NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2023

by | Nov 24, 2023 | News, NHL | 11 comments

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin believes he and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby “saved the NHL”, the Blackhawks’ Taylor Hall is done for the season while the club is silent over Corey Perry’s absence. Details on these and other stories and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NOTE: There were no NHL games on Thursday due to the American Thanksgiving holiday. Action resumes on Friday with 15 games.

THE ATHLETIC: Reflecting on his long NHL career, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin believes he and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby saved the league as it emerged from a season-killing lockout.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images)

We saved the NHL,” said Ovechkin. He noted that today’s generation of superstars hasn’t yet overshadowed his accomplishments and those of his longtime rival Crosby.

We saved the league. Now they come in and I guess we’re old news,” said Ovechkin. “But we saved it. It’s up to those guys to come in and prove me wrong that we’re not the best.”

Crosby’s response was more understated. “Hopefully, we’re still a little bit away from being pushed out of the way,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL was in a bad place entering the 2005-06 season. Fans and pundits were disgusted by the lockout that cost an entire season. The league no longer had a national US cable TV contract with ESPN. Wayne Gretzky, hockey’s greatest star, was long retired. His rival, Mario Lemieux, lasted just 26 games into the ’05-’06 campaign before retiring for the second and final time.

Ovechkin and Crosby entered the NHL at the same time that season, sparking a rivalry as they quickly became the league’s biggest stars. They helped the NHL not only recover but thrive and grow, adding two new clubs since 2017, returning to ESPN two years ago, setting an attendance record last season (22.4 million), and tapping into other lucrative new revenue streams.

Now in the twilight of their careers, Ovechkin and Crosby aren’t playing at the dominating level of their playing prime but they’re still among the league’s best. Ovechkin’s 42 goals last season were among the league’s top 10 as he continues his chase of Gretzky’s goal record. Meanwhile, Crosby was among the top 20 in points with 93. While younger stars are now outperforming them, the duo remains the NHL’s most recognizable stars.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall will miss the remainder of this season as he undergoes surgery on his right knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall played just 10 games this season with two goals and four points. He has one season remaining on his contract and will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2025.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they’re keeping silent as to why winger Corey Perry was a healthy scratch and Wednesday and his absence from Thursday’s practice. Head coach Luke Richardson said the reason was an internal decision for now and wouldn’t answer any more questions about the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are getting scolded in some corners of social media for their lack of transparency. Here’s hoping Perry’s absence isn’t anything serious.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman John Klingberg on long-term injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. The move allows them to activate blueliner Conor Timmins off LTIR. Klingberg underwent double hip surgery in 2014 and there’s speculation he’s hindered by the same issue. It’s unclear if he’ll return to action this season.

SPECTOR’S NOT: The Leafs will have over $3.375 million in trade deadline cap space if Klingberg is indeed done for the season.

CBS SPORTS: The Tampa Bay Lightning placed goaltender Matt Tomkins on waivers as starter Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to return to action on Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPORTSNET’S Greg Balloch shared an announcement from Vaughn Custom Sports that former NHL goaltender Andy Moog has been diagnosed with cancer. Moog asked them to share the news with the hockey community.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moog played 713 regular-season games with the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens from 1980-81 to 1997-98, winning 372 games as well as three Stanley Cups with the Oilers and the Jennings Trophy with the Bruins in 1989-90. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.


  1. Chicago not being transparent? I’m shocked

    • LOL!

  2. Luke Richardson is an upstanding guy, if he’s quiet I assume there’s a good reason.

    Transparency has become a sport in and of itself, we’re fans not GMs.

  3. There were no NHL games on Thursday due to the American Thanksgiving holiday. Action resumes on Friday with 15 games.

    There is 6 NHL teams in Canada, I already celebrated Thanksgiving.

    If you don’t want to play a game in the US because your scared to go up against the NFL on US thanksgiving, then your missing an opportunity for solid ratings in a double header of Canada based teams playing.

    Ovi and Crosby definitely done a lot for the NHL, two players who you wanted to see play.

    I remember Ovi playing in Winnipeg and when Alex was on the ice the crowd would chant “Crosby better.” Ovi took it in stride and scored a few goals.

    Not if they do that in Winnipeg anymore. They came up with some good chants.

  4. Saved the NHL not sure about that definitely helped I was more of an OVI guy didn’t enjoy Sid flopping all over the place but both very talented. There’s always young and exciting hockey players coming up for the torch to be passed. Fans always complain with a stoppage but always come back.

    • “Flopping” Lol…. Jealous much?

      • Cherry even told him to stop acting like a soccer player was embarrassing I’m not saying he didn’t grow up and what the hell do I have to be jealous about lol .
        You tube Don Cherry on Sidney Crosby wining it’s a classic

  5. I can see why Ovechkins goal totals are down this year. It’s difficult to score while carrying around that ego.
    It was certainly important for the NHL that two generational talents entered the league when the game was emerging from the lockout. But the game is bigger than any player and has survived previous crises. And has come out of the Covid crisis pretty well. History has shown that fans, angry as they may be, do soon return after work stoppages. We’re all addicts, Ovechkin or no Ovechkin. They helped the league immeasurably but they certainly didn’t save it all by themselves. At least Crosby has shown his usual class.
    Speedy recovery to former Hab Andy Moog, a good guy.

    • This

    • All addicts? The nhl relies very heavy on non addict fans. Casual fans. Without them the nhl as it stands crumbles. And the league leaned heavy into ovi crosby. Save the nhl? Bit heavy. But prevented the nhl from reentering another financial crisis? One that coulda resulted in the league looking very different than it does now? Absolutely these two were a huge part of it. As well as things like the shootout 4 on 4 3 on 3 ot.

  6. Well, one thing they didn’t save it from was ever-bloating contracts that exceed the annual increase’s ability to maintain pace an so ice balanced rosters – so far in most cases … with 4 or 5 that have been fortunate in that regard in recent seasons but who are about to discover that dilemma for themselves.