NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2020
Some positive reaction to the league proposed 24-team return-to-play tournament, New York state allowing pro teams to resume training, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
**UPDATE** The NHL has published its framework for Phase 2 of its Phased Return To Sport Protocol. You can read the details by following this link. I’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s Morning Coffee Headlines.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Unlike some who feel the NHL’s return-to-play proposal could be a travesty, Mike McIntyre suggests it could be the most memorable Stanley Cup playoffs in our lifetime.
There won’t be any home-ice advantage, while the playing field will be level for the most part because many players have recovered from nagging injuries. It also provides for some potentially entertaining match-ups, such as the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets squaring off in the best-of-five play-in series.
McIntyre doesn’t feel this tournament should become the new normal. Provided the health and safety of everyone involved can be assured, he thinks this could give sports fans starved for live events the opportunity to enjoy this unique tournament from the comfort of their homes.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Jim Souhan acknowledged the daunting logistical hurdles the NHL must clear to safely stage this tournament, including COVID-19 testing, finding suitable hub cities, international travel issues, and the absence of the usual “sportstuff” that accompanies the game, such as fans and media scrums.
Nevertheless, Souhan suggests hungry sports fans should take what they can get, appreciate the players willing to take this risk, and hope the league is doing this because it can ensure the players’ safety.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The critics of this proposed tournament raised legitimate concerns. If the league cannot assure the health and safety of everyone involved, from the players, team and training staff, arena staff, broadcasting crews, plus all those involved in feeding, housing, and transporting those people, then no, this tournament shouldn’t happen.
On the other hand, the NHL will earn justifiable plaudits if they can pull this off, providing an example for other major professional sports leagues. I expect many of those voicing opposition to this tournament will tune in to follow the outcome. If this is done in careful steps, it’s worth a try.
TRIBLIVE.COM: For Patrick Marleau, this tournament could be his last shot at playing for the Stanley Cup. The 40-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins winger is in the twilight of his career and could retire after this season.
SPORTSNET: New York state governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced professional sports teams could resume training as of Sunday. Those include the New York Islanders and New York Rangers, as both clubs are eligible to participate in the proposed 24-team tournament.
NEW YORK POST: The league hasn’t told the Rangers (or Islanders) when they can reopen their facilities. “We have yet to set a date on which clubs may reopen their facilities for training and, eventually, formal training camps,” NHL group VP of communications John Dellapina told The Post via email. “We are still working with the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) on a league-wide plan to return to play.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan involves players returning to their respective NHL cities and taking part in small-group training in their team facilities. That could go into effect in early- or mid-June.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Representatives for Red Wings forward Dmytro Timoshov denied a recent report out of Russia claiming their client was close to signing with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga in Latvia.
NEWSDAY: Construction on the New York Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park is expected to resume on Wednesday.