting between the two sides.

The league and the PA were initially satisfied with the explanations of Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner and star winger Johnny Gaudreau regarding Babcock’s request. However, it subsequently came to light that several younger Jackets players were uncomfortable with what took place.

On Thursday, PA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey traveled to Columbus to meet with Blue Jackets players. Sources said the meeting was “intense.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock defended his actions in a statement earlier this week by claiming he merely wanted to get to know his players better, saying that he also shared his family photos with them. Jenner and Gaudreau said they had no problem with doing so. Nevertheless, it’s understandable why some players might consider it an invasion of privacy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed that his club will name a new captain before the start of the upcoming season. Former captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement in July, sparking speculation over how the Bruins will choose his potential replacement and which players might be tapped to fill that role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s remarks dispel recent speculation suggesting the Bruins could have a “captain by committee” consisting of four alternate captains with each taking a turn as captain for a month.

BOSTON HERALD: Speaking of the Bruins, Jake DeBrusk said he’s focusing on the coming season rather than on negotiations for the contract extension. The 26-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

When it comes to contract talks, it’s one of those things where you need two sides to tango and whenever that happens, it’s happens,” said DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the Bruins haven’t opened contract extension discussions yet with the DeBrusk camp. They could prefer conducting those talks over the course of the season. DeBrusk signed his current contract in March 2022 following the 2021-22 trade deadline.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz is unlikely to be ready for the start of training camp or the upcoming season. Francouz, 33, is still recovering from offseason adductor surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli reported the Avalanche are examining the trade market for a potential replacement. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have brought in winger Josh Bailey to training camp on a professional tryout offer (PTO).

DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Zach Aston-Reese signed a PTO with the Carolina Hurricanes.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues signed winger Nick Ritchie to a PTO contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers invited Nick’s brother Brett to a PTO.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Jon Elkin as their new director of goaltending. He’s the former head of goaltending development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers will induct Mark Recchi into their Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony on Jan. 27 against the Boston Bruins. Recchi played for both clubs during his 22-year NHL career.


  1. I’m on the fence with this Babcock issue, as I don’t know the entire story. I personally think it’s a decent way to get to know your players on a personal level, as stated by both Gaudreau and Jenner. That said, if Babs made it mandatory, I could see it ruffling some feathers.

  2. Some points on the points:

    Mathew Tkachuk will feel that injury the rest of his life. I have torn cartelage in my sternum. When it flares up it feels like I’m having a heart attack. I can’t think he cracked it without some cartelage tearing. I feel for the guy.

    Francouz and an abductor eh? Dominik Hasek would like a word. Another potential career ender.

    Josh Bailey is a nice guy who’s legs no longer move him fast enough. Nice gesture to offer him a PTO. Would be nice if Brassard would just announce his retirement if he hasn’t already done so. The Sens have WAY too many 4th liners. Pinto needs signing and it would be nice if Hockey Canada could poop or get off the pot with their investigation. If it comes to light the new Hockey Canada president Katy Henderson has had this in her back pocket all summer and is simply waiting for the start of the season for “maximum effect”…..bad bad idea which will backfire spectacularly.

    McAvoy seems like the obvious choice for B’s captain.

    Mike Babcock just can’t help himself can he?

    Old school hockey and coaching is just….old. He’s well past his prime. While I’d welcome an occasional Don Cherry cameo on Hockey Night in Canada I have no interest in watching Babs run any hockey team in the NHL.

    • Been away for a while, and just heard about this Babcock thing.
      Both the articles I have read, plus Lyle’s comments above, refer to him asking/requesting the players share their photos, and he shared his. If he demanded they do it, different thing, but that is not what is being reported at this time.

      If you don’t want to, don’t. If you only want to share some and not others, do that.

      Seems a bit odd, I have never done that, but doesn’t seem like a big deal? Out of touch with todays younger players seems likely, but I guess that means I am too, because this seems like much ado about nothing. I would have shared family, fishing or vacation photos and not thought twice about it.

      Seems like some pretty sensitive fellas IMO, chill.

      • Put yourself in those players shoes. Or even consider your own situation. Your boss calls you into his office with no warning. Then says, hey show me your photos on your phone. Good intentions or no, as an employee you don’t really have a choice, do you?

      • Ray, or anyone else, let’s say you were a player that Babs came up to you – and it would be all of a sudden, like no warning, and he asked you if you had a minute to chat which of course you say you do.

        He starts of asking how you are, family, etc like the players mentioned… asked if he can see photos to which you say sure let me find some and begins to looks over your shoulder as you look for pics to show him.

        To me, if that’s the case, it’s a bit intimidating simply because friends send pics that see out of context, I can be mistaken for a certain type and that’s not fair. Violating privacy can let to this exact thing. Poor and inaccurate assumptions to base a false assessment of what you think you’re seeing.

      • I did put myself in their shoes Randino and imagined a new boss asking me the same thing. It’s exactly what I did.

        Where did it say there was no warning? I’m guessing these are scheduled player/coach meetings, but whatever, not the issue.

        I would be surprised if this was in anyway confrontational or demanding, as is noted, he shared his family pictures.

        What this sounds like is a new coach/ boss, trying to get to know his new players/employees on a more personal level.
        Kind of what normal people do when they want to get to know people. What I do is ask people about themselves, as generally, people like to talk about themselves and their families. What most people don’t do is show an interest in other folks lives. I can’t understand why that is a bad thing.

        I don’t know why we assume to know other peoples motivations these days, or assume the worst.

        That is the most obvious answer to what’s going on here, a guy trying to get to know someone on a personal level. It’s what normal people used to do, and if you’re not allowed to do that anymore? I think it says more about the players who are “offended” than it does about Babcock.

        Hey kids, look up from your phones there is a real world going on around you, with real people in it. If you try talking to them, you might actually develop real relationships.

        Seriously WTF? Maybe I’m just getting old.

      • Ron Moore,

        “inaccurate assumptions to base a false assessment of what you think you’re seeing.” is a pretty good example of what’s happening to Babcock.

        Both Jenner and Gaudreau have given explanations and deny Bissonette’s allegation.

      • Let me apologize for that. I missed out on saying in my post even if there was no warning like if he walked up to me while I was looking at my phone as in example, if I or anyone else would find that a violation or not.

        I think things need to happen organically and shouldn’t be forced, the interaction not to view pictures. Like if Babs shows a pic of his son who is holding a big dog to a player and the player says oh that’s the color of my dog and shows him a pic. There’s also the awkwardness of being the boss.

        I don’t have any other reason to think he was brought in to manage these guys and believes in order to get the most out of them and really buy into his system and philosophy and produce a close team, he needs to know as much and in short order.

        And in my failed attempt to show my only objection would be him looking over my shoulder which I can’t see him doing that.

  3. I bet McAvoy will get the C since he he’ll be around longer than Marchand

    • Mike P, Bergeron was only captain for three seasons.

      I believe it’s either Marchand or McAvoy all other need not apply.

  4. What Babcock is failing to understand is that he can’t be above suspicion, he has to be above the appearance of suspicion. And he’s failing at that.

    • Paul that’s well said.

      The sharing of pictures happens all the time; however, you should not feel pressured to do so.

      Some what to share everything where others want to keep things private.

      If anything we will likely see a new policy from the league.

    • I do not disagree with you for the most part. The NHL and the NHLPA should be able to nail this down. Biz and his 2 buddies are not enough to dictate anything. None of them could play worth a damn and they really aren’t much to listen to either.

    • I’m not sure anyone can coach or get to know his. Players if he is looking over his shoulder every time he says or does something. Sounds like he is guilty until proven innocent.

    • Fred and Iago,
      Were we talking about anyone else (except Quenneville), I would agree with you. But so many players have complained about Babcock, especially Chelios and his recalling how Babcock bullied Franzen (I think) into a nervous breakdown, and we can reasonably deduce was fired by Toronto for bullying players. I’m not saying that what Babcock did with Jackets players is right or wrong, a good idea or a bad one. What I’m saying that, because of Babcock’s history and image, he can’t so much as do something that could be perceived by a large percentage of hockey fans as wrong or a bad idea. If he ever wants to continue coaching in the NHL or AHL, he must be perceived as being as pure as the driven snow during his time in Columbus.

  5. Coach Babcock seems a little creepy to me. What sucks is if you are a young player and choose not to show him your phone my take is that he would probably hold it against you. Whatever happened to privacy. I think he’s just an insecure person who needs to make sure everyone loves him or something. I don’t think he’s changed at all. This is just the start.

  6. Anyone still think Biz made this up?

    • Made it up.
      Embellished a tad to make it sound like it sounds (which players are telling us it’s not)
      Yes. The clicks yo. The attention. And, it’s only Columbus, if he doesn’t get another player from the Jackets talking to him all year what does he care?

      Poor Biz used to be entertaining being himself. Now he’s forcing himself to be entertaining. It’s had the opposite effect. He’s like the Bobcat Goldthwait of sports reporting.

    • If he embellished, then Walsh and Hainsey wouldn’t have flown to Columbus for face-to-face meetings with Jackets players.

      • You sure about that, Paul? Your comments sound like, “Here’s the answer. What was the question? ” to me.

      • BC,
        I’m a firm believer in “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. It has been reported in, at least, three websites/blogs that several of the younger players stated that Babcock’s “request” (if it was a request) made them uncomfortable. Add in Babcock’s history of questionable and definite despicable behavior since his first coaching job, Walsh and Hainsey had to respond. If they hadn’t investigated, too many players and fans would have made too much ruckus if they hadn’t.

      • Here is Jenner’s comment on it:

        Jenner echoed his coach’s feelings, claiming the pictures helped the two get off on the right foot ahead of the new season.

        “While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff,” Jenner said. “He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family.

        “I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”

        Here is Gaudreau’s:

        Star Blue Jackets forward Johnny Gaudreau backed Babcock and Jenner publicly, saying the allegations were “shocking” to him and that his interactions with his new coach have only been positive.

        “Personally, I had a great meeting with him,” Gaudreau told ESPN’s Kristen Shilton on Tuesday. “We got to share things together, pictures of our family. I was a little upset to see the way it was handled and how it came out … but nothing you can do about it. We got off to a great start, had a great meeting with him and looking forward to working together.”

        Sounds like some of the young guys didn’t like it. If these meetings were approached the same as the 2 guys above, I don’t see an issue.

        If Babcock demanded to see them or something out of line, then that’s different.

        We don’t know what happened, yet, but judging from the 2 guys who spoke to the press, I know where I would put my money on.

        We will see.

  7. I know Dubas like his guys but was goaltending a strong point during Dubas’ tenure in Toronto?

    How is this good for the Pens?

    Pengy, keep it short.

  8. I guess, if the Blue Jackets get off to a slow start, it will be the family photo scandal that’s the cause. Maybe Biz could step in and save the situation since he has all the answers.
    NHL games can’t come soon enough.