NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2020
More speculation on how the NHL might salvage the season, plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Todd Reirden, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly held a conference call with the league board of governors, but the fate of the season remains cloudy. The league and the NHL Players Association still hope to complete the remainder of the schedule and stage the 2020 playoffs to avoid the USD 1 billion revenue hit by canceling the season.
The league is studying various options, such as splitting playoff teams into four groups and staging separate tournaments at neutral sites (such as Grand Forks, ND, Manchester, NH or Saskatoon, SK) so nobody has a competitive edge. Free-agent players would extend their contracts beyond July 1 if required to play beyond then.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the following via Twitter: “(The) NHLPA is expected to release escrow money from 2018/2019 back to the players and the NHL later this week or early next. The owners share is around $230 million and the players share is $80 million.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch also reports the PA’s executive committee and the player reps are expected to hold a conference call today to discuss whether they’ll accept their final paycheques of the season. That payment is due Apr. 15 and worth $125 million. Some players want the owners to withhold that payment to reduce the escrow hit.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples predicts we’ll see the NHL playoffs staged this June in isolated locations under quarantine conditions without fans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bold prediction, but it’s a scenario the league seems to have under consideration. We’ll find out in two months whether this forecast comes to pass.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox wonders if some struggling NHL franchises, such as those in Ottawa, Arizona, Florida, and Carolina, could be forced out of business by this pandemic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman fights tooth and nail to ensure those struggling franchises stay alive. As Cox points out, he couldn’t prevent the Atlanta Thrashers from going under and moving to Winnipeg. It’ll be interesting to see what lingering effect this pandemic has on the overall health of the NHL’s 31 teams.
THE ATHLETIC: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise has delayed revealing its nickname because of the pandemic, but general manager Ron Francis indicates the club is working with the league on the trademark and legal process. Construction is ongoing on the Seattle arena and the league anticipates it’ll be ready for the club’s inaugural season in 2021-22.
NBC SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko has fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that sidelined him since late October.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals head coach Todd Reirden revealed his son’s health is a concern. Travis Reirden was born with common variable immunodeficiency, leaving his body unable to defend against bacteria and viruses. They are taking extra steps to ensure he remains healthy.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins legend Bobby Orr write a heartfelt letter of encouragement and appreciation to the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Orr often received treatment there for injuries suffered during his playing career.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators Foundation distributed $700K to various local nonprofits.