Ottawa Senators Player Was First NHL Victim of 1918-19 Pandemic
Rangers owner James Dolan tests positive for COVID-19, a second Avalanche player tests positive, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan has tested positive for COVID-19. Dolan, 64, oversees the NHL’s New York Rangers and the NBA’s New York Knicks. He’s in self-isolation, experiencing little-to-now symptoms, and continues to supervise business operations.
THE DENVER POST: A second Colorado Avalanche player has tested positive for the coronavirus. The players remain in self-isolation. “No other player or member or franchise staff member has shown symptoms at this time, the team said.” This is the fourth known positive COVID-19 test among NHL players, two with the Avs and two with the Ottawa Senators.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: All four cases have a connection to the San Jose Sharks. The Senators played the Sharks in San Jose on March 7 and the Avalanche faced them on March 8.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To date, no Sharks players have tested positive for COVID-19. When the two Senators tested positive, there was some suggestion linking their illness to Los Angeles’ Staples Center as well as the SAP Center, as the club was in the midst of a road trip through California at the time.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators announced Peter Hogberg, father of goaltender Marcus Hogberg, has passed away. Reports in the Swedish media indicate he was battling cancer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Hogberg and his family.
TSN: Bauer Hockey is making their designs and supplier info of their full-face visors public to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SPORTSNET: Goalie equipment manufacturer Brian’s Custom Sports will produce medical supplies to fight the spread against COVID-19. Part of their effort includes producing 18,000 medical gowns.
Two NHL announcers test positive for COVID-19, plus the latest on Connor McDavid, Mark Giordano, Ryan Getzlaf and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
STLTODAY.COM: Long-time Blues television play-by-play man John Kelly tested positive for the coronavirus. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia earlier this month but said he’s feeling much better. Kelly and his family are in quarantine and receiving medical treatment. The Blues are encouraging anyone who was on their March 11 trip to Anaheim to face the Ducks to self-quarantine and report any symptoms to the team’s head trainer.
OTTAWA SUN: TSN 1200 Senators color analyst Gord Wilson tested positive for COVID-19. He wasn’t feeling well following the Senators’ road trip through California earlier this month. “It’s a flu-like nothing I’ve ever had,” Wilson said. “We’ve all had the flu and we’ve all had bad colds. This is completely different … completely different. It grips you.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Kelly and Wilson make swift recoveries.
TSN: If the NHL returns to action, Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano believes the 2020 playoffs could be one of the best because every team will be healthy. Meanwhile, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said there should be some regular-season games before the playoffs begin. “I don’t know if we can just step right back in and have playoffs. Game 1, have Calgary come to Edmonton and guys are running around trying to kill one another in the first game in two months. It’ll end up as the Stockton Heat vs. the Bakersfield Condors.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good points by both captains. The rosters of the playoff clubs wouldn’t be as banged-up as they would be under normal circumstances when the playoffs begin, but the players could benefit from a few meaningful games under their belts before jumping straight into post-season play. However, it’s the coronavirus that will ultimately determine if there will be a resumption of the schedule and what form it might take.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Building a backyard chicken coop is one way Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is coping with the strict stay-at-home orders in Orange County.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Getzlaf hasn’t flown the coop during this foul situation. Thank you, thank you! I’m here every day, don’t forget to tip your host!
SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly believes there’s a summer window of opportunity for the league to complete this season and the playoffs. “I think as time has gone on, we’ve recognized we might have a bigger window than we had originally thought with respect to the summer months and when we have to finish things to be ready for a full regular season next year,” Daly said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers feel – not unreasonably – the league should just cancel the season and look toward staging a normal 2020-21 campaign in the fall. However, the powers-that-be feel very strongly about returning to action to recoup as much of their lost revenue as possible while crowning a 2020 Stanley Cup champion. As I noted earlier, however, the course of the coronavirus will determine if that summer window exists.
THE SCORE: The league has also assured the Montreal Canadiens will get to host an NHL draft one way or another. It was originally scheduled for Montreal on June 26 and 27.
OTTAWA SUN; Speaking of the 2020 NHL Draft, Bruce Garrioch reports league officials don’t expect there will be much change in the seedings for the draft lottery if the regular-season schedule is canceled.
If the lottery were staged today, the Detroit Red Wings “would have the best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick at 18.5 percent and would be followed by the No. 30-ranked Senators at 13.5 percent. But Ottawa actually has a combined 25 percent chance of winning the lottery because it also holds the San Jose Sharks’ top pick from the Erik Karlsson trade, and their odds are 11.5 percent.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch isn’t the first person to take note of this, as several readers of this site also raised this point in recent days. Either way, the Sens are in a great position to land a couple of top prospects in this year’s draft.
NEWSDAY: Construction of the New York Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park was halted yesterday as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola has committed to paying the team’s full staff through the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic.
CBC.CA: Former NHL defenseman Tomas Kaberle is delivering takeout meals from his wife’s Toronto restaurant during the pandemic shutdown.
“It’s kind of fun. If I can make them laugh at this time, whatever it takes,” said Kaberle, who played almost 12 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs. “I’ve got repeat customers asking for me, which is just funny,” he said. “One of our customers, I made their son laugh and made their day, and stuff like that. So that makes me happy.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice to see retired players stepping up to do their part during this crisis.
An Avalanche player tests positive for COVID-19, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, P.K. Subban, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE DENVER POST: A Colorado Avalanche player has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s been in isolation and has recovered. The club has not released his name. The Avs were in a coronavirus “hot spot” in San Jose between March 7 and 8, during which they played the Sharks the night after the Ottawa Senators also played there. Two Senators tested positive for COVID-19. The Avs also played the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 9. The Kings share that venue with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, who had two players test positive for the virus.
TSN: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin indicated they wouldn’t mind if the 2020 playoffs began right away if the NHL resumes this season. New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban would be in favor of a 31-team playoff tournament. His club is 13 points out of a playoff spot.
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno cautioned against agreeing to a schedule where the 2020-21 season begins soon after completion of the current one. “We’ve got to think about the health and safety of our star players,” Foligno said. “That’s a lot of games in one [calendar] year that we’re not used to. “I’m not saying guys won’t grind out a way to do it, because us hockey players will find a way. But you’ve got to think about the longevity of guys’ careers and their health as well.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand why players on teams currently not in playoff contention favoring a tournament that provides their clubs with some sort of relevant finish to this season. Otherwise, as Subban pointed out, they’d be working out to stay in shape simply to play some meaningless games if the league resumes the remainder of the current schedule.
Foligno makes a great point about looking after the health and safety of the players. Staging the two seasons close together without much recovery time in between will put the players at a greater risk to suffers injuries.
SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews donated $100K to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS: Detroit Red Wings goaltender (and former UMaine goalie) Jimmy Howard hopes to play one more NHL season. He acknowledged he’d have to transition to a backup role, but feels he could be a good mentor to a young netminder. Howard acknowledged that will depend on whether any other general managers feel the same way. Howard is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL is considering several options regarding its recently postponed 2020 Draft. One is staging the full draft at a later date in Montreal, though that appears a long shot. Another is holding a smaller scale draft similar to that which followed the season-killing 2004-05 lockout. A third is staging a virtual draft involving all the NHL teams’ front offices. The latter seems the likeliest option, with the Canadiens hosting a full draft in 2021 or 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The full draft won’t be held. It’ll either be a stripped-down one or the virtual draft.