NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2020

by | May 29, 2020 | News, NHL | 12 comments

Sabres captain Jack Eichel grows weary of constant losing, four regular-season awards are handed out, the latest updates on the league’s return-to-play format, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are growing weary of missing the playoffs. Eichel, a five-year NHL veteran who has yet to make a post-season appearance, said he’s “fed up with the losing”. Ristolainen, a seven-year veteran, said he’s never been part of a winning culture in Buffalo. Both players, however, praised first-year coach Ralph Krueger and his staff for the improvements the club made this season despite missing the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have been mismanaged for years, and it’s taking a toll on Eichel and Ristolainen. While I don’t believe Eichel will demand a trade in this off-season, his patience probably isn’t limitless. He could decide his NHL future lies elsewhere if the Sabres fail to improve over the next couple of seasons.

Ristolainen, on the other hand, could be playing elsewhere whenever next season begins. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.


NHL.COM: With the regular season over, the NHL released a list of four award winners. Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is the winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s points leader (110). Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak share the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the leading goalscorers (48 each).

Bruins goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak share the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (174), while the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best overall record with 44 wins.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL told the NHL Players’ Association that Phase 3 of its return-to-play plan, which includes training camps, won’t begin before July 10. The league hopes to begin Phase 2, which includes small group workouts at team facilities, as early as next week.

TSN: Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top health official, said proposals are being reviewed from sports leagues (including the NHL) to resume play, but the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place for now. Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver are among 10 cities on the NHL’s shortlist of two host locations for its 24-team playoff tournament. Many NHL players are still in Europe and the United States.

Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning suggested holding training camps in the United States because of Canada’s current border guidelines. Many players, such as Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and goalie Frederik Andersen, are working out in the US and won’t be in a big hurry to return to Canada and undergo a 14-day quarantine before they can resume training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The United States deemed professional athletes and their training staff as essential workers, making it easier for players in Canada and Europe to travel into that country for training camps.

Darren Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA are negotiating to push the June 1 deadline for signing entry-level players to July 1. There’s also a debate between the league and the PA over allowing players recently signed to entry-level contracts (such as Montreal’s Alexander Romanov) to take part in the playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To no one’s surprise, the league is against it while the PA is for it.

Bob McKenzie reports Alexis Lafreniere, considered to be the top prospect in this year’s NHL draft, is considering all his options for next season. That could include perhaps playing in Europe if the NHL, AHL, or CHL 2020-21 seasons haven’t begun by this fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he does play in Europe this fall you can bet his contract will contain an out-clause enabling him to return to the NHL whenever the puck drops on the ’20-’21 season.

LeBrun reports the seven teams not eligible to participate in the 24-team playoff format can begin making trades with each other. He points out non-playoff clubs usually wait until closer to the draft to begin dealing, but if there’s a fit among those seven teams for whatever reason, they can go ahead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on this later today in the Rumor section.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers rookie winger Kaapo Kakko might not be able to participate in the playoff tournament. Kakko is a type-1 diabetic and has a higher-than-normal risk of contracting COVID-19. Rangers president John Davidson said they’ll listen to their medical people to determine if Kakko will be able to play.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported collective bargaining talks between the league and the PA are expected to ramp up enough for the latter to form a negotiating committee. Ryan Miller and Ron Hainsey remain active from the 2012-13 version.

Costs for COVID-19 testing during the playoff tournament could cost as much as $3 million.

Friedman thinks there’s a decent chance the tournament could be re-seeded following the qualifying round instead of going to a bracket format.

The New Jersey Devils are believed to be considering at least four candidates for their head coaching job. Current interim coach Alain Nasreddine, along with Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, and John Stevens, are believed to be in the running.

The Chicago Blackhawks could be making some cuts to the professional scouting department.

TSN: Player agent Mike Liut is advising any player who’ll listen to review their disability insurance before they return to the ice.


LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights announced their new AHL affiliate will be named the Henderson Silver Knights.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect center Josh Norris, 20, was selected as the AHL’s rookie of the year for 2019-20.


  1. Congrats on trophies…

    Bruins , Leon, Pasta, Ovi, Tuuuuuuuk & Jaro

    Re: “ Friedman thinks there’s a decent chance the tournament could be re-seeded ” YES PLEASE

    Re: “ The Golden Knights announced their new AHL affiliate will be named the Henderson Silver Knights.”

    ….. it’d be great if they brought in Paul as an honourary head coach…. for my American friends on here who din’t get the reference…. google “ september 28, 1972”…. I had the full page newspaper picture taped to my wall for years…. that day is etched in my mind

    • LOL, they probably don’t even know who Paul Henderson is, Pengy.

      • Yep very likely

        They brought the TVs in to our school that day and I remember walking home from after school with my friends and it was like I was walking on a cloud

        Met him @ CNE mid 90’s, he was singing pics of that memorable photo; I got a pic with him, me and my 3 sons who were very young … love that photo!

      • $2 standing room only at Olympia in the sixties! Henderson Ullman and Floyd. Only time I ever saw a whole line traded. Unger turned out to be my favorite but Wings did not keep him long enough!

      • Wow Biloxi

        …. I was a child in the sixties so I couldn’t quote you prices from then for Leafs…. but that’s pretty dang good …. how much was a beer ? 50 cents?

    • It’s really unfortunate the awarded Trophies will have an asterix next to them.
      The Winners earned it

      • Like the award winners in 1994-95 and 2012-13 got asterisks beside their names?

      • Like Roger Maris has one in the baseball hall of shame … err, fame

  2. Jack Eichel was part of the divide in the dressing room; him on one side and Ryan O’Reilly on the other. Buffalo traded O’Reilly signifying it’s Eichel team.

    There isn’t much there Eichel held his own but didn’t help make anyone around him better. After Eichel 36 goals there was two others that reached the 20 goal total Reinheart 22 and Olofsson 20

    They were in a tough spot with Skinner but $9m was an over payment and he had a terrible year finishing with 14 goals.

    They have some young talent but i don’t think there done losing for a couple more seasons.

    • Jack did not like playing for HOF Housley either and yes sharing the room with ROR. Inspire your team captain jack….

  3. I’ve been read a lot of crap like from Cox at the Toronto Star say short sighted crap like why is the NHL wrecking two seasons when all they should do is cancel this one and the 20-21 season will be back to our norm.

    Well, the NHL is doing this almost perfectly – well as long as health is number 1, to do a play-in like they are followed by a regular playoff…even if it means pushing back the start of the 20-21 season to December. First, fans are hungry and want something…this playoff format will deliver. Play-in teams either go on to play for a cup or if they lose, a slim chance to win the draft lottery…I’ll take that. If the playoffs end let’s say end of October which will leave the league 2 months for off season stuff, free agency and draft, trades, etc. the season starts in December or January with a key hope that the season starts with fans in the seats since the NHL is still a gate driven business so starting without fans doesn’t help the league generate the money they need. TV contracts aren’t enough as the NHL isn’t MLB or the NFL or even the NBA that have those tv deals the nhl wished they had. Doing this might mean no massive drop to the HHR thus allow the cap to stay near the level it currently is. It’s a risk but all things considered a good one that checks a lot of boxes if things fall into place.

    PS as for hub cities, I still say Vegas and also for the east maybe Tampa or something dumb like that.

    • Agreed! No harm in trying as long as the health and safety of the players remains the priority. In fact, the players have full control over this. They can shut this down at any time if they don’t think it’s worth it. If the league can pull this off it’ll be a significant achievement by all involved.