NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

The Canadian government clears the way for allowing hub cities, a CBA extension could be part of the return-to-play plan, plus updates on Seth Jones, Sean Couturier, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites a Canadian Press report indicating the Canadian government has issued an order-in-council that would allow Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver to serve as one of the NHL’s two hub cities for its 24-team playoff tournament later this summer.

Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena could be among one of two host arenas for the NHL’s playoff tournament.

The order, which now awaits the Governor-General’s signature, would allow the NHL to work around Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for individuals entering the country. The league had to provide a plan that adhered to Canada’s public health requirements before the government went ahead with the order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three Canadian cities are among 10 in the running to host the tournament. Las Vegas is reportedly considered the front-runner, but it’s also believed the league prefers placing one of those hosts in Canada.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun cites a source claiming the NHL and NHL Players Association are attempting to negotiate the layers for Phase 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan while also trying to hammer out an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun’s source, who’s close to the negotiations, suggested the return-to-play plan and a CBA extension (or a memo of understanding for the latter) could be presented as one package to the players before the end of this month.

LeBrun also reports there are players with questions about such issues such as health concerns in their respective NHL cities, life under quarantine conditions during the tournament, and economic issues such as escrow payments.

Should the playoff tournament go off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup could be awarded in early October, with the draft and free agency beginning later in that month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension (perhaps to 2026) would be a silver lining in the COVID cloud hanging over the NHL. Because of the effects of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue, both sides must work together to ensure labor peace in the coming years. Given the limited timeline and the myriad of issues to be discussed, it remains to be seen if they can work out an agreement by the end of June. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports if an NHL  player tests positive for COVID-19 we won’t know what team they belong to. Instead, the league could simply say a player has tested positive. McKenzie speculates it could be part of a weekly report going forward indicating how many players have or haven’t tested positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will raise questions over which teams those players belong to, how many of them could be sidelined, and the effect upon the proposed playoff tournament. 

McKenzie thinks most of the players understand the need to return to action is an important one but there is a vocal minority raising concerns. He feels a player could be allowed to opt-out of returning if he had strong objections of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league and the PA are believed to be working on opt-out language in the plan for players who don’t want to return. Friedman also said part of the pitch will be the quarantine bubble the teams will be under will be safer than in some parts of North America.

McKenzie also said a decision on the two host cities could come next week. The league’s preference is a home team doesn’t play in its own hub. In other words, if Las Vegas is selected, the Vegas Golden Knights could play in the other hub city.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL has assured its coaches they won’t face any restrictions preventing them from doing their jobs. Those of a certain age or in an at-risk demographic won’t be prevented from being behind the bench. Health and safety protocols for coaches and their interactions with players are still being discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaches could be required to wear masks behind the bench and elsewhere in the facility. We’ll learn more details when the league and the PA release their health protocol plans for Phase 3 and 4.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (right ankle fracture and sprain) and Dean Kukan (knee injury) have been activated off injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin knows he’s at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he’s a type-1 diabetic. Nevertheless, he remains focused on joining his teammates for the playoff tournament. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from suiting up,” said Kunin.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are among the Flyers that have taken part in small-group training at the team’s practice facility.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is among several Coyotes skating at Gila River Arena in preparation for the league’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of this NHL season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo is one of two former CHL players to file a class-action lawsuit alleging they were routinely hazed, bullied, physically and verbally harassed, and physically and sexually harassed and assaulted during their junior careers. This comes days after a former Kitchener Rangers player claimed he was forced to do cocaine in a team bathroom during his rookie season in 2016.










NHL Could Face A Reckoning on CTE

NHL Could Face A Reckoning on CTE

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2018

Game recaps, Joe Thornton reaches another milestone, plus updates on Tuukka Rask, Shea Weber, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Joe Thornton reached another milestone in his long career by scoring the game-winning goal as the San Jose Sharks downed the Nashville Predators 5-4. It was Thornton’s 400th career goal. Teammates Erik Karlsson also reached a milestone by collecting his 400th career NHL assist. Joe Pavelski scored twice for the Sharks while Filip Forsberg also tallied two goals for the Predators.

Taylor Hall’s four-point performance led the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo via NHL Images)

Taylor Hall factored in all his team’s goals (two goals, two assists) as the New Jersey Devils snapped a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. With just 17 points in 16 games, the Penguins have slid toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Two goals by Tom Kuhnhackl helped the New York Islanders break a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck tallied his first goal in 52 games.

Mike Hoffman tied a Florida Panthers’ record by extending his points streak to 13 games as his club edged the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Hoffman had an assist in the Panthers’ game-opening goal.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their third straight win by squeezing past the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Jeff Skinner and Kyle Opkoso tallied for the Sabres.

Six unanswered goals powered the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Mike Green scored and added two assists. With four straight wins, the Wings’ now have a .500 record with 18 points in as many games.

Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced that defenseman Jakob Chychrun had agreed to a six-year contract extension beginning next season. The annual average value will be $4.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun, 20, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. He’s shown considerable potential over the past two NHL campaigns, though his injury history is a little worrisome. If he can stay reasonably healthy over the next seven seasons he has the all-around ability to become a reliable top-two blueliner for the Coyotes. Should Chychrun reach his full potential, general manager John Chayka will look like a genius for locking the young rearguard into a long-term deal for an affordable price. 

After having his 20-game suspension reduced to 14 games, Tom Wilson scored in his return as the Washington Capitals defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Dmitry Orlov also scored twice for the Capitals.

The Edmonton Oilers ended a four-game losing skid in grand style by thumping the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl led the way with three points each. The Canadiens did get some good news as sidelined captain Shea Weber could return from offseason knee surgery as early as late-November.

John Tavares extended his points streak to six games with a goal and two assists in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Nazem Kadri netted two power-play goals for the Leafs.

BOSTON HERALD: Goaltender Tuukka Rask has returned to the Bruins roster following a brief leave of absence to deal with a personal matter.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have placed forward Erik Haula (lower-body, possible right-knee injury) on injured reserve.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault left practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed forward Marcus Kruger on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Gustav Forsling. 

CBS SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes sent forward Valentin Zykov to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on a two-week conditioning stint. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets placed Adam Clendening on waivers

THE SCORE: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo said he won’t opt into the proposed concussion lawsuit settlement between the NHL and NHLPA. “Carcillo, for his part, has decided to opt out, saying he wants the NHL to admit liability for failing to sufficiently protect the health of the league’s players.”

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

Results of the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft, plus the latest on John Carlson, Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and much more in your morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes took right wing Andrei Svechnikov second overall, the Montreal Canadiens selected center Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall, the Ottawa Senators took left wing Brady Tkachuk with the fourth selection and the Arizona Coyotes used the fifth overall selection to take Barrett Hayton. You can see the full list of the 31 selections by following this link. Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today starting at 11 pm ET.

Buffalo Sabres selected defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were a few surprises among the top-10 selections. Hayton went much higher than expected while forward Filip Zadina dropped to the sixth overall selection and the Chicago Blackhawks surprised by selecting defenseman Adam Boqvist. Those moves saw a reshuffling of the projected order, resulting in the Edmonton Oilers landing defenseman Evan Bouchard (10th overall) and the New York Islanders getting blueliner Noah Dobson 12th overall.

There was also a notable lack of trades involving established NHL players in the opening round. Just prior to the start of the draft, the Washington Capitals dealt goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (47th overall). I’ll have more on the absence of deals later this morning in the Rumors section. I’ll have analysis on any notable moves later today in my Soapbox section. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said his club is really close to re-signing defenseman John Carlson, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Dealing defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado yesterday freed up $5.5-million of salary cap space, providing much-needed room to sign Carlson, who could get an eight-year deal worth around $8 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interview period for potential UFAs to speak with other clubs begins on Monday, June 25. MacLellan obviously wants to ensure Carlson is signed before then. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  The San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers Friday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract. The move will free up $3.2 million of salary cap space to put toward re-signing other players or to pursue a free-agent talent such as the New York Islanders’ John Tavares or former KHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The Sharks will now have around $19.2 million in cap room.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan denied reports claiming he has a rocky relationship with winger Phil Kessel.  He said their relationship is one of mutual respect and that hasn’t changed in the last three seasons. Rumors claiming otherwise emerged following the Penguins second-round elimination from the 2018 playoffs, sparking speculation Kessel could be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan needed to make those remarks about a month ago when those Kessel trade rumors first surfaced. I daresay his comments will be treated with skepticism now. 

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.35 million.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.475-million contract. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t be re-signing pending UFA winger Chris Kunitz. They re-signed backup goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million and hired Jeff Halpern as an assistant coach. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Samuel Morin. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach. Bylsma was formerly head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. 

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have parted ways with assistant coach Steve Konowolchuk. 

TSN: Former NHL players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo are suing the NHL, “alleging it failed to warn players about the long-term risk of brain damage from fighting.”

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

Penguins and Predators tie their second-round series at 2-2, Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey passed away, Coyotes acquire Kruger from Hurricanes. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and Matt Murray made 20 saves to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 4 to tie their second-round series at two games apiece. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winning goal in Game 3, was held without a shot in this contest. The series returns to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

Jake Guentzel scored twice to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a better defensive effort by the Penguins, who didn’t give up nearly as many odd-man rushes as they had in the previous three games. Guentzel, meanwhile, leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and 21 points. 

P.K. Subban scored the game winner as the Nashville Predators held off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1, tying their second-round series 2-2. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has a strong outing with 32 saves. Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine got his first goal of this series, which returns to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators also did a better job tightening up their defensive play, which had been uncharacteristically sloppy through the first three games of this series. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS BOSTON : Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ lack of production could be cause for concern. Meanwhile, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for “maintenance days” but are expected to be in the lineup tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s depth has thus far compensated for Stamkos’ puzzling offensive difficulties. At some point, however, his sputtering production could become a factor. 

THE MERCURY NEWS / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:  San Jose Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi managed to play in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights despite being hampered by a lower-body injury. He’s still not fully 100 percent approaching Game 5. As for the Golden Knights, head coach Gerard Gallant could tinker with his lineup for Game 5 after his club was shut out by the Sharks in the previous contest. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired center Marcus Kruger and a third-round pick in this year’s draft from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Jordan Martinook and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The Hurricanes are also retaining 10 percent of Kruger’s $3.083-million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, non-playoff clubs are allowed to make trades during the postseason. The Hurricanes acquired Kruger last summer from the Vegas Golden Knights but he spent most of the season buried in the minors. He’ll get a better opportunity to return to the NHL full time next season with the Coyotes, who are in need of experienced depth at center.

Martinook, meanwhile, is a versatile checking-line forward who can skate at center or left wing who carries an affordable $1.8-million cap hit. He should bring some much-needed grit to the Hurricanes’ lineup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined up to six months. 

Former NHL player Jeff Parker, who died last year at age 53, “had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers at Boston University told The New York Times.” Parker was among over 100 players involved in a class-action lawsuit with the NHL claiming the league withheld information regarding the long-term effect of concussion injuries. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks enforcer Dan Carcillo pledges to donate his brain for CTE research following his death. 

SPORTSNET: Former general manager Bill Torrey passed away on Wednesday evening at age 83. During his career, Torrey was GM of the Oakland Seals and New York Islanders and the first president of the Florida Panthers. Torrey built the Islanders into a dynasty, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Torrey’s family and friends. He did a masterful job building the Islanders into a championship powerhouse, drafting Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy and acquiring Billy Smith and Butch Goring. They formed the core of their Cup dynasty. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Henrik Lundqvist and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:  New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist celebrated his 36th birthday with his record-setting second-straight 50-save effort to backstop his club to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. 

Taylor Hall extended his personal points streak to 17 games as his New Jersey Devils fell 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams led the way with third-period goals for the Hurricanes (69 points), who moved into a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild-card spot in the East.

Nathan MacKinnon’s five-point performance powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-1 win over the Minnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

Nathan MacKinnon’s five-point performance (two goals and three assists) powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-1 drubbing of the Minnesota Wild. Miko Rantanen collected four points (one goal, three assists) for the Avs (75 points), who moved within a point of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Mike Fisher scored in his season debut while Calle Jarnkrok tallied the winner in overtime to give the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It was the the seventh straight win for the Predators (91 points) as they maintained a six-point lead over Winnipeg for first place in the Central Division. Canucks forward Sven Baertschi left the game in the second period with a shoulder injury. 

The Montreal Canadiens swept a home-and-home series with the New York Islanders with a 6-3 victory. Winger Alex Galchenyuk tallied a hat trick for the Habs, who handed the Isles their fifth straight defeat. Islanders winger Jordan Eberle missed the game with soreness suffered during Wednesday’s contest in Montreal. 

The Florida Panthers picked up their fifth straight win by downing the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Nick Bjugstad and Evgenii Dadonov each collected two points for the Panthers, who moved to within one point of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

The Ottawa Senators beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4, handing the latter their third straight loss. Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan each had three points for the Senators. Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt and winger James Neal missed the game with undisclosed injuries

A two-goal performance by Patrik Laine helped the Winnipeg Jets edge the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. 

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson returned to action with a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. 

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman claims the Calgary Flames’ financial situation “continues to deteriorate” operating out of the aging Scotiabank Saddledome. He doesn’t see their situation changing anytime soon. He also said the Flames are now drawing upon the league’s revenue-sharing program after years of contributing into it. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman has made no secret of his desire for the Flames to have a new arena. The club’s ownership is currently involved in a standoff with Calgary city council over funding for a new venue. 

The Flames aren’t having trouble drawing fans. They’re eighth in league attendance this season, averaging 18,855 fans per game and operating at 97.8 percent capacity. However, they began the season sitting 21st in median ticket prices ($99.00). As per Forbes.com, they’re 19th in operating income ($5.4 million) and 21st in revenue ($129 million). 

While the Flames could use a new arena, it’s unlikely to be the cure-all for their financial situation.Their fan cost index (revenue from tickets, merchandise, parking, etc) is based on what their market can bear. The decline of the Alberta oil industry and the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar since 2014 have contributed to the Flames’ financial woes.

Speaking of the Flames, the Calgary Sun reports a judge has ruled that the dispute “between NHL linesman Don Henderson and former Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman” should be sent to the league for arbitration. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo wants the NHL to do more to increase concussion awareness.