NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

by | Jun 19, 2020 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The Canadian government clears the way for allowing hub cities, a CBA extension could be part of the return-to-play plan, plus updates on Seth Jones, Sean Couturier, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites a Canadian Press report indicating the Canadian government has issued an order-in-council that would allow Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver to serve as one of the NHL’s two hub cities for its 24-team playoff tournament later this summer.

Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena could be among one of two host arenas for the NHL’s playoff tournament.

The order, which now awaits the Governor-General’s signature, would allow the NHL to work around Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for individuals entering the country. The league had to provide a plan that adhered to Canada’s public health requirements before the government went ahead with the order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three Canadian cities are among 10 in the running to host the tournament. Las Vegas is reportedly considered the front-runner, but it’s also believed the league prefers placing one of those hosts in Canada.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun cites a source claiming the NHL and NHL Players Association are attempting to negotiate the layers for Phase 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan while also trying to hammer out an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun’s source, who’s close to the negotiations, suggested the return-to-play plan and a CBA extension (or a memo of understanding for the latter) could be presented as one package to the players before the end of this month.

LeBrun also reports there are players with questions about such issues such as health concerns in their respective NHL cities, life under quarantine conditions during the tournament, and economic issues such as escrow payments.

Should the playoff tournament go off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup could be awarded in early October, with the draft and free agency beginning later in that month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension (perhaps to 2026) would be a silver lining in the COVID cloud hanging over the NHL. Because of the effects of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue, both sides must work together to ensure labor peace in the coming years. Given the limited timeline and the myriad of issues to be discussed, it remains to be seen if they can work out an agreement by the end of June. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports if an NHL  player tests positive for COVID-19 we won’t know what team they belong to. Instead, the league could simply say a player has tested positive. McKenzie speculates it could be part of a weekly report going forward indicating how many players have or haven’t tested positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will raise questions over which teams those players belong to, how many of them could be sidelined, and the effect upon the proposed playoff tournament. 

McKenzie thinks most of the players understand the need to return to action is an important one but there is a vocal minority raising concerns. He feels a player could be allowed to opt-out of returning if he had strong objections of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league and the PA are believed to be working on opt-out language in the plan for players who don’t want to return. Friedman also said part of the pitch will be the quarantine bubble the teams will be under will be safer than in some parts of North America.

McKenzie also said a decision on the two host cities could come next week. The league’s preference is a home team doesn’t play in its own hub. In other words, if Las Vegas is selected, the Vegas Golden Knights could play in the other hub city.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL has assured its coaches they won’t face any restrictions preventing them from doing their jobs. Those of a certain age or in an at-risk demographic won’t be prevented from being behind the bench. Health and safety protocols for coaches and their interactions with players are still being discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaches could be required to wear masks behind the bench and elsewhere in the facility. We’ll learn more details when the league and the PA release their health protocol plans for Phase 3 and 4.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (right ankle fracture and sprain) and Dean Kukan (knee injury) have been activated off injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin knows he’s at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he’s a type-1 diabetic. Nevertheless, he remains focused on joining his teammates for the playoff tournament. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from suiting up,” said Kunin.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are among the Flyers that have taken part in small-group training at the team’s practice facility.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is among several Coyotes skating at Gila River Arena in preparation for the league’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of this NHL season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo is one of two former CHL players to file a class-action lawsuit alleging they were routinely hazed, bullied, physically and verbally harassed, and physically and sexually harassed and assaulted during their junior careers. This comes days after a former Kitchener Rangers player claimed he was forced to do cocaine in a team bathroom during his rookie season in 2016.


  1. So I didn’t read up on the player who said he was forced to do cocaine in the team bathroom.

    So please pardon my ignorance on the subject.

    But I have to ask, did anyone from the Kitchener Rangers management force and demand the player to do cocaine?

    Or was it his teenager teammates that forced him?

    Does anyone know?


    Thank you.

      • Forced vs. pressured are two completely different things.

        Forced is a gun to the head and given no choice.

        Pressured is a lack of self control , self worth and moral compass.

        In a their words , a sniveling weakling that has no backbone.

        Which one was he?

      • Poops in other words… damn auto spell!

      • What a good answer. Such wisdom.

      • Thanks Ron! I couldn’t get through the day without your approval of my every word or opinion!

      • He’s the self-appointed moderator of any and all contrary opinions.

      • George,

        You have to love the ones that don’t offer an argument/ counter argument. Just come in , leave some snide , dumb ass comment and off they go.

        I think I’m flattered that my words can so easily trigger some of new fan club I’ve built over the last few weeks.

      • To utilize an outdated but still pertinent old English term, they can best be described as incapacious ninnyhammers.

      • The details matter – pressure is a very broad term that could be anything from social peer pressure to manipulation or intimidation.

        It is not hard to imagine how pressure from teammates who are older and already accepted as being ‘in’ on the team could easily be an abuse of power (or popular term – bullying) by the older teammates in something that resembles a form of hazing. It is not necessary or welcome yet is somehow required of the most vulnerable on the team.

  2. Tough individual call for any player to opt out of playing (while teammates opt in) if they don’t feel comfortable and don’t have a known rationale (Diabetes; heart issues) but I completely empathize with them and fully support them on that tough call

    Re chosen hub and “home” team ….. i.e. Knights can’t play in Vegas hub…. I think that’s the correct route…. no fans in stands …. noted; but familiarity/comfort with home arena is an advantage; but more importantly…. family already right there; and in any family emergency …. comfort in knowing that in 30 mins you leave bubble and be home to tend to a wife/girlfriend/child

    ….. so I’m good with team not playing in their own hub city…. fair all around

    Re Can hubs….. setting aside the EW time-zone thing and the repeated claim that Vegas IS a hub; I think the design of Ed as a Hub and bubble format is the best.

    Toronto has more of everything …. arenas; rooms etc etc; but is problematic wrt setting up a bubble for the whole kit and kaboodle.

    Van is beautiful ; but some of the logistics aren’t quite as amenable as Ed’s

    My choice would be Ed; but I think politics may takeover and if that’s the case AND Bettman decides on a Canadian hub …. it will be T.O. ….. West Conf in T.O.; East conf. In LV

    We’ll find out likely next week

  3. I’m pretty sure being type 1 diabetic doesn’t make you more prone to catch Covid. It makes you more likely to have serious symptoms.

    • Chrisms

      Yes for sure; sorry if my post conveyed the opposite; certainly not my intention

      • I was responding to the spector article pengy. I got lost halfway through your dissertation above and stopped reading. 🙃

  4. If the East is playing in Vegas so the Knights don’t have a home rink advantage, the West shouldn’t play in Vancouver or Edmonton. I guess it’s TO.

    • Gord

      Yep…. IF Bettman chooses a Canadian city…. could be LV/Chi or LV/Pitt

    • Ooops

      Meant LV/Pitt or LV/Clb…. couldn’t be LV/Chi as one would play in their home city


    • Spot on Gored

    • I’m pretty sure any Canadian team playing anywhere in Canada would get a home ice advantage. Unless they are playing another Canadian team. That being said … so what.

      • Not quite Chris…the rest of Canada cant stand Toronto

  5. Sad if true for Carcillo and others, good luck going forward.

    But surely the story of the day is the Canadian government willing to insert a out clause in Covid rules just for hockey players.

    Already people are out and about, relaxed if not outright indifferent about social distancing as we await the inevitable second wave. Think not? China, a far more buttoned down country than ours, is experiencing one right now.

    Allowing exceptions for special people is not going to encourage people to keep masks on during airplane rides, keep social distancing when socializing or adhere to other sound health practices.

    Pee poor decision making Justin. You genuflect at every social cause that raises its head these days, and you want to step around science based health protocols. How this country needs a sound alternative.

    • LJ, the word you may be looking for is hypocrite. He’s displayed that at every turn. In his privileged world what’s good for the goose certainly isn’t pertinent to the gander!

  6. NYR we Bruin fans sure could use you on our side love the way you think. Leafs Matthews test positive pretty sure his career is over now.

    • Obe, just read an article about an intensive care ward at a hospital in the GTA. The doctor there mentioned that they currently had five patients in desperate situations who were not responding to being on a ventilator.
      One of those five is a 22 year old man.
      How old is Matthews?
      I know the odds are with him and there shouldn’t be any long term problem but it can happen.

      • Mathews is quarantined in Arizona, currently

  7. Pretty sure he will be fine and happy to miss a bit of camp.