NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2022

The Blues defeat the Wild in the 2022 Winter Classic, Canucks trainer finds Kraken fan who saved him from cancer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A four-point performance by Jordan Kyrou (two goals, two assists) powered the St. Louis Blues to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild in the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Target Field. Kyrou set a record for the most points in an outdoor game. At minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit, it was the coldest outdoor game in league history. With the win, the Blues (43 points) moved into first place in the Central Division.

St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues put the game away with five goals in the second period. Nearly 40,000 fans braved the extreme cold to watch the game.

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4. Brady Skjei and Steven Lorentz each scored two goals for the Hurricanes. Frederik Andersen replaced Antti Raanta in the Carolina crease after the latter gave up three goals on nine shots. Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins allowed four goals on 15 shots after Daniil Tarasov left the game with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell made 23 saves to shut out the Ottawa Senators 6-0. William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev each scored twice while T.J. Brodie had a goal and two assists. The game was played in front of just 1,000 fans at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena due to the Ontario government’s limits on attendance at indoor events amid the current wave of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Los Angeles Kings ended the Philadelphia Flyers’ seven-game points streak with a 6-3 victory. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice and set up two others while linemates Trevor Moore also had a four-point performance and Phillip Danault collected three points.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 30 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken to win his seventh straight game. The Canucks remain unbeaten in regulation (8-0-1) in their last nine games.

The Boston Bruins overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 with Charlie Coyle’s overtime goal completing their comeback. It was the Bruins’ first game in 15 days due to COVID-related postponements.

An overtime goal by Noah Dobson lifted the New York Islanders over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Leon Draisaitl tallied his league-leading 25th goal for the struggling Oilers, who’ve won just twice (2-6-2) in their last 10 games. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed this game as they’re listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers still hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 38 points. However, the Kings (37 points), Colorado Avalanche (36), San Jose Sharks and the surging Canucks (35 points) are right behind them. They’re in danger of tumbling further down the standings if they don’t soon reverse their skid.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 37 saves, Mattias Ekholm collected three assists and Tanner Jeannot tallied twice in a 6-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jeannot’s 10 goals on the season tie him for the rookie goal-scoring lead with Detroit’s Lucas Raymond. It was the Blackhawks first game in 14 days

Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists and Sam Bennett scored twice to lead the Florida Panthers over the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. The depleted Canadiens dressed just 16 skaters for this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens reportedly opted to press on with this game despite having 16 players in COVID protocol. They now have a 10-day break as four of their upcoming home games were postponed. The club has also paused all team activities through Thursday as a preventative measure. That also extends to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian Hamilton has a sharp-eyed Seattle Kraken fan to thank for spotting what was a cancerous growth on his neck as she sat behind the Canucks bench during a game in October. She informed Hamilton with a note on her phone that she held up to the glass between periods.

Hamilton subsequently had the malignant melanoma removed. He and the Canucks recently put out a call on Twitter to find the fan, who turned out to be an aspiring medical school student named Nadia Popovici.

Hamilton got to meet and thank Popovici before yesterday’s game between the Canucks and Kraken at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena. During the game, the two clubs announced a joint $10,000.00 fund to go toward Popovici’s medical training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s great to start the New Year off with a positive story like this. Best wishes to Hamilton and to Popovici in her studies.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

Alex Ovechkin becomes the all-time power-play goal leader, the Blues and Wild prepare to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic, plus the latest COVID updates and more in the first NHL morning coffee headlines of the New Year.


NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin became the NHL’s all-time power-play goal leader as his Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. The Capitals captain tallied his 275 career power-play goal to pass Dave Andreychuk in what also proved to be the game-winner. Ovechkin added an empty netter to seal the win for the Capitals (47 points), who moved into first place in the overall standings.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 754 career goals, Ovechkin is now just 12 behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal list.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Hughes finished with three points for the second straight game. Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto each tallied twice for the Oilers (37 points), who moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Mika Zibanejad’s shootout goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Former Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow scored twice against his former club. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their 10th win in their last 12 games by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. The Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 44 points and three ahead of the Ducks in the Pacific Division. Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves in a losing cause.


NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild are preparing to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field commencing at 7 pm ET today. It’s the first Winter Classic to be staged in Minnesota and could be the coldest outdoor game in league history as temperatures could reach between minus-3 and minus-9 Fahrenheit. The Blues and Wild enter this game jockeying for first place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could prove to be a more competitive game compared to some of the previous Winter Classics. The extreme cold, however, will affect the players’ performance and test the hardiness of the anticipated 40,000 fans in attendance.

COVID-19, meanwhile, continues to affect the regular-season schedule as the league postponed nine more games yesterday, bringing the total of deferred games to 90. Eight of those games were postponed due to current attendance restrictions in some Canadian cities.

SPORTSNET: NHL senior vice president Colin Campbell said the league will try to preserve as many full-capacity home games for Canadian teams as possible. All seven Canadian teams currently have reduced capacity due to recent provincial restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of the COVID Omicron variant.

A number of Canadian home games have been postponed. The league hopes to reschedule those contests as restrictions are eased or lifted over time.

Alberta and British Columbia joined Ontario in reducing its isolation requirements from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators will get players who test positive back sooner than the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, whose home provinces of Manitoba and Quebec still have mandatory 10-day self-isolation periods.

United States-based teams are also now under the five-day rule after the US Centers for Disease Control reduced their isolation requirements earlier in the week.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter, New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff and St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn were among the latest to enter COVID protocol.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (lower-body injury) is questionable for today’s game against the Florida Panthers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has been sidelined with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian missed yesterday’s game against the Rangers with a lower-body injury.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau’s wife Christina said the second of the couple’s four sons was nearly kidnapped during a family trip earlier this week. An unnamed couple attempted to coax 11-year-old Brody into coming with them after he returned to the hotel pool to collect the sunglasses he’d left behind. A good samaritan family intervened and alerted hotel security.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thank goodness for the other family stepping in when they did. Christina also said she saw the woman who attempted to lure away Brody and informed him the police had been called, hotel security was watching her and she had to leave. The report didn’t indicate if that woman and her partner were detained.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

The Lightning thump the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, expansion and NHL draft TV info announced, information on special events for 2021-22 revealed, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts broke the game open in the third period as Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up Steven Stamkos for the fifth goal. Brayden Point had three assists on the night.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

It was a rough game for Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. He skated away with a bloodied head after tangling with Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

Canadiens winger Joel Armia took a private jet from Montreal to Tampa Bay to rejoin his teammates after emerging from COVID protocol on Monday. He had been held out of the lineup after entering the protocol on Sunday. His spot in the lineup for Game 1 was taken by Jake Evans, playing his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in Game 1 of the Habs second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominating performance by Tampa Bay from start to finish. Despite the score being 2-1 after two periods, there was a sense that it was a matter of time before they blew the game open.

The Canadiens seemed tentative through much of this contest as they struggled to adjust to the Lightning’s game plan. This series will be over quickly if the Habs fail to find a solution.

Poor puck management proved costly for the Canadiens. The Lightning’s first three goals came from offensive-zone turnovers. Lightning coach Jon Cooper also used his home-ice advantage of having the last line change to good effect in keeping the Point line away from the Canadiens shutdown line.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended the performance of the league’s officiating during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “It seems every season, it’s a playoff ritual for me to address some aspect of the officiating,” said Bettman. “Let’s be clear. Our officials are not only the best hockey officials in the world, they’re the best officials in any sport.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an annual playoff ritual because there’s an obvious difference over how games are called during the regular season and how they’re called in the playoffs. The commissioner, however, seems unconcerned that this is a growing issue for fans and pundits.

ESPN2, NHL Network and Sportsnet will broadcast the NHL expansion draft on Wednesday, July 21 at 8 pm ET. The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will be televised on ESPN 2, Sportsnet and SN NOW on Friday, July 23 at 8 pm ET.

The Vegas Golden Knights will host the 2022 NHL All-Star Game with the date to be determined. The 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. The 2022 Stadium Series game will be held Feb. 26 , 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville between the Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. The league also plans to stage a Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic game in March 2022.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2022 NHL Draft.

THE SCORE: The NHL’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remains “a work in progress,” according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. He suggested the continued uncertainty over COVID-19 and the games being held halfway around the world doesn’t make it necessarily an ideal Games to elect to go to. NHL participation remains contingent on negotiations with the International Olympic Committee as per the CBA extension agreement with the NHLPA.

YARDBARKER: The NHL confirmed the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division as part of its realignment with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The decision to move the Coyotes was made by the league board of governors in December 2018.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins star David Pastrnak and his family are mourning the heartbreaking death of their infant son on June 23. He was five days old.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Pastrnak and his family on their loss. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have hired the law firm Jenner & Block to lead an “independent review” of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich and the Blackhawks’ internal handling of those allegations.

SPORTSNET: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league only recently learned of the allegations, adding it will await the results of the independent investigation before deciding how to proceed.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara was honored at a ceremony celebrating his home country of Slovakia’s 28th anniversary “for extraordinary merits in the field of sports and for extraordinary dissemination of the good name of the Slovak Republic abroad.”

NEW YORK POST: ESPN has hired Chris Chelios to join fellow Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier as part of the network’s top hockey studio team.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken announced the Charlotte Checkers will be their AHL affiliate starting in 2021-22.

TSN: The Hockey Hall of Fame announced it is moving forward with its induction ceremony for 2020-2021 on Nov. 15.