NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2020
An update on the 2020-21 schedule, Brendan Shanahan weighs in on fighting and hitting, the Sharks add a depth winger, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: reports ESPN.com citing sources claiming the NHL won’t consider anything less than a 48-game schedule if they’re forced to play a shortened schedule for 2020-21. A league source told Greg Wyshynski the ultimate goal is to end up with fans in the arenas. “I don’t think we’ll get to capacity, but I think we’ll have enough socially distanced fans,” said the source. The NHL definitely wants fans in the stands for the playoffs if local health restrictions allow it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL relies more on gate revenue than any of the other major North American professional sports leagues. The sooner they can safely get fans back in the stands, the better for league revenue and the salary cap.
Playing a full 82-game season starting Jan. 1, 2021, and allowing fans gradually back into the arenas over the course of the season is their apparent target. However, there’s also talk they could push that start date to February or March on a shortened schedule (48 to 60 games) if it would safely allow more fans into the arenas by then.
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan isn’t a fan of big hits that result in injuries. During an interview with the “SmartLess” podcast, Shanahan said, “I know people get pissed at me when I say stuff like this, but I don’t get excited to see a big hit. I get excited when I see a big goal…I don’t want to see any of these young guys on the ice getting carried off.”
Shanahan also believes there’s still a place for fighting if a player is protecting a teammate, but not if it’s to intimidate or hurt another player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans who love that style of hockey will decry Shanahan’s comments, but the league’s been trending away from targeted hits and premeditated fights for several years. Shanahan played a role in addressing those issues during his tenure as the NHL’s senior vice president.
SPORTSNET: The San Jose Sharks signed winger Kurtis Gabriel to a one-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers have hired Paul Krepelka as assistant general manager. A former player agent, he spent the past two seasons as senior vice-president of hockey operations for the Carolina Hurricanes.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings prospect Jared McIsaac underwent surgery on his left shoulder and will be sidelined five-to-six months.