NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2021

Tuukka Rask on when he expects to return to action, former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton talks about his firing, the Flyers sign Derick Brassard, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask said his recovery from offseason hip surgery is going well and he’s hoping to return to action around Christmastime or January.

Tuukka Rask could return to the Boston Bruins by midseason (NHL Images).

Rask also stated he’s only interested in playing for the Bruins. While not engaged in ongoing contract talks with general manager Don Sweeney, the unrestricted free agent goaltender said the two had good discussions and he believes they’re on the same page. He also said money won’t be an issue, saying he’ll be a cheap goaltender for them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are expected to start the season with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman as their goaltending tandem. If Rask returns by midseason, Swayman can be sent to the minors as Cap Friendly indicates he’s exempt from waivers.

The performance of Ullmark and Swayman could complicate Rask’s potential return if they’re both playing well. Nevertheless, his comments suggest he’s going to be in the club’s plans at some point in the coming season. He’ll have to be an affordable signing as they’ve got $1.089 million in cap space without adding Swayman’s $925K.

NEW YORK POST: Former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said he was surprised that the fallout from the Tom Wilson-Artemi Panarin brawl last season included his dismissal and that of team president John Davidson. “I didn’t know it was going to turn into that, it surprised me that it turned into what it turned into,” he told the “Cam & Stick” podcast.

Gorton also spoke about the statement the team released following that incident condemning the NHL department of player safety for only fining Wilson instead of suspending him. “You might have seen it the first time I did,” he said, adding it was crafted and released by the team’s PR staff. Gorton also said he, Davidson and now-former head coach David Quinn regularly discussed improving the club’s toughness over time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ reaction to Wilson’s manhandling of Panarin and the light punishment he received seems to have been driven by team owner James Dolan. He cited the club’s lack of toughness during the official announcement of the firings of Gorton and Davidson in May. It also accounts for shipping Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis for Sammy Blais and the acquisition, and signing of rugged forward Ryan Reaves.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed forward Derick Brassard to a one-year, $825K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Brassard addition leaves the Flyers with just over $381K in cap space for the coming season.

WGR 550: Defenseman Robert Hagg is skating in Buffalo and settling in after being traded to the Sabres last month by the Flyers as part of the Rasmus Ristolainen deal.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Former Jets forward Mason Appleton is very excited about being part of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster. He spent three seasons with the Jets before being selected by the Kraken in last month’s expansion draft.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed forwards Glenn Gawdin and Justin Kirkland to one year, two-way contracts.