NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2023
The Oilers put Connor McDavid’s former agent in charge of hockey operations, Kyle Dubas will remain the Penguins’ general manager, Mike Babcock admits to making mistakes with the Leafs, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Edmonton Oilers announced Jeff Jackson has been named as their new CEO of Hockey operations. Jackson is a former NHL player and the former agent of Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
Jackson will report directly to Oilers owner Darryl Katz and will serve as the club’s alternate governor. He will be assisted in his role by Paul Coffey, who’s been with the Oilers for over a year as a special advisor to Katz. Ken Holland remains as general manager and will report directly to Jackson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This hiring is also being seen as the Oilers m a step closer to solidifying McDavid’s future with the club. His contract expires at the end of the 2025-26 season.
Jackson acknowledged his close relationship with McDavid but stressed that it will be different now. He feels the goal is to ensure they keep the Oilers’ core group together. That will include Leon Draisaitl, whose contract expires in 2025.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins have made Kyle Dubas their general manager on a full-time basis. Dubas was hired as president of hockey operations in June and was serving as interim general manager. Trevor Daley and Amanda Kessel were named special assistants to Dubas in a series of promotions announced yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas said he believed it was in the interest of continuity that he remain in both roles for now. He didn’t rule out finding a new general manager in future off-seasons.
SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock admitted to making mistakes during his tenure as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an interview with the FAN Morning Show.
“Do I like how I was talked about after I left? No,” said Babcock. “Do I think I did anything wrong? Absolutely.” He added that he wasn’t trying to hide from anything he’s done and will own up to any mistakes and learn from them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock didn’t get into specifics about his mistakes. He faced allegations of bullying players during his tenure with the Leafs and during his time behind the Detroit Red Wings bench.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev wasn’t happy about how recent comments he made during a recent interview with a Russian news outlet were mistranslated and posted to Instagram by @nhlbreakers.
In the now-deleted post, Sergachev is quoted as saying, “Wow, Toronto wins one series in 19 years then immediately loses, they deserve no credit, no other team would celebrate such a thing.”
In a post on his Instagram account, Sergachev insisted he said no such thing. He said he was asked if Toronto’s physical play during their first-round series accounted for a couple of Lightning defensemen getting injured. He said he replied, “No, it just happens sometimes people get hurt by accident, and I don’t want to give them credit.”
When asked why not, Sergachev said he didn’t think they deserve credit. When the reporter noted it was the first time in 19 years the Leafs got past the first round, the blueliner said that he replied, “Here true, good on them! But didn’t go thru the second round, I don’t see a reason to celebrate.”
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Leafs, Milan Lucic said they and the Chicago Blackhawks were interested in signing him when he became an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 35-year-old winger signed with the Boston Bruins, returning to the club where he began his NHL career and enjoyed his biggest successes.
THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ethan Bear said he’s recovering well from his recent shoulder surgery. An unrestricted free agent, he’s received inquiries from other clubs but would love to return to the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear will be sidelined until December. He’ll likely get a new contract with a club around then as injuries start to take their toll on defense corps around the league.
THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes did a feature on Taylor Dixon, the creator of the Puckdoku puzzle game that’s taken hockey fans by storm this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently became a fan of Puckdoku and usually start my day solving the latest puzzle before going to work. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to test your knowledge of NHL players past and present. Go to puckdoku.com to check it out!