NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2020

by | Jun 7, 2020 | News, NHL | 21 comments

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.

Could NHL summer hockey become a permanent thing? (Photo via NHL.com)

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.


  1. I like the idea of hockey in the summer. I like the potential growth of the game competing against baseball as it looks like that sport is going to completely alienate the fans. I know many people on this board have said they’d rather be outside than watching a game and that makes sense. But imagine how good that arena would feel on a 80+ degree day!

    Give me a season start right after the holidays!

  2. Any real hockey fan will be watching, won’t be able to help themselves.
    And besides that if people want to be outside they can also tape it and watch it when they’re supposed to be sleeping.
    If they get it going it could be the most exciting playoffs yet.
    All the teams should be healthy and rested.

  3. Let’s hear from all the guys who have played summer hockey. I did – once – and never again.
    Bad ice, sweating before the game even starts, leaving the arena and walking into summer humidity. Just a brutal experience.
    The league will have a job convincing the players, let alone the fans, that hockey is a summer sport.
    Personally I hate the idea and, Vinnie, I think so-called real hockey fans will hate it too.

    • They may hate it but they will watch it. Some people don’t mind sweating. It’s called putting forth an effort. Most of the professional hockey players have played summer hockey their whole lives. It won’t be all that knew to them.
      It won’t be every year, just this one and maybe next.

    • I have been playing summer hockey ( two leagues) for over ten years and love it!

    • I don’t know about you but there was a big difference between pro facilities I’ve been to and the ones used in lower (in my case, beer league) league’s facilities.

      I’ve done stuff in Vegas such as the original outdoor game and they pulled it off. Was it great? Yes and no but that was over 10-15 yrs ago and if they were tasked to make it snow, I’m sure Vegas would be able to pull it off. I’m not saying we’ll see ice like you do in Edmonton or facilities like in Toronto but it wail be good enough for the pros.

  4. I like the current time frame. Perhaps a little later. I used to love fall, change of colors and start of football. Playing hockey in July/August? not for me.

    • Starting hockey January 1 is like changing Christmas to the 4th of July (USA)
      People get use to certain things in their life.
      I like the way it is where I can watch baseball half the year and hockey the other half. Another problem is that where I live the same local TV outlet has both Angel and Duck games, meaning that someone gets crowed out and here it means Duck games will not be on local TV or taped delayed until 2am. This idea is akin to lets abolish the police department, that should stop the violence.

  5. If Bettman and the owners believe that holding the playoffs every year in the heat of the summer will grow the sport they are truly dreaming. The casual fan will not be up for hockey in the summer, to say nothing of the non-fan. It may prove popular this summer but that means nothing. People are starved for sports right now and will watch. But that doesn’t mean it will translate to next summer.

    • The problem is hockey has few casual fans. Not competing with basketball football. That’s a win.

  6. Couldn’t get any worse than last years final many players said might as well throw a tennis ball out there. Real fans will watch real fans would get up in the middle of the night to watch real fans would phone in sick if game during the day and vinster nobody tapes anything anymore they use that new gizmo thing called a pvwxyz.

    • Yes I have a pvr and that is what I use. I said tape because I got in trouble for using acronyms on this site previously.

    • I saw this too. The permutations and effects of Covid are like a preposterous movie script. But real. Kind of like the Trump presidency.

  7. Haven’t we got an answer to this already?

    As I recall, the # of fans watching Canadian teams’ playoff hockey dropped precipitously in each of the last several years once their team was out — which has often been early in the playoffs. Rogers tv revenue cratered. I can’t imagine that it is much different for American fans. Who wants to watch hockey in August unless your team is in the hunt?

    Besides. if playoff hockey is still being played in September it will compete with pretty much every professional sport going.

    If playoff hockey does happen this calendar year it has to have an impact on next season’s start and finish. I will find another sport if it becomes permanent.

    • You and a whole lot of other people LJ.

  8. Kids play summer hockey, Vinnie, because they’re all going to the NHL, according to their parents anyway.
    For recreational hockey, it’s a matter of choice. I didn’t enjoy it at all – too used to pond hockey growing up I guess.
    I can go along with the playoffs happening this summer when there’s not much choice but a permanent move by the league would be ridiculous imo, maybe fatal.
    How about a natural hockey season? Start in October/November and present the Stanley Cup by the end of March or the middle of April?
    Play fewer games, shorten the playoffs. Sounds good to me.

  9. Start the season in early September and get it done by May. Anything else is a joke. Ice quality is critical!!!

  10. Start the season in early September and end it by May. Anything else is ridiculous. Ice quality matters!!!

    • I agree, Hockey is a winter sport, played on ICE

  11. I don’t think they plan on playing during the summer. Maybe this year and part of next year because of the pandemic. That would be it.
    The writers are just creating something to talk about.
    Just like salary cap issues or how many magic beans Dorion got for hockey players.
    The writers are just trying to earn a paycheck and feed their families.