NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2020

by | Apr 24, 2020 | News, NHL | 17 comments

More details on a possible resumption of the schedule in July, the potential plans for the 2020 Draft, the Blue Jackets re-sign goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the NHL is looking at a series of phases toward re-starting the 2019-20 season. It’s currently been in Phase 1 (lockdown, quarantine, self-isolation) since mid-March. The league is optimistic about moving into Phase 2, which would see players from around the world returning to their NHL clubs and getting into a two-week quarantine period of small-group training.

Following that could see Phase 3, which could see a plan of four divisional cities hosting multiple teams staging two-week training camps. After that would be Phase 4, the resumption of games.

Darren Dreger suggests the Phase 2 period would ideally be around May 15. He said the league and the NHL Players’ Association are discussing restart strategies, but some teams aren’t optimistic about whether it’s safe enough to return anytime soon.

Pierre LeBrun reports the league is vetting 12 NHL cities for those four divisional hosts. He cites colleague Frank Seravalli indicating Toronto, Edmonton, Dallas, and Pittsburgh were under consideration. LeBrun also mentioned Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul), and Columbus.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports at least one NHL team told its players to be prepared to report on May 15 to begin informal workouts before a training camp of up to three weeks. Not every NHL club, however, is acting in a similar matter. He added Columbus is the favorite to host Metropolitan Division games.

Brooks also said there has yet to be in-depth conversations between the league and the NHLPA regarding health protocols to protect the players from COVID-19. It’s unknown if players returning from Europe would need to be quarantined for two weeks before rejoining their clubs.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports Winnipeg has been removed from that list of potential locations, citing various infrastructure issues such as suitable hotel accommodation to house all those players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A growing sense of cautious optimism has been evident this week among NHL officials over a possible resumption of the season. However, they’ve also repeatedly stressed it would depend upon ensuring the health and safety of its players and those involved in staging those games. They’re hopeful, but they’re also not going to rush things. Like provinces and states that are starting to ease back restrictions, the league will do this step by cautious step.


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the NHL head office is keen to stage the 2020 NHL Draft in early June, well before the proposed resumption of the schedule. Pierre LeBrun said there’s been considerable pushback from NHL general managers. They’re concerned about determining the draft order, as well as the ability to make normal trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Ottawa Sun that a June draft would likely use a points percentage system to determine the draft selection order. Based on the reports from McKenzie and LeBrun, however, most of the general managers are against the notion of staging the draft before the start of the season. Several teams also made deals during this season involving conditional picks to be determined by playoff performance or a player re-signing with his new club. Sorting that out could create more headaches for the league.


THE SCORE: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Elvis Merzlikins to a two-year, $8-million contract extension. The 26-year-old goaltender was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins’ new deal came within a week of the Jackets re-signing Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year, $5.6-million deal. They now have over $75 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson still to re-sign.

Some are wondering why general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is re-signing players when next season’s salary cap has yet to be determined. Same goes for St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong. It’s been suggested their recent moves indicate the salary cap will remain at $81.5 million for next season.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky played to a tie in their NHL 20 matchup, raising over $41K for coronavirus relief.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Former NHL player and 1980 Team USA alum Mark Pavelich is no longer resisting mental health treatment. He’s making progress toward a newly scheduled hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial for assaulting a neighbor last year.


  1. May 15th to start reporting in for training?????

    Getting full season in????

    I just can’t see it at all


    “ Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Ottawa Sun that a June draft would likely use a points percentage system to determine the draft selection order. “

    Bill …. if you are resuming season after the draft ; AND draft based on points percentages; issues WILL arise:

    You are opening up the possibility of a lottery win (team via points percentage age currently just out of the playoffs) of Lafrenierre by a team that could eventually get into playoffs once season resumes and who knows; could go on to win SC

    You could have the reverse (not likely but a possibility) of Bruins getting 31st puck and out in 4 or (again very far fetched but mathematically possible ) with say St Louis picking 30th and with resumption of season and tailspin…. not making the playoffs

    What about conditional picks???

    My beloved Pens are now IN the playoffs but a resumption of the season doesn’t guarantee they get in … Zucker trade had codicil of allowing to move 1st rounder to ‘21 if they don’t make the playoffs

    Crazy time

    Draft MUST be after (at the very least) the playoff teams are determined

    Playing (and basically locked away from society and family and only in one city) for 6-8 weeks to finish season ; and then maybe more for playoffs?????

    How motivated are any Wings players to play ANY games under those 6-8 weeks of “lockdown” scenarios when they can’t make playoffs anyway

    Billy and Gary …. me thinks you are a little “kookoo” for Cocoa Puffs

    • Wasn’t it just a few days ago they were saying maybe July we see some light ? My guess is they already know that they cannot get 31 teams re-assembled for the last 15% of the season so might as well get ready for the draft. I can think of a few reasons as to why they are dragging this out.

      1) only thing worse than not having money coming in is having to send out REFUNDS for games not played.
      2) there may be a huge canceling going on from companies saying, don’t have the money to buy commercial time for games we don’t think will be played.
      3) We are getting near the time when season ticket invoices for next year will be mailed out, doesn’t look good when your asking for money for next year and you can’t even figure out how to play the end of this season.

      • B/B

        With you on your 1,2,3’s as very plausible

        My guess…..

        Full 82 game season for all; full play-offs ; draft before resumption …….. likelihood…… .00001 %

      • My take:
        1 – NHL attempts to finish season and playoffs as laid out above. 80%
        2 – NHL actually gets it done without a player contracting the virus. 60%
        3 – Advertising. Agree many companies will not advertise even though the audience will be there. Not the NHL’s problem but the networks.
        4 -June draft. I don’t get it. Why not just wait? Can’t get my head around the logic of June.
        5 – Bruins win the cup. They ask Z if he is going to retire and gives the reporter the best gitch pull in history. Lifts him right off the ground.

      • Ray … love the image of Big Z and the gitch pull


    • I read Luke Glendening said the Wings were chomping at the bit finish the season.

  2. If you don’t finish the season, how do you do the draft.
    Do you put every team in a draw and the first one out is 31st pick all the way down to #1
    You can’t use the unfinished standings for drafting it wouldn’t be fair to alot of teams.
    No wonder they don’t want to admit the season is over.

  3. I think if they can’t do a full 82 game season , then just scrap the entire season.

    Be done with it and move out on.

    • According to MacKenzie, one format they’re now considering for the draft is that everyone goes into the lottery, weighted according to their place in the standings but that no team can move up more than 4 slots

      • George O if they use that, then wouldn’t it make sense to say no team can move back more then 4 spots. Lets be fair both ways.

      • How do you know what 4 spaces are when the season hasn’t been completed.

      • Ya, that isn’t perfect but we’re not gonna get perfect.
        Say your Tampa and your trying to win a cup.
        You also have a cap problem and need to trade a player for a pick(s) like a Killorn or Johnson or whomever, doesn’t matter.
        So you have a guy playing for you in the playoffs who has been traded? What if he gets hurt? Or no trades at the draft?
        What is the argument for not doing this in late August early Sept? I just don’t understand.

      • What they are saying in a “nice way” without commitment is we don’t expect to play out the regular season or the playoffs. We will finish up business that needs to be done then give you all the bad news. The longer we wait to cancel the season, the longer we have YOUR MONEY from regular season games not played. Once we cancel the season then comes the REFUND requests and by the way we have already spent the money, sorry.

      • That’s possible Boom/Bust but also an assumption, like the rest of us are making.
        I believe them when they say they want to get this done, so we differ on that I think.
        Pretty big lie to be throwing out there just to let fans down easy.
        Not sure what you mean about your money, I assume the TV networks. My guess that is why they will do everything to finish.

  4. Yep, I can see it now.
    Draft day
    With the first pick Tampa Bay selects ……
    With the 29th pick Ottawa ( owner sticks up his middle finger on national TV)
    With the 30th pick Ottawa ( from SJ) Ottawa GM “moons” the TV camera
    and with the 31st pick Detroit’s Stevie “Y” announces team is moving to KHL

    Guess is that what NHL is telling us in a back handed way is there will be No end of regular season and No playoffs. Also guessing that teams will be ranked 1-31 by % of points made per games each team played and no lottery.
    Go to TSN website, click on league standings and with a hand held calculator you will have the final standings via percent not points.
    The announcement that season and playoffs are cancelled will happen at the end of draft.
    NHL / NBA / maybe MLB will be moth balled waiting to see what NFL does.

  5. I remember one of Daly early comments was we wont sacrifice two seasons to save one.

    As it’s been mentioned the 2020 – 2021 season can start later, cancel the all star game and the by week. This will help a bit.

    Maybe just cancel the season and call it a day.

  6. Love all the comments today re proposed season; playoffs; draft etc etc

    All have merit

    What’s seems clear from what I’m reading above

    1) plan of two completed full seasons; 2 full playoffs; 2 cups awarded ; 2 drafts equitably done by 30/6/21…. very slim probability

    2) ANY decision re 19/20 season (reg; resumption; draft; playoffs; Cup)…. will in no way be even close to having unanimous support…. many unhappy campers

    Again my pref….

    74/75 game season ; immediately sloughing off Montreal and downwards in current standings (Note Mon in if 75 games) ; beginning only when safe/viable

    Remaining games heavily skewed to Div only match-ups…. empty neutral sights no prob as far as I’m concerned

    Rank/seed 16…. same playoff seeding/format with exception of best of 5’s for first two rounds

    Award cup

    Do draft

    Delay start of 20/21 season for a break between cup/next season… prob means starting 20/21 in early mid Nov

    Tighten 20/21 sched …. no all star; no bye week;

    ‘21 Playoffs ; Draft … completed by late June ‘21

    Can’t see 82 games for 31 teams for 19/20

    Crazy for draft before (at min) reg season…. cede this inly to suggestion of weighted draft but no tram can move up/down greater than 4 spots (McKenzie ?? Above??)