NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2020

by | Jun 17, 2020 | News, NHL | 33 comments

The Buffalo Sabres shake up their management and scouting departments, the Canadian government is open to a hub city, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday fired general manager Jason Botterill and replaced him with Senior VP of Business Administration Kevyn Adams. The move came three weeks after Botterill received a vote of confidence from team owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

Kevyn Adams is the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL.com)

The club relieved assistant GMs Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley of their duties and fired the entire coaching staff of AHL affiliate Rochester Americans.

SPORTSNET: The Sabres also fired director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski and reportedly 12 of their 21 scouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This front-office bloodletting is seen as cost-cutting by a club that will be sitting idle until perhaps January. Kim Pegula claimed the change of heart with Botterill was due to the 2020 NHL Draft being pushed to this fall, giving Adams time to familiarize himself with his new role. Putting Adams, who has no management experience, into that role is also being seen as the Pegulas injecting themselves directly into management decisions affecting the on-ice product.

Botterill leaves with more misses than hits during his tenure. He got very little back from trading Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis and Evander Kane to San Jose. While he didn’t give up much to acquire Jeff Skinner from Carolina, he was criticized for re-signing the winger to an eight-year extension worth $9 million annually. On the plus side, he drafted Rasmus Dahlin and acquired blueliner Brandon Montour.

Yesterday’s moves left many observers pondering the fate of head coach Ralph Krueger. So far, it appears his job is safe, but the same was said of Botterill three weeks ago.

Considering the Sabres’ lousy record since the Pegulas took over in 2011 – a nine-year playoff drought, three management changes, and six different head coaches – their fans can be forgiven any skepticism over yesterday’s moves.

The patience of team captain and franchise players Jack Eichel will be tested if the Sabres fail to improve. Yesterday could become the beginning of the end of Eichel’s tenure in Buffalo.


TSN: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said his government is comfortable with the NHL having a host city for its playoff tournament in Canada, provided the league follows local health protocols. Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver are among the 10 teams in the running.

“Obviously the decision has to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces in the jurisdiction, but Canada is open to it as long as it is okayed by the local health authorities”, said Trudeau.”

Bob McKenzie reports there was some talk of Toronto as a front-runner but all three Canadian cities are very much in the mix. He feels Trudeau’s announcement opens the door for one of them to become a hub for the playoff tournament.

Pierre LeBrun believes we’ll get more clarity on the two hub cities next week. Las Vegas remains a lock. If the three Canadian cities don’t work out there are some people who favor Chicago.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs player rep Zach Hyman said he doesn’t have much clarity yet about how restrictive the NHL’s return-to-play protocol will be. He believes there could be some leniencies in place allowing players some access to their families during the tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the NHLPA are in ongoing negotiations regarding those return-to-play restrictions. It’s expected more will be revealed when the league moves to Phase 3 as training camps open on July 10.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson said he was in contact with the team staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Richardson said he subsequently tested negative for the virus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will difficult for teams to protect their players from the coronavirus as they prepare for training camp, especially in areas like Arizona where reported cases are on the rise. The Phase 3 training-camp period will determine if Phase 4 – the playoff tournament – goes off. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t ruling out resting some of his regulars during the round-robin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You’re probably thinking, “They’ve had months to rest and recover from any nagging injuries so why rest them in a three-game round-robin before the playoffs?” I doubt Cassidy’s going to do that for all of his stars. They’re going to need those games to get into game shape. This could be done on a game-by-game basis depending on the player’s needs.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has resumed skating with several teammates at Pepsi Center in Denver.


BLOOMBERG NEWS: The Nassau Coliseum will be shuttered indefinitely as its owner seeks new investors to take over operations and the remaining debt on the building. The New York Islanders were supposed to return to the Coliseum next season to play all of their home games there before moving into their new Belmont Park arena for 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks wonders if Rangers owner James Dolan might swoop in and keep the Coliseum open next season to enable the Islanders to play there. If that doesn’t happen, the Isles might have to play one more season at Barclays Center before moving to their new arena.

TSN: The reopening of Seattle’s KeyArena has been pushed back by two months. However, it’s not expected to affect the city’s NHL expansion team from starting their inaugural season in 2021-22.


  1. It would appear that the Pegulas were big fans of Trump’s old reality show.

    Think of it as a buyout package Jason … without the “buy” and just the “out”

  2. Drafting Rasmus Dahlin was not a “plus” for Botterill. It was not an accomplishment. It happened because the Sabres were the league’s worst team.

    • But he could’ve overthought it and gone with someone else. All things considered, it’s a plus.

      • Yup. Exactly as the Oilers did with Yakopov.

      • The reporting in Edmonton (Lyle’s Cousin Mark) was that 9 of the 10 scouts wanted Murray and were overridden from above. Not sure who that meant but most think it came right from Katz.
        Spector gets it mostly right so I believe it.

      • Why, thank you, Ray…oh, you meant cousin Mark…well, he is pretty good too, I guess…;)

      • Or Alexander Daigle like Ottawa

      • Yep. Like the Oilers did with Yakopov.

      • Alexander Daigle – 616 gp in the NHL – 129 goals – 198 assists 327 pts

        commensurate with a # 1 pick overall? Hell no – but at least he hung around for over 600 games

        Nail Yakopov – 350 games in the NHL – 62 goals 74 assists – 136 pts

        commensurate with a # 1 pick overall? Not hardly – and less than half Daigle’s totals.

        S*^t happens

      • I have to disagree with you there, Lyle.

        This was no more an “accomplishment” than Bergevin signing Radulov – which he only did because he was turned down by Lucic (after offering him higher money than Edmonton.

        Yakupov is one thing.
        Dahlin was being spoken about as the Defence prospect equivalent of McDavid.

        There is no one not picking him at #1.

        Like “hey, I had an ‘accomplishment’ yesterday, I did what almost anybody else in my position would have done”.

      • Whether you’re talking about Yakapov, Daigle, Puljujarvi or other top selections that didn’t or haven’t made it, they weren’t bad draft picks, they just didn’t pan out.

        To kind of quote Brian Burke when discussing Puljujarvi he was on almost every teams top 3. Columbus with the Finish GM passed on him.

        Basically most all other teams if in the same position would’ve drafted them players. Not that the scout drafted poorly, it more that the player couldn’t continue his upward trend or find success at the NHL level, so he didn’t pan out.

        Remember when Columbus passed on Puljujarvi lots of people were questioning Kekalainen and cursing him for allowing Puljujarvi to fall in Edmonton lap.

      • You do too Lyle!
        The “other Spector” lived on my crescent but has since moved. I used to run into him walking my dog, and I always wanted to ask him what it was like walking into the rink and talking to the coaches and mgt after writing a scathing article about their job performance. One in particular (I couldn’t find it) that was harsh during the bad years, and then shortly after Nicholson did exactly what he suggested. They canned everybody. I can’t imagine it was easy. He even got kept out of the broadcasts for a while.
        I didn’t want to bug him about work stuff, didn’t seem neighborly but would love to know.

  3. The selection of a Return-to-play “Hub City” should be 100% a health-risk decision. Which location has the lowest risk of players getting infected?
    If Nevada has active cases, Las Vegas should be ruled out. How the selection looks politically (ie.We need an American City) is irrelevant.
    If the two safest venues are Winnipeg and Edmonton…that’s where you hold games.

    • Winnipeg lacks sufficient amenities to host 12 teams, Mark. That’s why it’s been ruled out.

    • Mark its because Winnipeg has only 5 active cases, no protest, Restaurants and all businesses are open, Provincial Parks, Golf Courses are all up and running and it easy to do the social distancing. These are the reason why Winnipeg isn’t a host city.

      Yes we have more then one arena, yes we have several training facilites no we don’t have the 5 star hotels that the NHLPA wants. That is the only reason.

      For me I’m perfectly fine an glad we are not hosting 12 teams where they could and probably would drive up our number of cases.

      Let other Cities host the Covid Cup; there is no legitimate winner for the Stanley Cup this season.

      The only reason there is an off season tournament is to recoup a half a Billion Dollars and I’m ok with that, but it has ZERO representation of the 2019 2020 regular season that ended along time ago.

      The play in round if like a pre World Cup standing trying to qualify to play in the main division.

      This is my opinion I’m not here to change anyone else opinion as you are all to stubborn and pigheaded for that. (insert wink)

      • I’ll buy that caper if Boston wins the cup and you invalidate that accomplishment.

      • Chrism, not an issue, I firmly believe the Covid Cup winner has nothing to do with the 2019 2020 regular season no matter who win it.

        With that said I do recognize my opinion has zero weight.

  4. Or Alexander Daigle like Ottawa

    • What about Tyler biggs in Toronto, the leafs traded up to get biggs, and the picks Anaheim got were Richard rakell and john Gibson! It’s one thing not drafting good but when trading up you better be sure especially when the other picks traded end up being very good players

      • You mean trading assets so you can draft Zboril, Senyshyn and Frederic. Give it a rest will you. One minute you`re crying the draft is a crap shoot then you cry when someone doesn`t pan out.

      • Bob I have no idea what your point is? Vinnie was talking about draft busts I’m pretty sure biggs was a bust? You don’t think so?

      • Biggs was the 22nd ick in a bad draft year and yes he was a bust Now Zboril, Senysheny are 13th and 15th picks in a great draft year. Both players are pretty much busts and right after these guys were picked Boston passed on Barzal, Connor, Chabot and Samsonov, just to name a couple. Everybody is talking about a bust as to where they were drafted and who those teams passed on. You keep bringing up Biggs when the real joke was Boston

      • Wow someone is touchy, every year there is players that went to early or players that fell too far! I just brought up biggs because the Toronto media and fans were really pumping his tires

      • No they weren`t quit bullksh^tting, the media gave him some air because his dad played in the Toronto system for a while. Biggs was a long shot right from the start. Everybody knows why you like to point out Toronto`s mistakes Time to give it a rest, if you want to talk hockey then talk hockey and quit trolling

      • I knew Tyler Biggs would come up. Don’t forget the Raycroft – Task trade or Kessel for two first rounders that became Seguin and Hamilton.
        Lots of choice in Leafs history. Did I mention Scott Niedermayor?

      • Bob does vinnie always bring up the sens? And yes media and fans were pumping biggs tires! EVERY team makes mistakes at the draft table like bcleaf says there are lots of choices for every team! Biggs was just an example of a team so sure they traded up to get him

      • Bob you sound very defensive, not all picks work out.

        I’m a Bruins fan, not ready to call Zboril or Senyshyn a bust yet. I expect Zboril will be a full time NHL player very soon.

        Here is a list of Boston 1st round picks that did not work.

        Martin Samuelsson 14gp
        Lars Johnsson 8gp
        Hannu Toivonen 61gp
        Matt Lashoff 74gp
        Zach Hamill 20gp
        Joel Colborne 295gp
        Jordan Caron 157gp

        The above has players who played some games but were not able to establish a long term NHL career.

        I could list successful picks beyond the first round but for the point of this debate is not all picks work and it applies to every team.

      • @Caper just tired of bull from this guy he`s been doing it for years. Yes every team has it`s bad picks and a lot of the time it`s not so much a bad pick it`s poor development too or a combo of the 2. I`ll be the first to admit when Toronto screws up and say it when it does. But pointing out a mistake over and over just to piss people off is going overboard. Everyone wants to clean up the world and I agree it`s time to. Getting rid of guys like this maybe a tiny thing but it`s a start. Caper every team has it`s failures and it`s surprises. The surprising thing is Toronto has one of the better drafting records in the NHL their problem was bad development. But caper I wouldn`t let a kid near this site because of him and vinnie

      • Bob I think you’re more of A problem in this world you’re getting worked up on a hockey chat forum?? Grow up kid lots more to this world

  5. There’s all kinds of draft busts.
    That’s the point .
    I can’t wait to see who Ottawa picks with the 1st and 2nd overall picks.
    They should definitely be in the playoffs next year with all the cap space they have and the players that will be available.
    They have the most opportunity of any team in the league.
    Cap space, two top level draft picks .
    They said they would be all in when it was time. Flat cap makes it their time .
    I would say Dorion is on the bubble finished 19th ,12th ,30th 31st, 30th plus 3 head coaches of his choosing.
    Time for the evaluator of talent to put up or see ya later
    Pierre Dorion the accidental genius

    • Ottawa is in a good spot just like the other team with cap space

      • Hey Bob , put on your big boy pants on.
        You got annoyed and now you try to blame me and BBB to justify it.
        Is your middle name

  6. As a Bruins fan I was pissed when they didn’t pick Barzel was happy with Jake and fell off chair when heard Zach,s name called. But as a Bruin fan I must remember Bergeron round two Looch and Marchand weren’t bad picks either and Pasta at 20 something was the steal of the decade win some lose some boys now let’s get on the ice and let the games begin.