NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2023
The Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon and the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel reach scoring milestones, Canucks fans voice support for embattled coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty is sidelined again. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (24-17-3), who moved ahead of the Calgary Flames into the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Both clubs have 51 points but the Avs hold three more wins and two games in hand over the Flames. Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks (18-24-3), who’ve now lost six of their last seven contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon reached the 50-point mark for the eighth consecutive season.
Meanwhile, Vancouver fans supported embattled Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau by serenading him with cries of “Bruce, there it is!” Another fan unfurled a sign that read, “We Stand With Bruce”.
There’s been intensifying rumors over the last two weeks suggesting Boudreau could be replaced by TNT hockey analyst and former Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet. The Canucks’ front office (specifically, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin) has the power to make coaching changes if they wish.
Boudreau was already in the job when they took over and he isn’t the guy they want behind the bench. The problem, however, is they’re just letting him twist in the wind.
Everyone knows, Boudreau included, that he’s going to be replaced by Tocchet. If they don’t want him, they should’ve replaced him with an interim coach until they brought in his permanent replacement.
Their shabby treatment of Boudreau reflects poorly on the franchise and deepens the frustration among their fans over the club’s direction under team owner Francesco Aquilini.
Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored two goals and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Tristan Jarry made 44 saves in his first start for the Penguins since Jan. 2 following an injury as the Penguins (23-15-7, 53 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators, who dropped to 20-22-3 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel reached the 20-goal, 40-point plateau for the sixth straight season. Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry also returned to action for the first time since Dec. 10. Meanwhile, winger Kasperi Kapanen missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as week-to-week.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Bad news for Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty as an MRI revealed he tore his right Achilles tendon for the second time since August. The 33-year-old winger made his season debut on Jan. 5 and appeared in five games with the Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This injury not only ends Pacioretty’s season but could potentially derail his career. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Hurricanes could pursue a potential replacement before the March 3 trade deadline.
TSN: The Minnesota Wild will scratch defenseman Matt Dumba for Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. He was also scratched from Thursday’s contest with the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s been the subject of growing trade speculation. I’ll have more later today in my NHL Rumor Mill update.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi suffered a lower-body injury during their 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. He’s not expected to be out of the lineup for long.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $5,000.00 for interference on Florida Panthers center Eric Staal during their game on Thursday.
Speaking of the Canadiens, former Hab P.K. Subban helped raise $6.3 million for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital. The original goal was to raise $10 million by 2022 but fundraising was slowed by the pandemic. Subban said he’ll extend the pledge to 2025 to reach the $10 million goal and he hopes to continue his partnership with the hospital for the long term.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers have assigned goaltender Spencer Knight to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte for a conditioning stint.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken will take to the ice for their warmups before Saturday’s game against the Avalanche wearing jerseys to honor the Year of the Rabbit.
DEFECTOR: Vox Media yesterday announced layoffs that will shut down all but six of their SB Nation NHL websites as well as most of their MLS websites. 130 employees will be affected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will affect a number of sites such as Blueshirt Banter, Broad Street Hockey, Copper and Blue, Davy Jones Locker Room, Die By The Blade, Five for Howling, Hockey Wilderness, Japers Rink, Knights on Ice, Nucks Misconduct, On The Forecheck, Pension Plan Puppets, Raw Charge, Second City Hockey, The Cannon and Winging It in Motown.
Many of those sites began as blogs between 15 and 20 years ago. I followed most of them for years and got to know some of the good folks who wrote for them, showcasing their work for several years with my Hockey Blog Beat.
Those blogs/websites provided an invaluable hockey community for fans and aspiring writers to share their views on their favorite teams and on the NHL in general. I know how painful it is to be laid off so I really feel for those who worked so hard to contribute to and maintain those sites. It’s such a shame to see them cast aside like this. Here’s hoping those sites can live on in some form.