NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2023

by | Dec 7, 2023 | News, NHL | 20 comments

The resurgent Oilers win again as Connor McDavid rises in the points race, the Golden Knights regain first place in the overall standings, Patrick Kane to make his debut with the Red Wings on Thursday, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The resurgent Edmonton Oilers picked up their fifth straight win by thumping the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1. Zach Hyman tallied a hat trick while Connor McDavid and Mattias Janmark each collected three assists as the Oilers improved their record to 10-12-1. Jordan Staal scored for the 14-10-1 Hurricanes.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big reason why the Oilers have improved is McDavid is healthy and scoring again. With 32 points, he’s tied with the Florida Panthers’ Sam Reinhart for 10th in the scoring race. He’s 12 points behind Nikita Kucherov, who leads the race with 44 points. At McDavid’s current pace, the Oilers captain could overtake the Tampa Bay Lightning winger by the time the calendar flips to January.

Meanwhile, Staal and Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour weren’t pleased with their club’s effort in this contest. Brind’Amour called their performance “a bad game from start to finish”, calling out the play of his best players. Staal, meanwhile, called it “embarrassing,” saying their lack of pushback was “just all-around crap.”

Speaking of Kucherov, he extended his points streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist to lead the Lightning over the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 3-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots as the Bolts improved to 12-10-5. Jake Guentzel scored for the Penguins (11-11-3) as they’ve lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ punchless power play is a big reason behind their struggles this season. Evgeni Malkin lamented his club’s inability to cash in with the man advantage, having gone 0-33 since Nov. 11. Hard to believe with a team sporting proven scorers such as Malkin, Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and offseason acquisition Erik Karlsson, but these guys can’t buy a power-play goal right now.

A four-goal second period lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Jack Eichel, William Karlsson and Keegan Kolesar each had a goal and an assist as the Golden Knights (17-5-5) retook first place in the overall standings with 39 points. Jordan Binnington stopped 43 shots while Jordan Kyrou had a goal and an assist for the 13-11-1 Blues.

The Florida Panthers held off the Dallas Stars by a score of 5-4. Evan Rodrigues scored twice and set up two others while Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists for the 15-8-2 Panthers. Mason Marchment and Thomas Harley each had a goal and an assist for the Stars (14-7-3), who’ve dropped three of their last four games.


DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Kane will make his season debut with the Red Wings on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks at Little Caesars Arena. He’s expected to be on a line with J.T. Compher and Alex DeBrincat, his former linemate during their days with the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be Kane’s first game since May 1. He’s coming off a hip resurfacing procedure in June. It’ll be interesting to see how well he plays and how the Wings manage his playing time in this upcoming contest.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Red Wings, defenseman Jake Walman was fined $2,500.00 by the department of player safety for high-sticking Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner on Tuesday.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John Klingberg will undergo season-ending hip surgery at the end of December. The 31-year-old signed a one-year, $4.15 million contract with the Leafs during the offseason but hasn’t played since Nov. 11 and was placed on long-term injury reserve on Nov. 23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Klingberg on LTIR for the rest of the season, expect the Leafs to use the salary-cap savings to find a replacement on the blueline.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have brought back former coach Jacques Martin as a senior advisor to lend a hand to their coaching staff.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (illness), defenseman Adam Boqvist (shoulder strain) and forward Cole Sillinger (upper body) on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres added some depth to their bottom-six forwards by acquiring Eric Robinson from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a conditional 2025 seventh-round draft pick.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes analyzed NHL attendance during the first quarter of this season to see which clubs have made the biggest gains and losses year-over-year after the pandemic skewed attendance figures in three consecutive seasons.

Overall, Mendes finds the numbers paints “a fairly upbeat picture” of NHL attendance. Fifteen of the league’s 32 clubs were at 99 percent or better in the first two months of this season. Ten teams had averaged between 91 percent and 98 percent. Six others averaged between 75.6 percent and 89.5 percent. Mendes omitted the Arizona Coyotes because they play in a 4,600-seat arena, though he pointed out that they sold all 11 home games thus far.

All but six teams (Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals) saw increases in attendance. The Lightning and Bruins were at full capacity while the latter four saw their attendance drop, with the Jets and Capitals encountering the biggest declines.

The biggest risers were the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres. The Blackhawks improved thanks to the presence of highly-touted rookie Connor Bedard while last season’s performances by the other three accounted for their attendance bumps. The Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers also saw significant improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggles of the Flames and Sharks account for their attendance declines.

Mendes cites colleague Murat Ates indicating the Jets are a small-market club that doesn’t sell as many corporate season tickets and thus are affected by factors such as day-to-day economic issues for their fans, customer service and a feeling ownership got complacent when their arena was full.

The Capitals’ decline was a surprise despite their competitive team this season. Mendes noted they only had one game in which attendance dipped below 16,000.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens are receiving a backlash for charging their fans $195.00 to meet their mascot Youppi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens aren’t forcing their fans to pay to meet their mascot. They can take it or leave it. Still, when one considers the high cost of attending their games, paying to meet Youppi seems to have crossed the line with a number of their followers.


  1. If you think paying to meet Youppi is bad, numerous people are paying twice the amount for personalized videos from a recently expelled US congressman. Fools and their money are soon parted.
    At least it appears that some of the Youppi money will be going to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

  2. Oh how terrible, charging fans $195 for a Youppi package…..guaranteed visit by period and a $75 gift package delivered to home…..with all profits going to Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.

    The complaints are a joke, aside from the fact that it’s a business, they are well known for their charitable foundations that they continue to increase……for example building 20 outdoor rinks which off season are used for ball hockey etc.

    They don’t “have” to do it, some people just need to try and pull others down.

  3. Re: “Still, when one considers the high cost of attending their games, paying to meet Youppi seems to have crossed the line with a number of their followers.”

    No one put a gun to the heads of the idiots who did fork over $195.00 just to “meet” some faceless, anonymous performer in a stylized snow suit.

    And before someone says “it’s for the kids” what’s next? charging close to $200 to sit on Santa’s lap?

    • There is another perspective on this Yuppie thing, guys.

      The writer who broke the story asked, what about the kid sitting next to the one who has paid for a Yuppie visit, and asks for a picture as well? A Habs handler will pack Youppi off and the parent is left to explain the situation to their kid. How’s that for a pull down?

      And by the by, the Habs announced the proceeds were going to their charity after the story broke …

      • OMG the writer who broke the story just looked for an issue….this package includes gifts and a guaranteed “visit”.

        Nothing in the Canadiens announcement precludes Youppi regular ambling around during the game entertaining and fans taking selfies.

      • OMG – some of us have different opinions that don’t agree with yours. Stop the presses.

        Get off your sanctimonious throne.

  4. About the Caps attendance drop, don’t forget how terrible they were when the season began. If they stay competitive, those numbers will rise.

  5. I’m doing what I can, I’ve already gone to 10 Jets games this year.

    • Lucky. Watching Kyle Connor is worth the price of admission.

      • Yep, I have 2 KFC jerseys.

  6. Breaking news McDavid is still good. I did figure he would creep his way back into the race but wow he sure turned himself and the team around quickly.

    • Connor came back still hurt to early to play in the big outdoor game in Edmonton….

      You could tell he was playing at 60%…..! Now he is getting back to form…🤙🤙

    • He got healthy Swany, abdominal injury, the recent 5 day break had to help as well. He wasn’t his normal explosive self, now he is. Folks around here questioned if he should be playing through it vs LTIR and let it heal, turns out it did heal while playing.

      Not only have they been winning again, they have been dominant. We’ll see if they can keep it up for an extended period, because they still have a ways to go to get back into a playoff spot.

  7. Not sure why the Jets attendance is in the decline, they have a decent team. They are in third place in the Central.

    Winnipeg is a blue collar town, not a ton of corporate businesses.

    Winnipeg tickets are some of the more expensive in the league. The cost of everything’s has risen, a litre of gas finally dropping to $1.459

    Groceries prices have sky rocketed but wages remain stagnant. Yes minimum wage has risen, but likely though folks are not forking out hundreds of dollars to head to a hockey game.

    I also wonder when TSN1290 went off the airwave we lost that connection to everyday talk about hockey and the level of interest coincide.

    Jets ticket for Saturday against Colorado is a low $70 300 section to a high $280 – $400 100 and 200 section

    Monday against Montreal low of $94.60 to high of $343.00 to $600 and mostly this game will sell out.

    For folks who can only afford one or two games it will be for the original 6, with Montreal and Toronto leading the way.

    Probably a combination of various factors. I’m curious to what seats are empty. The upper or lower?

    • Hey Caper,
      It went off the air back in September of this year In early November a new station with Jason Gregor and some other sports meida was introduced 1440

      • Caper I travel there a lot. Did not realize 1440 was there . I always listen to fan 590 here in Toronto. Will check out 1440 I fly in again Sunday morning

      • Sorry that was for Willie I guess but TY

    • Upper seats are more so empty at the games. The thing is Canada Life Centre is much smaller than arenas like Bell Centre, so Winnipeg 300 level is like 200 level in most other buildings.

      The reason for lower attendance is lower corporate support. The % of corporate season tickets is only 15% in Winnipeg vs. 50%+ in other Canadian markets. True North has to continue to figure out how to fix that issue.

    • good comments as usual caper.

      the article cited complacency of ownership recently. Ownership spent to the cap, I’m not sure what more they could have done — ease up on ticket price increases perhaps.

      The frustration i heard was pointed more at Chevy’s style being viewed as complacency. His failure to act to clean up the dressing room in 2019 when it was apparent to everyone that something was wrong was baffling, failure to move on from Maurice until he had to quit on his own, non-action when he knew what was going on in Chicago.

      There is a feeling that even if the team was on the cusp of something great by draft, develop, loyalty and patience with players that Chevy will never make a move to put the team over the top. It seems to be enough to make the playoffs most years.