NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2020

The NHL and NHLPA are working toward a 24-team conference-based format to resume the season, the latest on potential host cities, plus reaction from James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler, Matt Duchene and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

LATEST ON THE NHL’S RETURN-TO-PLAY EFFORTS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports “multiple sources indicate the NHL and NHLPA are working on a 24-team conference-based playoff setup,” with discussions on the proposal perhaps taking place on Thursday.

The top-four seeds (based on points percentage in each conference (Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West) would receive byes through the play-in process, but would participate in a three-game tournament. The play-in series would be a best-of-five format, while the rest of the playoffs would be best-of-seven.

The rest of the playoffs would be bracketed, meaning “in both conferences 5 vs. 12 (winner plays four seed), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays three seed), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays two seed) and 8 vs. 9 (winner plays one seed).”

Chris Johnston indicates the discussions between the league and the PA are about the format of the 24-team tournament. It doesn’t cover other issues such as COVID testing protocols, hub cities, and more. This format is expected to be discussed during Thursday’s schedule NHLPA executive board call.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman points out this remains in the discussion stage and nothing is set in stone. Nevertheless, momentum seems to be building toward a 24-team tournament format. The idea of resuming the regular-season schedule with all 31 teams is no longer an option, taking the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres out of the equation.

SEVERAL PLAYERS WEIGH IN ON POSSIBLE 24-TEAM FORMAT

Philadelphia Flyers NHLPA rep James van Riemsdyk (Photo via NHL Images).

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers NHLPA representative James van Riemsdyk said several different formats are under discussion. He pointed out the difficulty of determining the leading format because of how quickly things can change.

THE SCORE: During an interview with TSN’s Darren Dreger, Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler cautions a 24-team format could give bubble teams a competitive advantage. “I think the hard thing would be to have the bubble teams play a play-in and all of the sudden now Boston or St. Louis or Colorado who’ve been at the top of the standings all year, they’re sitting there cold and have to play a team that’s already played a three-to-five game series and they’re coming in hot,” said Wheeler.

NBC SPORTS: Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene prefers preserving the integrity of the game by returning to play with a 16-team, best-of-seven playoff format. “You don’t want to have a COVID Cup,” he said. “I’m worried that if we force this thing and try and it’s a little gimmicky or if it’s not quite right, whoever wins the Cup is gonna have people trying to take it away from them their whole lives and they don’t deserve that,” he said. “I feel very passionately about this part of things.”

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie has no problem with a 20- or 24-team format. “It’s not ideal, but in a time like this, how could anything be super-traditional?” said Barrie. “The integrity will be there because it’s still going to be the best players in the world playing against each other for the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. We all have to adapt and try to realize it’s not going to be perfect classic NHL playoffs. For the situation we’re in, for a year, I think that’s fine.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no perfect format to please everyone, but the 24-team tournament could be the best option. As Barrie pointed out, this is a unique situation. If the league can return and fully ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, most fans probably won’t care about the format once the puck drops. The fact the PA is heavily involved in these discussions suggests a majority of their membership wants to return and complete the season.

THE LATEST ON POTENTIAL HOST CITIES

RDS: Pierre LeBrun assumes the NBA leaning toward Orlando as a host city could make Las Vegas’ candidacy as a neutral-site NHL host city more interesting. Vegas is reportedly low on the NBA’s list. Ryan Rishaug reports conversations are taking place so that a Canadian market can also be a host city.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychowski reports the Oilers believe they’re among the leading contenders in the bidding for an NHL host city. “Edmonton’s Ice District and the city’s overall response to COVID-19 should make it an automatic choice to host one of the 12-team playoff groups”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some suggest if Vegas becomes a host city, the other will be located in the East, perhaps taking Canadian cities out of the running. However, the lower cost of a Canadian host city could be enticing for the league.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the best-case scenario for Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play schedule could be the end of May or early June. Under that phase, the players return to their NHL cities and allow small-group workouts following a two-week self-isolation period.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly indicated the NHL is close to deciding on when to stage the 2020 NHL Draft and the draft lottery. “This week or next week is probably fair,” Daly wrote. “I can’t tell you there’s a precise timetable because there are other things involved.” The league is currently focused on working with the PA on a format for resuming the season.

Garrioch speculates the league could hold the draft lottery and the draft a couple of months apart. Over the weekend, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk suggested the league might hold the lottery in June and the draft later in the summer.

PUCKPEDIA: Part II of their player agent poll examined which general managers they prefer to deal with, the worst current contract from a team perspective, and the most team-friendly contract.










Has the Nashville Predators NHL Championship Window Slammed Shut?

Has the Nashville Predators NHL Championship Window Slammed Shut?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid rally the Oilers over the Capitals, Vladimir Tarasenko and Matt Duchene sidelined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal completed a 3-1 comeback as the Edmonton Oilers upset the Washington Capitals 4-3. Draisaitl and linemate Connor McDavid each collected three points in this contest. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sniped two goals.

Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Brayden Schenn’s two-goal effort helped the St. Louis Blues defeat the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2. It was a costly win for the Blues as winger Vladimir Tarasenko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. An update on his condition could be made today.

The Nashville Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 as Pekka Rinne turned in a 26-save shutout performance. Predators center Matt Duchene left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition has yet to be made. Colton Sissons scored a goal and collected an assist.

Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in regulation and the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames nipped the Florida Panthers 6-5. Aleksander Barkov collected four assists for the Panthers, extending their points streak to seven games.

The New York Islanders picked up their fifth straight victory by down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Islanders winger Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Islanders activated Casey Cizikas off injured reserved but winger Leo Komarov’s (illness) status remains uncertain.

Evander Kane scored two power-play goals, Tomas Hertl collected three assists, and Aaron Dell kicked out 35 shots as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

Cam Atkinson scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, handing the latter their third straight loss. Jackets blueliners Ryan Murray and David Savard each had two-point performance.

The New York Rangers ended a five-game losing skid with a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Strome scored twice while Rangers defensemen Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo each had two points.

Claude Giroux tallied his first goal of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. James van Riemsdyk scored and collected an assist. Flyers forward Michael Raffl left the game in the third period with an injured leg after blocking a shot.

Two first-period goals by Denis Gurianov gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Stars winger Corey Perry’s first game against his former club since his contract buyout this summer. Dallas goalie Ben Bishop made 27 saves, handing the Ducks their third straight loss. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson injured his left leg while winger Ondrej Kase left the game with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov returned to the KHL, signing a professional tryout contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Markov had hoped to sign with an NHL club this summer after spending the last two seasons with KHL club Ak-Bars Kazan.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening is expected to be sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks assigned forward Adam Gaudette to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster Mike Maniscalco underwent successful surgery this week to remove a large non-cancerous mass from his abdomen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mansicalco has a speedy recovery.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has announced his retirement. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders. Seidenberg’s longest tenure was with the Bruins (over six seasons), helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reach the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In 859 NHL games, he collected 251 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Seidenberg in his future endeavors.










Offseason Moves Paying Early Dividends in NHL’s 2019-20 Season

Offseason Moves Paying Early Dividends in NHL’s 2019-20 Season

 










Best Signings from Opening Day of 2019 NHL Free-Agent Period

Best Signings from Opening Day of 2019 NHL Free-Agent Period

 










List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

Check out the listing of today’s notable NHL free-agent signings. This will be updated throughout the day as signings become official.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

The New York Islanders sign left wing Anders Lee to a seven-year, $49-million contract. The Isles also signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract worth $5 million per season. 

The Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a two-year, $6.5-million contract. 

The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million. 

 

New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.

Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract. 

Artemi Panarin signs a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.

Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million. 

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract. 

Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract

Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal. 

St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract. 

New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season. 

Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract. 

Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.  

Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.

Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract. 

Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar,  goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K.  The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.