NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2020
The latest on Alex Ovechkin, last season’s non-playoff clubs still waiting to find out when they’ll start training camps, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examined what Alex Ovechkin’s next contract with the Washington Capitals could look like. The 35-year-old winger is entering the final season of his 13-year, $124 million deal. He’s indicated he wants to finish his NHL career with the Capitals and they want to keep him. Gretz speculates a five-year, $50 million contract should be doable even under a flattened cap for the foreseeable future as it won’t dramatically alter the club’s salary-cap structure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see Ovechkin signing for around the same annual average value ($9.538 million) as his current deal on a three-year deal if he’s keen to return to the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow to finish his playing career. I’ll be shocked if he and the Capitals failed to reach an agreement on an extension.
MLIVE.COM: The seven clubs that failed to make the playoffs last season, such as the Detroit Red Wings, could start training camp sooner than the other teams. However, it remains to be seen when that will take place. Many of the Wings have been working out and skating together, but they could go more than 10 months between games if the 2020-21 season begins in January.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings and the rest of last season’s non-playoff teams (Anaheim, Buffalo, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa and San Jose) could be facing a long wait before they play their first meaningful games again. The NHL-NHLPA return-to-play committee has yet to meet, and there’s speculation the league’s tentative Jan.1 start date could be pushed into February or March.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly acknowledged those non-playoff clubs will get a longer training camp period. The dates, however, won’t be announced until the league finally reveals the start date for the season.
THE SCORE: Seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams located in COVID-19 red zones in Quebec will be playing games in Quebec City from Nov. 17 – 27. Each team will play six games there. The QMJHL is the only CHL branch to begin its 2020-21 season. The Western Hockey League (WHL) is set to begin on Jan. 8 while the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has targeted Feb. 4 for its return.
NHL.COM: Former Toronto Maple Leaf and colorful hockey analyst Howie Meeker passed away on Sunday at age 97. Meeker spent his entire eight-year NHL career (1946-47 to 1953-54) with the Leafs, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy and four Stanley Cups. He was also the Leafs head coach for one season (1956-57) and briefly served as general manager.
Meeker went on to a 30-year career as a hockey analyst with CBC and TSN. He was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 1998 and inducted into the Order of Canada and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meeker was a Second World War veteran who overcame injuries from a grenade to reach the NHL. He was also a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for two years while playing with the Leafs. Meeker ran the popular series “Howie Meeker’s Hockey School” on CBC during the 1970s and wrote two books, including his autobiography in 1997. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.
NHL.COM: The NHL mourned the passing of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. League commissioner Gary Bettman, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, Senators’ first-round pick Tim Stuetzle, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens organization were among those expressing condolences yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trebek frequently appeared in NHL functions such as the league’s award show. His last appearance for the league came during the 2020 NHL Draft last month when he announced the Senators’ selection of Stuetzle with their first-round pick. My condolences to his family, friends and many fans.