NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2020

by | Mar 24, 2020 | News, NHL | 5 comments

No decision yet on the fate of the 2020 regular season and playoffs, more speculation over the format of the 2020 post-season, interim coaches facing an uncertain future, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The NHL has not yet decided whether the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played, or what format the 2020 playoffs might take. In a press release, the league indicated the resumption of play and format would depend upon what transpires between now and when it is permitted to resume play.

Still no word as to when the NHL will return to action.

The league reiterated it doesn’t anticipate any resumption that would affect its ability to stage the 2020-21 season in its entirety. It also stated it was premature to assume games would be closed to the public whenever the schedule recommences.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the league told the board of governors it is too soon to determine when the schedule will resume, adding it is considering every option. Sources said some team executives prefer the usual 16-team playoff field, while others like an expanded one. A larger playoff format could also affect the draft lottery.

LeBrun speculates the likely postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 24 to Aug. 6) could provide the league more flexibility to return to action this summer. He also said he couldn’t recall a higher level of cooperation between the league and the NHL Players Association than he’s seen right now, but that collaboration could be tested as both sides consider difficult financial decisions that affect both sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams on the playoff bubble would prefer an expanded playoff format if the regular season cannot be staged. Whatever that might look like remains to be seen. It will depend upon when they’re approved to resume by health officials in Canada and the United States.

NBC Sports provides national US TV coverage of the NHL. They’re also scheduled to cover the Tokyo Olympics. Postponing the Olympics ensures no broadcast scheduling conflict for the league.

It’s in the best interest of the league and the PA to cooperate during this crisis. They cannot allow petty squabbles of the past to derail efforts to find a workable solution to the anticipated decline in hockey-related revenue brought about by this pandemic. If they can successfully navigate through this, the stage could be set for a rancor-free extension of the current collective bargaining agreement.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon observes the pause in the NHL schedule leaves the league’s interim coaches in limbo. They include the Calgary Flames’ Geoff Ward, the Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness, the San Jose Sharks’ Bob Boughner, the New Jersey Devils’ Alain Nasreddine, and the Minnesota Wild’s Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nasreddine could face the most uncertain future. He was hired by Ray Shero, who lost his job a month later. There’s talk the Devils could replace interim GM Tom Fitzgerald. If so, that person could bring in his own bench boss.

TSN: Mark Master reports ice makers in the 31 NHL arenas will face a daunting challenge if the league returns to action this summer.

THE SCORE: The 2019-20 Canadian Hockey League playoffs and the 2020 Memorial Cup have been canceled. It’s the first time in the Cup’s 102-year history that it won’t be awarded to Canada’s top junior team.


  1. If the summer games are cancelled and they would of run 07/24 thru 08/6 and normal NHL playoffs take 3-4 weeks I can’t see the NHL playing at all this year, no regular season and no playoffs.
    If they want a normal 20/21 season ie start on time/82 games and have a regular albeit a condensed calendar off season – draft, FA market and training camp. Just can’t see it if things don’t get better soon.

    • I think they will play. Cant collapse the economy totally At some point it will resume along with regular life this summer. maybe still with empty seats or o ly allowing season ticket holders to a certain level with good seat spacing based on seniority, but to at least get playoff tv revenue.

      • I’m torn on the no fan thing and it doesn’t seem logical that we will be past this enough to allow 18,000 people in an arena by the summer.
        The emotion and noise in the building from fans is a huge part of the this and impacts the game IMO.
        But, having a champion matters too.
        What if you get into round one or two and a player gets it? So far young healthy people are low risk judging by the data, but we don’t have all the data to make that call yet and it isn’t just about the players, it’s about all of us.
        I guess you could sequester them and the entire staff until it’s done. Charter flights, separate parts of the hotels for meals etc.

      • Gotta agree with Ron on this one … when you hear the Governor of New York declare flatly that their virus cases – 10 times that of both Washington State and Los Angeles at 25,000+ – will double every 3 days, you just know there will be NO resumption of major league sports any time soon and for hockey anyway, that pretty much ends it.

        Here in Canada the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia – while nowhere near those U.S. numbers – are nevertheless climbing every day at a rate that will soon start to overwhelm the abilities of medical facilities to deal with it while still handling everyday medical problems not associated with the virus.

        It’s one thing to be optimistic … but let’s not be totally naive.

  2. Sorry folks: Like a few of the posters above have said,I really don’t see a resumption in play anytime soon.

    The spread of COVID-19 has become exponential and we all are being encouraged to stay home and isolated. This includes all professional athletes.

    We are about a year away from a specific vaccine to COVID-19. In the meantime, more and more day to day challenges are reduced to simple pay the rent, feed the family and keep the virus from infecting one’s household,

    Thank you Lyle for keeping up the news as it pertains to our favorite sport but barring the unforeseen. I believe no Stanley Cup will be awarded this season thru no fault of anyone.

    Stay safe and healthy posters. Later