NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2020

by | Nov 11, 2020 | News, NHL | 22 comments

The latest on the NHL’s return-to-play plan for 2020-21, an update on Elias Pettersson, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is exploring temporary hub cities, temporary divisional realignments and a reduced schedule as options for staging the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman said he would never ask the players to return to a strict quarantine bubble similar to the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs for an entire season. They’re exploring teams playing in their own arenas with or without fans, depending on the location, in hubs or a hybrid system.

The commissioner suggested teams would play for 10-to-12 days in hub cities without traveling, followed by returning home to their families for a week. He indicated they would have testing protocols and other things in place. While admitting it won’t be quite as effective as in a quarantine bubble, they believe they can minimize the risks “to the extent practical and sensible.”

Bettman indicated any return-to-play plan would be a collaborative effort with the NHLPA. The two sides have been in regular and constant communication but regular meetings have yet to begin.

Border restrictions between Canada and the United States, as well as travel limitations between certain states, could force a temporary divisional realignment based on region.

Bettman also pointed to a lack of fans in the stands and casual fans being less inclined to watch hockey during the summer as two key factors why television ratings were down for the 2020 playoffs.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports deputy commissioner Bill Daly sent a memo to all 31 teams stating the league believes progress toward finalizing a recommendation for the 2020-21 season to the board of governors is being made.

If negotiations with the NHLPA can be completed by Thursday, the terms will be presented to the upcoming board of governors meeting for approval.

Daly indicated the objective remains to start on Jan. 1 with the regular-season schedule concluding in late-April. That would mean a shortened schedule of 48-56 games, with the league crowning a Stanley Cup champion before the summer and returning with a normal 82-game schedule from October to April for 2021-22.

Because of border restrictions, the seven Canadian franchises could be in their own division for at least the start of the season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL hopes to award the Stanley Cup by no later than July 15. He also said different sources have heard different potential lengths for the schedule, from as low as 56 to as high as 72 games, depending on when the season begins.

There’s a growing push for teams to play in their own buildings. One reason is the naming rights on those buildings. With fewer events, sponsorship deals could be affected.

One area of possible contention is player salaries for 2020-21. The players agreed to accept 72 percent of their gross pay for the upcoming season, but the owners feel they should be prorated if a significant decline in attendance creates losses higher than the 20 percent escrow could withstand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much of what Bettman said has already been previously reported or speculated upon. Bear in mind that those points he raises remain under consideration and haven’t officially approved.

The league’s plan also remains to have fans gradually returning to the arenas over the course of the season, with the hope of full arenas when the playoffs open in the spring. However, that’s going to depend on the severity of the pandemic in each region. Some could have loosened restrictions allowing a reduced number of socially distanced fans in the stands as we’ve seen in the NFL.

There was speculation suggesting the NHL could wait until as late as March to reopen to allow more fans into the stands by that point. Based on Garrioch’s report, however, the push remains to start in January and award the Cup by no later than mid-July to avoid having the playoffs drag on too deeply into the summer. I also think they want to avoid having to go up against the Tokyo Summer Olympics set to begin in late July.

While the league and the PA in constant talks, it’s interesting to note the supposed “return-to-play” committee still hasn’t met yet. It appears the leadership of both sides could be hashing out the framework of a plan and leave the finer details to the committee.

I’ve recently pointed out, however, the league is getting pressed for time to start on Jan. 1. All the players still have to return to their home cities. Training camps will have to begin in early-December, with the seven clubs that didn’t qualify for the 2020 playoffs probably to hit the ice by no later than the end of this month. The Christmas holiday break will also complicate an exhibition-game schedule.

THE SCORE: cites a report in The Athletic indicating the Vancouver Canucks haven’t yet begun substantive contract extension talks with Elias Pettersson. However, that lack of progress isn’t anything to be concerned about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson quickly established himself as the Canucks’ best player since his debut in 2018-19. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year that season with 66 points, followed by 66 points in 68 games last season. Pettersson, who turns 22 on Nov. 12, has yet to reach his playing prime. He’s entering the final season of his entry-level contract and will receive a significant raise in his next deal with the Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Seattle Kraken expect to have the main portion of their training facility ready to open next July.

ECHL.COM: released its schedule of critical dates that will see it gradually start its season in two stages. The first stage will see 13 teams start their seasons on Dec. 11 with the remainder beginning on Jan. 15.


  1. I love the thought of a short season. Games will have much more weight and be more fun to watch. Especially division games.

    • There is nothing wrong with Vanille post or George reply.

      In reality lately everyday is the same old post regurgitated, over and over and over again.

  2. Starting on January 1 is a pipe dream … like most of the comments I read around here every day …

    • Everything you post is useless drivel

      • So why waste your time replying to him, George?

  3. Same reason why you keep posting his insults, I suppose

    • I don’t post his comments, George. Same as I don’t post yours. Surely by now, you can see he merely makes those comments simply to get a rise out of people. And when he crosses the line, his remarks are removed and his posts are moderated, just as others have been.

      • But you do edit and/or delete comments – something you need to be more judicious about. You allow some pretty annoying posts, yet delete others that are much less sarcastic or inflammatory.

      • I do my best with what time I have to review and moderate comments. I realize it won’t please everyone but I do the best I can. What you might consider “annoying” others might simply shrug off or ignore. I remove or edit those that are exceedingly insulting, profanity-filled, racist, homophobic, far off-topic.

      • So……

        Gas stoves or electric stoves? I’m partial to electric.

      • Lyle trusts us to behave and check ourselves. Being respectful is hard for some especially when two people who have opposite points of view which neither can agree are valid. I’m quite surprised you have insinuated Lyle posts comments at his whim which isn’t true. Like many visitors, we ignore your and others’ repetitive posts only because nothing new there. Like Lyle said, no need to reply to dumb things…like this comment.

      • Lyle, this is a good site and I take your point about our having the choice and responsibility to ignore trolls. And George, I am not your Dad, but I did council you ignore trolls, just as Chrisms suggested I do.

        Just a friendly suggestion, though, Lyle:

        At some point enough is enough. This is your site, but why incommode yourself with the constant policing of certain consistently obnoxious posters? Yes, there are just a few, but it lowers the tone of the site. Just as the rest of us have the responsibility to behave by not taking the bait, trolls have a responsibility to not be trolls. When that responsibility is consistently ignored they forfeit the right to post and should be banned.

        At least I think so. None of us here are faint of heart but this site is a place for fun and diversion during challenging times. Those with relentless, witless sarcasm let the air out of the room.

    • Could someone please explain to me what “the Vanille post/ George reply” is all about?

      I have to start signing on earlier, missing all the action here.


  4. They continue playing in the US despite depleted rosters, cancelled games in pro and college games with some seating as if covid is a plot that they can avoid.

    A shortened season won’t account for covid impacting the lineups, and it isn’t the same as injuries.

    The league is in the same situation as the entire economy, distancing, masking, testing to cut the spread of the virus.

  5. To Lyle and others who are serving or have served, and to those here with family members who are/have serving/served…. on this Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans’ Day…. thanks for your service.


    • Thank you, Pengy.

      • Your welcome

  6. Let’s assume the 10-12 day in, 7 day home, pseudo quasi bubble scenario…. that’s (with back-to-back , off, back-to-back, off loops) 8 games in 17- 19 days at best…. 48 games is going to take 95-105 days; 60 games…. 120-130 days…

    So …. Captain obvious… 82 game season is not happening

    I agree…l starting later… say 1/2 ..l, with a substantially shortened season, might get them to some fans late in season or playoffs

    Owners IMHO will be all for a shortened season…. keeps operations going to get a Cup in by mid July, maybe fans in playoffs, but more importantly allows for them to open up the “pro-rate” clause of the CBA….

    My thoughts….

    Start 1/2
    Re-align divs (yes I’m all for a Can Div)
    Quasi-hub/bubble…. 10-12 in, 7 days home
    48 games… playoffs start Mid May; done by 1/7
    Sal’s and Cap pro-rated 48/82…. Cap…$47.7M

    21 /22 season starts like “reg”… 1st week in Oct

    • That’s a pretty sensible bow to reality

  7. So what does everyone thing of last night episode of “The Bachelorette.” ?

  8. What is with the U of Michigan, not allowing Owen Powers to attend Canada’s world junior camp?

    Hopefully they do not allow any American”s tryout for the US team.

    • Scott, could it be a quarantine issue?