NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2020

The playoff schedule resumes today, former Panthers GM under investigation for uttering a racial slur, plus updates on Andrei Svechnikov, John Tortorella, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league has released its revised schedule for the resumption of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 4 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins begins at noon ET, Game 3 between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders starts at 7 pm ET, and Game 3 between the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks begins at 9:45 ET. The Lightning holds a 2-1 series lead over the Bruins, while the Flyers and Islanders and the Golden Knights and Canucks are tied at a game apiece.

 SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin wonders what steps the NHL will take in the wake of the recent player protest against racial injustice to ensure the fight for equality isn’t forgotten. He cites TSN’s Rick Westhead reporting the Hockey Diversity Alliance has requested the league to invest $100 million over 10 years to fund anti-racism, education, and grass-roots initiatives. That works out to just over $312K per team or less than half the minimum salary of one player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a reasonable request by the HDA. It’ll also be interesting to see if the NHL Players Association will be working alongside the league in this matter or if they’ll be taking their own steps.

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts said his club lost season-ticket holders over its support of Black Lives Matter and protests over racial inequality. He claimed it was a mix of individual and company accounts. “But I/we stand by our organization’s commitment and support our players 100% to express their views,” said Alberts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first report I’ve seen by a team regarding the loss of season-ticket holders over the players’ recent protests. Alberts didn’t specify how many season-ticket holders the Stars lost. It could’ve been a large number or a handful. He also said none of the club’s advertisers have pulled funding.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW(subscription required): George Richards reports the NHL is investigating whether former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon used a racial slur while representing the team. Tallon has been accused of using racially-charge language at some point during the Panthers time in the Toronto playoff bubble.

Tallon denied the charge. “I am not a racist by any means,” he said. “I have never said anything of the sort. I am all for peace, am all for this alliance and what everyone is trying to do right now.”

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports the $25,000 fine levied by the league on Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is the 15th time he’s been punished by the league. Portzline estimates Tortorella has lost “well over $200,000” because of “his mouth and his temper.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Tortorella is losing any sleep over those fines. While he’s mellowed a bit over the years, he remains outspoken and irritable. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov said he’d be ready to go if his club were still in the postseason. He was sidelined two weeks ago by a high-ankle sprain suffered in his club’s first-round series with the Boston Bruins. Svechnikov said he’s now feeling at almost 100 percent.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a one-year contract extension worth $750K.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings loaned defenseman Filip Hronek to Mountfield HK of the Czech League. He’s the fifth player the Wings have loaned to European clubs. All are scheduled to return to the Wings once NHL training camps later this fall.

THE PROVINCE: The death of popular Vancouver sportswriter Jason Botchford was revealed to be caused by an accidental overdose of cocaine and fentanyl. Botchford died suddenly last April at age 48. He covered the Canucks for The Province from 2005 to 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still a tragic, heartbreaking loss for Botchford’s family, friends, and the hockey community regardless of the cause of death.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2019

Hurricanes push Islanders to the brink of elimination while the Stars tie their series with the Blues. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have the New York Islanders on the brink of elimination following a 5-2 victory in Game 3 of their second-round series. They hold a 3-0 lead and can finish the series with a win in Game 4 on Friday.

A costly turnover by Isles goalie Robin Lehner led to Hurricanes captain Justin Williams snapping a 2-2 tie in the third period. Carolina goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 28 saves, becoming the oldest netminder in NHL history to make his first career postseason start. Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Sebastian Aho had a goal and assisted on Williams’ game-winner. 

Justin Williams game-winning goal gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-0 series lead over the New York Islanders (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a close game up until Williams’ goal, after which the Hurricanes bottled up the Islanders for the rest of the third. The Isles managed to score twice but it still wasn’t enough to beat the plucky Canes. They’ve done a fine job cashing in on their opportunities in this series. 

The Dallas Stars doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2 to square their second-round series at two games apiece. Stars goalie Ben Bishop kicked out 27 shots while Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, and Mats Zuccarello each collected two assists.

This game was a chippy affair.  Blues winger David Perron whacked Bishop in the back and Blues netminder Jordan Binnington chopped at Bishop and took a swing at Stars captain Jamie Benn following the second period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues frustration likely stemmed from the Stars dominating the play, especially in the second period. It’ll be interesting to see if the rough stuff in this game spilled over into Game 5.

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon tied Peter Forsberg’s Avalanche playoff points streak (seven games) in Tuesday’s Game 3 loss to San Jose. 

BOSTON HERALD: Center David Backes could return to the Bruins line for Game 4 tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets hold a 2-1 series lead.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin underwent minor surgery to repair a fractured nose. Drouin suffered the injury earlier in the season but played through it before seeking surgery. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres interviewed Dave Tippett for their head coaching position. Tippett is the former coach of the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes. 

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a Canadian parliament subcommittee on sports-related concussions he feels outlawing hits to the head would lead to the decline of bodychecking in the game. His reasoning is larger players would be penalized for inadvertent headshots on smaller players. He also reiterated his long-held belief that there’s insufficient evidence to link hockey concussions to the brain condition CTE.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The National Football League, meanwhile, banned helmet hits to the head and it didn’t adversely affect their game. After much stonewalling, the NFL also acknowledged the link between CTE and playing football in 2016. 

SPORTSNET: Vancouver hockey writer and broadcaster Jason Botchford has passed away from heart failure at age 48. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Botchford’s family, friends, and colleagues. I didn’t know him but followed his work over the years and found him an insightful, thought-provoking hockey reporter. I may not have always agreed with him but I certainly respected his work.