NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2020

by | Nov 29, 2020 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The latest on the return-to-play stalemate between the league and the players in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the NHL should ask the expansion Seattle Kraken for a $300 million advance on their $650 million expansion fee instead of attempting to pry that amount from the players through increased escrow and/or salary deferral rates.

The league apparently needs that much to proceed with the 2020-21 season. It is seeking an additional 16 percent salary deferral and an additional five percent in escrow from the players, who rejected those requests citing the agreed-upon rates in the CBA extension ratified in July.

Brooks points out Kraken owners David Bonderman and Jeff Bruckheimer have a combined net worth of $5 billion. He feels they can afford an advance on their team’s expansion fee so the NHL won’t face the possibility of reneging on a four-month-old labor agreement and risking accusations of unfair labor practices.

Failing that, Brooks suggests it’s up to the league and the PA to renegotiate so the players get something in return for deferring more of their salaries for this season, such as getting that money back with interest down the road. He feels neither side can afford to let the season go, pointing out the league needs to complete the final year of its media rights and TV contract with NBC Sports so it can negotiate a new deal starting in 2021-22 with perhaps multiple partners, including a streaming service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is a good source for NHLPA information so I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of this is coming from the union. Asking the Kraken for an advance on their expansion fee seems more reasonable than squeezing the players for more giveback. However, the existing teams’ owners might prefer having that money go directly into their pockets rather than putting it toward staging this season.

FORBES: Eric Macramalla suggests the league’s proposals for increased escrow and salary deferrals make sense. Requesting amendments to a ratified agreement is a big deal but the league considers its financial assumptions have dramatically changed and cannot be sufficiently addressed within the framework of the CBA extension.

The absence of fans has likely changed the equation for the NHL. Macramalla feels the league didn’t anticipate the absence of fans in arenas for an entire season. The PA is banking on an additional $1 billion in revenue by having some fans attending some of the games at some point in the schedule. However, that doesn’t seem too likely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league supposedly took into account a worst-case scenario of no fans throughout the season when it agreed to the CBA extension with the players. The fact they’re now asking for more money from the players suggests they either miscalculated what the worst case would look like or just didn’t take it seriously.

Perhaps the NHL’s requests would’ve been better received by the players if it had a good working relationship with the PA. Because of decades of contentious labor negotiations, the players are understandably wary of the league’s intentions and reluctant to give back more than they already have.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers loaning winger Michael Raffl to an Austrian League team suggests the NHL might not be starting the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1 as it originally planned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dropping the puck on Jan. 1 requires the league to sort out its aforementioned squabble with the NHLPA. Assuming that’s done by the end of this week, it will have to move quickly to reach that target date. Otherwise, that date will be pushed to mid-January or early February.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Despite the recent COVID-19 outbreaks, one of Canada’s leading infectious diseases specialists feels the NHL could return to play if health protocols are strictly followed. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who advised the NHLPA leading up to this summer’s return-to-play plan, pointed out there would be a problem at NHL rinks as those are set up with systems that adhere to public health measures. However, the players would have to be vigilant when out in their communities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The need for vigilance was highlighted by several members of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vegas Golden Knights recently testing positive for COVID-19.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: If the NHL season begins on Jan. 1, the Sharks will have to stage their training camp outside of San Jose. Santa Clara County has ruled all contact sports will be temporarily prohibited for the next three weeks.


  1. Of the 10 teams over the cap 7 yet to get to 23 players. There are 3 more teams that will be over the cap once they get to 23. This is approximate if not exact

    With over 40% of the league in that boat something must be in the works. A temporary luxury tax could be coming. Adding to that only min contracts or ELC’s might only be allowed to reach full 23 rosters so rich teams cannot take advantage nor go intentionally over once decided.

    If that were to happen what form could a luxury tax take?
    1) Monetary
    2) additional picks for compliant teams
    -scaled index by cap spent for what round
    3) loss of picks on a scaled index for what round
    4) compliance buy out
    5) something altogether not thought of

  2. “If the NHL season begins on Jan. 1, the Sharks will have to stage their training camp outside of San Jose. Santa Clara County has ruled all contact sports will be temporarily prohibited for the next three weeks.”

    That, in terms of lock-downs, is just the tip of the ice-berg. In this situation, and all over the world, periods like three weeks has a history of turning into “three more weeks.”

    Canada closing down the U.S.-Canada border to all but essential service began in March and has been continuously extended since. Even within countries there have been – and still are – travel restrictions between provinces and, in a couple of instances, cities/regions within provinces. The so-called “Atlantic Bubble” involving the Maritime provinces – previously minimally affected but now growing alarmingly – has been abandoned. Hell, even the far north (Nunavit) is experiencing rapid per capita growth of infections.

    Any politician who tries to accommodate pro sports by declaring it somehow “essential” is committing political suicide.


    • CBJ & VGK have positive tests for some players.

      NFL continues to face increased cases. Eg Ravens.

    • George here in Manitoba, where we use to brag about how good we were doing and down to 1 active case, which seem like a life time ago are now the highest active cases per capital in Canada.

      In the community of Steinbach 1hr South of Winnipeg a Pastor was fined $5000 for having an in-service which is banned province wide.

      The Paster after receiving the fine, declared he was having another service again today.

      What the heck is one to say about a man preaching the word of God and he himself won’t obey the law.

  3. Regarding Larry Brooks, don’t you just love it when people tell other people how they should spend their own money???

    • EVanI,

      I do definitely agree with that.

      In whose fantasy world do people agree “to advance” $300 million?

      If I were the owners of the Kraken, I might be looking at all this and rather be thinking “Whooah, can I have a do over?”


  4. I haven’t posted since my last post letting you all know about details concerning last season.

    Just an update for everyone.

    It’ll get leaked eventually (probably mid-week?)

    8 teams have players with Covid.

    10 team owners don’t want to play at all.

    1 team owner has said that they will make more money by not playing.

    Players with high salaries that will be paid less than half have told the NHLPA enmasse NO to returning.

    Deferring of any payments now or in upcoming years is not an option.

    Merry Christmas

    • I’ve read the same.
      I can’t see a season taking place.

  5. The agreement between the NHL & NHLPA is still tied to the HRR split of 50/50. If the players choose not to balance the ledger more today at the beginning of this extension then they will owe the money back later.

    The players can pay now or pay later but 1 way or another they are going to have to pay so that the agreed to split is met.

    These escrow & deferral rates were negotiated based on data available at the time & done under duress by both parties. Now the monies look worse than planned.

    This isn’t solely on the NHL, the NHLPA also has a lawyers and accountants who’s many focus is commerce. The NHLPA had & has it’s own projections and assumptions.

    Determining the hard costs for bubble play were just that projections and those costs exceeded expectations as well.

    People can say what they want. Blame who them want and everyone seems to want to always blame the NHL and Bettman but it’s this simple. This CBA and extension still has to balance out to 50/50 when they audits are completed and the NHL/NHLPA agree to the a final number for HRR.

    If the players choose not to make up their shortfall today or next year then it gets gutted out of the agreement down the road & the cap fatter the 1st 2 years at 81.5 will either continue flat or go down as the split has to balance out of the timeline of the extension & year that was remaining.

    Not a chance the NHL won’t honour it’s agreement with the Kraken as written so those monies will be paid when due.

    • Thanksgiving miracles do happen. Good to read your thoughts again, Striker.

    • Welcome back Striker


    • Good to see you posting again striker.

      Covid did u in hey.

  6. Only incentive I see for Kraken (and one that I posed as a suggestion last week) to pay up part/all now; would be if Gary allows them to start in 22/23 instead of 21/22

    Originally they pushed to start in 20/21 but that was pushed (arena was not going to be ready, and other reasons)

    Kraken I’m sure would love to start with sellout crowds for most if not all the season…. not only maxing gate revenues but bolstering interest (TV viewing , merchandise , etc)

    I am definitely not confident in sell outs in fall ‘21; but do foresee them in fall ‘22

    That is the only way I see Kraken agreeing to cut a cheque early

    For the NHL; they get their cash in hand early; and benefit from increased interest when they (Kraken) would start (under the above scenario) in Oct of ‘22; and appease owners in their stated cash shortfall (stated here today as reasons they want more deferral and escrow); and can quickly finalize season start/schedule

    All above assumes there is a season (starting in Jan or Feb)

    • Kratzev would be a nice young bottom 6 forward..not sure what new York would want..or need.

      Thought I would see what you two knew or thought.

      I would love haula he seems vegas bound out of famalirity..I think

      Maybe an anthansiou or duclair for bottom 6 more realistic…

  7. If there is a season it will be a shortened one, among the uncertainties just imagine each team losing only 2 players to quarantine and the impact.

    It isn’t the same as injury, which is random, avoidable and different rate of recovery.

    Covid is definite over a season, minimum 14 day quarantine at best, communicable so high probability of more than one player at a time. Likely to occur multiple times during a season.

    Habs without Suzuki and KK or without Price and Allen.

    Sens without Tkachuk and Chabot or without Murray and Dadonov,

    Leafs without Mathews and Tavares or without Muzzin and Morgan.

    Jets without Scheifele and Ehlers or without Wheeler and Hellebuyck,

    Flames without Tkachuk and Giordano or without Markstrom and Rittich.

    Oilers without McDavid and Draisaitl orwithout Koskinen and Nurse.

    Canucks without Pettersson and Demko or without Miller and Hughes.

    bookies wouldn’t take the action

  8. If the league plays in any format with who cares how many teams, leafs will win presidents trophy…no question. They have an abundance of everything for any kind of condensed season….absolutely loaded.