NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 30, 2020
The NHL and NHLPA look ahead to the second phase of transition from the self-quarantine period, plus updates on the Hurricanes, Islanders, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE LATEST ON THE POSSIBLE RESUMPTION OF THE NHL SEASON
NHL.COM: The league and the NHL Players Association released a statement indicating they haven’t made any decisions or set a timeline for a possible return to play scenario. However, they are looking ahead to Phase 2 to transitioning out of its current self-quarantine period.
“The precise date of transition to Phase 2, during which Players might return to small group activities in NHL Club training facilities, remains undetermined. However, provided that conditions continue to trend favorably – and, subject to potential competitive concerns as between disparately situated markets – we believe we may be able to move to Phase 2 at some point in the mid-to-later portion of May. Specific guidelines governing Player and Hockey Staff activity would be provided at that time.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA are pumping the brakes on recent speculation suggesting they could resume the season in July. That option floated last week by league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, sparking the recent media chatter. Although they stressed nothing was set in stone, resuming the schedule in July appears to be their best-case scenario.
Reopening the season still depends upon approval from state and provincial health officials in the cities proposed as hosts for NHL divisional games. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading health expert on the U.S. COVID-19 task force, is expressing caution over a possible return of pro sports in North America this season. “If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season,” said Fauci.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports the planning work by the NHL during this period will allow them to be ready out of the gates if they get approval to resume the schedule. A sticking point is trying to get games back on television without requiring players to be quarantined away from their families for weeks at a time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Family separation has emerged as a concern for several NHL players. Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry is the latest to speak publicly about this issue. While Lowry is single and doesn’t have any children, he feels it would be unfair to expect married players to spend perhaps up to four months quarantined from their families.
Spector points out fulfilling local television contracts is an incentive for non-playoff NHL clubs to resume the season. If completing the regular season isn’t possible, a popular playoff scenario would see the top six teams in each division meeting in one city.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out that scenario would mean the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks would be playoff clubs, while the New York Rangers (who have a better record) would not.
TORONTO SUN: Joe Warmington believes Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area would be the perfect hub as a neutral-site divisional host city. It has everything the league needs: “NHL and television-ready arenas, and plenty of accommodation for players and team staff.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto is rumored to be among the host city favorites, but that depends upon the approval of Ontario’s health minister.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran recently explored how escrow might help the NHL keep teams intact if the pandemic crashes league revenue, especially for next season. He doubts the players would accept rolling back salaries, while the owners probably wouldn’t go for a system that would accept an exemption to allow players to collect salary outside the cap. Lowering the cap and allowing compliance buyouts would gut rosters, especially those of playoff contenders.
McGran suggests leaving the salary cap at around $80 million and setting escrow at 40, 50, or even 70 percent, thus leaving rosters and contracts intact. Everyone takes a hit, but escrow can be reduced throughout the season as revenues come back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Higher escrow clawbacks could be among the options whenever the league and the PA discuss next season’s salary cap. It’ll be interesting to see how they address reduced revenue and its effects upon salary cap payrolls.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could soon be cutting ties with the Charlotte Checkers as their AHL affiliate. It’s believed the Hurricanes could soon have a deal with the Chicago Wolves, while the Checkers could become the new affiliate of the Florida Panthers.
ESPN.COM: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise is getting close to revealing its name, team colors, and logo.
NHL.COM: “The new arenas for NHL Seattle and the New York Islanders remain on schedule for opening for the 2021-22 NHL season.”
Every time I see a new suggestion for saving this season , I hope more and more the season gets canceled.
Any scenario that would allow the Sabres to be a playoff team is beyond ridiculous…. Now add in Buffalo making it with 68 points over NY with 79 points?
I’d rather see the Sens and Wings duke it out for a cup in an all east final!
Roll back schedules, 31 team playoffs , 23 teams resume while 8 stay home and pick their nose ….. Jesus!!!!
Just cancel the damn season and be done with it already! Maybe suspend all pro sports writers until next year from writing anything while we’re at it! These ideas seem inspired by their morning turd time anyway.
Amen, brother. One question – the draft lottery. Points per game played?
Could not agree more Nyr4life. What these geniuses keep overlooking are the major roadblocks that won’t be lifted anytime soon. They tried it in California by opening some beaches the other day – not I hear they’re closing them again.
American players on Canadian-based teams are back in the U.S. – Canadians on U.S.-based teams are back in Canada – then there are those from a number of European countries. The border between the U.S. and Canada remains closed to all but essential traffic – some Canadian provincial borders remain closed (e.g. Ontario – Quebec), many airlines aren’t flying – certainly not internationally. Work permits in Canada will have expired as soon as a player went back home to Europe or the U.S. – they’d need to be renewed (bureaucratic paperwork intervenes here).
And even if, by some miracle, hockey players are deemed “essential” – no politician in his right mind in Canada is going to waive the 14-day quarantine requirement for them and not others. Non starter. As one prominent provincial premier said recently “pro sports is well down the list of any priorities.”
Honestly I don’t know what to do with the draft other than leave it as it stands. As we all know, the lottery is pretty crazy luck anyway. Last year NJ had the best odds of pulling the 5th overall and ended up #1. NY had a 7.8% chance of picking #2 overall, and a probability of about 39% chance of picking #7.
Chicago had a 3% chance of picking #3 and 78% chance of picking #11.
In other words, a shortened season can’t screw up the draft more than the NHL lottery manages to do on its own.
Agreed George. I can’t see any scenario that a small US city raises its hand and says “sure, bring in a a thousand +++ people from hot beds like NY, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and put our small community at risk, by the way… vote for me in the next election 😜 please and thank you”!
I think it’s time to lay down these dumb scenarios and brace for the reality that this season is more than likely lost.
And IF any of these scenarios were to play out by some miracle…. then this seasons integrity will be lost.
A “politician in his right mind” might seem hard to find, George. Yet, it seems likely that some promise or other might induce many to “get their mind right”. A politicians mind is rarely worthy of note, except in that it is made of the most malleable stuff!
Not arguing your point at all. But one thing a politician has in mind is to protect his/her political butt at all costs. It’s for that reason that I think NO politician is going to loosen public gathering restrictions to any significant degree and risk the s*&t hitting the fan again to an even greater degree. THAT would be political suicide.
Only when official science can say definitively what the limitations of this virus are and how it will be affected by a vaccine (which we won’t see for at least a year) will we see any relaxing of the status quo. And we’re nowhere near that yet.
Does that include me, Nyr4life? Because that would mean shutting down this site…:(
Nah, Lyle, no one is about to shoot the messenger 🙂
On another note, if anyone wants to get a better grip on the total uncertainty we face – and hence the reason why some of us think those Pollyannas in the media and in the NHL offices are living in a dream world – check out this article in The Atlantic – pretty much sums up where we (the human race) stand
Not at all Lyle. You aren’t the one coming up with these insane ideas. And you also are talking other points than salvaging the season.
Where would we all go without this site? Yahoo?
We all appreciate this site and what you do. Especially in times like these!
Good to see a fellow Atlantic subscriber George. I read that this AM with my coffee and got through most of it before I had to leave.
They do a good job those folks.
My two cents is that THEY ALREADY KNOW that 2019-2020 and playoffs are finished. The NHL has no say so in this, It’s really up to the Federal / State (Province) / City GOBBERMENTS and they are afraid of making a decision on anything,
They won’t announce anything as the moment they do ticket holders will demand REFUNDS.
Just a guess but right now they are looking at
1) Will schools open up in the fall, if they don’t forget NHL / NBA / MLB
2) IF and when will NFL teams go to camp and play preseason games with fans in the stands.
3) When season ticket invoices are mailed out in the summer, how many cancellations will there be ? This is actually something you can start with NFL now, so just how is that going with NFL ?
4) and the BIGGIE is who and how much $$$ are
companies going to pay for TV commercials
Expedia has projected that buying of commercial time will drop from 5 billion to 1 billion and Boeing has burned thru their cash and laying off 10% of work force, Hertz rent a car may file for bankruptcy.
I don’t think they start with 2020-2021 until they know how much play money they are going to have ( or at least an estimate)
Why can’t the draft be canceled as well. Next year if the season happens teams will need a draft.
Junior teams and college teams aren’t probably going to play anytime soon.
My take is that 90% of the leg work has been done by the scouts on this draft and it should be held.
This is an important draft for teams rebuilding and what do you do with the draft picks that teams got in exchange for players ( Sorry Minnesota that you traded Zucker for a #1 from Pens, but no draft for you). If no draft, does that make the 217 players who would have been drafted become free agents ?
I see the opposite, with the NHL hell bent on stuffing in 82 games in fewer months next season, I can see rosters expanded to 30 and no minor league teams at all. That would mean the good prospects would be kept on the big team and the current 4th liner veterans + career minor
AHL’ers sent home.
Very true Boom/Bust. I guess those who are fans of teams that will be drafting low (or who traded away their top picks) are more inclined to be indifferent about the draft. In the meantime, what do they do with year’s crop? Lump them in with those in next year’s draft?
I think they need to redo the whole draft concept.
They need to do a draft order for the next 32 years with Seattle included. Every team gets to pick #1 once in the 32 year period.
Seattle in 2021 picks #1 over all
2026 picks #2 overall
2031 picks #3
2041 picks #5
Then the next team starts their rotation in 2022
The remaining draft picks #6 to #32 are decided by the standings each year by lottery as well.
I would also make the rule that no team can trade their #1 to #5 pick unless it is at the draft of the year that the pick will be made.
That way a G.M can’t sell the future to save himself.
I think this would help the integrity of the league by eliminating the thought process of tanking to get a better pick.
Teams are not dressing the best team they can.
I also believe it would create more trades. Plus everyone talks about the salary cap leveling the playing field.
What could be more fair than making sure everyone gets a #1 pick.
How many teams have never had one.