NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2023

by | Dec 9, 2023 | News, NHL | 8 comments

Recaps of Friday’s game, the Islanders acquire Robert Bortuzzo from the Blues, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers overcame 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to tame the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Evan Bouchard scored two goals and set up another to extend his points streak to 10 games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected four assists while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who picked up their sixth straight win and improved their record to 11-12-1. Matt Boldy had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who suffered their second straight loss and slipped to 9-12-4.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild also lost Jonas Brodin as the defenseman left the game early in the third period after being crunched into the boards by Oilers winger Evander Kane.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eetu Luostarinen broke a 1-1 tie in the third period while Anton Lundell picked up two assists for the 16-8-2 Panthers. Tristan Jarry turned aside 30 shots while Reilly Smith scored for the Penguins (11-12-5), who’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins also played without winger Bryan Rust as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets upset the St. Louis Blues 5-2. Jet Greaves kicked out 41 shots for his first career NHL victory while Yegor Chinakov scored twice and collected an assist for the 9-15-3 Blue Jackets. Robert Thomas tallied both goals for the Blues as they dropped to 13-12-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets as center Boone Jenner left this game after taking a puck to the face in the second period.


NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders acquired defenseman Robert Bortuzzo from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

This trade came after the Islanders placed blueliner Ryan Pulock (leg) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 7. He’s the third Isles rearguard to be sidelined over the past two weeks, joining Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move indicates the Islanders preferred a more experienced NHL depth defenseman to help fill the void on their blueline rather than calling up someone from their AHL affiliate.

Bortuzzo is a 13-year NHL veteran who won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019. However, he was a frequent healthy scratch this season as Scott Perunovich and Tyler Tucker garnered more playing time. Bortuzzo is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Andre Burakovsky is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. It was his first game since suffering a different upper-body injury that sidelined him for six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burakovsky has been banged up a lot this year. He also suffered a season-ending groin injury in January.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Devils, defenseman Brendan Smith was fined $2,864.58 by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip against Kraken forward Devin Shore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second fine for Smith since 2022.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Austin Watson was fined $2,022.57 by the department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during his club’s loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As time expired in that game, Watson deliberately shot the puck at Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon. It’s the third time since 2017 that he’s been fined by the league.


  1. Don’t know if it is just me but it seems that players are dropping like flies this season so far. Pretty much every night another one goes down

    • Need bigger ice!

      • Agreed. The game has outgrown the playing surface.
        Same holds true for basketball but they have the three point shot to spread the floor. Not sure how that translates to hockey – don’t think it does.

    • Mrbruin4, I have been concerned about the number of injuries in the NHL for several years now, and have tried to understand the reasons why, and maybe how to change things. When watching games, I want to see everyone’s best players compete, and not so many of the reserves in action.

      Here is my thinking so far – open to others thinking and opinions.

      Players are bigger and faster than ever. It was not lost on me that Vegas as a team outweighed Florida by 12 – 15 lbs per player.

      The game is played at a very high speed, and hits/falls are more dangerous because of it.

      Dump and chase hockey also increases player risks, and extended board battles promote hits, bumps, and bruises, especially since freezing the puck has been eliminated from the game.

      I wish I had some solid suggestions to make the game safer. I do believe that neck/wrist protection must become mandatory. I also wonder if wearing longer and more protective gloves would help.

      The only other idea I keep mulling over is to somehow minimize board battles. I am not a fan of watching players in the offensive zone keeping the puck along the boards in their skates while facing them so they can’t be checked from behind. The only way to reduce this I have come up with so far is to blow the whistle if a player in the offensive zone holds the puck in his skates without trying to move it, and have a faceoff come outside the blue line.

      Like I said, I am not 100% sold on my idea, and would like to hear what anyone else has to say.

  2. Maybe a fix can be as simple as adding a 1ft in length and width to give a little more room. The euro rinks are too wide. And pretty much remove hitting because of it. So maybe something in between what is now nhl size and euro size would increase safety and not remove hitting

  3. Penguins – 14 consecutive games without scoring power play goal – now approaching the record.

  4. Brodin was Crushed into the boards on a flagrant and filthy hit from behind would be more accurate. I saw a game last week where a player (Reaves?) Love tapped a guy in a much less aggregious manner and was penalized.

  5. Oilers have won like 10 in a row and the city is in turmoil two malls locked down because of gun violence people being stabbed on a daily basis and last an all out brawl in the casino. Good thing they’re not losing they would burn the city down.