Rangers owner James Dolan tests positive for COVID-19, a second Avalanche player tests positive, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan has tested positive for COVID-19. Dolan, 64, oversees the NHL’s New York Rangers and the NBA’s New York Knicks. He’s in self-isolation, experiencing little-to-now symptoms, and continues to supervise business operations.
New York Rangers owner James Dolan.
THE DENVER POST: A second Colorado Avalanche player has tested positive for the coronavirus. The players remain in self-isolation. “No other player or member or franchise staff member has shown symptoms at this time, the team said.” This is the fourth known positive COVID-19 test among NHL players, two with the Avs and two with the Ottawa Senators.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: All four cases have a connection to the San Jose Sharks. The Senators played the Sharks in San Jose on March 7 and the Avalanche faced them on March 8.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To date, no Sharks players have tested positive for COVID-19. When the two Senators tested positive, there was some suggestion linking their illness to Los Angeles’ Staples Center as well as the SAP Center, as the club was in the midst of a road trip through California at the time.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators announced Peter Hogberg, father of goaltender Marcus Hogberg, has passed away. Reports in the Swedish media indicate he was battling cancer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Hogberg and his family.
TSN: Bauer Hockey is making their designs and supplier info of their full-face visors public to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SPORTSNET: Goalie equipment manufacturer Brian’s Custom Sports will produce medical supplies to fight the spread against COVID-19. Part of their effort includes producing 18,000 medical gowns.
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.
The 2020 NHL Draft has been postponed.
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 Bostonmedia for this decision. Principal owner Jeremy Jacobs is reportedly worth $3.3 billion. This decision will do little to bolster his already low popularity.
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson shuts out the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
Game recaps, injury updates, the Predators slow start & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: In his first game since learning his wife has cancer, Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 37 saves to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An emotional victory for Anderson and his teammates. He was named the game’s first star and received a nice ovation from the Edmonton fans.
Michael Grabner tallied a hat trick to power the New York Rangers to a 6-1 beatdown of the Tampa Bay Lightning, spoiling the return of Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov to the Bolts lineup.
Corey Crawford kicked out 32 shots and Jonathan Toews tallied his first goal of the season as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed blueliner Brayden McNabb on injured reserve.
Kyle Okposo scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. The Jets played without defenseman Tyler Myers, who was sidelined by a lower-body injury.
Marcus Johansson’s two goals, including the game winner, lifted the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Brock Nelson and Shane Prince each had a goal and an assists as the New York Islanders thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek (lower-body injury) is now listed as week-to-week.
NBC SPORTS: Wings forward Steve Ott was fined over $2,200.00 for spearing Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in a recent game.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are off to a surprisingly poor start, sporting a 2-5-1 record in October.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big things were expected of the Preds after they shipped long-time captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for puck-moving blueline star P.K. Subban. While Subban’s played well for the Preds, they haven’t performed well as a team. Meanwhile, Weber’s been a major factor in the Canadiens 8-0-1 start.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues strong penalty killing (93.9 percent) is a critical factor in their 5-2-2 start.
TSN.CA: Bauer’s bankruptcy could end up cancelling their endorsement contracts with top NHL stars such as Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski could wear the “C” for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey.
Latest World Cup of Hockey news and more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
TSN: Puck- and player-tracking sensors will be part of several initiatives to be unveiled next month at the World Cup of Hockey. Marketing ad logos will also be on player jerseys in the tournament, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman downplayed the suggestion this could be the next step for NHL jerseys.
SPORTSNET: It appears streamlined goalie equipment won’t be implemented for the World Cup of Hockey, and could be delayed in the NHL until 2017-18.
CSN BAY AREA: A source claims there’s a “99 percent chance” San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski will wear the “C” for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey.
SPORTSNET/THE WASHINGTON POST: Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau and Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitri Orlov confirmed their intention to play in the World Cup of Hockey even if still unsigned with their NHL clubs. Gaudreau and Orlov are restricted free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unsigned players can purchase additional insurance to cover them at the tournament if they wish. Gaudreau and Orlov have reportedly done so. Expect other unsigned players to follow suit if necessary.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman brushed off criticism by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal over the league’s rejection of any connection between concussions and the brain disease CTE.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL facing a class-action lawsuit from over 100 former players claiming injuries suffered during their playing careers contributed to their deteriorating health. Bettman won’t say anything that could potentially damage the league’s defense.
TSN: Performance Sports Group, which owns Bauer Hockey and Easton, is accused of fraud and stock market manipulation. NHL stars such as Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos endorse Bauer products. Their agents are scrambling to find out more information about the allegations.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed center Matt Cullen to a one-year, $1 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing pushes the Penguins to over $3.1 million above the $73 million salary cap for next season. The Pens are expected to place sidelined winger Pascal Dupuis ($3.75 million) on LTIR to become cap compliant when the season opens in October.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames hired former Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney as a pro scout.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The NHL’s Las Vegas expansion franchise hired former New Jersey Devils VP of Hockey Operations David Conte as a pro scout.