NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2020
The NHL extends its self-isolation period, results of the NHLPA poll revealed and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: The NHL extended its self-isolation period for players and staff to April 15 because of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situations.
Darren Dreger believes the league won’t be to return to NHL facilities until local authorities in each market lift the ban on social gatherings. Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports playing a 16-team playoff in four centralized, less-affected locations without fans is among the options under consideration by the league.
SPORTSNET: The city of Toronto yesterday announced a ban on city-led events until June 30. However, it subsequently stated that didn’t prohibit sporting events at private facilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That provides a glimmer of hope for those hoping the NHL returns to action sometime in June. However, that’s going to depend on how long this pandemic lasts. If there’s been little or no change, don’t expect a resumption of pro sports in June.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports over $450 million in signing bonus money was to be paid out to players on July 1, which is the traditional start of a new season. That date could be changed to September 1, deferring the bonus money payout. The Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars lead the league in signing bonuses.
Pierre LeBrun suggests the current adversity facing the NHL and NHLPA could have a silver lining if it brings about an improvement in talks toward a new collective bargaining agreement.
LeBrun went into greater detail in his column in The Athletic, pointing out business will suffer for a few years following this pandemic. He believes the league and the PA cannot afford a CBA work stoppage in 2022. He feels the eventual discussions between the two sides over how to transition through the coronavirus pause could lead to long-term CBA stability.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks the two sides will have “transition rules” negotiations on everything from the salary cap to escrow to critical dates like the start of free agency. Out of those could come the framework for working out a new CBA before its expiration in September 2022. As he points out, the league needs stability coming out of this pandemic. Another labor war between the two sides could set the league back for years.
CBA negotiations were already showing progress and a lack of rancor, with the two sides’ mutual agreement not to re-open the CBA last fall as a prime example. If the league and the PA can successfully transition out of this current situation, they should be able to avoid another labor dispute.
LeBrun also reported Seattle is interested in hosting the 2021 NHL Draft in conjunction with the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a great idea. Montreal was supposed to host this year’s draft, but they stage the 2022 draft.
NHLPA: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was voted the best forward in the NHLPA Player Poll, with Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman the best defenseman and Montreal’s Carey Price the best goaltender. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was voted the most complete player and the player they’d want on their team in a must-win game. Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand was named the best and worst trash talker.
THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said teammate Jay Bouwmeester is feeling better and remains in St. Louis during the league’s hiatus. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode during a Feb. 11 game against the Anaheim Ducks.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl said his family in Germany is doing well during this pandemic. His home country is the fifth hardest-hit, with 64,000 cases and 560 deaths. “It’s obviously concerning,” said Draisaitl. “My family is doing what they’re supposed to, they’re staying in. So far everyone is healthy. I hope that it stays that way back home. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he hasn’t started contract talks yet with his free agents. The notables include Brian Elliott, Justin Braun, Derek Grant, Oskar Lindblom, and Nolan Patrick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $69 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. Fletcher could be waiting to find out what next season’s cap numbers will be before opening contract discussions.
SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen and GM John Chayka are donating 20 percent of their salaries to COVID-19 relief efforts.
NJ.COM: Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made a six-figure coronavirus donation to RWJBarnabas Health’s Emergency Response Fund to aid the health care company’s response to COVID-19. The Devils also donated “7,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 hand sanitizer units and an assortment of sanitizing wipes and sprays, to RJWBarnabas.” The team also announced it would extend its support of part-time employees to May 15.
ESPN.COM: San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher defended the club’s decision to play three home games in early March following a recommendation by Santa Clara county against large gatherings. He claimed the club made Tthe best decision we could with the information we had at the time.”