NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2020
TSN: Frank Seravalli suggests a 68-game rollback could be a fair way of determining positioning for a standard 16-team playoff bracket. “Under this plan, only each of the team’s first 68 games of the season would count for the playoff standings,” writes Seravalli. “Eight teams would have three games negated, 11 teams, two each; and 10 teams, one each.” He points out the same 16 teams that would qualify under points percentage would also qualify under this scenario.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren looked at what could be the NHL’s faint hope of completing the season during the summer in neutral sites. He cites the difficulty in protecting players plus team, arena, and hotel staff. There is also the issue of the cities involved exempting the NHL from physical distancing guidelines and how local health facilities would be utilized to test players.
“Yet if there’s any hope for the NHL to recoup some dollars from their enormous advertising and TV broadcast deals, the league isn’t going to quietly skate away without exploring any and all options,” writes Warren.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The logistics of pulling off neutral-site games are daunting, but not impossible. Nevertheless, the course of this pandemic will determine the viability of staging those contests. Contrary to popular belief, the league and the NHL Players Association aren’t delusional. They’re well aware that the longer this goes, the less likely their chances of salvaging the season. But until that door slams shut, they’re going to consider every possibility.
OTTAWA SUN: Some good news from the Ottawa Senators. Head coach D.J. Smith said the five players who tested positive for COVID-19 have fully recovered.
TSN: Veteran NHL linesman Scott Driscoll hopes he hasn’t called his final game. The 28-year veteran was set to retire after officiating 1,850 NHL games. He had three more to go when the schedule was paused by the coronavirus.
SPORTSNET: CCM Hockey, alongside many of its star endorsees, are donating 500,000 surgical masks to front-line medical personnel battling the coronavirus. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Montreal’s Carey Price, and Toronto’s John Tavares are among the players contributing to the donation.
RDS: Former NHL star Vincent Lecavalier said the current pause to the schedule reminded him of the uncertainty he and his peers faced during the 2004-05 lockout. “For a hockey player, the hardest part is the fact that there is no date for a return to play,” said Lecavalier. “The players are used to a calendar: in the summer we know that it’s two months to train before resuming action. At the moment, they cannot even skate or be with their coaches.”
NHL.COM: Rimouski Oceanic forward Alexis Lafreniere topped the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American prospects for the 2020 Draft. Left wing Tim Stuetzle of Mannheim in Germany’s top professional league is No. 1 in the final list of International skaters.