NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2020

Players defer final paycheck by one month, plus speculation about resuming the schedule, next season’s salary cap, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported NHL players deferred their decision to draw their final paycheck of the season until May 15. The paycheck is worth around $140 million. It would allow more time for the league and the NHL Players Association to determine if the season will continue.

“Players have been debating whether to forgo some or all of the last paycheque to help escrow,” wrote LeBrun, who also indicated the players are getting their 2018-19 escrow return next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canceling the season would cost the league around $1.1 billion in revenue, but those losses could be cut in half if the season is resumed in empty arenas in neutral-site locations. That will have an effect upon next season’s salary cap, as well as how much escrow money will be clawed back from the players’ salaries. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks has some interesting tidbits regarding the league’s plans to continue the season, including the possibility of playing in more than one NHL city spared the worst of the pandemic, whose COVID-19 curve tracks positively, and in a state where social distancing restrictions would be relaxed by the time the schedule resumes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neutral-site games in cities/towns under the same conditions have also been discussed. I daresay the league’s preference is to return in as many of its markets as possible. As Brooks pointed out, however, the logistics of either scenario are daunting.

Brooks indicated there have been discussions between the league and the PA over extending the current CBA beyond its 2022 expiration date to stabilize the salary cap at its current $81.5 million over the next three seasons. It would reduce the players’ escrow burden. Resuming with a 24-team playoff schedule would generate around $350 million in broadcasting and sponsorship money, and between $450 million to $500 million under a full resumption.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of how long this pandemic lasts, its economic effects will be felt everywhere, perhaps for years. Considering the circumstances, it might be wise for the league and the PA to hash out an extension of the current agreement by a year or two. It could set the template for warmer labor relations that would result in longer-term labor peace down the road.

Brooks also reports there isn’t anything close to unanimity among the players over leaving their families for perhaps up to two months to complete the season and playoffs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the players’ health and safety can be suitably assured by the league, I doubt they’ll grumble too much about being away from their families for a month or two, especially if it helps them financially next season.

SPORTSNET: Taylor Hall‘s agent said the Arizona Coyotes haven’t made a contract offer to his client yet. The 28-year-old winger will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes have nearly $80 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21. Based on GM John Chayka’s recent comments regarding Hall’s contract, the Coyotes are waiting until they gain some certainty over next season’s cap numbers before making their pitch to the winger’s agent. It would also determine how much salary they need to shed if Hall re-signs with them.

TA3.COM: Boston Bruins forward Peter Cehlarik was told he was almost part of a deal at the trade deadline. Cehlarik, 24, has become frustrated that he’s not an NHL regular. He’s considered playing in Sweden, where he spent four seasons before joining the Bruins. The KHL is another option, as St. Petersburg holds his rights in that league. (Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link).

THE SCORE: Former Buffalo Sabres minority owner Larry Quinn criticized the club’s current parent companies recent mass firings. Pegula Sports and Entertainment fired 21 employees and furloughed 104 others. The furloughs are due to the pandemic, while the other cutbacks were planned before the NHL paused its schedule.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2019

The Sabres sign Marcus Johansson, Rasmus Ristolainen gets a speeding ticket, and the Bruins sign Peter Cehlarik. Details in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday signed unrestricted free agent winger Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9.5-million contract.

Buffalo Sabres sign Marcus Johansson to a two-year contract (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a reasonable short-term deal with an annual average value is $4.5 million. For a club in need of secondary scoring, Johansson should provide a much-needed boost.

The 28-year-old is a skilled playmaker who can play all three forward positions. He’s exceeded 45 points in five of his nine NHL seasons.

Injuries are a concern, including two concussions in concussions in 2017 and 2018. When healthy, Johansson should be a solid addition to the Sabres offense. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: recently reported Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was “fined $135,000 and faces a three-month suspended license for speeding in Finland.” The incident occurred on May 3, when Ristolainen was doing 50 mph in a 25 mph zone during a period of heavy traffic. It’s reportedly the most expensive speeding ticket ever in Finland,

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They don’t mess around with traffic fines in Finland. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2017

Game recaps, injury and waiver updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Jimmy Vesey’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout lifted the New York Rangers to their eight straight home win this season, edging the Vancouver Canucks 4-3.  

Shootout goals by Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak.  

Ryan Strome scored the game winner while Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2, bringing the latter’s four-game win streak to an end 

THE WASHINGTON POST: takes an in-depth look at the close relationship between Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin acknowledges his support of Putin won’t sit well with North American hockey fans, but he insists he’s simply supporting his country and not trying to make a political statement. His critics undoubtedly disagree with his view. To date, however, it hasn’t adversely affected his popularity as one of the league’s most popular players. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks pulled a video featuring Ryan Kesler walking around the club offices in his “birthday suit” to commemorate the league’s 100th anniversary and issued an apology after it was met with some criticism. “Our tweet posted earlier today was meant to be a lighthearted video celebrating the NHL’s 100th birthday,” the team said on its official page. “We realize in retrospect the content of the video may have been insensitive and we have removed the video and apologize.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the recent – and growing – number of high-profile sexual assault and harassment allegations, I’m surprised that there wasn’t a little more forethought about this by the Ducks front office before giving it their blessing. 

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has a hearing scheduled today with the league’s department of player safety after cross-checking Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in the head on Saturday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog has received two previous suspensions totaling five games for similar incidents, so expect him to miss some more playing time over this recent infraction. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Evgenii Dadanov could miss some time after suffering a shoulder injury on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins forward Peter Cehlarik will be sidelined for a month with a lower-body injury. 

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings placed forward Brooks Laich on unconditional waivers with the intent of mutually terminating his one-year, $625K contract. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed forward Seth Griffith on waivers.