NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2020

by | Nov 22, 2020 | News, NHL | 7 comments

The latest return-to-play news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the infighting between the NHL and NHL Players Association over the league’s requests for higher escrow and salary deferral rates puts the start of the 2020-21 season into question. He feels league commissioner Gary Bettman faces a difficult challenge, attempting to negotiate during a pandemic with the owners angry and divided and the players unwilling to budge over further cuts to their salaries.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

  NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross suggests additional salary deferral could be a way out of this mess despite the initial shock and anger from the players. Unlike escrow, deferrals will at some point find their way back to the players. Another is the desire by Bettman and the PA to start the season as soon as possible.

The league and PA prefer a start date of Jan. 1. With the clock ticking, however, Gross thinks that might have to be pushed back to around Feb. 1. He feels a realistic start date for the season should become clearer by the end of the upcoming American Thanksgiving weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can probably forget about a Jan. 1 start to the season if an agreement between the league and the PA isn’t reached by Monday, Nov, 30. Many players still haven’t joined their teams. The league wants a 14-day training camp leading up to the start of the season, with last season’s seven non-playoff clubs getting an additional seven-to-10 days as promised.

ESPN.COM: A recent survey of American sports fans indicates two-thirds of the respondents will await the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to arenas and stadiums.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher said the club will have to hold its training camp outside of Santa Clara county if local health officials won’t allow players to skate in large numbers at its training facility in San Jose.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane and his girlfriend Amanda recently announced the birth of their first child. Patrick Timothy Kane III arrived on Nov. 12.

TSN: Fred Saskamoose, one of the first Indigenous players to skate in the NHL, tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalized. He played 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. Following his playing career, he was extensively involved in developing sports programs for Indigenous youth. Saskamoose was named to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and received the Order of Canada in 2017.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Saskamoose for a speedy recovery.


  1. Re

    “ deferrals will at some point find their way back to the players“

    However with the information from yesterday …. where it was concluded that Players would have to make up overage on the 50/50 HRR split (which will happen if escrow stays at 20%) then all of that deferral will not get back to players…. they will owe some (all?) to owners

    A 48-60 game season with empty arenas in many cities to start; AND never even getting close to full by end of season…. then HRR has to be down a minimum of 40% ….. $3B or less….meaning effectively Sals would be “over-payed” relative to the HRR sharing (even after the 20% escrow clawback) and then their deferral amounts would have to be used towards that loss.

    Even then; with current outlook…. 10% deferral won’t cover it

    Agree Lyle…. looking more and more like a 1/2 start

    Toronto starts lock-down tomorrow morning

    • “ over-payed”….. man I need my coffee



  2. Easy solution. Both sides signed an AGREEMENT. Have the integrity to abide by it.

    Any team that can’t operate under this new agreement can either sit their team out for the season or fold.

    Problem solved.


  3. Best wishes to a healthy recovery to Fred Sasakamoose. I am dating myself but I remember Fred playing for the Saskatoon Quakers and the Canadian National Senior teams in the mid 60s. The one memory I have is how goalies feared his slapshot. He had the proverbial canon. This is not a fishing story, I saw him take the glove off of a goalie with a slapshot from outside of the blueline. He was a tank at that age and the star of the league.

    He is a residential school survivor. He was taken from his parents when he was 6 along with his 8 year old brother. he says there were 30 kids in the back of a truck that picked them up that day. There were very harsch discipline rules at the school but he credited that environment for helping him develop his hockey skills. That helped in his learning his hockey skills. He was named the Canadian Junior Hockey League (Moose Jaw Canucks) most valuable player scoring 31 goals in 34 games in the 1953-54 season. He was called up to the NHL in Feb, 1954 and was heralded as the 1st aboriginal player (disputed by some). The story goes that he just could not adapt to the NHL and just packed up and came home to Saskatchewan after 11 games with no desire to return. He was assigned to Buffalo of the AHL for the start of the next season but would not report. he wanted something closer to home, played in Calgary for awhile but he just wanted to be a husband and a father. He is quoted as saying “I was striving for success in an outside world that was not meant for me. For me to be in the public life, to be in white society, was very difficult. He endured many crude comments from the stands which really bothered his wife. He is in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada. Please pray for his recovery.

  4. agree with Wendel. the owners and the PA came to a bargained agreement. it doesn’t sound like there is any wording that agreement that allows the owners to ask the players to take a further paycheck

    I can’t see how a lockout will be held up in court by any judge

    • Pretty simple mike. it wouldnt be a lock out. It is a fine line if majority teams feel its makes more financial sense to not play than to play the games, the Courts will not force teams to pay salaries if the league cancels the season due to a “pandemic”. That is no fault of the owners. Im sure there were a few teams hoping not play that were already struggling before Covid. But for Bettman to come back with that ask, more teams than you think are looking at that fine line. I dont care what anyone says, hockey has been around a long time & if they cancelled 2021, reopened when its safe to to have fans in buildings, people will go back. For the players, they lose a year of big earnings in a short career. Hopefully common sense prevails.

  5. Unless they were to do a Canada-only season, I don’t think there will be NHL hockey this season. The virus is out of control in the U.S., with American Thanksgiving this week. Polls had about 20% saying they planned to travel to be with family for the holiday. Even if the number is half that, that’s still over 30 million people engaging in risky behavior. We’re probably looking at ~300k infections per day by mid-December. Christmas and New Year’s are likely to cause another spike after that. I would have thought the power vacuum caused by the bumpy presidential transition would make things worse, but it looks like Washington is starting to take the national response a little more seriously, so that’s a plus.

    But what U.S. city would allow fans into an arena in that situation? Most fans who are likely to feel comfortable with attending games are also likely to be later in line for the vaccine – next summer or fall.