NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2020

by | May 4, 2020 | News, NHL | 44 comments

Reaction to the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft before resuming the season and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports this week will be a big one for the NHL. A board of governors’ conference call will be held today to discuss stage the 2020 draft next month, perhaps on June 5 and 6.

The league will review bids on Tuesday for potential hub cities to host games should the season resume this summer. Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Las Vegas are believed among those expressing interest. The league must also address concerns raised by players regarding potentially lengthy separations from their families.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan raised questions about staging the draft before the season resumes. He wants to know how the draft lottery will work, what happens with conditional picks, if teams will be allowed to trade players, and what happens with the investigation into claims the Arizona Coyote violated draft rules by fitness-testing at least 20 draft-eligible prospects before the league’s annual draft combine.

Las Vegas is believed among the cities interested in being a hub location for resuming the NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regan pointed out deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested using points percentage as a way of determining the draft order, as well as reverting to the previous draft lottery system where one winner is picked and can only move up four spots. However, he noted that it raises the possibility of a team winning the draft lottery and going on to win the Stanley Cup if the season resumes this summer.

Regan cited Daly’s suggestions that teams involved in previous deals involving conditional picks in this year’s draft could sort them out between themselves or the league would do it for them. I agree with his take that it’s a simplistic solution for a complicated issue. It doesn’t sound like the league will allow players to be traded.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes appear to have inside information on 20 prospects, giving them an unfair advantage in this draft. I’ll be very surprised if that isn’t raised during that conference call today.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson cites an NHL team executive expressing doubt that staging an early draft will be a TV rating bonanza. “I know we’re gung-ho to get on the airwaves but our draft isn’t like the NFL draft. Nobody knows our players. I don’t think we’ll have massive ratings. There’s no intrigue leading up to the draft if you can’t trade real players, either, it’s just picking at a draft.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comparing the NFL and NHL drafts, Matheson notes that few Canadians follow junior hockey here or in Europe with the same intensity that Americans follow U.S. college football. As he also points out, this year’s draft will lack spice because of the inability to trade established NHL players. I agree with him that the league must aggressively market this year’s prospects to NHL fans if they intend to hold the draft a month from now.

TSN: NHL teams are preparing for an early draft despite incomplete information on this year’s prospects. Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said it would be nice to see how those players perform in playoff situations. Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said they’re having to rely more on videotape, while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff added they’ll have to count on the work put in by their scouts from September to early-March. Flames GM Brad Treliving said losing the draft combine means they can’t physically test the prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every club will be in the same boat, except for the Coyotes because of their early physical testing of several prospects. Nevertheless, the inability to scout those youngsters in late-season and playoff action and evaluate their physical conditioning could make this year’s draft more of a guessing game, especially in the later rounds.

THE SCORE: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said NHL players flying into Canada from other countries while the border remains closed must follow quarantine procedures. “Certainly, at a strict minimum, anyone who arrives from another country will have to follow all the rules of quarantine in an extremely strict manner, but we’re not there yet in our discussions with the NHL.”

TORONTO SUN: Ryan Wolstat includes the Boston Bruins on his list of North American sports teams that would be hurt the most if their seasons are canceled because of the pandemic. With the NHL’s best record, the Bruins are considered this season’s Stanley Cup favorites.

Wolstat also thinks a cancellation of the season would spare the Toronto Maple Leafs the disappointment of another early playoff exit, while the last-place Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t have to complete the remainder of a meaningless schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Being the best team in the NHL during the regular season is no guarantee of a Stanley Cup championship. Since the NHL awarded the Presidents’ Trophy in 1986 to the team with the best regular-season record, only eight of those teams went on to win the Cup.

As for the Leafs, they could also exceed Wolstat’s expectations. Should the season resume following a long layoff, teams won’t be in the same state as they were when the schedule was paused.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton shaved off his iconic beard.


  1. I don’t see the reason for holding the draft early. The only thing semi-exiting about the draft are the trades. Why not just wait till the season is over or cancelled.

    • Right on, Bruinsfan. Trades are the only exciting thing for fans of teams drafting outside the top 5.

      Aside from excitement for fans, trades are an integral part of the draft. Surely Ottawa and Montreal have as part of their strategy looking at trading picks for players, given the # of picks they have this year.

      Lousy idea, Daley.

      • I’m banking on that where the Sens are concerned LJ. There’s little point in drafting 13 players this year – which is the total they have including 3 1st and 4 2nd. I can see Dorion keeping his first two picks – unless overwhelmed with an unexpected offer which includes another team taking Ryan (:)) – but dealing that one they got from NYI, along with 2 of the 4 2nd round picks.

    • The beauty of the draft is twofold…1) Like you said, it’s always exciting with Bettman says “We have a trade to announce”..Everyone watching gets excited for that…2) The best part is that for one night, 31 teams are gushing about the 1st pair defenseman, 1st line forward, or franchise goalie they just drafted…Of course with 18 year old kids things don’t always go as hoped or expected…

  2. Interesting, not one mention of the great evaluator of talent picking 3 times in the first round.
    But , does mention that a certain team could be put out in the first round if they make the playoffs .
    Well played.
    Won’t have to defend the unarmed

    • “not one mention of the great evaluator of talent picking 3 times in the first round.”
      What a puzzling observation. Who are you referring to?

      “But, does mention that a certain team could be put out in the first round if they make the playoffs”
      I’m assuming you’re referring to the Leafs. I’m not the one who wrote it. I also suggested they could exceed the author’s expectations. If you’re looking for bias against the Leafs on my part, you’re barking up the wrong tree, Vinnie.

    • This is taking “beating a dead horse” to levels I’ve never seen.

      Seriously, way too obsessed with George, the Sens and way too sensitive about anything said about the Leafs.

      I get defending with a statement . Arguing your point. But this is seriously gone on way too long. What, a year plus now?

      We get it. You hate George, your obsessed with him and everything the Sens have or haven’t done since day one.
      You like the leafs, and regardless of what history has been for them, they’re the greatest team ever……

      Can we all move on now? No need to reiterate , copy and paste the same exact thoughts day after day after day after day after…….

      • He’s a frustrated martyr.

  3. I hope they are smart enough to do it all in one country. Crossing the border will create quarantine scheduling problems.
    Beyond that how will they complete the rosters? If they finish the season will they have an expanded roster for the inevitable player that gets sick?
    Whole lot of effort and time being spent on this should have had a solution already

  4. George is that you standing behind Lyle .
    Sorry I thought I was on Mark Spector’s site.
    Actually you guys said you were gonna ignore me.
    But you can’t.

    • That defense is as porous as the Leaf’s

    • Aww, poor Vinnie. Are they picking on you? Is sympathy what you’re looking for? Jaysus man, you need help.

      But since you like to dredge up ancient history, here’s an example of extreme drafting futility from 1999 – that year the Leafs picked Luca Cereda 24th. Murko Mirovic 108th – Jonathan Zion 110th – Vaclav Zavoral 151st – Jan Sochor 161st – Pierre Hedin 239th – all told that group played all of 3 games in the NHL – all be Hedin who contributed 1 assist.

      Some of those who went AFTER the Leafs picks? Martin Havlat 26th – 790gp; Alexei Semonov 36th 211gp – Mike Commodore 42nd 484gp – Jordan Leopold 44th 695gp – Adam Hall 52nd 682gp – Matt Carkner 58th 237gp – Craig Anderson 73rd 648gp – Chris Kelly – 94th 845gp Ryan Malone 115th 647gp – Ryan Miller 138th 780gp – Michael Leighton 165th 111gp – Martin Erat 191st 881gp – Tom Kostopoulos 204th 630gp – Henrik Zetterberg 210th 1082gp – Radim Vrbata 212th 1057gp – Doug Murray 241st 518gp

      Jeff Finger went 240th after the Leafs took Hedin and he wound up playing 199 games, 95 of them with the Leafs who were so upset that they didn’t pick him in the first place, signed him in 2008 for 4 years at $3.5 per. After 2 seasons they put him on waivers.

      Yeah, sure, every other team that didn’t take any of the above can also be said to have missed the boat, including Ottawa. But the BIG difference is, whereas those Leafs picked played all of 3 games TOTAL in the NHL, at least 3 of those taken by the Sens put in 1,692!

      • Did Lyle write that out for you.

      • George and Lyle: There used to be a blog site for fans on the Montreal Gazette. It got ruined and then cancelled because of inane banter by some.

        This site has been quite good at sticking to hockey topics, in a pretty darn respectful way.

        The only way to deal with a troll is to ignore them. So please: stop taking the bait and ignore him.

      • You’re absolutely right LJ. Not worth the bloody effort.

  5. Its looking more and more that there will be a playoffs.

    Personally, this cup winner will have and * as the reality is the regular season had little meaning.

    All teams rested and injured players during the season are healed and ready to go.

    This isn’t to imply that it make it tougher to win the cup, it does. Point is regular season allow some teams to be more rested and less injured players ready to roll. Any kind of momentum that you had or didn’t have is gone.

    Some would argue this now setup great for young teams as their legs will be ready to go and they’ll be flying out of the gate.

    I could argue it favors the older players more, as they has lots of time to rest them old bones and don’t have the regular season of wear and tear on them.

    Maybe its the young guns start out fast and furious and end with a quick bang and the old guy will start slow and steady and get stronger as he goes.

    With no fans in the building i hope they turn up the sound where we can hear all the chatter between the players and find out who is the best trash talker. This would provide the next level of excitement. Yes there would be lots of fbombs and a TV warning would need to be added.

    • Caper, as an old guy who kept playing with the young guys for too long, I will vote for it helps the young guys.
      It just takes longer to get the legs back unless your training (skating) during the off season, which I didn’t, which they are not.
      Just the way it is, and the bones and old injuries ache less when you keep active and do weights, it’s when you don’t, that it really kicks in.
      Up to the approx age of 30 you gain muscle mass naturally, after it starts going the other direction.
      Looking forward to hearing Marchand in real time.

    • I feel like a cup this season would still be as legit as the 2013 lockout shortened season. I’m personally of the camp where I’d prefer to see a delayed start to next season for some playoff hockey this season (assuming it could be reasonable done safely)…for a couple reasons.
      1. On the selfish side, I want to watch some hockey
      2. It is a means to recoup some money and keep the cap flat. I hate the idea of compliance buyouts allowing teams a mulligan on bad contracts. You made the deal, now deal with it.
      3. I like the idea of seeing rested teams duke it out. I agree with the notion that it will actually help some of the older guys by reducing some of the fatigue and injuries; as long as they set up the intro correctly with a few exhibitions etc.

      I don’t support a 24 team playoff because I don’t think the 11-12 teams in either conference have played well enough to deserve entry; but I could get behind a 20 team playoff or some play-in tournament between the bottom 4 conference teams with the divisional teams playing some exhibitions.

      Playoff hockey with no fans though….doesn’t seem the same. Can you imagine playoff Boston without the rowdy crowd making it impossible to hear (or any city for that matter).

      • The cup maybe harder to win this year. Most teams will be healthy going into the playoffs and rested. It could be the best playoffs ever if it happens

  6. I see Ottawa Senators signed Artem Zub.
    That’s good.
    Toronto Maple Leafs signed Mikko Lehtonen.
    That’s bad.

    • Leaf stink, bud.

    • the Leafs just signed another Jake gardiner, Tyson Barrie! How hard is it for dubas to look for dmen that actually play solid defence?

      • “Leafs just signed another Jake gardiner, tyson barrie. How hard is it for Dubas to look for dmen that actually play solid defence”

        Has anyone actually seen/ watched this dman?

      • According to TSN, he was an all-star in the KHL this season, leading all defensemen with 17 goals. He can also play left or right D and played for Finland at the Words in 2017 and 2019. Granted, there’s a big difference the KHL and NHL, but it sounds like he has good puck-moving abilities.

      • Someone’s got a bromance thing with Dubas, eh?

      • BBB, the Leafs expert, strikes again.

      • Got more right about the leafs than you 2 koolaid drinkers! Hey Ron did you hear the Tavares interview? He is saying the same thing as danault and doughty…….guess you don’t want him on your team right?

    • In all seriousness, none of us knows how those respective singings will pan out. They could exceed expectations, they could fail to make the cut in the NHL or it could be something in-between. We’ll have to wait for the next couple of seasons to unfold. They’re affordable gambles for each club.

      • Lyle, I can count on you for an honest assessment. Thank you!
        You could learn a thing or two from Lyle there bbb.
        Keep up the trolling

      • How is that trolling shticky? Everyone and their brother know the leafs are weak defensively, if you did any research at all on this guy you would know he is an offensive dman and his dzone play is the weak part of his game

  7. Most of those cities are too big.

    Why can’t Arizona just share the data so that every team has it. No more advantage. Give em a slap on the wrist after that and move on.

    • The Coyotes apparently will be fined, though that has yet to be determined. I like your idea of sharing their data on those players with the other clubs. It’ll be interesting to see how the league addresses this.

      • Regarding Arizona’s testing , if the information sharing is not a solution I think that any of the players they tested against the rules should be exempt from Arizona being able to draft them.

      • Hi Chrisms , Lyle, Paco re Coyotes

        All great ideas but with the sharing only; not really punitive to Coyotes (as at now won’t have a first rounder) and who is monitoring the veracity of what info they actually share (all of it? quality of information shared?)

        My hybrid suggestion….

        1) Share the info gathered (whatever level it is at) with all ; AND

        2) There first pick currently slated at 41 is booted to 62nd (last in round 2); AND

        3) a fine

        If nothing substantial is done; precedent on punitive hit is minimal ; this (individual testing outside of combine) will be repeated by others in upcoming years… for instance if it is only a fine …. Cash rich teams like Leafs and Rangers could really care less about whatever fine the cash poor Coyotes can absorb…. whatever it (Fine) is ; it won’t be more than a fraction of Leafs/Rangers operating expenses

      • ooops

        Forgot the crucial # 4….. forbidding them from picking any one of the 20 in ANY round

    • Columbus and Pittsburgh make sense for the East (short distance and no NBA teams to share the arena with). Edmonton and Las Vegas for the West (no NBA team but NOT a short distance between them and have to cross borders). Calgary and Edmonton would make more sense.

    • That is a good idea Chrisms. I think the penalty should be a 1st rd pick, sometime over the next couple years as well as sharing the info.
      They knew the rules and chose to do it any way.
      If they didn’t, ignorance isn’t an excuse. But I simply can’t fathom a world where they didn’t know this.
      Needs to be a stiff penalty for this type of thing or we will simply see more of it. A fine will just be the cost of doing business for some teams.

      • A first!?!? I was thinking a mid to late round pick. 1st is way to steep
        Over something so trivial. They didn’t bang on trash cans. They didn’t deflate pucks. Bettman didn’t burn tapes of recording practices. Let’s not get crazy.

      • Yep Chrisms, a first. Stand by it.
        Patriots paid a $1M fine and Brady was suspended 4 games of a 16 game season, and deflategate wasn’t as bad as this IMO.
        Bellichick was fined $500K and they lost a 1st rd pick for Spygate, which is most similar to this IMO. Getting information your not allowed to have to gain a competitive advantage.
        Trash cans are worse, kind of? But totally different as well, but it’s MLB and they ignored cheating for over a decade so…. not a great barometer as far as punishment for cheating goes.
        Intentionally break rules, you pay a steep price or some people keep doing it.

      • Respectfully disagree. Worse than deflate gate? Pashaw.

        I will say though.

        I hate Brady

        Hate him

        His speech after deflate gate is one of the funniest things an athlete has ever done.

      • Ya, Brady and Bellichick kinda make the point of if you don’t hit them hard for it, they just keep doing it. Don’t like either of them either, we can agree on that. Same group as A-Rod for me. I change the channel when I see that guy.
        To me deflategate was kind of like an illegal stick, used all game, and you get the puck first half the game.

  8. If players returning from oversees have to quarantine for 14 days then they better get on the move if we are to believe the timelines that are currently floating out there. As of right now, that 2 weeks would put them into the “informal workouts” timeframe.

  9. It’s always a good day when coffee outstrips rumors.

    • Agreed.