NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2020

The latest on the return-to-play plan and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

PHILLY.COM: In the wake of Friday’s news of 11 NHL players testing positive for COVID-19 since June 8, Sam Carchidi wonders if the league’s return-to-play plan is worthwhile.

Why not just bag the season and start the next campaign after a vaccine has been developed?  The NHL would lose lots of TV revenue — estimates are around $500 million — but it would gain respect for putting lives ahead of dollars.”

Could recent COVID-19 tests threaten the NHL’s return-to-play plans?

Carchidi advocates a wait-and-see approach but feels the league should shut down plans to complete the season and look toward starting 2020-21 on time if virus cases balloon if/when training camp opens next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One factor behind the NHL’s plans is the concern of a possible second wave of the pandemic keeping arenas empty throughout autumn. Staging the tournament from August through early October in empty arenas would allow the league to recoup perhaps half of its estimated $1.1 bn in losses. It would also enable the league to hold its off-season from late October to the end of December. It’s believed they intend to stage a full 2020-21 schedule starting on New Year’s Day in hope social distancing rules ease to allow fans back into the arenas.

The course of the pandemic, however, could upset those plans. League officials claim a handful of tests won’t shut things down as they’re confident their testing, contact tracing, and quarantine arrangements could keep the coronavirus in check. The training camp period, set to open next month, will test that theory.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan believes upcoming days will become more urgent for all parties to preserve July 10 as a viable start date for teams to reconvene. That’s when training camps are slated to open for the 24 teams involved in the playoff tournament.

An agreement between the league and NHL Players Association must be implemented soon to provide sufficient time for players to travel to their NHL cities. It’s unclear what effect the recent positive COVID-19 tests will have upon those plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league issued a terse statement on Friday acknowledging 11 players have tested positive under Phase 2. They also announced they’ll issue a weekly update of the number of tests administered to players and the results, though they won’t reveal the identities of those who test positive and what teams they play for.

I suspect the league will be pressed for further details as July 10 approaches. Recent reports suggest a comprehensive agreement between the league and PA could be revealed soon, perhaps by the end of this week.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ed Willes observed recent reports claim Vancouver is among six locales under consideration to become one of the two host cities for the NHL playoff tournament. He wonders if that’s a good idea for the city and the province after reducing their COVID-19 numbers due to strict social distancing guidelines. Willes doesn’t think it’s worthwhile for a tournament that will only benefit a couple of hotels and the foodservice industry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The city council and provincial government made the pitch for Vancouver as a host city, assured by the league’s self-quarantine plan that the influx of 12 teams won’t be a risk to the general public. While the benefit to the local economy appears minimal, the city and the province see it differently.

NEWSDAY: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich was expected to arrive in New York yesterday after spending the scheduled pause in Russia. Other European Rangers, including Henrik Lundqvist and Mika Zibanejad, are expected to follow.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass isn’t expected to be on the club’s roster for the playoff tournament. He underwent knee surgery in March and isn’t expected to be fully recovered when the tournament begins.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings dietician Lisa McDowell revealed she contracted COVID-19 in March, leaving her very sick for three weeks. She suffered a high fever for over a week, difficulty breathing, and bleeding gums when brushing her teeth. McDowell said she was rarely around the team leading up to the pause in the schedule and hadn’t exposed anyone to the virus. She recovered in early April and feels stronger each day but indicated she’s not back to full strength yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much is made about how NHL players could be less affected by COVID-19 because they’re high-performance athletes. McDowell isn’t in the same athletic class but she’s an accomplished runner. The virus could hit an NHL player just as hard.

NHL.COM: Martin Brodeur said he’s not interested in the role of New Jersey Devils general manager right now, even if the job was available. He told The Hockey News he’s happy in his current role as the club’s executive vice president of hockey operations and senior advisor.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2018

Latest on Martin Brodeur, Wayne Simmonds, Jack Johnson, Brett Connolly and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils yesterday announced Martin Brodeur was returning to the club as their new executive vice president of business development. Brodeur spent all but one of his 22 NHL seasons with the Devils during his Hall of Fame career. He recently left the St. Louis Blues after spending several seasons as their assistant general manager.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds believes his agent and Flyers GM Ron Hextall have had preliminary discussions regarding a new contract. For now, he’s focusing on returning healthy for the upcoming season after recovering from offseason pelvic surgery. Hextall has said several times he’d like to re-sign Simmonds, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds is unconcerned over lack of progress in contract extension talks (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers could take a “wait-and-see” approach with Simmonds to assess his performance in the coming season before getting down to serious contract talks. 

THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): Defenseman Jack Johnson is keeping mum over his final days with the Columbus Blue Jackets but he’s very happy to be a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who signed him as an unrestricted free agent earlier this summer. Johnson was a healthy scratch during the Blue Jackets first-round playoff series last spring against the Washington Capitals.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals winger Brett Connolly said he won’t be joining his teammates during their visit to the White House commemorating their Stanley Cup championship. Connolly said it had nothing to do with politics, adding he wouldn’t be surprised if several other teammates also didn’t go. Connolly joins Devante Smith-Pelly in skipping the event. The Capitals have yet to receive a formal invitation from the White House. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” said Connolly, who added his decision was “about what’s right and what’s wrong and we’ll leave it at that.”

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames forward Matt Stajan has signed with Red Bull Munchen of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. Stajan spent 15 NHL seasons with the Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE SCORE: Former San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward remains hopeful of landing with another NHL club when training camp opens in two weeks time. Heading to Europe isn’t something he’s put at the top of his minds. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Age and injuries took a toll on the 37-year-old Ward last season. He could end up on a professional tryout offer if he hopes to secure an NHL job for 2018-19. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Tod Leiweke, the president and CEO of the group heading up Seattle’s NHL bid, said they will be meeting with league executives in early-October to begin the process of getting approval to become the NHL’s 32nd franchise. If all goes well, the y could make their pitch before the league board of governors in December. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If approved, the first season for a Seattle franchise would be 2020-21. 

SPORTSNET: NHL teams apparently take a dim view of players spending too much of their free time playing video games, especially the game Fortnite. Excessive gaming is considered an unnecessary addictive distraction that hampers a player’s development. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2018

Latest on Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews, Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Brodeur and Slava Voynov in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise were among dozens of American-born NHL players who gathered to honor the late USA Hockey executive Jim Johansson. The players gathered for a charity game on Sunday to raise funds for Johansson’s two-year-old daughter and for grassroots hockey. 

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s ailing back has hampered his training efforts this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

  MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill is doubtful team captain Henrik Zetterberg will be ready to play when the season opens in October. Zetterberg’s ailing back hasn’t allowed him to train properly this summer. He’s expected to report to training camp next month where he’ll undergo a medical to determine his status. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s sounds like Zetterberg won’t pass his training-camp medical. He’ll likely be placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season. If that happens, it’s doubtful he’ll be able to play this season. 

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports sources say Martin Brodeur is preparing to leave the St. Louis Blues organization after four years. Brodeur served as an assistant general manager but his contract expired in June and he’s apparently decided to move on. It’s rumored he’s interested in rejoining the New Jersey Devils, though he’s said he’d like to spend more time with his son. 

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has yet to be cleared to return to the league. He said Voynov’s return depends upon completing a review process with the league to determine if he meets the parameters to return. Voynov’s misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction was dismissed by a Los Angeles judge last month, a move that allows him to apply for reinstatement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until Voynov has his hearing with the league any speculation over which team he might join is baseless.

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2018 revealed, latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Goaltender Martin Brodeur, forward Martin O’Ree, right wing Willie O’Ree. Russian forward Alexander Yakushev, women’s hockey forward Jayna Hefford and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Goaltending great Martin Brodeur is among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 (Photo via NHL.com)

Brodeur holds several NHL goaltending records, including most victories and shutouts, and won three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. St. Louis is a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history and became an inspiration for many aspiring black players. Yakushev was a high-scoring forward known to North American hockey fans for his play with the Soviet Union all-stars in the 1972 Summit Series. Hefford won four Olympic gold medals for Canada in women’s hockey.

Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has broaden in popularity and become a more global sport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the class of 2018. No surprise to me that Brodeur and St. Louis were inducted this year. The elections of O’Ree and Yakushev were long overdue, especially for the trailblazing O’Ree, who also had a long and productive career at the minor league level. Hefford was a pioneer of women’s hockey and a key reason behind Canada’s success in international competition.

Bettman has significantly contributed to improving the NHL product, expanding its popularity and increasing its revenues. However, his constant labor battles with the NHLPA (including three lockouts) and his reluctance to acknowledge the link between head trauma and CTE tarnish his legacy. Former players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo, who are suing the league for what they claim was its failure to warn them of the long-term effects of head trauma, weren’t pleased with Bettman’s induction into the Hall. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-signed forward J.T. Miller to a five-year contract worth $26.25 million. The annual average value is $5.25 million and the deal also includes a modified no-trade clause that kicks in next July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s production has steadily increased over the past three years, rising from 43 and 56 points in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to a career-high 58 points split between the Lightning and New York Rangers this season. This deal locks up the 25-year-old through his playing prime. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Bryan Rust to a four-year, $14-million contract. The 26-year-old’s new contract counts as $3.5 million per season against the salary cap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The length of this deal raised a few eyebrows, as Rust was considered among the Penguins’ potential trade candidates following their second-round playoff elimination by the Washington Capitals. This signing leaves the Penguins with about $4.25-million in cap space.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators yesterday placed forward Alex Burrows on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because Burrows was over 35 when he signed this contract, the Senators won’t receive any cap relief from this buyout. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year, $1.1-million contract 

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Winnipeg Jets re-signed defenseman Joe Morrow to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Tom Kurvers as assistant general manager. 

LOS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights are suing StubHub “alleging the resale ticketing site owes the team almost $1.5 million in playoff ticket sales profits.”

 











Predicting the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees

Predicting the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees

On Monday, Nov. 13, former NHL stars Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Dave Andreychuk will be among the class of 2017 inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. So it’s appropriate to look ahead toward next year’s potential inductees.

It goes without saying Martin Brodeur will be a first-ballot inductee. He backstopped the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup championships, won four Vezina Trophies in five years between 2002-03 and 2007-08, shares the single-season wins record (48) with Washington’s Braden Holtby and the all-time records for games-played (1,266), wins (691) and shutouts (125).

Winger Martin St. Louis could also be inducted in his first year of eligibility. He’s a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy (2004, 2013) and Lady Byng Trophy (2010, 2011). He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Pearson in 2004 and played a significant role in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run. He finished his career with 1,033 points and is the Lightning’s all-time leader in assists (588) and points (953). 

2018 will be forward Daniel Alfredsson‘s second year of eligibility. Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1996, Alfredsson is the Ottawa Senators’ all-time leader in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108). It’ll be surprising if he’s passed over again.

Several notable players eligible for induction in recent years could be among those who get the nod in 2018.

Center Pierre Turgeon amassed 515 goals and 1,327 points in a career that stretched from 1987-88 to 2006-07 with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. Winner of the 1993 Lady Byng Trophy, only two active players (Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton) have more points than Turgeon.

Right wing Alexander Mogilny is one of the greatest Russian players in NHL history. He and Teemu Selanne are the last players to exceed 70 goals in a season (1992-93). He also won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2003. Mogilny sits third among Russian-born NHLers in goals (473) and points (1,039) playing for the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils (winning a Stanley Cup with them in 2000) and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Goaltender Curtis Joseph sits fifth on the NHL all-time list for wins (454) and sixth for games played (943) backstopping the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and Calgary Flames. “CuJo” was also a three-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

Right wing Theoren Fleury tallied 455 goals and 1,088 points in 1,084 career NHL games, of which 791 were spent with the Calgary Flames. He won a Stanley Cup with them during his rookie season in 1988-89. He’s second among the Flames all-time leaders in goals (364) and points (830).

Forwards Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk are two of the highest-scoring American-born players in NHL history. Roenick is fourth among US players in goals (513) and points (1,216) while Tkachuk sits third in goals (538) and fifth in points (1,065). 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2017

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom reacts after scoring against the Boston Bruins.

Stars of the month, injury updates, some minor trades & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins. The Caps were without winger Justin Williams, sidelined in a previous game by a lower-body injury

Sean Monahan scored twice and Brian Elliott made 28 saves as the Calgary Flames thumped the Minnesota Wild 5-1, snapping the latter’s 14-game road point streak.

Jeff Carter scored twice and Peter Budaj made 22 saves for his sixth shutout of the season as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Colorado Avalanche 5-0

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, Bruins winger Brad Marchand and San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns were the NHL’s top players for January 2017.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner was the NHL rookie of the month for January 2017. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner is also the third Leafs rookie to be honored this season, joining. William Nylander (October) and Auston Matthews (December).

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Conor Sheary is out four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. Sheary is third on the Penguins in goals this season with 17.

NBC SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes made a couple of minor deals, shipping goaltender Justin Peters and minor league defenseman Justin Hache to the Dallas Stars for minor-leaguers Brendan Ranford and Branden Troock. They also dealt minor league center Henrik Samuelsson to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for left wing Mitch Moroz. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect the addition of Peters to affect the Stars’ current tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. 

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert and Montreal Canadiens blueliner Mark Barberio were placed on waivers yesterday. 

NJ.COM: Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur and former NHL goalie Ty Conklin will share the St. Louis Blues’ goaltending coach duties for the remainder of the season.