NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2021

NHL players will participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Senators sign Drake Batherson, the Red Wings ink Filip Hronek to a new deal, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league has reached an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. NHL players will be returning to the Olympics for the first time since the Sochi Games in 2014. The league will break from Feb. 3-22 to allow for the 2022 All-Star Game in Las Vegas followed by the Olympics.

NHL players will take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics (NHL.com).

The agreement also provides the league and the NHL Players Association the option for a possible later decision to withdraw from the Beijing Games in the event COVID-19 conditions render participation to be impractical or unsafe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some hockey fans and pundits believe the NHL should boycott the Beijing Games for a variety of reasons. That decision, however, isn’t up to the league.

The players wanted Olympic participation as part of the extension to the CBA. As a result, the league had to work with the PA, IIHF and the International Olympic Committee to reach an agreement on the Beijing Games. It appears the only thing that will prevent it will be the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators winger Drake Batherson to a six-year, $29.85 million contract. The 23-year-old winger’s annual average value is $4.975 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Batherson enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2020-21 after two short seasons with the Senators, tallying 17 goals and 34 points in 56 games. The report noted that the versatile two-way forward enjoyed terrific chemistry on a line with Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris. That should continue in the coming years as the rebuilding Senators rise in the standings. Batherson’s new contract could also be a cost-effective deal if he continues to improve as management believes he will.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings signed Filip Hronek to a three-year, $13.2 million contract. That’s a $4.4 million annual average cap hit for the 23-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable new deal for Hronek, who developed into the Red Wings’ best blueliner over the past two seasons. He’ll likely be joined on their top pairing by Nick Leddy, who was acquired earlier this summer from the New York Islanders.

STLTODAY.COM: After signing an eight-year contract extension, Colton Parayko assured nervous Blues fans that he’s fully recovered from the back injury that hampered him last season. The 28-year-old defenseman missed 21 games but said he required minimal offseason treatment, relying instead on rest and building up the muscles around it.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins invited forward Brian Boyle and defenseman Matt Bartkowski to training camp on professional tryout offers. Boyle is attempting a comeback after sitting out last season while Bartkowski spent all but one game last season with the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Rocky Thompson has stepped down as an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks. Medical reasons prevent him from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, making it difficult for him to perform his duties under the league’s COVID protocols for the coming season.

USA HOCKEY: John Hynes, David Quinn, Todd Reirden and Ryan Miller will serve as assistant coaches to head coach Mike Sullivan for the 2022 USA Men’s Olympic hockey team.