NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2019
The latest on the CBA negotiations, Stan Mikita had Stage III CTE, an update on Mitch Marner’s new contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang examined the key issues in the NHL CBA talks as the NHLPA face tomorrow’s deadline to opt-out of the current agreement next September. Escrow calculations and post-career health care are of primary concern for the players. Strang also reports sources saying the league would like to address signing bonuses and front-loaded contracts, citing a competitive advantage to big-budget teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hands up everyone who isn’t surprised the league has concerns about those signing bonus and front-loaded contract loopholes. Critics of the current CBA saw these issues coming for a while now. Strang said it’s unknown if those will be sticking-point issues.
The PA has until tomorrow (Sept. 15) to exercise their early-out option. If they don’t, the current agreement expires on Sept. 2022, unless the PA and the league hammer out a CBA extension before then.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: A posthumous study of Hall-of-Famer Stan Mikita’s brain revealed he suffered from Stage IIIchronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head. Mikita passed away on Aug. 7, 2018. “Mikita is the eighth former NHL player diagnosed with CTE at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a list that also includes Derek Boogaard, Bob Probert, and Reggie Fleming.” The NHL continues to reject any link to hockey and CTE injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the reason the NHL refuses to acknowledge that link is because of the costs they’ll face in compensation to former players suffering from CTE. The evidence, however, is mounting against the league. At some point, it will have no choice but to seriously address this issue.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports nearly $61 million of Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner’s new six-year, $65.3-million contract will be paid out in signing bonuses. The bonuses provides a measure of insurance for Marner to get paid in the event of another NHL lockout as those must be paid in full every July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner’s contract is likely a fine example of the type the league wants to address with the PA in CBA talks.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was granted a leave of absence from training camp for personal reasons. Head coach Paul Maurice downplayed the situation, claiming there’s “nothing sinister” about it. There’s no indication how long he’ll be away.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Corey Perry will miss at least two weeks with a fractured foot. He suffered the injury on Wednesday after tripping on a step and rolling his foot. Meanwhile, defenseman Stephen Johns remains sidelined indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.
The Anaheim Ducks yesterday announced forward Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves will miss the entire 2019-20 season.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka revealed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is day-to-day following a minor procedure over the summer to “clean up a previous injury.”
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian will miss training camp as he continues to recover from off-season hip surgery.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Jake Virtanen is in head coach Travis Green’s doghouse after failing his physical exam. His conditioning is believed to be the issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a good start for Virtanen. He’s in the final season of a two-year contract and likely on a very short leash with Green.
Told there is currently wide gulf between Rangers and DeAngelo. NYR don’t seem inclined to move off same $925,000 for which Lemieux signed. Puck is in the defenseman’s end.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) September 13, 2019