NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2020

The latest on the return-to-play discussions, four Golden Knights test positive for COVID-19, the Bruins sign Jake DeBrusk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch cited NHL insider Nick Kypreos saying there were no discussions over the weekend between the league and the NHL Players Association for the first time in weeks regarding the 2020-21 season.

 

The league remains focused on a Jan. 1 start but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested several times that date is flexible and could be pushed back a week or two.

Garrioch believes it’s been quiet of late because the two sides have likely retreated to their offices to come up with a plausible agreement acceptable to the owners. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk last week indicated not all the 31 owners are on board with the plan put forward because of the losses they’ll face for 2020-21. The players last week rejected two requests from the league for increased escrow and salary deferral rates.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reported “a prominent agent” said talks are currently at a standstill. Three other player agents wondered when is enough with the constant concessions the players have made since the 2004-05 lockout. One accused league commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners of using the pandemic to squeeze more out of the players. Another agent claims he knows of five or six owners seriously questioning if it makes sense to stage a season.

Murphy feels the longer negotiations drag on, the more NHL and AHL players could head overseas to play in Europe, particularly those on two-way contracts who finished last season in the AHL. He also cites a league source suggesting a Feb. 5 start date for the season remains an option.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports Bettman is dealing with a handful of disgruntled owners, with some believing they got a bad deal in the new collective bargaining agreement and a few telling the commissioner they’d prefer not to play if there are no fans because of operating losses.

According to a source, Bettman is “managing” those owners, telling them sitting out the season isn’t an option because of the damage to the league’s long-term health. However, he is trying to address their concerns, which include an infusion of cash to start the season, hence the league’s requests to the players last week.

Kaplan reports sources indicated the players remain willing to work with the league because it’s in everyone’s best interest to stage a season. If the league is trying to borrow money from the players, the PA could seek concessions such as increased health insurance for players in retirement. Kaplan also notes the NHL owners will be getting $650 million in expansion fees in 2021-22 plus a new U.S. Television deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This stalemate between the league and the PA could stretch on for weeks and put the 2020-21 season into jeopardy. But as long as Bettman and the players remain determined to return to play, the less likely the season will be canceled. There appears a genuine desire on both sides to get this done, though there’s no denying the league’s recent requests have stalled negotiations.

Barring a significant breakthrough by the end of this week, I think we can forget about the Jan. 1 start date. As Garrioch pointed out, Daly has previously suggested that start date was flexible. It could be anywhere between mid-January and mid-February, though the earlier the better if they hope to stage a meaningful schedule.

OTHER NOTABLE NHL HEADLINES

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Four Vegas Golden Knights players have tested positive for COVID-19. The club confirmed their status but declined to identify them. The four are in self-isolation and “recovering well.” The club is taking precautionary measures by closing their off-ice training facilities and player areas to players and staff through Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This serves as a reminder that the pandemic will still affect the players if the 2020-21 season takes place. Without playing in a quarantine bubble as they did during the 2020 playoffs, they risk exposure to the coronavirus even with increased testing and strict health and safety protocols.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.675 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk had the bad luck to complete an entry-level contract in the midst of a pandemic that adversely affected the NHL salary cap. While his agent had suggested his client was worth $6 million per season, there was no way he was going to get that much from the Bruins or from another club via an offer sheet under the current economic conditions.

It’s a good deal for the Bruins because they get DeBrusk under contract at a reasonable short-term deal that also leaves enough cap space for other moves. The young winger still gets a decent raise and a chance for a much better deal in two years times when he’ll have arbitration rights in a potentially better economic climate.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is leaving Finnish club Pori Assat and returning to Montreal in what’s considered a sign the club is preparing to stage its training camp soon. Kotkaniemi will begin a 14-day quarantine upon his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s not the only player skating in Europe coming back to North America. If more players follow suit it’ll signal the league and the PA are close to a return-to-play agreement.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Kendall Coyne Schofield as a player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist. She’s the organization’s first-ever female development coach. They also hired former NHL player Erik Condra as a player development coach.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets hired Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. The father of Jets center Adam Lowry said he doesn’t expect any issues with the two working for the same team.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers hired Shane Churla as their director of amateur scouting. The former NHL player spent the past seven seasons with the Canadiens scouting staff. He also spent seven seasons as an amateur scout with the Dallas Stars and another five in the same role with the Arizona Coyotes.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2020

PHWA midseason award winners, All-Star Game skills competition participants announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the midseason favorite for the Hart Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced their 2019-20 Midseason NHL Award winners. Among them are  Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Calder Trophy). The PWHA also named Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander as their comeback player of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring serious injury or a significant decline in performance, McDavid is a lock for the Hart, Carlson for the Norris, and Makar for the Calder. Hellebuyck’s had an outstanding first half, but he’s struggled of late, which could affect his Vezina chances over the remainder of the season.

Participants for the skills competition for the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis were announced yesterday.

CALGARY SUN: The upcoming All-Star game is a family affair for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. The brothers grew up watching their father Keith play for the St. Louis Blues in the early 2000s until his retirement in 2010.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The effects of Kendall Coyne Schofield’s participation in the skills competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game are examined in a new documentary.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner voiced his support of general manager Doug Wilson despite the club’s disappointing season. “While we are all very disappointed in the team’s performance thus far this season, Doug has a long history of leading our team to success,” said Plattner. He pointed to the club’s quick turnaround under Wilson after missing the playoffs in 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Plattner’s confidence of Wilson, but I think the Sharks GM is facing the biggest challenge of his management career. He’s saddled himself with expensive veterans and doesn’t have much to draw upon in the prospect pipeline for trade bait.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Muzzin’s imminent return is good news for a Leafs blueline that’s struggled in his absence.

CBS SPORTS: The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve.

TSN: Marc Methot believes his playing career has come to an end. He underwent knee surgery a year ago while with the Dallas Stars, but the knee continues giving him pain. The 13-year NHL veteran spent five seasons with the Ottawa Senators. Methot said he hasn’t made an official decision yet on his future.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 1, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins. Travis Sanheim tallied the winner and also picked up an assist. David Pastrnak scored both Bruins goals. 

Mika Zibanejad’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Mike Zibanejad’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mats Zuccarello collected three assists for the Rangers, who’ve won five of their last seven contests. Earlier in the day, the Rangers revealed center Brett Howden will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a sprained MCL. 

Third-period goals by Jack Roslovic and Kyle Connor lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets were playing without Cam Atkinson, who was a late scratch after being struck in the face by a puck during warmups. Earlier in the day, the Jackets revealed center Boone Jenner will miss one-to-three weeks with an infected laceration on his ankle.  Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (lower-body injury) is now listed as day-to-day. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 29. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry could make his season debut on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. He’s been sidelined for four months recovering from surgery on his right knee. 

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom suffered an apparent setback in his recovery from a broken left finger after being struck on the injured hand during practice. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger David Perron (upper-body injury) was placed on injured reserve. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Tyler Pitlick (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for two more weeks.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will neither confirm or deny a report claiming defenseman Noah Juulsen may have suffered a career-threatening eye injury. He was struck in the face by a puck during a Nov. 19 game against Washington and his last game was with their AHL farm team on Dec. 27. The club will only confirm he has an upper-body injury that requires rest and is not a concussion.  

TSN: The Florida Panthers placed forward Jamie McGinn on waivers. 

CBC.CA: Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield defended NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire from social media backlash for “mansplaining” hockey to Coyne Schofield. The incident occurred during her appearance with McGuire as a guest analyst in Wednesday’s contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. 

“I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that’s why I didn’t think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened,” said Coyne Schofield. Nevertheless, she added, “If I were watching it at home and saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended.”

McGuire also issued a statement apologizing for his remarks. “At times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better.”

THE SCORE: Antoine Vermette yesterday announced his retirement after 14 NHL seasons. In 1,046 games with the Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks, Vermette scored 228 goals and 287 assists for 515 points, along with 14 goals and 28 points in 97 playoff games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2015. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Vermette and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2019

Winners of All-Star skills competition, latest on Nathan MacKinnon, 2020 Winter Classic teams revealed, and a CBA update in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the fastest skater for the third straight year at the 2019 NHL All-Star skills competition at San Jose.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid won the NHL All-Star skating competition for the third straight year. (Photo via NHL Images).

U.S. women’s hockey team star Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to participate in the skills competition, posting a time of 14.346 to beat Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller. She replaced Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, who’ll miss the All-Star Game because of a bruised left foot

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau was the winner of the puck control event for the second straight year. 

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak won the accuracy shooting, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson had the hardest shot, Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl was the premier passer, and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 12 consecutive stops to win the save streak event. 

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews drew some love from the San Jose crowd by sporting the Leafs jersey of teammate Patrick Marleau during the accuracy shooting event. Marleau spent 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks. 

The league announced the Nashville Predators will face the Dallas Stars in the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. 

Executives from the NHL and NHL Players Association remain optimistic over the possibility of working out a new collective bargaining agreement without resorting to another work stoppage.

Both sides claim early discussions have been “cordial and constructive,” according to league commissioner Gary Bettman, who once again stressed he’s not spoiling for a fight with the players. Neither side would speculate over the possibility of either side triggering their early-out options from the current CBA in September. 

THE SCORE: cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the two sides discussed the prospect of staging a smaller World Cup of Hockey tournament midway through the 2020-21 season.