NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2020

by | Nov 12, 2020 | News, NHL | 6 comments

An update on the plans for next season plus the latest on Tuukka Rask, Cam Talbot, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL NETWORK: Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes we’ll learn more on the NHL’s plans to open the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1 over the next two weeks. The league and the NHLPA will use that period to see how quickly the season can begin and what it will look like.

Friedman believes a rumored proposal to the NHL board of governors for their meeting today is unlikely as it might be too soon. However, he thinks the governors will be updated over what’s being discussed.

He also feels the league is serious about starting on New Year’s Day. He points to MLB and NFL not playing in a quarantine bubble, resulting in cancellations and things beyond their control. The best option might be to start as early as possible and adjust on the fly like MLB did and the NFL is doing. That would leave a week or two open at the end of the season to make up games if necessary.

If they start on Jan. 1, the number of games played would be 56 and 72. Friedman’s sources didn’t mention 48 games, though he didn’t rule it out. What the schedule will look like, how many games the players are willing to play per week, whether they’ll be played in hub cities or not remain to be determined.

Friedman also said there’s a growing sense from teams that they want to play in their own buildings, though there’s concern from a few teams that they won’t be able to because of government regulations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, the NHL and NHLPA don’t have a lot of time to work out the details for a Jan. 1 start to the season. Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the two sides are in constant daily contact but their return-to-play committee has yet to hold its first meeting.

A Jan. 1 start means training camps must open for most clubs in early December, with last season’s seven non-playoff teams (Anaheim, Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa and San Jose) opening camps in late November. All players must return to their home cities before then. Sorting out an exhibition schedule that incorporates the Christmas holidays must be worked out. A regular-season schedule must be planned out and coordinated with their broadcasting partners.

I’m not saying these details can’t be worked out in short order, but the league and the players must get cracking to reach a workable agreement to drop the puck on New Year’s Day.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said his club is “full steam ahead” with goaltender Tuukka Rask for 2020-21. “I think everything that happened in the bubble has been addressed, dealt with,” said Cassidy, referring to Rask’s leaving the team for family reasons during the 2020 playoffs. “We’re moving on, getting ready to win next year. That includes our goaltender.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s silly to even imagine the Bruins not returning with Rask next season. They have no viable replacement options within their system or via the trade and free-agent markets. Rask’s departure had the full support of the club and his teammates. I don’t believe it was an issue or will be one going forward.

NBC SPORTS: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot is part of a fundraising drive that raised $17 million to save Alabama-Huntsville’s hockey program. Talbot is a UAH alumnus. He pointed out it’s still important for the UAH Chargers to get into a college conference. They’re the only NCAA Division 1 hockey program in the Southeastern United States.

SWISS HOCKEY NEWS: A recent report claims NHL free-agent center Carl Soderberg is seeking a well-paid deal in Switzerland. That could be difficult given the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19. Soderberg is also receiving interest from Sweden.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect Tim Stuetzle is making good progress in his recovery from a broken bone in his hand. Stuetzle was selected third overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: One year after Don Cherry was fired by Sportsnet, Ken Campbell believes the hockey world is better off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cherry’s supporters believe otherwise. For what it’s worth, I think his replacements, Kevin Bieksa and Brian Burke, did a good job. Bieksa is a breath of fresh air breaking down plays and is a natural TV personality. Burke provides the inside hockey observations and old-school attitude without veering far off-topic like Cherry used to do.

SHL: Former NHL goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has announced his retirement. “The Monster” played eight seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers from 2009-10 to 2016-17, with a career record of 72 wins, 67 losses and 23 overtime losses, 2.88 goals-against average, a .901 save percentage and seven shutouts in 179 games. He spent the last four seasons with Linkopings HC of the Swedish Hockey League.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gustavsson in his future endeavors.


  1. Agree with you Lyle re: Bieksa and Burke. Really enjoyed the breakdowns from Bieksa and the delivery. Burke was always going to give the upfront, blunt, old school opinion and since he sticks to hockey, it works well.

    They’ve had a good commentary team working this year.

  2. I didn’t perceive Bieksa/Burke as a replacement for Coach’s Corner

    They weren’t always paired

    Their insight is certainly fair, and Bieksa was starting to broaden his repertoire and thus, his following , nearing the end of the playoffs.

    Burke started to show a lighter side which I liked. The cantankerous monosyllabic deadpan responses had run their course…. so a very good sign for our future viewing pleasure

    That said…. I miss the “ Ron and Don” show…. that give and take was priceless

    I think it would be great if our Canadian censors could take a break and let Biznasty host a second intermission segment on HNIC

    Have him loop in different “co-hosts”

    • Jeff O’Neill works for TSN, but he seems like a guy who knows the game and has a personality that is entertaining.

      • Biznasty and O’ Dog…. certainly would be entertaining but would be Costello and Costello instead of Abott and Costello…. the dual zany approach might fail

        They would need a Biznasty “sounding board” counterpart that was quick witted and of “seasoned” hockey sense…. he wouldn’t have to be a former player and/or coach… would help but fundamentally not mandatory

        I just don’t think Biznasty/O’Dog segment would work

        Iggy ??

  3. Cherry had insight and value in his breakdown of the game but HNIC parlayed the back and forth to increasing degrees, promoting outlandish behavior,

    I’m happy Cherry’s gone but I think he was driven to the cartoonish character he became.

    Setting the segment up as milquetoast vs boor accentuated the wide line between patriotism and xenophobia, old time hockey and hard hitting.

    The Cherry I miss is the one who pointed out hugging on hits at the boards to avoid the numbers and injury, the hidden slew foots, the skate to achilles heel, the no touch icing etc the serious analysis under the buffoonish character they helped build.

  4. Not sure if it was Grapes’ time to step aside or not, but I do know, no media person stood up for Canadian Hockey or the Canadian Armed forces more than he did. He really got emotional when announcing fallen soldiers or officers.
    I hope they can find someone else as passionate for Canadians as him.
    He was always honest and even if you liked him, sometimes you thought he was off his rocker. But you always knew he was really saying what he thought.
    Now the only thing we know we are getting everyone’s honest opinion is Hockey matters.
    But for example if they’re commenting on BLM or other similar issues, we know they are puppets saying whatever is politically correct or they’ll be joining Don Cherry.