NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2020

by | Apr 29, 2020 | News, NHL | 24 comments

Some players express reluctance about resuming the season, a look at some possible neutral-site host cities and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines,


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL is expected to extend its quarantine period from April 30 to May 15. He also said there will be a call today between the league and the NHL Players’ Association to discuss player concerns regarding a resumption of the season. Those issues include travel and quarantine issues for European players returning to North America, the potential period players could be separated from their families, and the expense of continuing the schedule in divisional host cities.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The state of Texas is reopening, but Stars general manager Jim Nill said he’ll await approval from the league before allowing his players to resume small-group training at the team’s facilities.

Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault recently expressed concern about resuming the NHL season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players, such as the Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty, the Montreal Canadiens’ Phillip Danault, and the New York Islanders’ Ryan Pulock, expressed skepticism about returning to action or concern about lengthy family separations. Others, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jake Muzzin, said they’re looking forward to restarting the season.

Any plan to continue playing will require the NHLPA’s approval. While the concerns of some players are certainly justified, the possibility of larger escrow deductions from their salaries next season could tip the scales in the league’s favor.

If the NHL cancels the season, it will lose around $1.1 billion in hockey-related revenue. That reportedly means over 40 percent of the players’ salaries for 2020-21 will be clawed back. Completing this season would recoup between $400 million and $500 million, meaning next season’s escrow number would be around 20 percent. That’s still higher than the usual 12-to-15 percent escrow clawbacks, but more palatable than 40 percent.

Pierre LeBrun reports the league is also considering starting up the 2020-21 season in December if the end of the current season stretches into September or October. A December start also means a better chance of having fans back in the arenas again.

Bob McKenzie reports a decision on when to stage the 2020 NHL Draft could be made next week. He’s pessimistic that it could be held in June before the resumption of the season, citing the negative reaction to the idea around the league.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford expects the NHL will follow the National Football League’s lead in staging a virtual draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL canceled the remainder of the season and playoffs, it would make sense to hold the draft in June. The issues raised by staging the draft before resuming the season in July, such as sorting out the draft order and addressing conditional draft picks moved in trades earlier this season, would create unnecessary headaches and unpopular solutions.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/EDMONTON JOURNAL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Tampa Bay, Edmonton, and Columbus are among the clubs under consideration to become divisional host cities if the NHL season resumes this summer.

OTTAWA SUN: Don’t expect Ottawa to be a neutral site location. A lack of suitable hotels and their proximity to the rink are among the issues.

SPORTSNET: The NHL is selling team-branded face coverings with the proceeds going to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada COVID-19 Response Funds.



THE SCORE: Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom will undergo his final treatments as he makes progress against Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. “He feels great, considering the condition he’s in. He’s such a great kid and he’s determined. His focus is to play as soon as possible,” said Flyers assistant general manager Brett Flahr.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Lindblom makes a full recovery and resumes his NHL career.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Recently retired NHL player Joel Ward hopes to become a coach with the San Jose Sharks. Ward said he’s chatted with management several times.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes Foundation donated $478,000 during the 2019-20 season, including cash grants, to 26 local nonprofits and youth hockey organizations in North Carolina.



  1. No offence to Doughty and Danault but those are two players who won’t be playing for the cup anyway should the season resume so a restart would just be an inconvenience to their summer holiday. Most players that have a legit shot of playing into the playoffs want to get back at it.

    • So, you’ve canvassed them all? How about sharing a breakdown of the results with the rest of us.

      • Good reply George . I am guessing a lot of young players with no family will want to be back asap . They have not made there big money while the older players that have made the money might look at the risk it could have if they were to die from covid. Plus to be away from your kids for months is tough. Will be interesting if they have a private vote.

      • It’s pretty obvious that most players that are on teams that are out of the playoffs picture would rather not restart.

        Regardless to what fans and players think, the playing out of the reminder of the season is needed to award the draft positions and final qualifying for the playoffs. Some of these bottom teams could have a role in that and hearing of players not wanting to continue makes me glad they are not coming from anyone on my team.

        If the cancel the season the only fair way to do a draft is random draw. Now an Ottawa fan would really hate that idea…not that their drafting record can tell you how great they are at it.

      • So if it’s a random draw for the draft, don’t you think it’s only fair that they just restart the season all equal in points and just do a March madness type final? It’s only fair right Ron?

      • Ah, he just swallowed some snarky pills is all. Pisses him off royally that Ottawa could wind up with the 1st and 2nd picks in a deep draft. As for their draft record over the years, I’ll match that with the Leafs any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      • True the leafs haven’t won a playoff series in 15+ years so it’s not like they haven’t had a bunch of high picks

    • That’s why the regular season should not be resumed. You’d have players on teams with no shot at the playoffs half heartedly going through the motions.
      The best course would be to immediately start the playoffs with 4 wild card teams per conference instead of 2, based upon points percentage. The four wild card teams would play a best of 3. The next two rounds should be best of 5. The conference championships and Cup finals would be best of 7.

      • Ya Howard, there issues with any of the proposals. The teams that are contenders don’t want to jump into the playoffs as they haven’t even skated for over a month. A 2 week training camp and jumping into the playoffs isn’t gonna cut it if you want this to be a true test of who is the best and want avoid a rash of injuries. Especially the older teams.
        Perfect isn’t happening and if the goal (outside the $$) is to award the Cup in some sort of fair fashion, they need to play regular season games.
        How many? I dunno but there isn’t that many left.

      • OK, George, I’ll bite.
        Starting in 2012, the first rounders are: Reilly, 2013 – Gauthier,
        2014- Nylander, 2015 – Marner,
        2016 – Matthews, 2017 – Liljegren,
        2018 – Sandin.
        It’s not that bad lately. If you look back at each draft recently, several of these players are ranked higher than their draft position.

      • Oh, I’ll grant you the Leafs have done a good job at the draft table in that span Ray, but Ron seems to imply that Ottawa’s draft record has been consistently bad since their inception. And that’s just ridiculous. Arguably, the best player in their history – Daniel Alfredsson – went in the 6th round. They got Borowiecki 139th, Erik Karlsson 15th, Mike Hoffman 130th, Mark Stone 178th, Pageau 96th, Chabot 18th. Batherson 121st.

        And many criticized them for relinquishing a chance at the 1st pick in 2019 to Colorado – which turned out to be a NJ “win” with which they took the great Jack Hughes – and in Ottawa’s case turned out to the 4th pick with which Colorado took Byram (who has yet to prove anything at the NHL level). Meanwhile, Ottawa grabbed that slug Brady Tkachuk.

        Sure, some of those picks have since gone elsewhere and we can argue till the crows come home about the handling of those players. But we’re talking the draft record here and I think it’s been pretty decent.

        For obviously different reasons, some of those good recent Leafs picks might also be moving on. Doesn’t take away from the fact they drafted well when given the chance.

      • It was BCLeaf George

  2. So now the league is considering starting next season in December. A month ago it was get back in May-June finish season, playoff’s, Start season October, then start season November, now maybe December, but that would crowd next season well into the summer. I get the feeling that they realize that with a 50/50 split of revenue with players there won’t be enough revenue to balance the books.
    I doubt that the companies who were paying for commercial time are going to be coming back like nothing ever happened. Entertainment / Oil / Auto’s / Restaurants/ Hotels / Airlines etc are in a depression and not interested in buying commercial time when they are not open or people no longer can afford to travel or eat out.
    Also it will be a long time before NY is going allow people in MSG and there are three teams in the NYC area. Doubt California’s 3 teams have people in stadiums in 2020. Forget Detroit, not sure there will be a city there, in Michigan where ya can’t even buy paint or take a boat ALONE on a lake.
    Vegas is screwed for years.

    • Exactly Boom/Bust. But that’s the kind of stuff they DON’T want to hear. It’s not quite denial. Just that they’re very selective about the reality they accept.

      • Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance …. those are the five stages of waking up to reality. Right now they’re somewhere between depression and acceptance.

    • Aptly named Boom/Bust, also to be factored in is the effect lost revenue will have on signing players now.

      There has been much talk of the benefit teams with cap space have for signing UFAs, making deals to take expensive contracts, etc. That is only a benefit to teams who have a cupboard full of money saved up and can afford to sign expensive players at the same time gate and advertising revenue goes south.

      Parents will start taking hockey sticks away from kids and handing them calculators, with pep talks about the money to be made as accountants.

    • Agree that ad revenue will dip, but that isn’t the NHL’s problem for this season and next as the big US network contract expires after next season.
      The Canadian one, which is bigger than the US today, expires after the 25/26 season. Local ones, no idea.
      They play they get paid, they don’t they don’t, is the way I understand the reporting and not having read the contract.
      Could it effect the next US deal? Maybe.
      The ratings will be huge. The NFL draft blew away previous #’s and rivaled actual games.
      Agree it will impact ad revenues, but people are hungry for sports so maybe not as bad as we think. You will see plenty of beer ads etc. Will the costs of those ads reflect the ratings or the competition for the space? Should be interesting to see the final numbers.

  3. Still say give Boston the cup they were the best team most points and start next year next year. For those who don’t want to play retire or go get another job like a nurse or truck driver.

    • Boston wants another championship with an asterisk!?!?

      • What you talking about Chrisms?

  4. They should just right off the season, cancel the draft. Start next season when and if it is safe to do so.
    Do the draft after the completed season.
    There probably isn’t going to be any junior hockey next season as well because they are attendance driven .
    So teams would have no idea the players to draft.

    • That, too, is part of the stark reality Vinnie. And not just junior hockey but very likely also U.S. college hockey, although in their case they might choose to go ahead with empty arenas. But then there’s the very good U.S. Development League which has produced a number of high picks in recent years. Can they afford to play in empty arenas?

      • George
        My guess is no Juniors / no college hockey.
        We will know soon enough about colleges as College Football starts late August meaning players need to be at practice early August.
        That presents a whole set of problems starting with how to handle 100+ college students on the practice field hitting each other and spraying sweat all over each other, etc, etc.
        Not even sure colleges will be open as they have crowded classes & dorm rooms not to mention it’s party time. Who wants to pay $ 40,000 a year in tuition not knowing who or where the student sharing little Susie’s dorm room came from. I am not even sure their will be AHL teams, I’m thinking they raise the roster to 30 and keep with the big club all the important prospects, meaning career AHL’ers and 4th line NHL’ers careers are over.

  5. Take all the championships you can take haters going to hate anyways. Wing nut talking baseball instead of hockey.