NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2020

by | Dec 16, 2020 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Updates on negotiations for the 2020-21 season, two people arrested for stealing Wayne Gretzky memorabilia, Mark Messier loses money on a cannabis investment deal, the latest on Oskar Lindblom and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports issues such as roster size and taxi squads are slowing down negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA aimed at starting the 2020-21 season on Jan. 13. Frank Seravalli said the effect on the salary cap of transferring a player between the roster and the taxi squad is also part of the discussion. At this point, it would be handled similar to the rules regarding a demotion to the AHL.

Pierre LeBrun points out teams are at the mercy of local health restrictions, especially in Canada. As of Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators each have over 30 players that have returned, while the Winnipeg Jets have nine, the Montreal Canadiens under 10, the Edmonton Oilers have 12 and the Calgary Flames 26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those health restrictions vary from city to city and province to province. It’s affecting quarantine rules and use of training facilities, which could explain why the Jets and Canadiens have a low number of players in their respective cities.

Dreger reports the league is looking into allowing a limited number of fans to attend games in select markets depending on the restrictions of each city in each state. Seravalli points out that will be only if the league can open in all 31 of its cities. That remains in doubt as some teams, like the San Jose Sharks, are planning to open training camp in Arizona because of restrictions in their own market.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports sources are saying the concept of hub cities is no longer on the drawing board. He said each team will play their regular-season home games in their own buildings with travel limited only to games within a team’s division.

Because of the new COVID-19 vaccines, the NHL feels confident it can stage a regular season in which teams travel from city to city despite the strict protocols. The league remains adamant it will not attempt to jump the queue to obtain vaccinations ahead of others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This NH season is going to open but the projected Jan. 13 start date could change. A vote approving the format for ’20-’21 needs a vote of approval by the league board of governors and the NHLPA’s 31-member executive. It’s required by the end of this week to meet the timeline for a Jan. 13 start. That date could be pushed into late January if more time is required to work out the details.

SPORTSNET: Two people were arrested by Brantford, Ontario police after Wayne Gretzky memorabilia was stolen from his father’s home. A three-month investigation involving searches of homes in Ontario and Alberta by police (including the RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police) recovered several items with an estimated combined value of over $500K USD. The investigation is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walter Gretzky is the world’s most famous hockey dad and among the kindest people in hockey. Shame on those people for stealing from him.

YAHOO SPORTS: Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier is suing the CEO of an Alberta cannabis company after he allegedly lost his $500K investment. Messier claimed the company also used his celebrity to raise $30 million in funding.

THE SCORE: Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom is cancer-free just over a year after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. He finished his treatments on July 2 and suited up with the Flyers in the 2020 playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Lindblom enjoys a long, cancer-free life.

TSN: cites The Athletic’s Michael Russo reporting the Minnesota Wild are close to signing free-agent goaltender Andrew Hammond. He speculates this could mean Wild backup Alex Stalock could be hurt entering training camp. Stalock reportedly hasn’t been on the ice.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Former San Jose Sharks forward Melker Karlsson has signed with Swedish club Skelleftea AIK for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if Karlsson has an out-clause if he signs with an NHL club. The report indicating it’s for the remainder of the season suggests he didn’t get any NHL offers to his liking. The flattened salary cap for this season could be a factor, which doesn’t bode well for comparable players still available in the UFA market.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues have promoted Ryan Miller (no, not the NHL goaltender) as their new assistant general manager.

WHL.COM: The Western Hockey League has delayed the start of its 2020-21 season because of public health restrictions across Western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest. The board of governors will meet in January to discuss possible start dates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could affect the development of WHL players hoping to be selected in the 2021 NHL Draft.


  1. Walter and Wayne Gretzky are national treasures. Those low life scumbags should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Then they should be set out in public stockades for the children to throw rotten fruit at……….or something like that.

    • Gino Reda of That’s Hockey pulled no punches, saying “It takes a special kind of low life to steal from Walter Gretzky.”

      • Please, thieves don’t give a rats behind who they are stealing from … all that matters to them are the goods. Reda has his head in the sand.

      • Coming from you – the response figures. Go peel the wings off a fly you loser.

    • While in the stockade, have Gretzky fire pucks at him for charity.

  2. Re “ Dreger reports the league is looking into allowing a limited number of fans to attend games in select markets depending on the restrictions of each city in each state. ”

    To start the season??

    Every 5th seat on every 4th row ???

    They shouldn’t have any fans in any arena for the first while

    I stayed out of work Monday and yesterday just to be safe as we had to wait Covid results from our daughter who was required to take a precautionary test (to return to work) due to an employee on her floor (nowhere near her; not in the same division) tested positive. Her building at the time was allowing only 20% capacity on any given floor. It turns out no one else at her work got infected. But everybody who had been at her work on Friday , HAD to get tested; and if those employees’ families acted as my wife , my sons , and I did (not venturing outside of chez Pengy until our daughter had confirmation of being negative) , then tons of people were affected by one case

    Opening day with fans ???? 👎

    I can tell you here and now; I will not be attending any games this season

    • The GTA – Toronto, Peel, York – have been reporting daily positives in the 300 to 600 range for the past month or so – Ottawa’s daily average is 45

      • Almost 800 in the 6 today George. What a joke, they close Toronto and Peel at first thinking everyone will stay this side of the street! Silly government.

    • Nice one, NY4, the best one I heard was in Ohio where they are allowing high school wrestling but no shaking hands after the match.

  3. Lightning should set a new NHL regular season winning percentage record with the garbage division they are in.

  4. Here in Winnipeg, the numbers are starting to get better; however, with the strict restrictions ie can only buy essential items in the store, you may shop at Walmart but you are not allowed to buy a pair pants, dress socks, small appliances etc just whatever is deemed on the essential items list.

    No Holiday gatherings allowed in your home. ( I think the Premier forgot Manitoba is a Christian Providence) people will gather regardless of Palliser ruling.

    Not sure how folks will feel with all these restrictions put in place until Jan 8th and then allow 2 NHL teams gather in one building against all other protocols. Of course unless the restrictions changes drastically after Jan 8th.

    • Haven’t seen the benefits in AB yet Caper, but should soon. We may have been after you folks.
      I won’t be seeing my parents, kids, or grandkids at Xmas.
      Wish I could, but not gonna do it.
      We will be able to in the near future, so looking forward to that.

      • Yes there are benefits Caper. I think the reason for only necessities is so you can get people in and out since capacity is less. More people can get what they need.
        People working in care homes will get it first, at least that is what is happening here.
        Then ICU workers, then the highest risk, and so on.

    • Ray there is no benefits. It’s rather silly you can visit the store but can only buy this or that, the store is still only allow 25% capacity.

      The high percentage of people who are dying and occupying the Hospital Beds are the elderly from care homes.

      The vaccines should first go to the workers at care homes, this in return will help protect the elderly.

      • Being able to buy one thing but not the other seems over the top, fair enough, not doing that here. I do the shopping now for us and my mother in law (84), I leave the stuff on her patio and ring the bell. I buy what I need and get out as there are lineups outside to get in some places. That is the only reason I can think of to have limits on things. More people can get what they need without standing outside in winter.
        Not just elderly dying Caper.
        Over a hundred folks under 70 have died in AB from this. That ain’t nothing.

  5. I hear ya Ray. I suspect it will be a challenging holiday season for quite a few people.

    Tip: Pick up a nice vintage stereo receiver with a pair of decent speakers, bottle of scotch and some vynal. You won’t regret it!

    • Gross people actually drink scotch.

      • Well, then, count me as someone proud to be gross! 😉

      • Lyle you already had that, being a Habs fan. JK

      • LOL. You mean, there’s OTHER booze?? Seriously, there is NO better liquor than Scotch – even the cheapest stuff is miles ahead of any rye or bourbon.

    • I don’t get the scotch thing either Caper.
      Prefer the Irish Whiskey, might be because I am part Irish.

  6. Born in Dublin Ray. My wife no longer lets me drink Jameson, says I get into too much trouble.

    • All part of growin up FD!
      I have had a Jameson night or 2 myself.
      I have gotten better at it.

  7. Whatever you alcohol of choice is, be glad you don’t have to buy it in Manitoba.

    You must show your id before entering the store regardless of age.

    Very small entrance so only one person at a time, as they validate you id and scan it into the system.

    Now think -20 c or -4f and standing outside as it takes about 1 minute to process 1 customer. You maybe standing for a while.

    I guess at this point you don’t care about what your drinking as long as your drinking.

      • Ray, what i can tell you is when we had less restrictions we had less cases.

        We have more restrictions we have more cases.

        reducing to 25% was fine, most business in my area never had a lineup; therefore they were operating less then the regulated 25% as no one was going out and those he did all wore a mask.

        The government failed the seniors and continue to do so. Protect the care homes, more restrictions, better policies.

        As previously mention well over 90% of all deaths are seniors. The Government has failed them.