NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2021

The Coyotes could need a new home after this season, Auston Matthews to grace the cover of EA Sports NHL 22, an update on Zdeno Chara and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang reported yesterday the city of Glendale informed the Arizona Coyotes it is opting out of its joint lease agreement for Gila River Arena, making the 2021-22 season the club’s last at the facility.

Gila River Arena (NHL.com).

Strang indicates this notice comes following months of stalled negotiations between the two sides regarding terms for a lease extension, arena renovations, and multiple notices of outstanding and delinquent balances owed by the club as part of the current lease agreement.

We’ve reached the point of no return,” said city manager Kevin Phelps, who oversees day-to-day operations and is also responsible for the arena management contract. “There’s no wavering”.

Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez released a statement expressing the club’s disappointment with the decision. He is hoping the city will reconsider its position and restart negotiations for an extension.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports skeptics such as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman view the city’s position as merely a negotiating ploy. Phelps was adamant that’s not the case.

I’ve made my recommendation and told the (city) council what I was going to do, and I’ve got the full support of our city council,” he said. Phelps maintained the decision is in the best interest of the entertainment district and of the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The long, tempestuous history between the Coyotes and the city of Glendale could be in its final chapter. The club has signaled its intent to build a new arena in or near downtown Phoenix. Morgan wondered how long Glendale would remain patient with the Coyotes’ year-to-year approach. Barring a last-minute change of heart, their tolerance is at an end.

This news sparked conjecture over whether the NHL will finally relocate the troubled franchise to a market such as Quebec City or Houston. Rest assured Bettman and the league will explore every option to keep the club in Arizona. Those efforts, however, will depend on where and when a new arena will be constructed. They certainly won’t have one built in time for the 2022-23 season.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will grace the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 22. He was also on the cover of NHL 20. Matthews was the winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as last season’s leading goal scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The news sparked some criticism on social media from non-Leafs fans. It’s a sign we’ve truly reached the dog days of summer. I doubt his visage on the cover will prevent gamers from buying it.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source claims it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a reunion between the Boston Bruins and former captain Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old free-agent defenseman prefers playing in the Eastern Conference as his family still lives in Boston. Two other sources didn’t rule out Chara returning to the Bruins in a coaching or player management position if he decides to retire.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings bought out the contract of veteran forward Frans Nielsen. It will cost them $4.25 million against their cap this season but drops to $500K next season. The Wings also named Pat Verbeek as the general manager of their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings can afford to absorb Nielsen’s still-hefty buyout cap hit for this season. Cap Friendly shows them with over $19 million in cap space for 2021-22 following the buyout.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ryan Reaves has put his home in Summerlin on the market for $1.2 million. He was traded to the New York Rangers in July.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres 2021 first-round pick Owen Power is returning to the University of Michigan for another season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That sparked speculation by some fans on social media suggesting Power didn’t want to play for the troubled Sabres. In reality, the young defenseman indicated he was considering returning to college this season well before the NHL draft.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski takes a deep dive into the NHL’s decision to allow ads on player jerseys. Among the many interesting tidbits:

Ads for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products won’t be allowed. Ditto anything sexualized.

There will be limitations for sportsbook gaming ads. Fans will be able to buy team jerseys without the ads.

The league is also limiting sales to one sponsor on the jersey. It is also adamant the jerseys won’t look like those in European leagues that feature multiple ads.

THE PROVINCE: The Canucks were among the first NHL teams to briefly have sponsors on their practice jerseys in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Those didn’t last long as the league brain at the time frowned upon it.

Where Are They Now: 1999 Dallas Stars

Where Are They Now: 1999 Dallas Stars


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2019

Bruins defeat Blue Jackets and advance to the Eastern Conference Final, Avalanche force Game 7 with the Sharks, Flyers hired Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask had a 39-save shutout to backstop the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets to eliminate the latter from the second round in six games. The Bruins will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. David Krejci, Marcus Johansson, and David Backes were the goal scorers.

The game wasn’t without controversy, as Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy received only a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head of Jackets winger Josh Anderson during the dying seconds of the second period. 

Tuukka Rask’s 39-save shutout carried the Boston Bruins to a series-clinching 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins seized control of this series in Game 4, winning three straight games. It’ll be interesting to see if McAvoy receives supplemental discipline. NHL rules stipulate there is no five-minute major penalty for an illegal hit to the head but the official can levy a match penalty. Most observers considered the light punishment yet another example of the poor officiating that’s clouded the 2019 postseason. 

Gabriel Landeskog scored in overtime as the Colorado Avalanche edged the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in Game 6 of their second-round series. Game 7 goes Wednesday night in San Jose. Avs winger J.T. Compher scored twice and set up another while defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic tallied twice for the Sharks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was punch-counterpunch all game long, as the Avalanche would take a one-goal lead and the Sharks would tie it. This entertaining series is now poised for what could be an exciting finale. 

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop claims he’s fine after taking a slapshot off his left collarbone in Game 6 of his club’s second-round series with the St. Louis Blues. Bishop is expected to start Game 7 tonight in St. Louis. 

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist reiterated his commitment to the organization. He recently raised eyebrows following recent comments to a Swedish interviewer suggesting there’s no guarantee he’ll finish his NHL career with the Blueshirts. Lundqvist claims he and the Rangers remain on the same page. “While it is still my goal to win the Cup in New York before I retire, at the same time I understand as a player that I have to respect the position we are in and the process we are going through.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Lundqvist is signed through 2020-21 with a full no-movement clause. I don’t doubt his desire to stick with the Rangers and help them return to Cup contention. Nevertheless, he could be leaving the door open for a departure to a contender if the rebuild takes longer than expected. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (lower-body injury) and winger Micheal Ferland (upper body) returned to practice yesterday. They claim they’re ready to go when their club faces the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck played through a “stress fracture, rotated vertebrae, two slipped discs, pinched nerve” over the past two months. He could face either a diskectomy (four-to-six week recovery) or a spinal fusion (four-to-months) procedure. 

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas confirmed Mike Babcock will return as their head coach next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock had come under criticism from Toronto fans and pundits this season, especially in their opening-round playoff series against Boston. He’s got four years remaining on his contract. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers hired former Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien and former St. Louis Blues bench boss Mike Yeo as their new assistant coaches. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings have hired Pat Verbeek as assistant general manager under GM Steve Yzerman. Verbeek held the same role with Yzerman in Tampa Bay. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins agreed to a 10-year deal to keep their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.