NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2020

by | Aug 29, 2020 | News, NHL | 29 comments

The playoff schedule resumes today, former Panthers GM under investigation for uttering a racial slur, plus updates on Andrei Svechnikov, John Tortorella, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league has released its revised schedule for the resumption of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 4 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins begins at noon ET, Game 3 between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders starts at 7 pm ET, and Game 3 between the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks begins at 9:45 ET. The Lightning holds a 2-1 series lead over the Bruins, while the Flyers and Islanders and the Golden Knights and Canucks are tied at a game apiece.

 SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin wonders what steps the NHL will take in the wake of the recent player protest against racial injustice to ensure the fight for equality isn’t forgotten. He cites TSN’s Rick Westhead reporting the Hockey Diversity Alliance has requested the league to invest $100 million over 10 years to fund anti-racism, education, and grass-roots initiatives. That works out to just over $312K per team or less than half the minimum salary of one player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a reasonable request by the HDA. It’ll also be interesting to see if the NHL Players Association will be working alongside the league in this matter or if they’ll be taking their own steps.

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts said his club lost season-ticket holders over its support of Black Lives Matter and protests over racial inequality. He claimed it was a mix of individual and company accounts. “But I/we stand by our organization’s commitment and support our players 100% to express their views,” said Alberts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first report I’ve seen by a team regarding the loss of season-ticket holders over the players’ recent protests. Alberts didn’t specify how many season-ticket holders the Stars lost. It could’ve been a large number or a handful. He also said none of the club’s advertisers have pulled funding.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW(subscription required): George Richards reports the NHL is investigating whether former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon used a racial slur while representing the team. Tallon has been accused of using racially-charge language at some point during the Panthers time in the Toronto playoff bubble.

Tallon denied the charge. “I am not a racist by any means,” he said. “I have never said anything of the sort. I am all for peace, am all for this alliance and what everyone is trying to do right now.”

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports the $25,000 fine levied by the league on Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is the 15th time he’s been punished by the league. Portzline estimates Tortorella has lost “well over $200,000” because of “his mouth and his temper.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Tortorella is losing any sleep over those fines. While he’s mellowed a bit over the years, he remains outspoken and irritable. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov said he’d be ready to go if his club were still in the postseason. He was sidelined two weeks ago by a high-ankle sprain suffered in his club’s first-round series with the Boston Bruins. Svechnikov said he’s now feeling at almost 100 percent.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a one-year contract extension worth $750K.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings loaned defenseman Filip Hronek to Mountfield HK of the Czech League. He’s the fifth player the Wings have loaned to European clubs. All are scheduled to return to the Wings once NHL training camps later this fall.

THE PROVINCE: The death of popular Vancouver sportswriter Jason Botchford was revealed to be caused by an accidental overdose of cocaine and fentanyl. Botchford died suddenly last April at age 48. He covered the Canucks for The Province from 2005 to 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still a tragic, heartbreaking loss for Botchford’s family, friends, and the hockey community regardless of the cause of death.


  1. I was confused by the math at first. The 100 million over ten years. It actually costs each team over three mil. But only the 300k per year.

    I wonder if it goes against the cap?🧐

    • It’s almost hysterical how the worlds whitest sport, with players from the whitest communities, with the whitest fans have become so woke!


      I wonder how much Rick Westwood will be personally contributing to his cause? Zero is my guess.

      • Because they’re doing the right thing NY4life. Not surprised that hasn’t caught on with you yet. You sound as if being white precludes having empathy for others. For a guys who desire hockey news and not politics, you Ed Van Impe jump right in on the latter with gusto every day.

      • Don’t worry about hm rock, he’s the type that thinks the guns he is carrying around will save the world

      • NYR, “It’s showtime” – all virtue signaling, all the time.

        Are the NHL and its players serious about their rhetoric? Okay, then shut it all down now. And skip next season as well. That way they can also claim solidarity with the working stiffs who have lost jobs and businesses due to covid-19 shutdowns.

        And please explain why you instantly convicted the cop. When a player swings his stick like a 2 x 4, nearly decapitating his opponent, the narrative is all about due process and not jumping to conclusions. “Let the investigators complete their job, there may be mitigating circumstances that y’all don’t know about”.

        Now, somehow the players are all experts in law enforcement.
        Hypocrisy salad on tonight’s dinner menu?

  2. What can really be done to Tallon? He’s out to pasture anyway, his days of running a club are over … and his rep is what it is … move on

  3. Agree ed. The NHL – already a day late to the pro-sports protest wagon – clearly wants to be seen to be doing something. Tallon has denied saying any such thing so what does it boil down to – “he said – she said?” or maybe the “testimony” of a couple of people who have reason to be pissed off at him for some other unrelated reason.

    Perhaps, if a whole slew of people come forward to relate what they heard – or even caught it on cell phones, this may lead to some meaningless “action” by the league. But the fact it took this long for the league to mention anything after Florida was eliminated raises questions on its own.

  4. I think a better way for the players to show support for a cause is to play the games and donate money earned for playing that game to the cause of their choice. Asking or Demanding that the league provides the funding smacks of the way Governments run things, taking other peoples money for what they ( the Gobberment ) wants to do. That’s why Governments at all level run such huge deficits. You want to fund something, fund it yourself.

    • Players ain’t paid in the playoffs.

      • Yes They Are
        They get a check based upon how far the team goes. As I recall it’s a gross amount and depending upon how many players / coaches / staff are involved determines how much each person gets.

        You think players are going to spend up to two months in a bubble for nothing ?

      • My understanding is that they did not get paid. So I googled it. They do get some money divided up but it’s not based on salaries.

        Neat. I learned something today. Thanks boomer!

  5. With that many reprimands, the rude, condescending and arrogant tortorella should be fined AND suspended.
    Is there any reason he should be able to act like an immature child while the other 30 coaches in the league act like adults in required post game interviews where their team lost the game?

    • “is there any reason…”

      Yes, it generates publicity for the league. All bland coaches, no quotable quotes.

      Torts is very passionate, and not just about hockey. He lives on a (horse?) farm in Ohio and is heavily involved with rescuing abandoned / abused animals. People who know his story know his passion. So, yes, John does get carried away at times. But his heart is definitely in the right place.

      • Torts, Marchand, Charles Barkley. Someone’s gotta wear the black hat, right?

      • Shoreorrpark, I suggest you be careful with your wording. I know it’s just a figure of speech. But many probably do not – education system has gone straight downhill the past 30 years.

        Funny / not funny.
        A sad commentary on where society is at in 2020.

      • Thanks for the heads up, HammerOTG.
        I continue to forget how ignorant our young people are.
        That’s what you were alluding to, right?

        I’d dare say the same vocal minority that got rid of Grapes would bust my chops over something that they don’t understand.

        Outrageous, huh?

      • Shoreorrpark, yup, you got the concept.

        The problem truly is the educational system on both sides of the border – brainwashed in school and not taught critical thinking skills.

        My youngest sibling home-schooled the children, even high school. Secondary school curriculum is through a U.S. organization. Rest of the family was against it, but the children will likely receive a superior education. Only a couple of years before they move on to university.

        Family is not political; however my nephew has dubbed CNN the Corrupt News Network.

  6. It’s commendable that the NHL players, overwhelmingly White, fully support the black players, few as they are…When Drew Brees said he would stand for the Anthem out of respect for his family members who have served in the military, his peers overwhelmingly threw him under the bus, at which point he “changed” his stance…Dale Tallon is
    being investigated for “alleged racial slurs”, key word alleged…Where was the outrage when Montrelz Harrell, a black nba player, “allegedly” (but caught on tape) called Luka Doncic, a Slovenin born nba White player, a “Bitch ass white boy”? This “allegedly happened last Friday…Nothing in the papers, news, nba front office…NOTHING….Mr. Harrell apologized to Luka the next day and all was groovy again….There is a terrible double standard that has been created…I’m happy to see the NHL support their fellow players, but it needs to go both ways…I’m not expecting it to….

  7. Re Ruhwedel signing

    Chrisms had posted that yesterday and I responded to him then…. here is my cut/paste from yesterday

    “Chrisms …. you better be sharding me

    If GMJR did… that’s a fireable offence

    Signing a Dman who is about 12th on their depth chart value-wise ; AND has major major major Defensive deficiencies ; (1) in the off season; (2) when he still has another year left under contract; and (3) there is absolutely no rush to re-sign him and (4) absolutely not a single team interested in him…. while most importantly (5) the FAR FAR FAR superior; WAY faster; 4 years younger Riikola who is an RFA and other teams circling and seeking him out….. would be just another point towards proving GMJR having completely lost reality

    I really hope ur pulling my Ying Yang Chrisms

    I don’t want to even check Cap F for fear you are right and immediately ruining my weekend

    Is he extending JJ @$5 M per through 30-31 as well?

    Please oh please oh please be fibbing ur buns off

    The Horror

    If he’s trying to set up next year with JJ/Ruhweedel as bottom pairing…. even the aquisition of McD wouldn’t get them into the playoffs

    The solid, sane, safe, productive D for next year should be:

    With Czuczman or PO-J as 7th

    *If he can’t come to terms on signing UFA Soucy…, get UFA Psyk who is a double asset in that he plays W & D equally well … watch him get a trey when he was in town against Leafs“

    • Honestly pengy I like chad. He can jump in and play as a reasonable bottom pair after being sat for weeks at a time. That ain’t Easy. Now if he was signed as a full time top 6… problematic. But a 7? Cool.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Sorry to disagree here

        CR is not even close to Riikola…. not even close. Not at all. Not anytime. Not anywhere. Not vs. Any opponent.

        Czuczman is far far better

        Almari and PO-J are much better than CR

        All 4 are younger; faster; better

        Trottman is better; not by a big margin; but better; Trottman is the same age but is vastly bigger and much much stronger than CR

        That only leaves Nyberg; Reilly; Lindgren and Lee; Maniascalo who I’ve never seen play. All are at least 6 or 7 years younger than CR

        I don’t think it would be stretching it to think at least 2 of them are better than CR

        CR is at best ; for the Pens/WBS/Loaned 17 D-men( that includes rights still owned until UFA opens) ; around 12th best. That’s the highest he could possibly be and that’s w/o seeing any of the new guys. We all know who is 17th

        GMJR should have been putting all efforts into his RFA negotiations and possible deals; and practising his JJ bye-bye speech instead of re-signing (with a raise I might add) a DMan who at best is bottom pairing WBS material; and who has no interest from any other team; and who has no value whatsoever in trade; and who under no circumstance should be taking the NHL spot of much more deserving players

        I want to know if Riikola made at pass at Mrs. Sully or Mrs. Rutherford…. him not playing while JJ is a reg; and at times they had CR in and Riikola in the press box????

        Something is up

  8. Re

    “ Tortorella is the 15th time he’s been punished by the league. Portzline estimates Tortorella has lost “well over $200,000” because of “his mouth and his temper.”

    The current punishment (fines) are obviously not serving to change his behaviour

    Either/or increase fines and/or suspend him from games (I believe ; please correct me if I’m wrong; suspensions of coaches are just like players…. they lose propionate salary for games suspended… do I have that right?)

    Again, as I’ve posted before… full transparency…. not a fan of Torts the man. No challenge ever to his coaching accolades. I just don’t have time for a guy who won’t answer poignant and topical questions posed to him (as he is required to do) and his consistent deflection from certain topics.

    I’m not talking about uncalled for; off-topic; and/or repeat questions (previously posed by another reporter; and answered ).

    I’m talking about his complete refusal to answer clearly worded ; topical; and important questions when he’s not in the mood to do so; and it’s almost always after a loss

  9. To Hammer_of_the_Gods: So you think … If you rescue horses, you can act any way you wish as an NHL coach?

    That’s ridiculous.

    I don’t care if he sings in the church choir 5 days a week, the standard is for all coaches, not just 30 of them.

  10. As I noted, free publicity via media articles helps the league by raising awareness. Some controversy helps (that’s how theWWE makes money).

    An NHL coach cannot act anyway he wants – a charge of sexual assault (even if it is frivilous and later proved to be without merit) would see the coach removed immediately.

    For other objectionable behaviour, fines are levied.
    That’s the system as it exists today.
    Some fans believe the punishment for certain infractions is too light.
    If so, then I suggest making your voice heard at NHL head offices.

    This is also a business decision for the Columbus owners. If they believe the team will be more successful with Torts, then he stays. And not all teams define success in the same way. Billionaire owners care more about championships than profit; corporate owners care more about profits.

  11. I flipped on the parliamentary channel for the House of Commons Question Period and was disappointed and a little annoyed they weren’t debating Torts fine or proposed trades at the NHL entry draft.

    • LOL. Question Period. Talk about a useless waste of taxpayer’s dollars.

      • It doesn’t help at QP when all the Q’s are Rhetorical; while all the A’s differ

        Monty Python’s skit… “I’ve come here for an argument… no you haven’t… yes I have……” comes to mind 🤪

      • Pengy, I often wonder how many know how Question Period actually works. All questions that are to be asked by the Opposition have to be submitted in advance and sent to the bureaucrats at the Department involved where a response is prepared. That’s why you see most Ministers reading their responses from a prepared script.

        If and when things get “heated” (which they often do) and the Opposition then expands on the original question, invariably the response will simply be a repetition of the initial answer – or if a new question comes out of left field and the Minister has no clue (most don’t) the response is always “we will take that under advisement and get back to you …” Euphemism for, “wait’ll we send it back to the bureaucrats …”

      • HI George


        Oh so true

        “ we will take that under advisement and get back to you …” Euphemism for, “wait’ll we send it back to the bureaucrats …”

        …. which really means…. we’re going to get our minions to take an exorbitant amount of time and a great deal of Public Servants’ person hours ; to come up with a garbled and vague response; which will no longer be topical at the time you receive it; and we hope by then is of much lesser concern (if any) to the public who are watching us now

        One of the first lectures I ever sat in on at University was by a Professor (very old) who had been a civil servant for over 30 years; and his opening line to us fresh faced , open minded teenagers, was something along the lines (BTW paraphrased from a 40 year old memory) of

        The sole purpose of government is to shuffle papers and bury itself in research to preemptively find the answers to questions not yet posed and that may never be asked; and which will never satisfy the individual who may or may not ask the question in the first place

        That same day my first Philosphy lecture… Descarte… do we really exist?

        I enjoyed a drink that night… LOL