NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2024

The Blue Jackets and Sharks get shutout victories, four players face charges in sexual assault investigation, Jesper Bratt will participate in the All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 21 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Dmitri Voronkov scored for the 16-24-10 Blue Jackets. Jordan Binnington turned aside 21 shots for the Blues (26-21-2) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 54 points.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich will be re-evaluated following the upcoming NHL All-Star Game for a lower-body injury. He was sidelined during Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

The San Jose Sharks got a 32-save performance by Mackenzie Blackwood to shut out the Seattle Kraken 2-0. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jan Rutta were the goal scorers for the 14-32-4 Sharks. Joey Daccord stopped 20 shots for the 21-19-10 Kraken (52 points) as they remain two points behind the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks center Tomas Hertl missed this game with a lower-body injury that could sideline him from Wednesday’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks and possibly the upcoming NHL All-Star Game.


TSN/SPORTSNET: Four NHL players have been charged with sexual assault in London, Ontario in connection with an alleged incident that took place at a Hockey Canada event in June 2018.

They are Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, and New Jersey Devils players Michael McLeod and Cal Foote. Lawyers for the players confirmed the charges in statements to the media yesterday.

They join unsigned Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton, who surrendered to London police on Sunday. Formenton has been playing in Switzerland since last season.

The reports indicate that none of the allegations against the players have been proven. A trial date has not yet been set.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This comes as no surprise given all five players recently took indefinite leaves of absence from their respective teams within days of each other.

The Flames have been criticized on social media for their initial statement on Jan. 21 indicating Dube’s leave of absence to attend to his mental health. The club released a statement yesterday saying they took this matter “very seriously” and they had “no knowledge of pending charges” when they granted his leave of absence.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils winger Jesper Bratt will replace sidelined teammate Jack Hughes in the upcoming 2024 NHL All-Star Game. Hughes has been dealing with an upper-body injury since Jan. 5.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders center Mathew Barzal will replace Hughes in the 2024 NHL All-Star Game skills competition.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Patrick Kane (upper-body injury) won’t play in Wednesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. The club has decided that Kane will make his return to action following the upcoming All-Star break. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since Jan. 14. The injury is unrelated to his surgically repaired hip.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former NHL defenseman Trevor Daley is applauding the removal of former NHL goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck’s number from the rafters of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Arena.

Vanbiesbrouck starred with the Greyhounds as an undrafted player in 1980-81. Following his NHL retirement, he returned to the Greyhounds as head coach and general manager.

In 2003, Vanbiesbrouck used a racial slur against Daley, who left the team and informed the OHL commissioner about the incident. He subsequently resigned as coach and GM of the Greyhounds and sold his stake in the franchise, issuing a statement apologizing for the incident.

Daley returned to the Greyhounds to finish the season and went on to play 16 seasons in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He said the decision by the Greyhounds to remove Vanbiesbrouck’s number “eliminates a major source of anger and frustration for me and my family.”