NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2020

by | Mar 27, 2020 | News, NHL | 10 comments

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.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (Photo via NHL Images).

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.



  1. one fan’s opinion…

    Teams not in the play offs should not be back doored in…no expansion of teams eligible…let the chips fall where they may….

    Montreal should host the next “normal” draft….if a virtual draft is needed this year it is needed

    The issue of the CAP & player’s contracts when there is no normal revenue is above my pay grade…I wonder if in all these contracts …individual players….TV contracts…..the collective agreement with the NHLPA….is there is some crisis or emergency clause that kicks in….I think it exists in some businesses….

    • I know there is if a plane with an NHL team on board goes down … you’d think this scenario would also have been considered in order to cover all disaster bases

  2. Too much time on my hands. Ok here is my proposal to complete the regular season in the east.

    The most games played is 71 by MTL, DET and OTT none of them three would be making the playoff.

    Both the Metro and Atlantic div top 3 teams have played 69 game so their locked in place

    The wild card spot NYR 70 79pts games played, FLD 69 78pts, CLB 70 81pts, Car 68 81pts, NYI 68 80pts , Buff 69 68pts

    Florida cannot catch Toronto and the other Metro teams can’t catch Pitts

    NYR and CLB both with 70 games played don’t play anymore regular season games so their locked in at 79 and 81pts meaning Rangers season is done because they are presently outside the wildcard spot

    that leave us with Car 68gp 81pts presently first wildcard spot

    NYI 68gp 80pts 1pt behind both Car CLB for a wildcard spot

    CLB hold the second wildcard spot but played 70 games their locked in.

    FLD 69gp 78pts but with a win and two NYI losses they leap frog both NYI and CLB for the second Wildcard spot

    Buff 69gp and 68pts no chance but will play 1 more to help complete the regular season

    Long way to go to get to my final regular season games in the East

    Car and NYI both at 68gp will play back to back
    FLD and BUFF both at 69gp providing Florida with its slim chance and Buffalo playing the role of spoiler.

    Got all that. I’m hanging on here

  3. significant issues are there if the league wants to move straight into the playoffs, moreso in the west. Jets are currently in 1st WC spot with about a 60% statistical chance of making the playoffs in an 82 game schedule. There are a handful of teams right there with games at hand. I would be pissed if my team were cut out of the playoff picture with games in hand. By the same measure I would be pissed if they went on percentages based on incomplete schedule with differing home/away and un-balanced oppositions. It doesn’t really matter if I am pissed though – its the owners missing out on revenue they need.

    I actually like the playoffs beginning right away with all 31 teams in. Bruins get a first round bye, 2nd vs 31st for the rest. after the initial round there would be 16 teams left that could play down 1v16 etc. It would be a playoff for the history books that offers meaningful games and playoffs.

    • Would you want a bye after not being able to skate for 6-8 weeks (at best) and not even able to go to a gym? I assume there would be a mini camp, but then straight to high intensity hockey seems like a big jump. If I am Boston a best of 3 against Detroit might be worth the risk. Although they did beat them a couple times this year already.
      3 exhibition games?
      I think we will have the inevitable groin strains that always come early in the season/training camp.

      • I hear you – but everyone is in the same situation regarding getting back into game shape. Boston will be healthier going in to the round of 16 and likely to be playing against a team in the bottom half of the league. I like their chances. They would miss out on 3, maybe 4 home games. (if the round of 30 is best of 7)

        I don’t see any scenario that will make everyone happy but all 31 in might be what is best for the league.

    • No way Detroit signs up for this, what if they won and ruined their chance at a high draft pick? They absolutely need to draft in the top 4 spots this year. Ottawa wouldn’t want them or SJ to risk it either!!!

      • I don’t see this as something that has to link to the draft as that order can be considered as set. Perhaps the bubble playoff teams could split their share in the draft lottery (ie. the 17th place team with 1% chance shares with 15th -17th teams at .25% chance – or whatever)

        As for the concern the Bruins may have about getting a bye in the first round – give them a choice. If they pass on the bye then St Louis or Tampa gets the choice of a bye.

        Honestly I will be happy if they play at all but hope to make it as fair and as manageable as possible

  4. I wonder if a stripped down draft could be combined with a move toward a minimum age of 19. So say they draft 18 year old players in the first 3 rounds. Rounds 4 to 7 the club could pick a player that is age 19 or higher. If there is not a player they wish to pick in a round, they get the equivalent of a compensatory pick in the following years draft in the same round as it was this year.

  5. 31team playoff. Detroit plays Boston and wins two out of three. (I know but they did very good against them this year). Of coarse they lose the next series and are out. Do the wings then draft 15th? I don’t think the city of Detroit or Boston will be very happy. Lots of things to consider in these crazy times but I will be glad to watch hockey in the summer.