NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2020

by | Jun 22, 2020 | News, NHL | 10 comments

The latest on the return-to-play plan and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

PHILLY.COM: In the wake of Friday’s news of 11 NHL players testing positive for COVID-19 since June 8, Sam Carchidi wonders if the league’s return-to-play plan is worthwhile.

Why not just bag the season and start the next campaign after a vaccine has been developed?  The NHL would lose lots of TV revenue — estimates are around $500 million — but it would gain respect for putting lives ahead of dollars.”

Could recent COVID-19 tests threaten the NHL’s return-to-play plans?

Carchidi advocates a wait-and-see approach but feels the league should shut down plans to complete the season and look toward starting 2020-21 on time if virus cases balloon if/when training camp opens next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One factor behind the NHL’s plans is the concern of a possible second wave of the pandemic keeping arenas empty throughout autumn. Staging the tournament from August through early October in empty arenas would allow the league to recoup perhaps half of its estimated $1.1 bn in losses. It would also enable the league to hold its off-season from late October to the end of December. It’s believed they intend to stage a full 2020-21 schedule starting on New Year’s Day in hope social distancing rules ease to allow fans back into the arenas.

The course of the pandemic, however, could upset those plans. League officials claim a handful of tests won’t shut things down as they’re confident their testing, contact tracing, and quarantine arrangements could keep the coronavirus in check. The training camp period, set to open next month, will test that theory.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan believes upcoming days will become more urgent for all parties to preserve July 10 as a viable start date for teams to reconvene. That’s when training camps are slated to open for the 24 teams involved in the playoff tournament.

An agreement between the league and NHL Players Association must be implemented soon to provide sufficient time for players to travel to their NHL cities. It’s unclear what effect the recent positive COVID-19 tests will have upon those plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league issued a terse statement on Friday acknowledging 11 players have tested positive under Phase 2. They also announced they’ll issue a weekly update of the number of tests administered to players and the results, though they won’t reveal the identities of those who test positive and what teams they play for.

I suspect the league will be pressed for further details as July 10 approaches. Recent reports suggest a comprehensive agreement between the league and PA could be revealed soon, perhaps by the end of this week.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ed Willes observed recent reports claim Vancouver is among six locales under consideration to become one of the two host cities for the NHL playoff tournament. He wonders if that’s a good idea for the city and the province after reducing their COVID-19 numbers due to strict social distancing guidelines. Willes doesn’t think it’s worthwhile for a tournament that will only benefit a couple of hotels and the foodservice industry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The city council and provincial government made the pitch for Vancouver as a host city, assured by the league’s self-quarantine plan that the influx of 12 teams won’t be a risk to the general public. While the benefit to the local economy appears minimal, the city and the province see it differently.

NEWSDAY: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich was expected to arrive in New York yesterday after spending the scheduled pause in Russia. Other European Rangers, including Henrik Lundqvist and Mika Zibanejad, are expected to follow.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass isn’t expected to be on the club’s roster for the playoff tournament. He underwent knee surgery in March and isn’t expected to be fully recovered when the tournament begins.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings dietician Lisa McDowell revealed she contracted COVID-19 in March, leaving her very sick for three weeks. She suffered a high fever for over a week, difficulty breathing, and bleeding gums when brushing her teeth. McDowell said she was rarely around the team leading up to the pause in the schedule and hadn’t exposed anyone to the virus. She recovered in early April and feels stronger each day but indicated she’s not back to full strength yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much is made about how NHL players could be less affected by COVID-19 because they’re high-performance athletes. McDowell isn’t in the same athletic class but she’s an accomplished runner. The virus could hit an NHL player just as hard.

NHL.COM: Martin Brodeur said he’s not interested in the role of New Jersey Devils general manager right now, even if the job was available. He told The Hockey News he’s happy in his current role as the club’s executive vice president of hockey operations and senior advisor.


  1. The Covid Cup has nothing to do with next season regular season.

    The NHL 2020 – 2021 regular season will not start until fans are allowed in the building this is a gate driven league and cannot survive on TV deals alone.

    • How can the availability of a vaccine be part of the Return To Play consideration when we may never have one…? Just shows you how out to lunch a lot of these reporters/commentators are on serious topics.

  2. While I can understand sports fan(atic)s being desperate for a return of their favourite sport, and entities like the NHL in a state of terminal angst over the loss of billions, they are hardly alone and to think they can be the one among many equally-suffering big businesses (see the link below) to throw caution to the wind in an attempt to recoup some of the money lost, and without repercussions, is simply idiotic.


    • Ya, it is a scary economic time George, and yet the stock market isn’t accurately reflecting the risk that is out there right now.
      The US Fed has been taking unprecedented actions and even considering buying up high interest/high risk junks bonds. WTF?
      It hasn’t been reported much but banks could be taking a hit as some didn’t learn their lesson from 2008 and own and are selling CLO’s (corporate debt derivatives) like they did with CDO’s (consumer mortgage debt derivatives) back then.
      It is so opaque it is difficult to find out what they own, but we may have history repeat itself. I hope not.

  3. The NHL’s phased Return-to-Play plan is fundamentally sound.
    Like it or not, economic realities MUST be taken in to consideration.
    Stay tuned…

    • And therein lies the conundrum Mark. Covid-19 is now spiking in parts of the U.S. and the WHO is reporting that the virus is demonstrating a disturbing new phase. Yeah, there is a need to re-establish a sound economy. but in the rush to get back to normal maybe we should be using this time to decide which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.

      • Spiking is a good thing as long as deaths don’t increase most states that are spiking have very few deaths. Look after the elderly and let the afraid stay home don’t push people out the door who are afraid but let the willing and able live and work. Stop the riots burning and abuse by the scum bags and criminals send in the Army and end the nonsense.

      • Obe, I get the spiking point if you are talking about herd immunity, but we don’t know that for sure yet. I hope it’s true and so far seems positive.
        But, it is not about being afraid. That is a talking point meant to push one side of the argument, or just talking like a keyboard tough guy. Not helpful IMO. It is about not wanting to infect people that are vulnerable like the elderly and people with underlying health issues that put them at risk.
        It is not about us as individuals, it is about giving a crap about fellow citizens, especially the vulnerable. That is what decent people do, at least it was back when I was growing up.

        Agree we must open things up, and we are, or the economic hardship will be terrible. This was never intended to be forever it was about buying time to build resources necessary to control this and understanding a novel virus and how it actually spreads and impacts people. It’s that whole novel part that some people seem to miss. Infections were doubling every 3 days in some parts of NA and hospitals overwhelmed. Death rates spiked too. That was just this April.

        I just wish people would be smart and wear a simple mask when indoors in public places. It is not some big sacrifice to slip one on but for some reason has become a symbol of political sides. When in reality is about protecting others and not yourself. Just also happens to be 90% effective in reducing spread so seems like a good plan IMO. Why can’t people get that?
        So people who say they care about the economy and don’t wear one? Well I have no time for those folks as they are causing the opposite to happen or just too stupid or selfish to realize it. Because a large portion of our societies are older, obese or have underlying conditions and if they all stay home? Guess what – economy sucks.
        If we do this right we get through with the least amount of economic pain and fewer deaths.
        Just be informed.

  4. The purist in me would like to see nothing change and no compromises made in schedule or arena.

    I get it that the league is in crisis mode and is trying to minimize losses to owners and players and staff. This is about fulfilling tv contracts to get paid something and also about making sure there is something to come back to after covid.

    This is uncharted water for long-term stoppage as this time players are not staying sharp or fit by playing in other leagues, prospects are not developing. Likely more than a few are in suspect physical condition. It is in the best interest of the NHL to maintain some kind of skeleton operation to build around again in future years.

    • Yes. it is in the NHL’s best interest to try and keep a pulse beating, even if it is just the publicity about a possible finishing of the season. In this sense, the likelihood of playoffs isn’t important.

      The practicality is another matter. Infection rates continue to rise in the US; a second wave has already hit China. There seems as much chance of the playoffs finishing this year as there is of a guy with a straw inflating a gondola balloon.