NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2020

by | May 26, 2020 | News, NHL | 33 comments

The NHL releases its detailed next phase for its return-to-play protocol. Check out the highlights and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: released a 21-page memorandum yesterday detailing Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol. THE SCORE’s John Matisz took to Twitter outlining the highlights:

NHL releases a detailed protocol for the second phase of its return-to-play plan.

Players can train in small groups of no more than six in the facility voluntarily. The training is non-contact and the players cannot skate or train in another facility. Players will be encouraged to shower at home.

Players must be tested for COVID-9 two days before reporting to their facilities. Players and staff must self-monitor temperature and symptoms daily. Anyone developing symptoms will be isolated. All players and staff must immediately notify the club medical staff if they suspect coming in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned between each player’s usage.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports individuals traveling to their team’s cities by commercial air or rail must self-quarantine for 14 days immediately following their arrival. The same rule applies to those arriving from high-risk areas and those landing in areas where local authorities continue to impose a quarantine period for any travelers.

Teams will provide accommodation for those players (such as AHL players) who don’t maintain a residence in their club cities.

Fitness testing by the clubs is not permitted during this phase.

Non-essential personnel (media members, agents, massage therapists, etc) will not be permitted to enter the facilities. Player’s family members also won’t be permitted.

Johnston also reported players must undergo a pre-participation medical examination before they can begin skating. They also won’t be allowed to access saunas, hot tubs, or steam baths. Where possible, the team will assign a different athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and equipment manager to each group of six.

Teams that fail to comply with the Phase 2 guidelines could face fines, loss of draft choices, or ineligibility to participate in the 24-team tournament.

TSN: Face coverings (cloth or surgical) will be worn at all times – except when exercising – when entering or leaving the club facility and inside the facility where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Coaches cannot be involved in on-ice training but can watch from the stands.

Players who live in NHL markets other than where they play will be permitted to use the facilities in that city, depending on availability, so they don’t have to travel back to their team’s home city for Phase 2.

While the league views this document as comprehensive, it acknowledged it cannot mitigate all risks. “A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome,” the 22-page memo continued. “COVID-19 generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, more so than younger, and otherwise healthy, individuals.

“We recognize that players and personnel have family and household members who may fall into these vulnerable categories.”

Pierre LeBrun also noted the memo indicates the league is targeting a date in early June to transition to Phase 2. It has yet to be determined how long Phase 2 will last.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports if all goes well in negotiations between the league and the NHL Players’ Association and governing health officials, training camps (Phase 3) could begin by late June. That could put the league in position to resume play by the second or third week of July, with the Stanley Cup champion crowned in mid-to-late September.

The league and the PA are expected to resume negotiations today on an agreement covering all outstanding issues related to returning to action this summer.

THE SCORE: cites Minnesota Wild player rep Devan Dubnyk telling The Athletic’s Michael Russo the agreement on a 24-team tournament doesn’t mean hockey’s back. “We still have a long way to go,” he said.

Dubnyk indicated the two sides still must address the logistics of staging that tournament. The length of isolation away from families remains a concern for the players, as well as the quality and cost of accommodation, food and travel in the host cities, and the effect upon the league’s finances.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve cited the highlights of the league’s Phase 2 memorandum. The comprehensive document isn’t perfect, and I don’t doubt issues could arise that aren’t covered in the memo that will require immediate action. But as The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell observed, the attention to detail is impressive. This wasn’t something just slapped together within a few days.

How this phase unfolds will determine when the training-camp phase can begin. While NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said a few positive COVID-19 cases aren’t enough to derail the process, it will remain a concern for the players and the staff. A significant spike in cases could derail Phase 2, jeopardizing the planned 24-team tournament.


WGR 550: cited TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reporting the NHL Draft Lottery could be held on June 26. A date for the 2020 Draft has yet to be determined.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie took to Twitter indicating there are more questions than answers regarding the draft. “When will it be? How many teams? What format? Odds? For now, a lot more questions than answers. Not even the GMs who are in the lottery, or hope to be, seem to have many, if any, firm details on it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lottery will likely be held in late-June, but I think the league will wait and see how things pan out with its tournament plan before announcing the date and the details for the draft.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes player rep Jordan Martinook confirmed his clubs was one of the two that voted against the 24-team format. The Tampa Bay Lightning was the other.

Martinook said he and his teammates had concerns the extra play-in round would lengthen the playoffs and their odds of winning the Stanley Cup. “It wasn’t like we didn’t want to play or anything,” he said. “It was just this particular option maybe didn’t benefit us. It’s just kind of the stance we took.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under the standings when the season was paused, the Hurricanes held the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.


  1. I wonder how people will view all these unnecessary tests being handed out to athletes when plenty of people that have been locked down still can’t get them?

    Reason #176 they should just scrap the season.

    I’m also wondering how players like Kakko and Domi (very high risk) will be able to participate in any type of continued season?

    Scrap the season. We’re beyond “this is the flu / wash your hands , stay 6 ft away” bs now ….. aren’t we?

    • Some just clearly don’t want to confront reality head on Nyr4life, preferring to talk around the central issue in the vain hope of preserving some sort of “life as usual” scenario. I suppose, to be fair, that gives them some comfort but I’m one of those who prefers not to stick one’s head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.

      Yesterday in the thread “Is NHL Biting Off More Than It Can Chew By Restarting Season?” Ron Moore scoffingly responded to some of our comments with the vapid observation “Wow economics pros in here today! A couple of things: It’s hard to catch a disease if you avoid contact with it and you’re in a disease free area to start. It could still happen but it’s 100x harder. Also economic turnarounds happen faster than most think with some things going away forever and some new stuff to fill the void.”

      Of course he didn’t comment when it was pointed out that he failed to consider asymptomatic carriers and the fact that, in North America, only about 20% of the population has actually been tested. He also doesn’t bother to give us an example of a “disease free area” where hockey players may gather and how those areas – if any exist – can prevent asymptomatic carriers from entering. Nor did he offer an example of when, exactly, the world economy made a quick turnaround following anything close to this magnitude – NOT including the deadly Spanish Flu which began in the midst of a world war when economies were already showing signs of collapse and within a decade led to a world depression.


      • George,

        Completely agree.

        Every day, I’m literally more shocked than the previous of this dumbing down of this virus. And some of the solutions people are coming up with!

        “If a bunch of people from all over the place gather where the virus isn’t…. then we’ll eradicate this virus!……”

        BRILLIANT !!!!!


        Why didn’t doctors or scientists read this site before? We could have spared so many!!!!

        Aye aye aye.

      • George as usual you miss the point. I’m not going to explain it but you missed my point.

      • I wasn’t the only one. Why not enlighten us – if I read it wrong I will apologize.

  2. I read the entire Phase 2 document…the juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze at this point. Late July start just seems too far out to start. What is the advantage of starting that late if it means pushing back the next season to Dec. I would rather see the next season start on time and do all the off-season stuff this summer that is pending.

    • Could be a lot of economic advantages to pushing the season back that far. A lot less competition for viewers by other sports. Far more likely fans will be in attendance by then.

  3. Agreed. Without a vaccine, I think its ludacris this is even being debated. Dont get me wrong, I want nothing more than sports to come back but, these are human beings at the end of the day. Not comparing but, how many teams get hit with the flu bug every year. Spitting, sweating, fluids flying everywhere. I’m not potentially infecting one of my teammates who may or may not make it through the ordeal.

    • There is a lot of assumption that a vaccine is a given. Some viruses have had great success with vaccines. Others, such as the flu, the common cold, less so. I don’t think any entity… government, business, or personal should make decisions on this being a certainty. It would be foolish.

      • Chrisms, no politician, of course, is going to come right out and say it since that would be political suicide – regardless of reality – but the alternative is, if no vaccine can be ready in the short term and then later proves to be ineffective, and the world-wide death rate continues at around 7% of those infected, we’re just going to have to take our chances if any kind of healthy economy is to be maintained.

        Not a nice way to look at it, but unless someone can come up with an alternative approach that will both keep the lid on widespread infection, AND keep the economy running, that’s the way it might have to be. In that event, anyone with underlying health issues that make them a death risk are not going to be prepared to join crowds anywhere. The effect on family gatherings, visiting of relatives in long-term care facilities and just society gatherings in general will become surreal.

      • Well said George.

  4. Just award the Stanley Cup to all the front line workers who are dealing with Covid straight on. They are more deserving than anyone at this point in time

    • With my day with the cup I want to fill it with cherry icee and drink that down in the parking lot of a hills.

  5. If every player does what they are supposed to the no one will be infected. It’s not hard if nobody playing the game has the virus then it can’t be passed to another player. They will be tested to make sure they don’t have it and all they need to do is follow the guidelines. If they don’t then the player should be held responsible for his actions.

    • Actually, with viruses like covid-19 , flu etc. by the time it’s realized that they are carriers, it’s too late anyway.

      Usually it’s spread without the carrier showing ANY signs (fever , chills, sore throat etc) of the virus at all.

      So unless we’re talking about 24/7 Testing to every player …. it’s still an issue.

      If suppressing this virus were 1/2 as easy as some people make it… it would have died on the vine!

      • Yup. The ONLY “philosophy” that works – if you have to have one – is hope for best – prepare for the worst – but be unsurprised by anything in-between.

      • So do we know why we impose a 14 day quarantine? Is it to give a suspected carrier known as asymptomatic time to finally “develop” COVID-19 or is that the lifespan of the virus?

        And if there were 10 people living together during that time in full quarantine, there would be no way for them to get it unless one of them breaks quarantine or someone wrongfully enters theirs. Would that be correct?

      • Ok Rattus I’m listening please explain. The players are already suppose to be quarantined as per nhl mandate. As long as they did what they are supposed to please explain how the player with a negative test will infect another player. I thought the virus had to be transmitted. If all the players test negative after the months of quarantine and then continue to quarantine while hockey is being played how will they transmit the virus If I’m missing something please explain with facts not opinion.

      • Correct, NY. Or at least mostly so.

        There is a small percentage who don’t exhibit symptoms.

        There is the window between having covid, and exhibiting symptoms.

        Then there is the testing every two days, which leaves a window, albeit small, for infection to take place.

        Roger doesn’t have a grasp on the issue. Maybe he should look at the statistics? 🙂

      • LJ so a player that has been quarantined for a cpl months and then TESTED for the virus shows negative results can still have the virus. Please explain the test shows you have the virus regardless of symptoms shown and since the players are supposed to be quarantined already please explain. By the way the NHL is in constant discussions with professionals to make sure that they can get the season going with absolute minimum risk. Since you base everything on only opinions I guess your opinion is that the virus is not transmitted but just magically appears. There are factual tests that know if you have the virus or not so as long as the players are doing what they are supposed to there should be no issues.

      • Roger the fact is you really don’t understand how the virus works or is tested!

    • Roger Laurin:

      Your post?
      Talk about “ludicrous”.

      And yes, I am an MD.

      • The 14 day quarantine has to do with showing symptoms. Most people show symptoms after 11 days of coming into contact.

        So no. 14 days is not the lifespan. The 14 days is to minimize the spread by the infected.

        I don’t necessarily see getting players to a site healthy as the only issue. The issue will be keeping them healthy and making sure nobody slips through the cracks to get there.

        There is no way that you are going to be able to keep 800+ people fully isolated during any type of tournament.

        Getting them Meals, transportation, medical issues etc. will be a constant issue / threat.

      • I agree NYR4LIFE it will take a lot of monitoring and a very cautious approach. There will always be a risk that a player or those supplying the food ect. gets antsy and breaks quarantine and ends up getting infected and infects a player which would cause many issues. The easiest way is to cancel the season but it’s the players, owners and leagues decision Like it or not so just enjoy the hockey and hope that nothing happens. There’s to much at stake so I’m sure the NHL will take every precaution possible.

    • Roger: You said: It’s not hard if nobody playing the game has the virus then it can’t be passed to another player

      It is not as if the players exist in a separate world, and remain their whole time in the rink. They go to and from the rink, and are in contact with others: hotel and restaurant workers, chance encounters, family and friends during breaks, touch common surfaces, etc. There are many ways to become infected.

      The issue isn’t whether this is manageable, or wise. The issue is your categorical statement that there is no chance of infection.

      That’s fine too. But when you make statements as if they were facts in a public forum you should expect push back.

      But my observation is that you make statements as if they were absolute facts, and that you dismiss others opinions based on select use of statistics while dismissing others inconvenient to your views.

      Finally, I never said that the virus wouild “magically appear.” If you are going to push back with me, how about pushing back on something I actually said.

      You know: something factual?

    • I don’t think anyone with a brain assumes that we will suppress the virus or that it will go away.
      I also don’t think there is a single government that thinks they can continue to shut down 30% of the economy for another 12-36 months waiting for a vaccine. If we actually even get one. So far looks promising.
      Neither is an option if we are having an honest discussion about this.
      The discussion should be how do we keep the economy going as safely as possible for at risk folks. Yes there an dipsh*ts everywhere. Welcome to democracy.
      So if anyone can get a haircut in Edmonton, and so can my dog, why can’t the NHL play games without fans?
      Ya, I know they won’t be wearing masks, but they are also the healthiest among us and extremely low risk to get seriously sick. The data is clear on that now, at least so far unless this thing mutates.
      They will also be quarantined, tested, and limited in their interactions with the general public. More than the rest of us are doing.
      In Edmonton we have plenty of testing capability, the person I know who is working at one spends most of her time on the phone as they are slow. If you have a reason for getting one you will. If you come in contact with someone who has it, you will get tested. There are 52 active cases in an area of over 1 million.
      We are in the 2nd or 3rd inning of this, at most. If they wanna play, play. I have no issue with it and the only way it will likely impact me is I get to watch it on TV.

      • Have to agree with most of what you wrote Ray if people are waiting for a vaccine they will be in their house a long time. People who don’t want to go out or go to work stay home but don’t stop the willing and able from supporting their families. People talk like you die if you have Covid 19 it’s simply not true the elderly are at risk and we failed them miserably. Easy to see people want out- a beach opens and it’s packed if the rinks or sporting events were open the stands would be packed. If NHL playoffs don’t start to late July I personally think they might as well give the Bruins the cup they were the best team this year and worry about 2020 – 2021 getting started in October. Cheers stay safe if your unsure stay indoors if your me I golf everyday by the rules social distance don’t shake hands or high five but still enjoying the outdoors.

    • The player be held responsible for his actions? That’s the stupidest comment I have ever heard! Have you heard the term asymptomatic? With that reasoning every person who has spread it to someone else should be held responsible! Can’t believe this got no response!

  6. Everyone keeps using the word quarantine, including myself.

    Are they truly quarantined? I don’t think they are truly in quarantine. They’re out shopping , or getting meals delivered etc like everyone else on the planet.

    Personally, my life hasn’t changed much other than skipping a few haircuts and not being able to eat at restaurants for a short time.

    I’m at my office at least twice a week. Shop a few times a week. Stop at gas stations, walk in my neighborhood (along with a lot of others) . Have been at small gatherings at my house / friends houses etc.

    3 of 4 in my household are considered essential. My youngest son is the only one who’s life changed drastically.

    Nothing I’ve done remotely resembles “quarantine “ .

    Stepping out anywhere is a risk.

    • They are quarantined when they get here. After that the other protocols take effect.
      Sequestered is likely a better word.
      Can they play golf together on an off day?
      Sure why not.

  7. No one is forcing anyone to play, any player can say, no thank you and stay home.
    Make an offer to players union that any player that wants to stay home, can and get 25% of his check ( call it unemployment).
    Paying players full amount and then not playing only digs the hole deeper

  8. Lots of good points by those for and against continuing the season in spite of safety risk of Covid19.

    A couple things:
    1) There are no guarantees that these players wont get Covid-19 even if they stay home. In fact they will likely have more supervision and accountability for maintaining isolation protocol than if they remain at home.
    2) Covid-19 is a smaller risk to their health and well being than playing hockey is.
    3)It is a risk to society at large due to potential to create another pocket of the disease, however, this will be an extremely well cared for and monitored group. Infections will be detected early and managed professionally with motivation to consistently apply the highest standard of care by threat of litigation if negligent.

    It is a worthwhile risk for the NHL and players to try to recover some of the revenue they will otherwise never get back. Players such as Domi (diabetes) should discuss risks with their own doctors and be granted leave/injury status if they decide its too much to play