NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2020

by | Jul 26, 2020 | News, NHL | 14 comments

As the 24 teams involved in the return-to-play plan move to their hub cities for the upcoming playoff tournament, check out the latest NHL morning coffee headlines.


NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford finally took part in training camp yesterday and confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19. After self-quarantining in Chicago for the past several weeks, Crawford received clearance to resume practicing and will travel with his teammates to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why the Blackhawks management and coaching staff were so cryptic about Crawford’s status over the past two weeks. It’s potentially good news for the Hawks if their long-time starter can shake off the rust before they face off against the Oilers in their qualifying round series. He’ll only have a few days to try to get up to speed.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak will travel with his teammates to Toronto for the upcoming tournament after missing all but one practice due to potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. Ondrej Kase’s status, however, remains uncertain after being unfit to participate in Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kase’s situation has sparked speculation he tested positive for COVID-19 because league protocols prevent the Bruins from elaborating on his condition.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: An injury suffered before Phase 3 training camp will prevent goaltender Ilya Samsonov from traveling to Toronto with his Capitals teammates. He’ll remain in Washington for treatment and is expected to be healthy for the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for the Capitals, long-time starter Braden Holtby had a good training camp and should be match-fit for the upcoming tournament. Nevertheless, the loss of Samsonov could become a significant factor if Holtby should be sidelined or struggles in the playoffs.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Dougie Hamilton was absent from the Carolina Hurricanes’ final training-camp session yesterday. He’s been sidelined since Wednesday after leaving the ice in some discomfort. Forward Martin Necas left the ice on Saturday but his condition isn’t considered serious.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton’s return would provide a big boost to an already-deep Hurricanes defense corps. They can adjust without him but they’d be much better with the mobile Hamilton patrolling the blueline.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers skated briefly yesterday but didn’t scrimmage with his teammates. He’s believed to be nursing an injury as he was held out of Thursday’s scrimmage.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was held out of practice yesterday as a precautionary measure after tweaking something earlier in the week. Center Riley Sheahan left yesterday’s scrimmage with an apparent injury.

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar returned to Colorado Avalanche practice yesterday.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart took part in a full practice yesterday and said he’ll be ready for the club’s upcoming exhibition game this week against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland has played his way back into a regular roster spot. He’ll be traveling with his teammates to Edmonton for the playoff tournament. Ferland missed most of this season and the early part of training camp dealing with head trauma symptoms.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the relationship between the Arizona Coyotes ownership and general manager John Chayka apparently fell apart over the latter receiving a job opportunity with another club.

The Coyotes were approached about Chayka’s availability and permitted him to explore the offer. An NHL source said the offer wasn’t for a general manager position. When it became apparent Chayka could leave, the Coyotes resisted. The two sides reportedly discussed a transition period where he would finish out the season as Coyotes GM, but talks fell apart. 

AZ COYOTES INSIDER Craig Morgan asked a Coyotes spokesperson about Chayka’s status but they declined to comment. Morgan also said the job opportunity wasn’t with another team but was another professional opportunity.

AZCENTRAL: Kent Somers and Richard Morin report the Coyotes ownership group made a contract offer to Taylor Hall during a recent dinner meeting. Chayka was not part of that meeting and learned about the offer a day or two later.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Patrick Johnston suggests Buffalo could be a destination for Chayka. Pegula Sports and Entertainment own the Sabres, the NFL Bill, and the AHL’s Rochester Americans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan wonders why the Coyotes balked after granting Chayka permission to explore it. What’s apparent is the relationship between the two sides is eroding, perhaps to the point where Chayka seems to be on his way out. It’s a puzzling situation that could become an unnecessary distraction as the Coyotes head to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament.


  1. The Chayka situation is, indeed,”murky” – but as I indicated yesterday, perhaps the fact he has painted the team into a cap-hell corner that even Houdini would find difficult to escape, is also part of the equation.

    And he did this while compiling a pathetic record as GM. The season before the took over as GM – and while he was the assistant GM by the way – the Coyotes finished with a 35 39 8 78 pts 209gf 245ga for an aggregate -36.

    His first season as GM (2016-19) saw them go 30 42 10 70 pts 197gf 260ga – aggregate of -63

    That was followed by a 29 41 12 record for 70 pts again – 208gf 256ga -48.

    There then followed periods of building the current cap-hell which showed only modest improvement as they went 39 35 8 86 213gf 223ga -10 in 2018-19, and this shortened season they finished 33 29 8 74 in 70gp – 195gf 187ga +8 – which would project to an 87 pts season.

    87 points has been the mark of bubble teams for the last several full full seasons.

    It could be that ownership simply hasn’t seen the kind of development they expected from his vaunted “analytics” approach.

    • So, over the past 5 seasons his team has compiled a record of 166 186 46 with 102gf and 1171ga for a minus 149.

      Getting a total of 378 pts out of a possible 796 over that stretch means they played at a .475 clip in that span.

      That would be sufficient to get most GMs canned. but doing that while putting your team in a cap nightmare is a whole new level of incompetence.

      • 1022gf …

  2. If the above is true then I call it a draw between the advanced stats and traditional crowd. Chayka was a poster child for that fight. If he leaves because he was poached and Arizona tried but failed to keep him then that is in favor of the advanced crowd. But his record by leaving early has no chance to improve. Score one for traditional crowd.

    It’s a kissing your sister kind of thing

    • I dont know if I call it one for the advance crowd.

      He has done nothing for them, other then have other shy away.

      His other opportunity is noted as not with another team but a professional opportunity.

      No issue with advance stats as every team uses them, but if your solely relying on them, then yes you will fail.

      • Agreed, Caper. Advanced stats are an important part of assessing a player’s skills, but they’re not the end-all and be-all.

      • What would be stupendous if this Chayka story is true would be for zona to make scf or win the Stanley cup. If pens can’t win it I want this to happen sooooo bad.

      • LOL. It would be one for the books. But don’t hold your breath.

      • Chrism there you go Chayka has terminated his contract; Pierre Lebrum is reporting.

  3. I am eagerly anticipating hockey with No Crowd noises. Skates digging into ice.. The Slap of Stick on Puck.. On-Ice chatter..Trash-talk from the Bench.

    Anyone who has gone out to the local rink to play a game of shinny or watched their kid play in a little snowbound quonset knows how magical this game is.

    This could build the Fan-Base

    • I can’t wait for the “sounds of hockey” either.

      I hope the rinks aren’t blasting the music in between faceoffs either.

      I know I’m old school, but hockey without that incredibly loud music will be a good thing.

      Now all we have to do next is get all that writing off the boards and off the ice. Imagine how much easier it will be for the novice fan to follow the puck without all those logos.

      I know, I know, all the teams need the advertising money.

      Get ready boys and girls, hockey is almost back! Thank GOD.

      • Vinny Chicago, imagine what that big Chicago organ would sound like in an empty arena? They did transfer that from the old arena didn’t they?

  4. George O. I am not a Blackhawks fan, Chicago is my nickname.

    This is my 2nd Post under this name on this site and both times everyone thought I was a Blackhawk fan.

    Starting now I will once again be Posting under my original Spectors Hockey monicker, Cousin Vinny. There was never any confusion with that name. If anything it made some people chuckle and smile.

    BTW, I am sure that Organ will be very loud in an empty arena.