NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2020
Could the NHL schedule permanently change to run through the summer? Check out the latest in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports hearing the NHL is looking into permanently beginning its regular-season schedule in late November, early December or possibly January. He said the league likes the idea of growing the game after the NFL and NBA seasons are over when baseball is the only major in-season sport.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont wonders if we’ll ever see regular-season games played in October and November again.
Dupont believes this year’s Stanley Cup could be awarded in early-October if the Return-To-Play Plan begins in early August, assuming there are no delays because of COVID-19. He envisions an off-season that would stretch from October into December, with the draft in late October, free agency perhaps starting on Nov. 1, and training camp opening in December.
Given the league’s intent to stage a full 82-game schedule for 2020-21, Dupont suggests the regular season could kick off on New Year’s Day. That would mean the playoffs would begin in July and finish in September. “Unless the virus has other things in mind.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s James Mirtle (subscription required) also reported of talk in some NHL circles about a permanent change to the NHL schedule. I don’t believe the league brain trust is seriously considering this option right now, but I daresay some executives will take a wait-and-see approach. If staging the Stanley Cup Playoffs this summer and next summer proves popular among sports fans, it certainly could become a permanent thing. It’s all just speculation at this point.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports it’s not official yet, “but it appears as though Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver are out as hub cities for the upcoming NHL games.” He claims Las Vegas is almost certain to be one of the two hub cities, with Chicago or Los Angeles as the other. He also reports hearing there will be no media, including game announcers, onsite.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the league wants to see what summer playoff hockey will look like, staging it in Las Vegas and Los Angeles will provide an interesting spotlight. Maintaining proper ice conditions in those warm-weather climates will be a significant challenge.
TSN: The NHL has suggested roster sizes of 28 skaters plus goaltenders for the 24-team Return-To-Play tournament. That number could change depending on negotiations with the NHL Players’ Association.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wrote a heartfelt statement on Instagram after attending a Black Lives Matter protest in Boston on Friday.
“First thing is first and let me be clear: I stand with the Black community. Black Lives Matter,” Chara wrote. “There is no room in this world for racism. Period.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara is the latest in a growing number of NHL stars to speak out against racial injustice over the past week. NHL executive Kim Davis believes it’s a “huge moment” for the league, suggesting it could take them “to yet another level of opportunity and change.”
THE SCORE: Despite the worst season of his career, Jimmy Howard isn’t considering retirement. The 36-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. While he’d love to stay with the Wings, he realizes that he probably won’t be re-signed. Nevertheless, he believes he can still play in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard might have to accept a professional tryout offer. If he does well in training camp for next season (whenever that might be), he could earn a one-year deal from a club seeking experienced goaltending depth.