NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2023
The 2023-24 US national TV broadcast schedule is released, the Maple Leafs extend coach Sheldon Keefe’s contract, an update on Capitals winger Max Pacioretty, Carl Hagelin retires and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The US national television for 2023-24 was released yesterday. It begins with an Oct. 10 tripleheader on ESPN featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard facing off against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights will host the Seattle Kraken while the Nashville Predators visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.
TNT has a doubleheader on Oct 11 with Bedard and the Blackhawks journeying to Boston to face the Bruins while the Los Angeles Kings and Pierre-Luc Dubois host the Colorado Avalanche.
Other games on note on the schedule see the Golden Knights visiting the Seattle Kraken for the 2024 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at T-Mobile Stadium, the 2024 All-Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 3 and the two-day Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In that series, the New Jersey Devils take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 17 followed by the New York Rangers and New York Islanders on Feb. 18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for a complete listing of notable games and the full TV broadcast schedule.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs extended the contract of head coach Sheldon Keefe by two years to 2025. Since taking over the role in November 2019, he has a regular-season record of 166 wins, 71 losses and 30 overtime losses. They’ve qualified for the playoffs in each season but have won just one series, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2023 playoffs in six games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big vote of confidence in Keefe by Brad Treliving, who replaced Kyle Dubas as general manager on May 31. He said that Keefe was “really transparent and honest and accountable for what’s going on here,” praising his coach’s self-critique.
Keefe’s postseason woes are in part due to the way the Leafs were constructed under Treliving’s predecessor. Nevertheless, he’s faced criticism by some fans and pundits for being out-coached at times during previous postseason series. His extended contract won’t provide much protection from his detractors if the Leafs come up short in the playoffs again.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Pacioretty officially joined the Washington Capitals on Wednesday as he watched from the stands at the club’s practice facility while his children got in some practice. The 34-year-old winger signed a one-year contract with the Capitals in July.
Pacioretty is still rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn Achilles last season. He expects to be ready to play with the Capitals soon after the regular season begins in October. Pacioretty also said he knows why he suffered the same injury twice in one year but he’s not yet comfortable sharing the details.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, winger Carl Hagelin has announced his retirement citing an eye injury suffered during practice in March 2022 that sidelined him for the entire 2022-23 season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hagelin spent 11 seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and the Capitals. He won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. In 713 regular-season games, Hagelin scored 110 goals and 186 assists for 296 points. He also tallied 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points in 141 playoff contests.
CBS SPORTS: NHL defenseman Jason Demers recently informed San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng that he is unlikely to continue his playing career as he pursues a media role with the San Jose Sharks. The 35-year-old defenseman has played 700 regular-season NHL games with the Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed winger Austin Wagner to a professional tryout offer (PTO) yesterday.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of PTO contracts, the Hurricanes are bringing in forward Nick Shore, who last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Winnipeg Jets.
THE SCORE: The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes have hired former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters as their new bench boss. Peters re-signed as Flames head coach in November 2019 after it was revealed he used racial slurs toward former NHL player Akim Aliu during their time with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peters apologized to Aliu during his press conference announcing his hiring with the Hurricanes. The club indicated that he had undergone anti-racism counseling and a coaching certification program. However, Aliu said that Peters has never spoken to him personally, adding that his former coach recently tried to get a third coach involved to speak with Aliu on his behalf to facilitate a conversation.