NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

Four more members of the Senators test positive for COVID-19, plus the latest on Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: Three more Senators’ players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to seven people aboard the club’s charter flight that returned from their California road trip on March 12. The club indicated the five players and the staff member have all recovered. Broadcaster Gord Wilson confirmed a positive test on Friday.

League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there aren’t any plans to test the entire Senators team. “Everyone who had symptoms was tested,” Daly said.”There really is no reason to test anyone else. No one is symptomatic and no one is sick and they all have been in self-quarantine for three weeks.”

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been hardest hit among the 31 NHL teams by this pandemic. Fortunately, it seems they suffered mild symptoms and most recovered quickly.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres captain Jack Eichel is partnering with hockey manufacturing company Bauer to donate 5,000 protective shields to Buffalo area hospitals. Teammate Jeff Skinner, meanwhile, is donating $53,000 to a fund created by Pegula Sports and Entertainment to help frontline health care workers and others affected by the coronavirus in Western New York.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino will be ready to go if the NHL season resumes. Dumoulin underwent surgery in December to repair lacerated ankle tendons. Marino missed five games in March before the schedule was paused recovered from broken facial bones.

THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he won’t be interviewing coaching candidates during the NHL’s schedule hiatus. He’s happy thus far with the work of Dean Evason, who took over as head coach in mid-February on an interim basis after Bruce Boudreau was fired. The Wild are 8-4-0 under Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are one point out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Guerin sounds like he wants to continue evaluating Evason before deciding if he’ll keep him on the job or seek a full-time replacement.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The play of Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Robby Fabbri was among the pleasant surprises in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Wings.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The ECHL and Professional Hockey Players’ Association announced a relief fund to help the league’s players and their families left without salaries following the cancellation of the season.

 

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2020

The NHL extends its self-isolation period, results of the NHLPA poll revealed and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The NHL extended its self-isolation period for players and staff to April 15 because of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situations.

Darren Dreger believes the league won’t be to return to NHL facilities until local authorities in each market lift the ban on social gatherings. Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports playing a 16-team playoff in four centralized, less-affected locations without fans is among the options under consideration by the league.

SPORTSNET: The city of Toronto yesterday announced a ban on city-led events until June 30. However, it subsequently stated that didn’t prohibit sporting events at private facilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That provides a glimmer of hope for those hoping the NHL returns to action sometime in June. However, that’s going to depend on how long this pandemic lasts. If there’s been little or no change, don’t expect a resumption of pro sports in June.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports over $450 million in signing bonus money was to be paid out to players on July 1, which is the traditional start of a new season. That date could be changed to September 1, deferring the bonus money payout. The Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars lead the league in signing bonuses.

Pierre LeBrun suggests the current adversity facing the NHL and NHLPA could have a silver lining if it brings about an improvement in talks toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun went into greater detail in his column in The Athletic, pointing out business will suffer for a few years following this pandemic. He believes the league and the PA cannot afford a CBA work stoppage in 2022. He feels the eventual discussions between the two sides over how to transition through the coronavirus pause could lead to long-term CBA stability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks the two sides will have “transition rules” negotiations on everything from the salary cap to escrow to critical dates like the start of free agency. Out of those could come the framework for working out a new CBA before its expiration in September 2022. As he points out, the league needs stability coming out of this pandemic. Another labor war between the two sides could set the league back for years.

CBA negotiations were already showing progress and a lack of rancor, with the two sides’ mutual agreement not to re-open the CBA last fall as a prime example. If the league and the PA can successfully transition out of this current situation, they should be able to avoid another labor dispute.

LeBrun also reported Seattle is interested in hosting the 2021 NHL Draft in conjunction with the expansion draft.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was voted the NHL’s best forward in the NHLPA’s player poll (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a great idea. Montreal was supposed to host this year’s draft, but they stage the 2022 draft.

NHLPA: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was voted the best forward in the NHLPA Player Poll, with Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman the best defenseman and Montreal’s Carey Price the best goaltender. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was voted the most complete player and the player they’d want on their team in a must-win game. Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand was named the best and worst trash talker.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said teammate Jay Bouwmeester is feeling better and remains in St. Louis during the league’s hiatus. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode during a Feb. 11 game against the Anaheim Ducks.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl said his family in Germany is doing well during this pandemic. His home country is the fifth hardest-hit, with 64,000 cases and 560 deaths. “It’s obviously concerning,” said Draisaitl. “My family is doing what they’re supposed to, they’re staying in. So far everyone is healthy. I hope that it stays that way back home. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he hasn’t started contract talks yet with his free agents. The notables include Brian Elliott, Justin Braun, Derek Grant, Oskar Lindblom, and Nolan Patrick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $69 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. Fletcher could be waiting to find out what next season’s cap numbers will be before opening contract discussions.

SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen and GM John Chayka are donating 20 percent of their salaries to COVID-19 relief efforts.

NJ.COM: Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made a six-figure coronavirus donation to RWJBarnabas Health’s Emergency Response Fund to aid the health care company’s response to COVID-19. The Devils also donated “7,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 hand sanitizer units and an assortment of sanitizing wipes and sprays, to RJWBarnabas.” The team also announced it would extend its support of part-time employees to May 15.

ESPN.COM: San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher defended the club’s decision to play three home games in early March following a recommendation by Santa Clara county against large gatherings. He claimed the club made Tthe best decision we could with the information we had at the time.”










NHL Up & Down The Boards – Oilers, Lightning Among Favorites on Early Playoff Series Prices

NHL Up & Down The Boards – Oilers, Lightning Among Favorites on Early Playoff Series Prices

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2020

The latest on Zdeno Chara, Brady Tkachuk, Kaapo Kakko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: During a conference call with NHL reporters on Monday, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claimed goaltender Tuukka Rask’s smelly farts make him the teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with. “The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings, I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.”

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how depressing most of the NHL news has been of late because of COVID-19, I thought Chara’s remarks about Rask brought a welcome bit of levity yesterday.

OTTAWA SUN: During the same conference call, Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk said his two teammates who tested positive for COVID-19 are doing well. “We’re a tight group so we’re always in contact with one another but I think all of us are just concerned about them and everybody impacted by it.”

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Kaapo Kakko’s stubbornness is blocking his potential greatness. The rookie Ranger’s insistence on holding the puck isn’t working as well in the NHL as it did when he dominated in Finland. He’s also struggled with the defensive of his game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks feels Kakko has the tools to become a dominant NHL player. The youngster isn’t the first promising player who’s ever struggled to adjust to the NHL in his rookie season. With maturity and a willingness to learn, he should become the elite winger he was projected to become.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong believes his club is in a good spot to defend their Stanley Cup title if the season is resumed. “With the knowledge of what we did last year, and that we have a mature team, we’re not worried about whether they’re preparing or what they’re doing off the ice, eating correctly and doing whatever workouts they need to be doing; I know they are because they’ve shown that year in and year out,” Armstrong told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said no Capitals players have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. Nevertheless, the club is preparing for all scenarios, including returning to action at some point in the summer if the league resumes action by then.

TSN: The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers yesterday announced temporary staff layoffs during the COVID-19 period. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed forward Michael Chaput to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPORTSNET: Goaltender Eddie Lack yesterday announced his retirement because of hip injuries. He spent five seasons in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and New Jersey Devils. He compiled a “56-55-18 record, 2.62 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and nine shutouts.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lack in his future endeavours.










Grading the NHL Trade Deadline – Pacific Division Buyers

Grading the NHL Trade Deadline – Pacific Division Buyers

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2020

Taylor Hall and the Coyotes talking contract, the trade deadline may have been for naught, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: cites a report in The Athletic indicating Arizona Coyotes management have had preliminary discussions with the agent for Taylor Hall regarding a new contract. The 28-year-old winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status following this season.

The Arizona Coyotes are talking contract with Taylor Hall’s agent (Photo via NHL Images).

“All I would say right now is that both sides are gathering information and having some discussions,” said Coyotes general manager John Chayka. “Where that goes I’m not entirely sure today. As we talk, we’ll see where things go.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest sticking point for the Coyotes is salary-cap space. With nearly $80 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, they must shed some salary to re-sign Hall. They are allowed to spend over the cap by 10 percent during the off-season but must be cap compliant by the start of next season.

They’ll get $5.275 million in cap relief with permanently sidelined Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve, but they’ll still need more to re-sign Hall and fill out the rest of the roster. That could mean attempting to move a veteran like Derek Stepan, Nikas Hjalmarsson or Alex Goligoski.

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry and his wife Julie set up $2,500.00 tabs at two Montreal restaurants to provide free meals for hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

BOSTON HERALD: If the NHL cancels this season, some teams will have given up assets for nothing at this year’s trade deadline. The Tampa Bay Lightning, for example, sent a first-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for winger Barclay Goodrow. They also shipped another first-round pick and prospect Nolan Foote to the New Jersey Devils for forward Blake Coleman.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks shipped a second-round pick in 2020, a fourth-rounder in 2022, good prospect Tyler Madden from Northeastern and grinder Tim Schaller for Tyler Toffoli, who’s due for UFA status at season’s end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those teams made moves to bolster their rosters for the playoffs. There’s no word from the NHL if those deals would be overturned if the season and playoffs are canceled, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that issue gets raised at league headquarters.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Canucks, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and J.T. Miller were among the players receiving high grades for their performances this season.

THE SCORE: While almost all hockey leagues have canceled their seasons, the Belarussian Extraliga is still proceeding. Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s president, recently took part in a hockey game on Saturday despite 94 confirmed cased of COVID-19 in his country. “There are no viruses here,” Lukashenko said, “You haven’t noticed them flying around, have you? This is a fridge. Sports, particularly on the ice, this fridge here. That’s the best actual anti-virus remedy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have a feeling he’ll be singing a different tune in the near future.