NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019
Latest CBA news, updates on Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen, the Kings signed Ben Hutton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s encouraged by the collective bargaining discussions with the NHL Players Association. He’s hopeful of securing labor peace beyond the 2022 expiration of the current agreement and isn’t ruling out an extension. Bettman also expressed his happiness that the players opted not to reopen the CBA, which would’ve moved up the expiration timeline to Sept. 15, 2020.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports negotiations are ongoing. If all goes well, he speculated a tentative CBA extension could be in place within the next two months. He also reports Bettman dismissed the notion that the league might lack the urgency to push ahead with CBA talks now that the players declined to exercise its early opt-out. He also waved off the idea that he’s thinking about his legacy and didn’t want another work stoppage clouding his final years as commissioner.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports sources saying the NHLPA executive leadership favored reopening the CBA but they lacked sufficient support among the membership to do so, especially among the influential veterans in the 30-33 age bracket. The players were concerned taking the early opt-out would make the current amicable negotiations more contentious.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also reported the team owners haven’t been part of the negotiations with the players, who felt continuing talks directly with Bettman and league VP Bill Daly remains the best path. He also said the league’s desire for labor peace is very real, more so than at any point in his coverage of the league over the past 25 years.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine raised eyebrows when he appeared to complain to a Finnish reporter that he’d be a top-line player on other clubs. He spent most of last season on the Jets’ second line with center Bryan Little. “There are top lines and then there is our line. But I play with the guys I’m told to play,” he said. The 21-year-old restricted free agent remains mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is practicing with SC Bern in Switzerland.
THE SCORE: Jets captain Blake Wheeler said he didn’t have an issue with Laine’s remarks. “I would say those are all good things. You want guys that are hungry for more and not content with where he’s at,” said Wheeler, who praised the youngster’s skills and his contributions to the Jets’ power play.
Meanwhile, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is joining Laine with SC Bern. Like Laine, he’s yet to sign a new contract with his NHL club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s latest comments fueled speculation over his future with the Jets. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.
SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings signed former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan took part in his first training-camp practice with the club. Traded to Chicago by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, de Haan has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and a nagging groin injury.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. With blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the move provides additional depth to the Hurricanes’ blue line.
THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will consult a specialist for a second opinion regarding his ongoing headache issues.