NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2021

The 2020-21 season begins today. Check out the notable NHL stories in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league yesterday revealed 27 players on nine different teams tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 30 and Jan. 11. Seventeen of those players were with the Dallas Stars. Most were asymptomatic and all are currently recovering without complications.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Positive tests were bound to happen with the league returning to action under its current format. The high number of Stars players sidelined by the coronavirus is a stark reminder of how quickly it can spread. This probably won’t be the only incident of community spread on an NHL team over the course of this season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of the Stars, they returned to practice yesterday for the first time since last Wednesday. Fifteen players were missing, including defensemen Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Jamie Oleksiak and forwards Radek Faksa and Joel Kiviranta, though the club didn’t reveal if their absence was due to COVID-19 protocols or injuries.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams didn’t have to provide details of a player’s absence during training camp. They’re supposed to do so during the regular season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said Evander Kane will not sit out this season. The 29-year-old left-winger filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 9 with the petition containing a clause suggesting he could terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season. However, Boughner confirmed Kane will be in the lineup for their season-opener on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He doesn’t feel the winger’s financial woes will be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s bankruptcy probably won’t be a distraction for the Sharks over the course of the season but it could be fodder for trash-talking aimed at the winger by his opponents.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle doesn’t appear to be part of the club’s plans when their season opens on Sunday. He recently skated with a second group of fringe players and wasn’t playing with a dedicated defense partner during Tuesday’s practice. It appears the club wants Yandle to waive his no-movement clause but the blueliner said he hasn’t been asked to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting development with the Panthers. If Yandle becomes a healthy scratch his streak of 866 consecutive games will come to an end. I’ll have more on Yandle in the Rumors section.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller and defenseman Jordie Benn missed practice yesterday. The club would neither confirm nor deny their absences are COVID-related. More details are expected today.

Meanwhile, the Canucks announced the signing of defenseman Travis Hamonic to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The 30-year-old blueliner attended Canucks training camp on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic is the latest of several notable unrestricted free agents forced to accept short-term contracts for less than market value because of this season’s flattened salary cap. He’ll hope a strong performance with the Canucks this season will improve his chances of a better deal in this summer’s UFA market.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed winger Marcus Foligno to a three-year, $9.3 million contract extension beginning in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno is part of the Wild’s veteran leadership core. The annual average value of his new contract is $3.1 million. Cap Friendly indicates the deal doesn’t include no-trade protection.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed head coach Jeremy Colliton to a two-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colliton hasn’t enjoyed the success of his predecessor but the Blackhawks aren’t the powerhouse they once were. Management evidently sees Colliton as a key part of their current transition period as they ease more youth into their lineup.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators and Carolina Hurricanes made a minor trade yesterday, with the Senators shipping defenseman Max Lajoie to the Hurricanes for forward Clark Bishop.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins will honor Willie O’Ree by retiring his No. 22 jersey to the rafters of the TD Garden during a Feb. 18 game against the New Jersey Devils. O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history, debuting with the Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. He played a total of 45 games with the Bruins. O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fitting, long-overdue tribute to a hockey trailblazer and one of the game’s finest ambassadors.

NHL Notes: Evander Kane Bankrupt, Blackhawks Extend Jeremy Colliton

NHL Notes: Evander Kane Bankrupt, Blackhawks Extend Jeremy Colliton


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2021

League commissioner Bettman weighs in on the upcoming season, Mika Zibanejad reveals COVID-19 diagnosis, Evander Kane files for bankruptcy, Mike Hoffman signs with Blues, Jay Bouwmeester retires, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is prepared to lose billions of dollars to play the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it’s important for the game to stage the season, the players and fans wanted it, and it might help provide people dealing with COVID-19 restrictions some sense of normalcy.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman also said it would be cheaper for the league not to play the season, claiming they would lose money at the club and league level. “But the owners are unanimously OK with that because they know how important it is for our fans and for the game.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s remarks about financial losses isn’t sitting well on the players’ side. Player agent Allan Walsh observed the commissioner neglected to mention that, under the CBA extension, the owners will be made whole for their losses by the players because of the 50-50 division of revenue. Bettman sounds like he’s still sore over the player’s firm rejection of his request last fall for increased escrow claw-backs and salary deferrals.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, meanwhile, pointed out the NHL wasn’t going to risk hurting its visibility and fan engagement by shuttering its season with other major professional sports leagues staging theirs during this pandemic. Campbell also noted it would’ve pushed the NHL’s expiring US TV contract ahead to 2022, depriving them of the opportunity of landing a more lucrative deal later this year.

The commissioner revealed players will wear decals on their helmets honoring the 63rd anniversary of Willie O’Ree playing his first NHL game and to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also announced The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, featuring the Colorado Avalanche facing the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 20 followed by the Boston Bruins meeting the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to training camp. He missed the opening days of camp but now claims he’s feeling better. Zibanejad resumed skating with his teammates while consulting with doctors. Rangers coach David Quinn is hopeful Zibanejad will be ready for their season opener on Jan. 14 but the 27-year-old center wouldn’t confirm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad isn’t the only player to test positive and won’t be the last over the course of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Evander Kane has filed for bankruptcy with $26.8 million of debt and assets of $10 million. The filing also indicates the 29-year-old San Jose Sharks winger can terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season because of the pandemic and the recent birth of his daughter. The NHL’s opt-out date was Dec. 24 while Kane’s bankruptcy filing was Jan. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could opt-out of this season rather than terminate his contract. While the league’s opt-out deadline has passed there could be an allowance here due to unforeseen circumstances. A precedent was set last summer when Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask left the club during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs to attend to a family medical emergency.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues yesterday signed Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $4 million contract. The 31-year-old winger was skating with the club on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was anticipated the Blues would formally sign Hoffman once they sorted out their salary-cap situation. That includes putting a couple of players on their taxi squad for cap compliance reasons and placing Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injury reserve.

TSN: Speaking of the Blues, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester quietly retired after 17 NHL seasons. He hadn’t played since suffering a cardiac incident on the bench during a game with the Anaheim Ducks last February. Bouwmeester played 1,240 NHL games with the Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, finishing with 424 points. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bouwmeester and his family in their future endeavors.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired former captain Shane Doan as their new chief hockey development officer. Doan retired in 2017 after 21 NHL seasons. He began his career with the former Winnipeg Jets and moved with the franchise to Arizona in 1996.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers claimed defenseman Noah Juulsen off waivers yesterday from the Montreal Canadiens.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will return to the ice today after canceling practices and close its training facilities when six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks will meet with Santa Clara County officials regarding when they can return to SAP Center at San Jose. They’re scheduled to play their first home game on Feb. 1 but the county remains under a strict stay-at-home order because of a high number of COVID cases.

SPORTSNET: NBC Sports announced former NHL coach Mike Babcock will be joining the network as an in-studio analyst. He’ll replace Mike Milbury, who was let go after 14 years. Milbury was suspended by the network last summer following a series of offensive remarks he made toward women, injured players, and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.


NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill,  the reason behind Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic’s trade request, an update on teammate Patrik Laine, and what the Blackhawks might do with Jonathan Toews sidelined.


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports the reason behind Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic’s trade request is an “obvious difference of opinion” when it comes to his role and ultimate value.

Jack Roslovic requests a trade from the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

Roslovic sees himself as a natural center who should be playing on one of the Jets’ top-two lines. However, those spots are already filled with Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny, along with Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers on the wings. He’s instead been used in a checking-line role with Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp.

The fact Roslovic is staying put in Columbus indicates the restricted free agent is no closer to a new contract with the Jets. McIntyre said it’s no secret Roslovic wants a change of scenery. The Jets have explored trade possibilities but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has yet to make a move.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Roslovic has limited leverage in his contract talks coming off his entry-level deal. He also has less bargaining power than Laine and Connor last year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McIntyre observes, the only way Roslovic can participate in the start of training camp on Sunday is if he’s traded to an American club. If he returns to the Jets, he’ll have to undergo a seven-day quarantine and four negative COVID tests.

Roslovic frequently surfaced in trade speculation during the offseason. It’s been suggested he could be used as trade bait to bring in a top-four defenseman but Cheveldayoff might have to package him with a draft pick or prospect to land that type of return.

Cheveldayoff could simply wait out Roslovic as he did with Jacob Trouba four years ago. However, the shortened season, the travel difficulties brought about by COVID-19 and the Jets’ glaring need for blueline depth could soon see the young forward suiting up with another NHL club.


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Jets, Mike McIntyre also reports Patrik Laine will have to address the trade request made by his agent in October with his teammates and the media. However, Cheveldoff doesn’t think it will be a distraction. The Jets GM expects the 22-year-winger will have one of the best seasons of his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might not be a distraction for the Jets, but Laine’s future will be among the hot topics in this season’s rumor mill. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and is expected to seek a substantial raise over his current $6.75 million annual average value.

Cheveldayoff doesn’t have to trade Laine this season and certainly doesn’t have to rush into anything. However, unless the winger agrees to a new contract during the season, his status will remain a question that dogs the Jets throughout the coming season and into next summer.


SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman must address some serious questions with team captain Jonathan Toews sidelined indefinitely by a mysterious illness. With Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander also out for months, they have limited depth at center entering this season.

While the Blackhawks have salary-cap space to find a center to replace Toews (especially if he’s placed on long-term injury reserve), Campbell doubts they will. If his career is in jeopardy, Campbell wonders if that might spur a complete tear-down of the roster, including seeking trade options for Patrick Kane.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus believes the Blackhawks are going to be awful this season. He encourages the club’s fans to accept it. His suggested blueprint for this season is to play a lot of young players, lose a lot of games, get a top draft pick and turn the page to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks really don’t have much choice. This was a roster that was already in transition before Toews, Dach and Nylander went down. Even with those three in the lineup, the Hawks’ weak goaltending and retooling blueline made reaching the playoffs a long shot this season.

Kane would fetch a strong return but I don’t expect Bowman will ask the long-time Blackhawks winger if he’ll accept a trade during this season. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks GM will probably be a seller by the Apr. 12 trade deadline. Likely trade candidates could be pending UFAs like Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark or players like Calvin de Haan or Connor Murphy with a year left on their contracts.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2020

The latest on Evander Kane, Tyson Barrie, Austin Watson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane took to Twitter yesterday to challenge Jake Paul to a fight after Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in the undercard of Saturday’s boxing match between aging fighters Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

THE SCORE: Kane’s challenge to Paul prompted taunts from Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves and his brother Jordan, who plays for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Reaves has a longstanding rivalry with Kane.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sunday was definitely a slow day for hockey news. With the American Thanksgiving weekend now over, here’s hoping we see some definitive news this week on whether the NHL and NHLPA can resolve their escrow and salary deferral differences and reach a decision on a truncated season.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz believes Tyson Barrie has a great opportunity with the Edmonton Oilers to bolster his stock after last season’s disappointing performance with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Oilers last month. The puck-moving blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer. A bounce-back effort will not only improve his free-agent value but could also entice the Oilers into re-signing him.

OTTAWA SUN: Austin Watson is looking forward to a fresh start with the rebuilding Senators. The 28-year-old forward was acquired from the Nashville Predators last month.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Larry Carriere is stepping away from the Canadiens front office after 10 seasons to explore other options. He’s spent 42 years in pro hockey, seven as a player and the rest in scouting, coaching and front-office roles with the Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals and the Canadiens.

CTV EDMONTON: The government of Alberta paid $4 million to the NHL during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs to advertise in the city of Edmonton. It was seen as an opportunity to showcase the province to millions of viewers from outside Alberta.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2020

The latest return-to-play news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the infighting between the NHL and NHL Players Association over the league’s requests for higher escrow and salary deferral rates puts the start of the 2020-21 season into question. He feels league commissioner Gary Bettman faces a difficult challenge, attempting to negotiate during a pandemic with the owners angry and divided and the players unwilling to budge over further cuts to their salaries.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

  NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross suggests additional salary deferral could be a way out of this mess despite the initial shock and anger from the players. Unlike escrow, deferrals will at some point find their way back to the players. Another is the desire by Bettman and the PA to start the season as soon as possible.

The league and PA prefer a start date of Jan. 1. With the clock ticking, however, Gross thinks that might have to be pushed back to around Feb. 1. He feels a realistic start date for the season should become clearer by the end of the upcoming American Thanksgiving weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can probably forget about a Jan. 1 start to the season if an agreement between the league and the PA isn’t reached by Monday, Nov, 30. Many players still haven’t joined their teams. The league wants a 14-day training camp leading up to the start of the season, with last season’s seven non-playoff clubs getting an additional seven-to-10 days as promised.

ESPN.COM: A recent survey of American sports fans indicates two-thirds of the respondents will await the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to arenas and stadiums.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher said the club will have to hold its training camp outside of Santa Clara county if local health officials won’t allow players to skate in large numbers at its training facility in San Jose.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane and his girlfriend Amanda recently announced the birth of their first child. Patrick Timothy Kane III arrived on Nov. 12.

TSN: Fred Saskamoose, one of the first Indigenous players to skate in the NHL, tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalized. He played 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. Following his playing career, he was extensively involved in developing sports programs for Indigenous youth. Saskamoose was named to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and received the Order of Canada in 2017.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Saskamoose for a speedy recovery.