NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2020

by | Mar 12, 2020 | News, NHL | 20 comments

The NHL considers its options as the NBA suspends its season over coronavirus concerns, plus game recaps and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The National Hockey League will provide an update on its season later today regarding coronavirus concerns. The league released a statement last night indicating its awareness of the National Basketball Association’s decision to suspend its season indefinitely after a player tested positive for the virus. NHL officials will continue to consult with medical officials and evaluating options. It is also in close contact with the NHL Players Association.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the league is expected to hold a conference call with all 31 clubs today.

SPORTSNET: While the league hasn’t yet decided on suspending its season, Chris Johnston believes it wouldn’t be surprising if it followed the NBA’s lead. “How can they reasonably play on with the virus spreading quickly in North America?”, asked Johnston. Even if the league held games in empty arenas, it might not be enough to guarantee the safety of the players and officials. Johnston also raised concern over whether the NHL can award a Stanley Cup champion this season, noting several European leagues have scrapped their seasons over COVID-19 concerns.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports playing games without fans would have consequences for league revenue this season, in turn affecting the salary cap for 2020-21. The NHL is the most gate-reliant for revenue among the four major North American sports leagues.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have grounded their international scouts over COVID-19 concerns.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith attempted to find some humor over the possibility of playing games in empty arenas. “I played in an empty building for a couple of years in Florida so I’m used to it,” he said.

Could the NHL suspend its season over COVID-19 concerns? (Image via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this situation. The Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks already announced it would play several upcoming home games without fans. The league could go that route with all its clubs on a week-by-week basis, they could postpone the remaining schedule by two or three weeks or suspend it indefinitely.

Whatever the league decides, it will affect hockey-related revenue for this season. It’s probably safe to assume those rosy projections of the cap rising next season to between $84 million to $88 million can be scrapped.


NHL.COM: Alex Pietrangelo scored twice to lead the St. Louis Blues over the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 to complete the game that was postponed last month after Blues defensemen Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident. With the win, the Blues (94 points) hold a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first overall in the Western Conference.

An overtime goal by J.T. Compher lifted the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Cale Makar collected three assists for the Avs in his return to the lineup following a five-game absence to an upper-body injury The Rangers (79 points) sit two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Earlier in the day, the Avs announced center Nathan MacKinnon was sidelined one-two weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Kyle Connor scored two goals for the Jets (80 points), moving two points ahead of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers (83 points) remain three points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik tallied his 30th goal of the season in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Kubalik leads all NHL rookies in goals this season. Patrick Kane scored twice for the Hawks.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their seventh straight win by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Kings have won 10 of their last 13 contests.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 32 goals and 66 points.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens sophomore center Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s season is over following an injured spleen suffered on Friday playing for the Habs’ AHL affliate.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina’s attempt to return from an ankle injury has been delayed by a mid-body injury. The Wings are hoping it won’t be season-ending for the young winger.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers center Nate Thompson will be sidelined for two weeks with a sprained left knee.


  1. Huh. If a team had an injured player that they didn’t anticipate coming off ir until the playoffs and used that cap space to make trades at deadline and the season gets postponed and the ir player comes back before end of season thus putting team over cap…(get all that?) Would the league give said team a break?

    • Much clearer than the terms and conditions of a website

      • Dontchu rip on lyles terms!

    • Great question. My guess is dropping the season is most likely making it moot. An easy fix would be to tell teams that such players are banned from playing until the playoffs regardless of their health….but who knows. Great question.

      So has the league made enough money that should the season be scrapped that the cap ca at least stay the same? Or will it contract forcing contract buy-outs that do not penalize the cap? Would the players trigger their escalator to avoid this?

      • As I said in the headlines thread Habsfan1, should the plunge in the stock markets continue and we fall into a major recession or something even remotely close to the Great Depression, buying an expensive ticket to a pro sports game anywhere on the planet is going to take a distant back seat to fundamentals like eating and paying rent/mortgages. Bloated salaries beyond all sense of “need” will disappear and if players with huge contracts try to force the issue through things like the escalator you will quickly see bankruptcies declared right across the pro sports spectrum.

        In that regard pro sports won’t be any different than reams of other businesses collapsing under the financial mess created by the virus.

      • Fair George. The question I guess I was trying to ask if the cap see that collapse for next year’s cap or the year after. Has enough money come in to set the cap for next year? I doubt anything has a chance to turn around until the vaccine comes out in a year or so (at the earliest)……

    • simple answer is they can’t play regular season games.

  2. It’s good the sharks are playing to an empty building. First off it spares fans the in person embarrassment of our losses, plus with his advanced age jumbo is at high risk of covid. hahah.

    so ridiculous.

  3. How do you feel if the rest of the season and playoffs are cancel? I think it’s to early to rush to that decision.

    If you’re a season ticket holder are u upset if the above happens and part of your emotional investment is watching your team fight for a playoff spot?

    Just award the cup to the regular season champs

    the most games played is 71 the least is 68, regular season ends and rankings are done by winning % , have all teams play to 71 games take the time off and reassess later.

    First round best of 5, then back to best of 7

    I would think the last thing the NHL wants to do is cancel the playoffs and that won’t happen today.

    I don’t see an issue in regards to players exposure playing to empty arenas, you can go to a mall, casino, or a restaurant and be at a much higher risk.

    As mentioned the NHL relies on gate revenue more then any major sport. We’ll hopefully have a little more clarity today. But i don’t expect the NHL to cancel the season, they’ll hold out until the last moment. Hockey in August anyone?

    • Man. If they awarded the cup to the regular season champs… I’d say as a fan of that team I’d be too embarrassed to even show up at the parade to celebrate a mockery of a cup win… but they probably won’t have any parades anyway

      • Chrism you’re over rating pride. Give me the damn Cup!

      • And forever have it in the record books with an asterisk? Nah

      • I guess Boston should be pretty used to championships with asterisks next to them! Boom!

      • Now Now Chrism, “used to ” implies there is however, there isn’t. so no boom boom for you.

      • Huh?

  4. The hard decision for the NHL to cancel the balance of the season lies in the fact that unlike the NBA, they, at present, do not have an active player who has contracted the virus that they know of.

    Most pundits believe they should follow suit like the NBA as a preventative measure but Bettman tends to do things his way so we shall see what transpires.

    • Joey, you can bet the decision will be to suspend all games “until further notice.” The minute one major sports league decided to suspend its season (I believe it may have been soccer) it became incumbent upon all other leagues – pro and amateur – to follow suit. Any that did not and had massive outbreaks connected to their activity would be stigmatized forever while explaining their actions before a world tribunal. This will be one time when the almighty dollar takes a back seat to common sense.

      • George, believe it or not, I do realize that the NHL really doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

        My comment was more about any perceived needless delay on doing the right thing and suspending play as opposed to your interpretation of it being a black and white issue.

        I will in the future try to phrase things differently to that wrong interpretations will be kept to a minimum.

  5. I think if the season is canceled they should award the Stanley Cup to the team that has been the most consistent . That would be the Ottawa Senators. In the last 3 years they have been 30th , 31st and 30th.
    Consistency under Dorion.
    Evaluator of talent
    Chabot minus 18
    Tkachuk minus 14
    White minus 14
    Stay safe and don’t inhale

  6. If season is canceled the Bruins are the champs just not Stanley Cup champs. Boston would be the NHL champs and as a Bruin fan it’s just simply not the same. Way bigger worries right now than no hockey if market doesn’t come back we will all be looking to go back to work.