NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2020
Erik Karlsson explains why he feels his club shouldn’t finish this season, Florida governor said his state is open to pro sports teams, and some prospects want the draft to be held in June. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson made a rational argument against his club potentially completing the rest of the regular season if the NHL resumes playing this summer. He pointed out the Sharks were well out of playoff contention when the schedule was paused. “Obviously for us, it doesn’t really matter what happens to the season, personally. But at the same time, you do feel for the guys and the teams that are in a totally different position.”
Karlsson indicted he’d probably feel differently if the Sharks were a Stanley Cup contender like they were a year ago. “But as of right now, I don’t know what the point is for us to come back if they’re gonna play us five games [and we’ll] be away from our family and friends and put ourselves in that position for pretty much nothing.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson isn’t the only player on a non-contending team expressing reluctance about completing the regular-season schedule. He makes a good point, as he and his teammates would have little to play for. Lately, however, reports have emerged indicating the league could be moving away from that format, looking instead on going straight into the post-season schedule.
ESPN.COM: Florida governor Ron DeSantis said his state is open for professional sports teams to practice and play. “What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won’t let them operate, we’ll find a place for you here in the state of Florida,” said DeSantis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Florida could be a potential NHL Atlantic Division host location. Arizona also recently made a similar announcement but they’re reportedly not among the contenders to be an NHL neutral-site host.
NHL-NHLPA Return to Play Committee had another call Wednesday, second day in a row. Still lots of back and forth on formats and other issues. And my sense is still lots of work ahead.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 14, 2020
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports player agent Andy Scott said the prospects he represents are keen for the NHL to hold the 2020 Draft in June. “They’d rather have the draft in June and not have all of the anxiety the entire summer of where they’re going to go in the draft,” he said. “They’d rather get it over with, understand what team owns their rights, and be able to have some communication with that team throughout the summer.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t blames those youngsters for wanting to get this done as soon as possible. The league proposed staging the draft next month before resuming this season, but there’s reportedly been pushback against that idea from NHL general managers. A decision could be reached by the end of next week.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports AHL president David Andrews isn’t ruling out having less than 31 teams participating next season if social distancing rules prevent fans from attending games. “We have 19 NHL-owned teams and 12 independently-owned teams. And the independently owned teams are in very good financial condition, even after what happened in this 2019-20 season,” he said. “But if their businesses aren’t viable, if they have to play in front of an empty building for six months, some of those teams will likely choose not to play.”
Andrews explained his league relies more on gate revenue than the NHL. “We have very little in the way of rights fee revenue for television We have fairly decent streaming revenue, but not enough to sustain [31 teams]. Our corporate partnership revenue is linked to having people in the seats. Without being able to put fans in the seats, it would be a much different-looking league,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the AHL could return next season with only 19 clubs in operation. It could be a one-season pause for the dozen independents, but it would certainly raise questions over the long-term futures of those 12 franchises.