NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

Recaps of Friday’s games, the Flames sign MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year contract extension, the Blackhawks and Canucks make a trade and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators kicked off their regular season by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at the NHL Global Series in Prague, Czechia. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the win while Eeli Tolvanen scored what proved to be the game-winner early in the second period. Prague native Tomas Hertl tallied for the Sharks. The two clubs face each other again today.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

In preseason action, the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Buffalo Sabres 7-1. Sidney Crosby scored twice and added an assist, Evgeni Malkin had three assists, Jake Guentzel a goal and two assists and Bryan Rust tallied twice for the Penguins.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist.

The Winnipeg Jets got a three-point performance from Kyle Connor and two goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 35 shots.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice as his club doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko faced just seven shots to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not a typo. The Coyotes only mustered seven shots on Demko.

HEADLINES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension yesterday. Weegar, 28, is in the final season of a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar was acquired by the Flames from the Florida Panthers in the trade that also sent Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary in July. The $6.25 million AAV on his new contract is a significant raise for the late-blooming defenseman, who tallied a career-high 44 points last season. The deal also comes with full no-trade protection for the first four seasons.

Weegar’s contract leaves the Flames with $80.3 million invested in 18 players for 2023-24. There’s no question they’re in “go-for-it” mode for the foreseeable future. Time will tell if they get good value for their expensive investments in Weegar, Huberdeau and free-agent addition Nazem Kadri.

THE PROVINCE/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Vancouver Canucks trade forward Jason Dickerson and a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Riley Stillman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks needed to add a defenseman as well as free up salary-cap space. Swapping Dickinson and his $2.65 million cap hit through 2023-24 for Stillman and his $1.35 AAV through ’23-’24 addressed both needs. The rebuilding Blackhawks, meanwhile, were able to add a second-round pick to give them six selections in the first three rounds of the 2024 draft.

TSN: Speaking of the Canucks, blueliner Tyler Myers is out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are also missing rearguard Travis Dermott, who is recuperating from a concussion.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Some good news for the Flyers as winger Joel Farabee has been cleared for contact and could play in the club’s season-opener. He underwent disk replacement surgery in June.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings defenseman Robert Hagg has been cleared to return to play. He’s been sidelined by a concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook, Edmonton Oilers center Mattias Janmark and Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin are among the players to hit the waiver wire on Friday. Teams have until noon ET today to claim them.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues released Tyler Pitlick from his professional tryout offer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey New Brunswick joins three other regional hockey organizations in withholding a portion of their player registration fees from Hockey Canada. Meanwhile, Nike joined a growing list of sponsors withholding support over a lack of confidence in the national governing body’s leadership stemming from its mishandling of sexual assault allegations levied against players from the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

NHL.COM: Former goaltender Dave Dryden passed away on Tuesday at age 81. The older brother of Hall-of-Fame netminder Ken Dryden, Dave played in 203 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, as well as 242 games in the WHA from 1961-62 to 1979-80.

Dryden left his mark on the game by pioneering the first cage combination goalie mask. He continued working on improving and refining equipment following his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Dryden’s family, friends and former teammates. Today’s goaltenders owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts to improve their equipment.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2022

Catching up on the latest regarding Jonathan Drouin, Joel Farabee, Marian Hossa and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jonathan Drouin hopes to be healthy and productive in his upcoming contract year. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s been sidelined by wrist injuries and a mental health break over the past three seasons.

Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin (NHL Images).

Drouin has embraced playing in Montreal and would like to stay beyond this season. However, he also knows that his status as a pending UFA next summer could lead to him changing teams by the trade deadline if the rebuilding Canadiens are out of playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin’s put up good numbers when healthy, including two 53-point performances earlier in his NHL career. A strong, injury-free performance should bolster his stock if the Canadiens peddle him at the trade deadline. It would also improve his value in next summer’s free-agent market.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee continues to make strides in his recovery from neck surgery in June. Teammate Scott Laughton said the 22-year-old looked good in a recent informal intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday.

Farabee is expected to miss the start of the Flyers season. General manager Chuck Fletcher said it’s too early to tell if his recent progression means he’ll be in the lineup for their season-opening on Oct. 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers won’t rush Farabee into the lineup. Still, his recent progress bodes well for a return to action sooner than expected.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Former Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa is releasing his memoir “Marian Hossa: My Journey from Trencin to the Hall of Fame” on Nov. 8. The book was co-written with The Athletic’s Scott Powers.

Hossa will look back on his early years in Slovakia, his journey into hockey and his rise to NHL stardom. He played 19 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings before winning three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.

SPORTSNET: Forward Evgeny Svechnikov has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks, according to his agent.

Svechnikov, 25, will earn $750K at the NHL level. He had 19 points in 79 games last season with the Winnipeg Jets. He is the older brother of Carolina Hurricanes star Andrei Svechnikov.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will compete with athletes from Vanderbilt University in a charity home-run derby and friendly softball game on Sept. 19 at Hawkins Field. The proceeds will benefit the Vandy United Fund, the Predators Foundation and several other local charities.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

The Lightning stay alive with a Game 5 win in the Stanley Cup Final, Barry Trotz is in no hurry to return to coaching, the Blackhawks will name Luke Richardson as their new coach, Chris Kreider and Joel Farabee undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat’s third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win with a 35-save performance, Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored while Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev each collected two assists for the Lightning.

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar replied for the Avalanche, whose lead in the series has been cut to three games to two. Nichushkin tied a franchise record with his fourth goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

The series returns to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third time in this postseason, the Lightning battled back with a hard-fought victory when facing elimination. Once again, Vasilevskiy was stellar in a must-win game. And once again, it was Palat with a clutch goal, giving him a team-leading three game-winners in this postseason and 12 playoff winners for his career, ranking third in that category among active players.

The breaks went the Lightning’s way in this contest. After the Avalanche got lucky in Game 5 with a missed too-many-men call during Nazem Kadri’s game-winner in overtime, they were tagged this time with 2:43 remaining in regulation, all but snuffing out an opportunity to pull their goalie and push for the equalizing goal. The Bolts also benefited when a tripping call on Makar led to Kucherov’s 4-on-3 power-play goal in the second period.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz turned down the opportunity to coach the Jets, basing his decision on spending more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicated Trotz was impressed by the Jets’ approach in both their patience as he considered their offer and willingness to accommodate his needs if he accepted the job.

Sources told the Sun that Trotz was reluctant to face the grind of another NHL season after 23 straight years of coaching. The Islanders also owe him another season of salary ($4 million), allowing him time to step back, spend more time with his family and ponder his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson as their new head coach next week. Richardson has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His expected timeline of recovery is two-to-four weeks.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee could miss the start of the 2022-23 season after undergoing disc-replacement surgery in his cervical area on Friday. He’s expected to make a full recovery in three-to-four months.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks have hired former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as a senior advisor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon’s NHL career has now come full circle. He began his playing career with the Canucks in 1970-71.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Tom Kostopoulos as director of player development. He replaces Scott Young, who was named the Canucks director of player personnel on Friday.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cody Glass to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $874K at the NHL level.

TSN: Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Novak is taking time away from hockey to deal with an oncological disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Novak in his treatments. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

The Maple Leafs and Rangers clinch playoff berths, Auston Matthews, Chris Kreider and Alex Ovechkin each approach significant scoring milestones, the Avalanche tie a franchise record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth by holding off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matthews reached 58 goals on the season, becoming the ninth player in league history to score 50 goals in a 50-game period. The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry returned to action after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. However, Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is two goals away from becoming the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer since the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos reached that mark in 2011-12. Meanwhile, Allen’s injury is not expected to hasten the timeline for Carey Price’s return to the Canadiens’ net. Earlier in the day, the club announced winger Jonathan Drouin underwent season-ending wrist surgery on Friday.

The New York Rangers also clinched a postseason berth with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Chris Kreider tallied two goals to reach 49 on the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists. With 100 points, the Rangers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider sits third in the goal-scoring race and is poised to become the third player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season. He’s also five away from tying Jaromir Jagr for the single-season franchise record of 54 goals.

Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Washington Capitals over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Alex Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season while Tom Wilson and John Carlson each collected two points for the Capitals, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 88 points. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, sits just four points ahead of the Capitals for third place in the Metro Division. Penguins winger Jason Zucker returned to the lineup after missing three games with a core-muscle injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is tied with Gordie Howe for the second-most goals scored in a season by a player 36-or-old. He’s four behind record-holder Teemu Selanne. The Capitals captain also needs six more goals to tie Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons (nine) in a career.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored the tying goal and the only goal in the shootout in a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Darcy Kuemper turned in a 49-save performance as Colorado tied a franchise single-season record with 52 wins. The Avalanche sits two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for first in the overall standings with 110 points. With 90 points, the Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Panthers, they picked up their seventh straight victory by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored to extend his points streak to 11 games while Spencer Knight got the win by stopping 24 shots. The Predators hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 86 points.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin collected assists on each of his club’s goals on route to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. With 97 points, the Flames are seven points up on the Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

The St. Louis Blues took over sole possession of second place in the Central Division with 94 points as they thumped the New York Islanders 6-1. Justin Faulk scored two goals and collected an assist as his club extended its points streak to eight games. Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas each had a goal and an assist. The Islanders were playing without Casey Cizikas, who served a one-game suspension for boarding Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brendan Smith on Friday.

New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars. The loss leaves the Stars two points behind the Predators and clinging to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 84 points.

Max Pacioretty scored in his return to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup as they crushed the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Pacioretty had missed 12 games with an undisclosed ailment. Brayden McNabb had a goal and two assists while Robin Lehner turned aside 29 shots. The Golden Knights are tied with the Stars but the latter has two games in hand.

The Vancouver Canucks remain alive in the chase for the final Western wild-card berth by doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Thatcher Demko stopped 35 shots while Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who are four points behind the Stars and Golden Knights.

A hat trick by Jack Roslovic, including the winner in overtime, powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their eighth defeat in their last nine contests. Jakub Vrana tallied twice for the Wings.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored two goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee missed this game as he’s suffering from the flu.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2022

Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo gets three points against his former club, Sidney Crosby enjoys a four-point performance and Hall-of-Famer Clark Gillies has passed away. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo scored and set up two others in a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. It was DeAngelo’s first game against his former club. Sebastian Aho also had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes (56), who move ahead of the Rangers into first place in the Metropolitan Division with four games in hand. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick and picked up an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Brian Dumoulin scored and picked up two assists for the Penguins, who’ve won four straight and 15 of their last 17 games. With 55 points, they’re one back of the Hurricanes and Rangers in the Metropolitan.

Shootout goals by Anton Lundell and Aleksander Barkov carried the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Spencer Knight made 27 saves for the Panthers in regulation and overtime while Spencer Martin kicked out 33 shots for the Canucks in his first NHL game since Feb. 1, 2017. With the win, the Panthers (61 points) opened a two-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks, who snapped a four-game losing skid. John Gibson turned aside 32 shots for the win while teammate Derek Grant tallied two goals. The Ducks (47 points) moved two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso stopped 27 shots to shut out the Seattle Kraken 5-0. Brandon Saad collected two assists for the Blues as they moved into second place in the Central Division with 53 points. Colton Parayko became the first defenseman in Blues history to score on a penalty shot.

The Minnesota Wild got two goals from Ryan Hartman in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Kaapo Kahkonen picked up the win with 35 saves while Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up four goals on 13 shots. With 49 points, the Wild hold a five-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

An overtime goal by Roope Hintz lifted the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Hintz, Jason Robertson and Esa Lindell each had a goal and an assist as the Stars (42 points) moved within two points of the Sharks for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Brock Nelson scored twice and Ilya Sorokin had a 17-save shutout as the New York Islanders blanked the Arizona Coyotes 4-0.

ISLANDERS GREAT CLARK GILLIES HAS PASSED AWAY

Former New York Islanders forward Clark Gillies (NHL.com).

The Islanders last night announced Hall-of-Famer Clark Gillies had passed away at age 67. No cause of death was revealed. One of the great power forwards in NHL history, Gillies spent 12 of his 14 seasons with the Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He also spent three seasons as Isles captain from 1976-77 to 1978-79 and played his final two NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres before retiring in 1988.

A six-time 30-plus goal scorer, Gillies finished with 319 goals and 697 points in 958 regular-season games and 47 goals and 94 points in 164 playoff games. The Islanders retired Gillies’ No. 9 in 1996 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gillies was a core part of the Islanders dynasty who led by example and was beloved by teammates and fans. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, he was one of the largest players of his era. Affectionately nicknamed “Jethro” after the Beverly Hillbillies character, Gilles was also one of the toughest players of his era though he never had more than 100 penalty minutes in a season. My condolences to Gillies’ family, friends, former teammates and the Islanders organization.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE PHILADEPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers forward Joel Farabee (upper body) was placed on injured reserve yesterday. He’s expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

TSN: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader signed a professional tryout contract with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He spent last season playing for EV Zug in Switzerland.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2021

Marc-Andre Fleury reaches 500 career wins, Australian hockey pioneer Nathan Walker reaches a milestone, the sale of the Penguins is approved, the Canucks name Jim Rutherford as team president, the latest on the Coyotes’ arena saga & much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury became the third goaltender in NHL history to reach the 500-win plateau as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Fleury made 30 saves for the shutout to join Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy in the 500-win club and sits 51 wins behind Roy for second place on the list. Jonathan Toews and Henrik Borgstrom scored for the Blackhawks. Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch for the Hawks.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Nathan Walker tallied his first career NHL hat trick as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The first Australian player to reach the NHL, Walker was playing his first game of this season after being recalled by the Blues on Wednesday. Blues fourth-string goalie Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves for the win. Robby Fabbri scored both goals for the Wings.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ondrej Palat also scored twice for the Bolts who won their fifth straight game. Tampa Bay forward Anthony Cirelli missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Lightning coach Jon Cooper became the fastest bench boss to reach 400 career NHL wins, doing so in his 659th game. Ondrej Kase scored two goals for the Leafs.

The Minnesota Wild extended their win streak to eight games by dropping the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Jordan Greenway scored twice, Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot kicked out 33 shots for the Wild, who sit atop the overall standings with 39 points. Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon returned to action after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.

Sebastian Aho scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes picked up a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Noah Hanifin scored for the Flames, who’ve lost three straight. The Hurricanes are on a three-game win streak.

The Boston Bruins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on a late third-period goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Linus Ullmark picked up the win with a 41-save effort. Leon Draisaitl potted both goals for the Oilers with Connor McDavid getting assists on both goals. Edmonton defenseman Cody Ceci returned to the lineup after being in isolation for the past nine days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Seattle Kraken. Kyle Connor scored twice for the Jets, who’ve won three of their last four contests.

Jonathan Quick made 27 stops for his 56th career shutout as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Dallas Stars 4-0. Kings forward Adrian Kempe netted his 11th goal of the season while Andreas Athanasiou scored in his first game after being in COVID protocol for the past six games.

A late goal by Eeli Tolvanen lifted the Nashville Predators over the New York Islanders 4-3. Predators forwards Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist. The Isles have lost 12 of their last 13 and still seek their first win in UBS Arena.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Josh Gibson made 33 saves to backstop his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Rickard Rakell tallied the winning goal in a shootout. The Ducks extended their points streak to six games.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM: The NHL board of governors yesterday voted to approve the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group. The deal is said to be in the range of $900 million.

THE ATHLETIC: The board of governors also approved the Respect Hockey program introduced by league executive Kim Davis to ensure its commitment to inclusion, diversity, safety and respect for its players and employees. Sheldon Kennedy and his Respect Hockey group will also be part of the initiative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the result of the Chicago Blackhawks sex scandal in which two players alleged they were sexually abused by a former video coach in 2010. One of them, Kyle Beach, came forward with his story following an independent investigation that reveals efforts by senior Blackhawks officials to cover up the allegations.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also present the board of governors with a presentation on the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the league. Daly didn’t rule out the possibility of enhanced protocols beyond what the league is doing now.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday announced they have paid off their outstanding tax debt of $1.4 million to the Arizona Department of Revenue. This came after the City of Glendale threatened to lock the team out of Gila River Arena if the debt wasn’t paid by Dec. 20.

SPORTSNET: Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports reports the Coyotes still owe the arena operator over $2.7 million in unpaid rent and other expenses. The team will receive a timetable for future payments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This saga just keeps rolling on, raising concerns about the Coyotes ownership’s ability to meet its financial obligations. The club’s situation will reportedly be discussed during Day 2 of the NHL board of governors meeting on Friday.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday announced Jim Rutherford has been hired as their new president of hockey operations. He will also serve as interim general manager while a full-time replacement is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, guiding both clubs to Stanley Cup championships. He also developed a reputation as a wheeler-dealer, though those moves sometimes came at the expense of each club’s prospect depth. It’ll be interesting to see how well he works with whoever becomes the next general manager of the Canucks.

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens could have a new general manager in place by early January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The front-runners are believed to be Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere. Darche is director of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning while Briere runs the day-to-day operations of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.

THE PHILADEPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers placed forward Joel Farabee (shoulder) on injured reserve.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (upper-body) has been placed on injured reserve as he sees a specialist regarding treatment for his injury.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Kurtis Gabriel to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Chad Krys. Both are currently playing in the AHL.

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame formally welcomed its 2020 and 2021 inductees yesterday. Former NHL player Tony Granato was part of the class of 2020. Former NHL player and former Philadelphia Flyers executive Paul Holmgren, former NHL player and current broadcaster Peter McNab and long-time hockey writer Stan Fischler were members of the class of 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to everyone on their inductions.