NHL Awards: Draisaitl Captures Hart In Predictable Fashion
The Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference Final, the NHL will begin announcing its award winners, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: For the first time since 1993, the New York Islanders are going to the Conference Finals. They shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 7 of their second-round series and face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final in Edmonton.
Thomas Greiss made 16 saves for the shutout while Brock Nelson led the way offensively with a goal and two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a complete team victory by the Islanders. They stifled the Flyers’ offense with their defensive play and aggressive forecheck. Head coach Barry Trotz’s decision to start Greiss over Semyon Varlamov also paid off.
The lack of consistent production by the Flyers’ top scorers was a problem throughout the playoffs. It came home to roost in Game 7 against the Isles defense.
The NHL will begin revealing some of the winners of its individual awards from Sept. 6 to Sept. 13. Those to be announced include the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Sept. 6), Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Sept. 7), Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award (Sept. 8), Jack Adams Award (Sept. 9), Frank J. Selke Trophy (Sept. 10), Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sept. 11), Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award (Sept. 12), and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (Sept. 13).
A 30-minute program during the Stanley Cup Final will announce the winners of the Calder Memorial Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and the Vezina Trophy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this format and I hope the league sticks with it going forward. Their annual award show in Las Vegas has a cringe factor comparable to “The Dundies” episode of The Office.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have reportedly interviewed Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant for their vacant head-coaching position.
SPORTSNET: The Arizona Coyotes have interviewed NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire for their vacant general manager job.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Juuso Riikola to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.15 million.
SPORTSNET: A resolution has yet to be reached allowing the families of the players on the remaining four NHL clubs to join them in the playoff bubble in Edmonton. Discussions are ongoing between the league, the NHL Players Association, and the Canadian federal government.
The NHL postpones the scouting combine, awards show, and draft, plus the latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Jake Guentzel and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The league yesterday announced the postponements of the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards, and the 2020 NHL Draft, which were originally scheduled for June 1-6 in Buffalo, N.Y., June 18 in Las Vegas, and June 26-27 in Montreal respectively. The moves come as a result of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Location, timings, and format for the draft and the NHL draft lottery will be announced at a later date.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This announcement is a clear indication the league intends to resume its season, or at least stage the playoffs, during the summer if possible. I anticipate the draft combine and awards shows will be scrubbed entirely, with the latter perhaps handed out via official announcement at season’s end or a smaller ceremony involving the nominated players following the season. I also expect the draft lottery will be staged at some point during the playoffs (whenever that might be), with the draft staged via teleconference following the post-season.
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports one NHL team submitted a proposal for a tournament in which teams eligible for the draft lottery would play for the first-overall pick in this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yeah, that’ll go over well with the Detroit Red Wings, who have the best odds of winning that pick in the draft lottery. I’ll be very surprised if the league approves that proposal.
TSN: Dr. Winne Meeuwisse, the league’s chief medical officer, warns the differences across the NHL’s 31 market concerning testing, controlling and managing healthcare resources will affect when the players can return to action. The league must also determine the risks to the players, staff, and fans.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr said he and his staff remain in constant communication with their membership. He claimed between 400-500 players participated in team conference calls. He anticipates those calls will grow in frequency whenever the league gets close to returning to the ice.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist donated $100,000.00 to the Food Bank for New York City, plus “Campus Pantries as well as 27 community-based pop-up mobile markets, hoping to cover for the loss of meals provided in schools which have closed as part of the response to the coronavirus crisis.”
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is confident sidelined winger Jake Guentzel could be ready to return to the lineup once the season resumes. Guentzel underwent shoulder surgery in December and is rehabbing well. The timeline for recovery was four-to-six months.
TSN: The cancellation of the KHL season means its players on expiring contracts are free to sign with NHL clubs by May 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means players like Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov could make their NHL debuts if the season resumes this summer.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they re-signed Gustav Olofsson to a one-year, two-way contract.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars CEO Jim Lites and GM Jim Nill are taking 50 percent pay cuts to alleviate the financial stress on the organization as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula pledged $1.2 million to provide aid to Western New York during the pandemic.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning players created a fund to help all of the part-time employees of the team and Amalie Arena. The team will also donate “500,000 meals to Feeding Tampa Bay, a food rescue and distribution center in the Feeding America network.”
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The United Center, home of the Blackhawks, will become “a logistics hub where we will be assisting front-line food distribution, first-responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.”
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell clarified an e-mail sent to the club’s non-contracted employees that those who used up their vacation and personal time would be off without pay. ” “Everyone will get paid and we’ll figure it out after that.” He said the directive applied only to next week and that the team policy would be reviewed on a week-to-week basis, adding that the employees’ benefits would not be affected.”
ESPN.COM: Hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer has switched to making medical equipment during this pandemic.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins ownership announced 68 full-time employees will be placed on temporary leave with one week’s pay and eight weeks of full-time benefit effective April 1. “In addition, 82 full-time salaried associates will be hit with an indefinite salary reduction. Anyone that has an employment contract will not fall under these cost-saving measures being made as a result of the Coronavirus impact.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins ownership is being pilloried in the Boston media for this decision. Principal owner Jeremy Jacobs is reportedly worth $3.3 billion. This decision will do little to bolster his already low popularity.
No decision yet on canceling or postponing the 2020 Draft, why the Senators haven’t released the names of the players who tested positive for COVID-19, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL has yet to decide on postponing or canceling the 2020 NHL Draft or the 2020 NHL Awards show. The draft is scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal while the Awards show is to be staged in Las Vegas in June. Any season restart is expected to cause a shift in the off-season schedule.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the season and playoffs are canceled before June, the off-season calendar will likely remain in place but with notable changes. The draft could be a teleconference affair. The awards could be made through a formal announcement instead of a lame attempt at a glittering television broadcast, upsetting fans of cheesy, cringe-worthy TV.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL Board of Governors will hold a conference call today at 3 pm ET. Financial issues will be the primary focus, with the potential for a discussion on escrow.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch spoke with sports legal expert Eric Macramalla regarding the Senators not revealing the identities of the two players who test positive for COVID-19.
“Individuals have an expectation of privacy with respect to their personal information and personal health information is generally considered the most confidential,” said Macramalla. “It’s a fundamental principle of privacy law is that an organization should only collect, use, and disclose an individual’s personal information based upon consent. Therefore, personal information (including COVID-19 test results) should not be disclosed without the player’s consent.”
Macramalla also explained there are legal guidelines restricting journalists revealing the players’ names. “As well, as per the ethics guidelines of the Canadian Association of Journalists, there is an argument that unless there is a public health basis to disclose that information, which there is not, journalists should not be sharing the positive test results of players with the public.”
SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues announced a relative of a Blues employee tested positive for COVID-19. “The diagnosed individual is in self-isolation along with members of the individual’s family,” the Blues wrote in a statement. “All Blues’ staff who may have come into close contact with the employee have been notified.”
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman John Klingberg “contributed to COVID-19 relief by donating a signed Winter Classic Jersey to athletesrelief.org, which helps local nonprofits working in areas identified as having high numbers of affected individuals and with the most vulnerable populations.”
TSN: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a two-year, $1.45-million contact extension.