NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2020
The latest on the league’s plans for the schedule and the draft, the Capitals place Brendan Leipsic on waivers, the Canadiens sign Alexander Romanov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
LATEST ON NHL’S PLANS TO RESUME ITS SEASON
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports half of the NHL’s 31 markets would have been permitted to open team facilities as of Friday. That includes those in the province of Ontario. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said things are moving in the right direction. However, he adds it’s still not an acceptable mass for the league to move into Phase 2 of its Return To Play protocol to allow smalls groups of players to resume practicing in their respective team facilities.
That number could rise to 22 clubs as restrictions are eased by May 15 in Arizona, California, Minnesota, and Nevada. The league hasn’t yet determined what an “acceptable mass” would be and it likely won’t be a set number.
Daly also said the league is considering alternative plans for teams in markets unable to reopen. Seravalli reports the league still hasn’t outline specifics that would ensure safety for entering Phase 2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is unfolding daily and the NHL still has details to work out before moving to its second phase. The league set mid-to-late May as its Phase 2 timetable. While it appears to be getting closer, ensuring the safety of everyone involved in reopening team practice facilities remains the main sticking point. Until that’s sorted out, the fact players can return to their facilities doesn’t necessarily mean they will
Ryan Rishaug reports the Edmonton Oilers are still working on their proposal to the province of Alberta to become a hub city when the NHL resumes its schedule.
CALGARY SUN: Whenever the Flames return to the Saddledome, they’ll find a facility that has been scrubbed and disinfected to within an inch of its life.
LATEST ON THE 2020 NHL DRAFT
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports it’s still unclear when the NHL will decide on their plans for this year’s draft. “One of the many matters that are being analyzed and worked on. There is no urgency to reaching a decision on this, at least currently,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seemed a certainty the NHL would announce an early draft before resuming the season entering this week. That they’re not saying there’s no current urgent to make a decision suggests considerable pushback from the board of governors and the general managers, or maybe dealing with the conditional picks in this year’s draft proved too complicated to sort out, or perhaps the NHL brain trust is realizing holding the draft early won’t be the rating bonanza they thought it might be. We’ll hopefully know more in a week.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals placed forward Brendan Leipsic on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract for his offensive comments made on social media.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leipsic was the author of his demise and every NHL club probably would’ve handled his situation the same way. His big-league career is probably over. However, I doubt the punishment for his misogynistic comments would’ve been as harsh if Leipsic was an NHL star. In that scenario, he’d make a big public apology followed by several weeks of counseling and rehab. He’d return to action and the entire incident would be treated as a minor speedbump in an otherwise stellar career.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed KHL defenseman Alexander Romanov to a three-year entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Romanov is a promising young puck-moving defenseman who’s been compared to former Hab Mikhail Sergachev and Los Angeles Kings star Drew Doughty. He’s achieved almost mythical status among some Canadiens fans before he’s even donned their sweater. Despite the favorable comparisons to Sergachev and Doughty, Romanov’s yet to make his NHL debut. It will probably take him some time to adjust to the pace. Habs fans should temper their expectations until they see what this kid can do.
SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHLPA announced the postponement of their 2020 international games. The Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators were to stage their 2020-21 season openers in Prague, Czech Republic. The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blues Jackets were also to stage a pair of games in Helsinki, Finland.
OTTAWA SUN: The American Hockey League’s board of governors held a conference call Friday to discuss canceling the remainder of its season. An official announcement could be made on Monday.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs assistant coach Paul McFarland will leave the club at the end of this season to take over the head-coaching role with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.