NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2020

by | Jun 13, 2020 | News, NHL | 19 comments

A Bruins player tests positive for COVID-19, Las Vegas will reportedly be confirmed as a hub city for the playoff tournament, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: In a statement yesterday, the Boston Bruins announced one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to using the club’s practice facilities as part of Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. The player subsequently underwent two more tests, which came back negative. The player remains asymptomatic and all other Bruins players have returned negative tests.

T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty points out this serves as a reminder of the challenges facing the league in its quest to complete this season. The Bruins also indicated they’ll continue adhering to CDC guidelines and the league’s Phase 2 protocols. I suspect the player will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Las Vegas is expected to be among the two hub cities to host the 24-team playoff tournament when the NHL announces its selections on June 22. MGM Resorts International is reportedly keeping its Las Vegas hotels available for the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston expects that announcement could come before June 22. While some fans will wonder why the NHL favors a Sun Belt location like Vegas, that city has a suitable arena, training facilities, accommodation, and transportation within a closely-contained area that meets the league’s requirements for a host city. 

Johnston also reports the league prefers placing the other hub city in Canada, with Toronto considered the front-runner. That will depend, however, on whether the Canadian government relaxes its strict border protocols to allow NHL clubs to travel to that hub city.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa Bay received some buzz as a potential destination when there was talk of four NHL host cities. Once the league opted for two, however, Tampa slid down the list. The city and Amalie Arena lack the space the league needs to bring 12 teams together.

CALGARY SUN: Mark Giordano, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, and Mark Jankowski were the first Flames to hit the ice in Calgary for small-group training.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Former Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic is reportedly working on a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. The Capitals terminated the remainder of Leipsic’s one-year contract last month after his offensive remarks on social media about several current and former teammates were made public.

TSN: The Ottawa Sun recently issued a correction and an apology for errors in two recent columns regarding the Ottawa Senators Foundation’s decision to cut ties with the club’s ownership.



  1. If Chris Johnston’s report is accurate, I have a problem with both choices for hub cities.
    Nevada is one of the states showing a rise in covid19 cases and Toronto has far more cases than Vancouver or Edmonton.
    Why take the risk if you don’t need to?

    • The league apparently feels both cities have the necessary facilities, accommodation, and transportation required to host 12 teams within some sort of quarantine bubble away from the general public.

      • I believe the league is more focused on $ than the health and well-being of the players or anyone else involved.

        Seed is already spilled on the ground. Might as well call it planted and be done with this season.

      • Shoreorrpark: The players have an equal say in all of this. The return-to-play plan was drawn up with player input and approval. They also have a hand in deciding the host cities and everything else. They’re not being forced into it. They can stop this at any time. If a majority of them feel their health and safety cannot be assured, this return-to-play plan stops cold. The players also want to recoup that lost revenue because it will affect the salary cap and escrow payments.

      • I completely agree, the league is trying to maximize their profits, and see Vegas as part of that. Like I’ve said before if both hub cities are in the states I won’t watch.

      • They’re not maximizing profits, they’re attempting to recoup losses. If they scrub the season, the league will lose an estimated $1.1 billion in revenue. If they can complete the season with the 24-team tournament, those losses will be cut almost in half.

      • I don’t k how how the league makes more playing in Vegas? There’s no spectator, the tv deal should be the same regardless of the city. If I’m missing something please let me know.

      • I think your nose is growing ice bear.

    • Just looking at the total cases in each city supports your argument BCLeaffan. But there’s probably not that much difference in terms of per capita.

      Metro Vancouver has a current population of 2,463,000 with B.C. at 5,100,000. Edmonton’s population is around 982,000 and Alberta has a total of 4,371,000.

      The GTA alone has 6,197,000 while Ontario sits at 14,446,515, considerably more than the other two combined.

  2. Ontario has almost 3 times the population of B.C. but they’ve had over 12 times the Covid-19 cases (33,378 to 2,709) and over 15 times the deaths related to Covid-19 (2,573 to 168). The league cannot ensure the safety of all involved, all they can do is try to minimize the risk. A good place to start would be choosing hubs that have been more successful in minimizing the impact of Covid-19.

    • They evidently feel they can best minimize the risk in areas where the arenas, training facilities, accommodations, and transportation are centered within a small area. That’s why Vegas is getting the nod and why Toronto is being seriously considered.

    • No disputing the figures Gored – but as I say above, the rate of infection among those still able to move about is not that much different when you take into account the populations. Remember, too, that the VAST majority of deaths in Ontario (and likely in B.C. as well) occurred in long-term care facilities and there are probably more of those in the GTA than in B.C. and Alberta combined.

  3. I’d be more concerned of the ice condition in Vegas. They had trouble in their inaugural year going to the final in June trying to keep the ice in playable condition. How do they plan to keep in up in July and August?

    • Agreed.

    • It’s a lot hotter in LV in July / August then early June. Plus playing several games a day on the ice surface. This is NHL using their wallets as brains again. Perhaps the master plan is running down to the super market every few hours for bags of ice cubes to keep it going.

    • As far as Vegas ice, I would think if you are playing in an empty arena you will be able to set the temp much cooler than you would with people there. Also without all the radiant heat from 20,000 bodies I think keeping the ice in good condition will be much easier. I am no environmental engineer but seems to me ice won’t be an issue no matter the outdoor temp in the empty arena.

  4. The Bruins player was pretty obbiously a False Positive…but the NHL/NHLPA needs a prespecified protocol for what we do of this happens during play

    • The whole problem surrounding testing – and feeling “safe” if the results are negative – is that, who’s to say you don’t come into contact with it a day or so later – or weeks later, whatever – and contract the virus? How many times do you get tested? Most places can’t even deal with first-time testing.

      NOTHING will make it safe until there’s a foolproof vaccine – and that may never happen.

  5. While heath is a concern it also needs to be understood that these are NHL hockey players in the prime of their careers and are in top physical shape. Even the ones who are out of shape and have gotten slow in the “old” age are probably still 5 times more healthy that the average American or Canadien citizen. Even if they cam down with the COVID-19 it would be an exceptional case to see that any of them experiencing serious health problems from the virus. My fear is that after all the playoffs are done and we get to the finals that a major player on one of the final two teams will test positive and then either the player will be unavailable (giving the opposing team a major advantage) or perhaps the whole team will need to be quarantined. This is not a very simple matter and no one knows how this will play out. As much as I love hockey, I think the remainder of this season should be cancelled and the NHL should worry about playing the next season in a normal fashion.