NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2020

by | May 17, 2020 | News, NHL | 31 comments

The latest on the NHL’s efforts to resume its season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Burnside reports recent suggestions the NHL’s Return to Play committee might have a plan for restarting the season by this week could be optimistic given the back-and-forth between the players and league on a final format. Both sides appear to favor an expanded playoff format involving 24 teams. “Twelve teams from each of the two conferences would gather in four hub cities, six teams per city,” writes Burnside.

An extended period of training for up to three weeks would be required before the playoffs begin. Burnside cites multiple sources suggesting a round-robin lead-in of five games, using points percentage from that tournament combined with regular-season points percentage would give the top two teams in each division a bye, with the bottom four clubs playing a best-of-three to determine the traditional 16-team postseason field.

Burnside also reports the list of potential hub cities has been narrowed to “Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Vegas, Dallas, and Minneapolis/St. Paul as the front-runners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s was reportedly some pushback against a 24-team playoff format from some quarters, as it would allow the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens – who were all but eliminated from playoff contention when the schedule was paused – into this proposed tournament. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, however, feels the NHL needs those big-market clubs (as well as the New York Rangers) to make a big splash upon its return and energize more of the league’s fan base.

Brooks also scoffs at critics worried the 24th place Canadiens could win the Stanley Cup under that scenario, pointing out no one had a problem with the 13th-overall Los Angeles Kings winning the Cup in 2012. He also noted the absurdity of the current format in which teams with the best regular-season records meeting in the second round.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell reported Friday the NHL Players Association is voting this weekend to determine if they’ll extend their deferral of receiving their final paychecks by another month. He considers it a good sign of healthy dialogue between the players and the league, which could bode well for future CBA negotiations.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently singled out some potential CBA changes proposed by several NHL executives during a survey conducted by The Athletic. They include reducing contract term limits and limiting no-trade/no-movement clauses to players 30 and older, as well as addressing signing bonuses and uneven year-to-year salaries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be some sticky issues for both sides to sort out in the next round of CBA talks, but reports for the past two years indicate preliminary discussions were cordial before the pandemic pause. Bear in mind that while some executive will push for those aforementioned changes, there’s no certainty their views are shared among their peers.

With the two sides working closely together to navigate a path toward returning to action, it could lead to a better labor relationship. The league and the players need each other now. They cannot afford another lockout coming out of this current crisis.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would like to place former Oilers and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli with the Arizona Coyotes. Bettman would also like to see former Coyotes captain Shane Doan return to the club in the front office but there are “apparently some bad feelings about how everything ended for him in 2017.”

Simmons claims there’s word NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire interviewed for the general manager’s job with the New Jersey Devils. McGuire denies it. “They have a GM,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Craig Morgan covers the Coyotes for The Athletic. In a recent mailbag segment, he expressed doubt over Chiarelli joining the Coyotes.

PUCKPEDIA: Part One of a three-part player agents poll examined such issues as the minimum age for drafting players, as well as changes to entry-level contracts and arbitration.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Several notable Blue Jackets sidelined by injuries when the schedule was paused will be ready to go if the season resumes this summer. They include defenseman Seth Jones and forwards Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstand, and Alexandre Texier. Winger Josh Anderson (shoulder) could also be ready to return, depending on when play resumes.


  1. I’m amazed people are worried about lower ranked teams getting in? Shouldn’t that just be like an easy win or warmup?

    • Or, as Brooks essentially pointed out, the playoffs would be like any other year with upsets always possible. Tampa Bay went out in the second round and the world didn’t stop.

      Uncertainty is what makes the playoffs worth watching, otherwise the Cup would be awarded to the team with the best regular season record.

      • Bigbear how about this

        Mtl has 71pts in 71 games

        Buff has 68pts in 69 games

        Buff has the advantage in ROW

        Both teams next scheduled game is against each other.

        Play the game Buff wins they’re in Mt losess in ot or win they’re in.

        Neither belong but this would at least show some form of fairness.

      • I really don’t see how points % isn’t the fairest way! Take Montreal’s last 2 games away and they have 71 and Buffalo still has 68? Let’s be honest do you really think either of those teams are going to get everyone ready for A chance to only play 1 game?

      • I see bigbear, it’s not about being fair, its as long as Montreal is in.

      • So is it fair the bruins get that high seed? They could have lost all the rest of the regular season games!? NoT everyone is going to be happy but the buffalo Montreal scenario is pretty cut and dry no matter what way you look at it!

    • Not worried about them, they simply don’t belong in the playoffs

      They did not earn the right to compete for the cup.

      Having big markets teams make the playoffs to generate excitement is weak excuse for them to be in the playoffs.

      This scenario says the top teams would get a buy, that isn’t an advantage at this point in time.

      Cancel the season it becoming a farce.

      Potentially $500 million in revenue makes my last point moot.

      Worst case scenario MTL vs Chi in the finals. Makes the league pathetic.

      • If it is those two in the finals and the league successfully (meaning safely) completes the playoffs in the wake of a world wide pandemic it will be one of the biggest successes in nhl history. Makes the league the opposite of pathetic.

      • If those 2 teams met in the playoffs it would be a success! The top teams getting a bye is an advantage no question about that

      • Well, Caper, brace yourself. According to TSN today “progress” with the Return to Play Committee is being made re a 24 team playoff.

        Perhaps you will find solace in the notion of the entry level draft being held before the end of the season is fading.

      • Chrism, how it the heck is that a success?

        Please explain, other making a statement saying nothing.

        Makes the league a joke because you have 2 teams who didn’t qualify for the playoffs in the Cup final.

        That’s the total opposite of success.

      • I see caper as long everything goes in favour of the bruins that is the only fair way?

      • You seem to be forgetting something very important in this equation caper…. there’s a goddamn global pandemic! Holding any season and or playoff at all, if nobody gets hurt, is a success! By necessity it’s not going to look traditional. Oh no. How awful! How is the imaginary sanctity of the nhl playoffs more important than the league salvaging something of the season… for monetary and moral reasons? You’re missing the forest through the trees here caper.

      • Mtl need high draft pick, not play offs. Give play off to Buffalo!
        At the end, this season should be over.

      • Bigbear explain to me how as long as everything goes Boston way?

        That isn’t my debate, mine is very simple.

        Top 16 teams, draft after the season.

        Cancel the season.

        I like the fact you bring up history in below comments. Fact is simple Montreal hasn’t won the cup in how many years. Most came when they had the drafting rights in Quebec. But that’s all history.

        I understand you want Montreal in the playoffs, I’m saying they haven’t earned that right.

      • It’s a business caper. Why should they cancel? If it’s safe and they can salvage a event that entertains and brings in revenue why shouldn’t they? I answered you snide post caper. You have failed to make one realistic argument about why the league shouldn’t try to salvage the season. Again. If it can be done safely.

  2. Based on mayor John Tory’s comments I don’t expect Toronto to be a hub city if the NHL expects to resume the season this summer.

    • The refs may as well wear clown suits if this stupid carny idea is adopted. If you were out at the pause you are OUT. 16 teams as always since expansion…and for heavens sake leave the draft until after playoffs so it is fair. Dont blow all the league’s credibility on bastardized playoffs and draft…..Please.

      • 2014 the leafs lost something like 12 of their final 14 to drop from 2nd to out of the playoffs! So you have to either finish the regular season or like they’re doing now making it the fairest way possible. I agree the draft must be done after everything else

    • The season will be canceled. Hope I am wrong but I am not.

    • Boom/bust, what they don’t address is what they would lose if they don’t play. I can’t imagine it is more than what they are talking about.
      Also it is interesting that the owners are suggesting a revenue split, which IMO should have happened a long time ago.

      • Ray
        I assume that players contracts state that teams have to pay contracts even if games not played. If that is so, then it puts teams between a rock & hard place. They might be able to bite the bullet for one season but if this goes on for several seasons the only way out is to file bankruptcy which does neither side any good. Gut feeling is ALL sports are just trying to get thru to fall this year and see where the economy stands. If no or small ticket sales and commercial $$$$ are in free fall then players will have to share in the pain. Been thru this in the factory world, sorry we are in a deep recession, some get pink slipped, others have hours cut.

  3. Habs are a minor league team with a great goalie they should be playing for the Calder cup against Detroit no one cares cup.

    • I can understand why bruins fans are worried about the habs, the habs lead the bruins in playoff record 24-9 the habs with 24 cups and the bruins with 6! The bruins with 2 cups since the Expansion and the habs with 10

  4. What have you done for me lately lol no wonder they can’t sign anyone a once proud franchise now the joke of the league sad.

    • Lol All I know is the habs own the bruins in every way, all that counts though are cups………how is the bruins sad franchise doing in that category? Lol

      • Not in most recent history bigbear which was 2011.

      • Caper if you’re going that far back you have to go all the way, the bruins since expansion have only won 2 cups the habs have won 10! And that is when that rule they used once was gone, since that period the habs still lead the league in cups! Like this article says do some homework and discover reality!


      • BigBear it’s been 23 years bud! You still hanging onto that, good for you.

      • Lol oooooh that article got to ya! I know the truth hurts but it is the truth! No matter what way you look at it the habs have owned the bruins, the past has actually happened the future hasn’t