NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2023

The Ducks finally sign Jamie Drysdale, the Kings extend coach Todd McLellan’s contract, recaps of Thursday’s preseason action, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Jamie Drysdale to a three-year, $6.9 million contract. The average annual value is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Trevor Zegras, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek gets Drysdale signed to a team-friendly bridge contract. The 21-year-old defenseman had little leverage coming off his entry-level contract. Should he and Zegras improve as projected, they’ll be well-situated to command much more lucrative terms on their next contracts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Los Angeles Kings have extended the contract of head coach Todd McLellan to the end of the 2024-25 season. He’s entering his fifth season behind the Kings bench, guiding them to the playoffs in 2022 and 2023.

Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings have made steady improvement under McLellan, finishing with 99 points in 2021-22 and 104 points in 2022-23. However, they’ve fallen in the first round of the playoffs in both seasons to the Edmonton Oilers. McLellan’s long-term future with the Kings will depend on their performance this season and next.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Kings, forward Arthur Kaliyev has been suspended for two preseason games and two regular-season games by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Anaheim Ducks forward Chase De Leo. The latter suffered a sprained MCL and will be sidelined for eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The punishment hardly seems to fit the crime. I think any player who deliberately injures another should be suspended for as long as the player he injured is sidelined. However, there’s also that grey area of determining intent or whether it was accidental. Besides, such a harsh punishment for a superstar probably wouldn’t go over well with fans and pundits.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture is considered a long shot to be in the lineup for the club’s season-opener next week. The 34-year-old center is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks already faced a challenging season as management rebuilds, er, sorry, “retools” its roster. Losing Couture to injury to start this campaign was the last thing they needed.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud underwent surgery for an upper-body injury and is listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big blow to the Golden Knight’s blueline. It’s also the third straight season that Whitecloud has been sidelined by a significant injury. He was limited to 59 games in each of the last two seasons.

SPORTSNET: The city of Calgary unveiled a preliminary deal for a $1.2 billion event center and entertainment district near the city’s downtown. It includes an $800 million arena for the Flames. Construction will reportedly begin in 2024 and the arena is expected to be opened in 2026 or 2027.

The province of Alberta will contribute $330 million to the project while the city of Calgary will contribute $537 million. The Flames will pay $40 million upfront and $17 million per year over the course of a 35-year lease with payments rising one percent per year.


NHL.COM: Ryan O’Reilly scored his first preseason goal with the Nashville Predators and collected three assists in a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Juuse Saros made 40 saves for the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Predators, they will honor former general manager David Poile during a pregame ceremony on Nov. 22. Poile retired on July 1 after 40 seasons in the NHL including 25 seasons as the Predators GM.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. William Nylander scored twice, including the winner in overtime. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points for the Leafs. Shayne Gostisbehere collected two assists for the Wings.

Florida Panthers center Kevin Stenlund scored two goals in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist as his club downed the New York Islanders 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the Islanders.

The Washington Capitals doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Riley Sutter netted a shorthanded goal and collected an assist for the Capitals. Spencer Martin stopped 35 shots in his first game for the Jackets since being claimed off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks earlier this week.

Boston Bruins center Matthew Poitras tallied the go-ahead goal in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman made 22 saves. Kaapo Kakko replied for the Rangers, who finished the preseason with a record of 1-5-0.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington kicked out 24 shots to shut out the Dallas Stars 4-0. Robert Thomas tallied twice for the Blues. Jake Oettinger stopped 24 shots for the Stars.

The Ottawa Senators blanked the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 as Anton Forsberg turned in a 21-save shutout. Jakob Chychrun and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Jets defenseman Ville Heinola left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period following a collision with Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heinola suffered the injury to his left leg. “It’s not good,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness following the game. “It’s not a short-term injury.”

A shootout goal by Mats Zuccarello gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. A third-period goal by Pat Maroon tied the game for the Wild. Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard was unable to get off a shot during the shootout as he was poke-checked by Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 27 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Wild as defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game in the first period and didn’t return. He will be evaluated today.

An overtime goal by Adrian Kempe lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-3. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied his first preseason goal for the Kings while Mike Hoffman picked up his first preseason tally for the Sharks.

The Arizona Coyotes downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on a two-goal performance by center Logan Cooley. Ducks goalie John Gibson allowed four goals on 17 shots before leaving the game with an apparent hand injury.

Four unanswered goals by the Vegas Golden Knights gave them a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists and Logan Thompson kicked out 31 shots for the Golden Knights. Cale Makar and Jonathan Drouin each had two assists for the Avalanche.


THE SCORE: The NHL is reportedly considering hosting the 2024 Draft at The Sphere, a music and entertainment arena just off the Strip in Las Vegas. For the past 30 years, NHL drafts have been primarily held inside the host city’s arena.

THE PROVINCE: Stan Smyl is transitioning out of the Vancouver Canucks front office into a role as a team ambassador. Smyl has been with the Canucks since breaking in as a player 45 years ago, serving in various roles following his playing career. He’s been serving as their vice president since 2021.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: A report indicated Devils chairman and governor David Blitzer is joining the NHL’s executive committee.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have found a new TV broadcaster, signing a multi-year deal with Scripps Sports to televise all locally broadcasted games. The announcement comes on the same day that the Coyotes and Bally Sports Arizona received approval to terminate their multi-year contract.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

COVID cases keep rising among NHL teams, Steven Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines


CALGARY SUN: Forward Dillon Dube and defenseman Oliver Kylington are the latest Flames players to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number to 18 players and five staff members, including head coach Darryl Sutter. Test results also showed several players appear to have the Omicron variant.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers now have seven players in COVID protocol. They are forwards Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Lomberg and defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have three more players in COVID protocol as goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh were added to the list. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were placed on the list earlier this week.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s COVID protocol list grew to five with forwards Andrew Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joining defenseman Devon Toews. Toews is the only player with symptoms and those were described as mild.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Lawson Crouse and Jay Beagle were placed on the COVID list yesterday.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore joined teammate Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett in COVID protocol.

The Nashville Predators placed forward Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote on the COVID protocol list. They joined head coach John Hynes, forwards Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tamasino and defenseman Ben Harpur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reported Cousins took to Twitter wondering why the NHL doesn’t pause the schedule until after Christmas to get this situation under control. “This is ridiculous!”, he said. They added that Cousins fully supports advanced protocols but doesn’t think it’s fair to have the threat of COVID hanging over the players and their families in this way.

There’s no indication thus far the league intends to pause the schedule. However, there might not be many choices if the number of infected players keeps rising. The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.

The league could be hoping to make it as far as their scheduled three-day break next week. That could slow the spread while allowing time for those who’ve already tested positive to be cleared to resume play following the holiday break. Let’s hope we’ll get some clarification soon because so far there’s little indication of what the league’s intentions are at this point other than soldiering on as cases mount.

NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February could soon be out of the question if more teams have games postponed by the league due to rising COVID numbers. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players but the league can opt-out by Jan. 10 if it believes mounting COVID cases will adversely affect the remainder of this season’s schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).


NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos collected an assist to reach his 900th career point in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. With 42 points, the Lightning now sits first in the overall standings.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist as the Nashville Predators topped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colton Sissons picked up three assists as the Predators extended their win streak to six games. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brock Boeser scored twice and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced Stan Smyl was promoted to vice-president of hockey operations.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and assisted on another as his club dropped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to snap a six-game losing skid. Connor McDavid chipped in two helpers while goaltender Stuart Skinner picked up the win with a 36-save effort.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win in eight games by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Jonathan Drouin’s shootout goal. The Habs played without fans in the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec public health officials concerned over the rising cases in the region. They received assurances they will be able to return to a partial capacity scenario in January.

Jonathan Quick kicked out 41 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Florida Panthers 4-1. The King extended their points streak to four games while handing the Panthers their third straight loss. Anze Kopitar was among the Kings’ goal scorers.

The Vegas Golden Knights got goals 33 seconds apart by William Karlsson and Nicolas Roy in the third period to hold off the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had two points apiece for Vegas. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 contests.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter tallied two goals in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The COVID-depleted Hurricanes iced a roster of just 16 players. One of them was rookie Jack Drury, who scored his first NHL goal. Drury is the son of former NHLer Ted Drury.

Semyon Varlamov turned aside 40 shots for his first win of the season as the New York Islanders downed the Boston Bruins 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck tallied twice for the Isles.

A shootout goal by Tage Thompson lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Sabres played without defenseman Robert Hagg as he’s month-to-month with a lower-body injury.