NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2023
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby weighs in on best-on-best international tournaments, Jack Hughes believes he can be a 100-point player for the Devils, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
SPORTSNET: Sidney Crosby would welcome the return of best-on-best international tournaments involving NHL stars. “Seeing all the other countries, you look at their lineups, I mean, it’s pretty tight,” said the Pittsburgh Penguins captain. He went on the praise what he called the “incredible” level of hockey in those tournaments.
Talk of a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2025 would provide Crosby with the chance to play alongside Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the first time on Team Canada. The 36-year-old center said he’d welcome the opportunity, joking that he’d be willing to skate on McDavid’s wing. “He can carry the mail. I’ll just find the opening.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last best-on-best international tournament featuring NHL stars was the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. A similar competition is long overdue.
At their current levels of performance, Crosby and McDavid are locks for Canada’s roster in 2025. Whether they skate on the same line remains to be seen.
THE SCORE: cited Jack Hughes telling Sportsnet’s “32 Thoughts” podcast that he sees himself as a 100-point player for the New Jersey Devils. He came within one point of doing so last season, finishing with 99 in 78 games.
“I’m a competitive person, so definitely a little like, ‘Damn’, you know?” said Hughes. “I wanted that because I’m competitive.” He said he believes he can reach the 100-point plateau if he maintains his current path and continues to work at it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avoiding injury will also play a significant role in the 5’11’, 175-pound Hughes’ quest to reach 100 points. The potential to reach that level was there during an injury-shortened 2021-22 when he had 56 points in 49 games.
SPORTSNET: The NHL Players’ Association released a statement yesterday saying they’d provided an update to the league on the investigation into Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock requesting personal photos from his players’ phones. The PA provided no further comment on the matter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock defended his actions by claiming he was trying to get to know his players better and had shown them his own family photos. Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner and scoring star Johnny Gaudreau said they had no problem with it. Subsequent reports claim some younger players were uncomfortable with Babcock’s request.
The situation sparked some pundits to suggest that Babcock could lose his job over this or at least face a suspension from the league. So far, there’s no indication as to what the end result could be.
DAILY FACEOFF: The NHL has updated its rule book for the coming season. Among the changes are the mandated wearing of helmets during warmups to anyone who joined the league since 2019 as well as clarifications on puck-in-netting and line changes on delayed offsides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These are among the most noteworthy. Follow the link above for the complete list of changes.
TSN: It has now been confirmed that the 2023-24 NHL Trade Deadline is slated for 3 p.m. ET on Friday, March 8, 2024.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second straight year that the trade deadline is on a Friday. I wish they would hold it on a Friday every year. It provides an extra level of buzz heading into Saturday which is almost always the busiest day of the week on the NHL calendar in terms of scheduled games.