NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

Three division leaders suffering upset defeats, the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reaches a career milestone and the Wild fire head coach Dean Evason. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored two goals as his club upset the league-leading New York Rangers 5-1. Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 25 shots as the Sabres improved to 10-10-2 on the season. Mika Zibanejad replied for the Rangers (15-4-1), who remain in first place in the overall standings with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers also lost winger Kaapo Kakko as he left the game in the second period with what appeared to be an injured left knee. There was no postgame update regarding his condition.

The Boston Bruins suffered their third straight defeat as a result of a 5-2 upset at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yegor Chinakhov had a goal and an assist while Spencer Martin made 31 saves for the Blue Jackets (7-12-4), who’ve won three of their last four games following a nine-game losing skid. Matthew Poitras and John Beecher scored for the Bruins, who also have 31 points but remain behind the Rangers with a record of 14-4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ defensive play was becoming a legitimate concern before this game, in part because they’ve faced tougher opponents in recent games. Those worries won’t be alleviated by falling to the lowly Blue Jackets while giving up five goals for the fourth time in five games.

An overtime goal by MacKenzie Weegar lifted the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. A.J. Greer also scored while Dan Vladar got the win with a 25-save performance as the Flames boosted their record to 9-10-3, sitting in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 21 points. William Karlsson tallied for the Golden Knights (14-5-3), who remain in first place in the Western Conference with 31 points and third in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were forced to use an emergency backup goalie named Dusty Nickel after starter Jacob Markstrom was sidelined by an illness. There was a moment early in the first period when it appeared Nickel would have to relieve Vladar after the latter was briefly shaken up but he was able to finish the game.

The Colorado Avalanche got two goals from Ryan Johansen to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1, extending their win streak to four games. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 37 shots while Cale Makar had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (15-6-0) sit atop the Central Division with 30 points, one back of the Golden Knights in the conference standings. Anthony Cirelli scored for the Lightning as they slipped to 10-7-5.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for his 40th career shutout in a 5-0 blanking of the Ottawa Senators. Sam Reinhart tallied twice while Aleksander Barkov collected three assists for the 13-7-1 Panthers. Joonas Korpisalo made 33 saves for the Senators (8-9-0), who dropped into last place in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers and Senators combined for 167 penalty minutes with most of those coming in the third period as a result of a line brawl with 7:22 remaining in the frame. That resulted in every player on the ice receiving 10-minute misconducts.

A third-period goal by Luke Kunin carried the San Jose Sharks over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Fabian Zetterlund also scored while Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 33 shots for the 5-12-2 Sharks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with 12 points. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the only goal for the 10-6-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks got the win without Tomas Hertl as he was sidelined with an injury to his midsection. He is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, the Capitals placed winger T.J. Oshie (upper body) on injured reserve and activated defenseman Martin Fehervary off IR.

HEADLINES

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild fired Dean Evason as head coach on Monday, replacing him with John Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off a 103-point performance last season, the Wild have been in a swoon since October. They are in the midst of a seven-game losing skid which prompted general manager Bill Guerin to make the coaching change.

Guerin had defended Evason earlier this month, stressing that improvement would have to come from within. That’s because the cap-strapped Wild can’t afford to make a significant trade to shake things up in a league where only five teams have at least $5 million in cap space.

Perhaps the Wild can rediscover their winning ways under a proven NHL bench boss like Hynes. If not, a roster retool could be next starting at the trade deadline when clubs will accrue sufficient cap room to make deals with each other.

Speaking of the Wild, Ryan Hartman received a two-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for tripping Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat on Sunday.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros are the league’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 26.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (upper body) was placed on IR retroactive to Nov. 24.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins and Panthers will honor Patric Hornqvist during their Dec. 8 game in Florida. Hornqvist played for both clubs during his 15-season NHL career before retiring due to injuries following last season.

NHL.COM: The player draft will be returning to NHL All-Star Weekend this season as part of a new event called NHL All-Star Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The player draft was one of the few ideas that worked to make the All-Star Game a little more interesting than the pond-hockey yawnfest it usually tends to be.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2021

Jonathan Huberdeau enjoys a five-point performance for the Panthers, the latest COVID wave’s ongoing effect upon the schedule, and Max Pacioretty sidelined indefinitely in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau collected five points (one goal, four assists) as the Florida Panthers romped to a 9-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was the fourth five-point performance of Huberdeau’s career. Anthony Duclair scored two goals and Spencer Knight picked up the win with 39 saves. The Panthers (44 points) moved to within two points of the Lightning for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

The Carolina Hurricanes blanked the depleted Montreal Canadiens 4-0 with Antti Raanta making 26 saves for this first shutout of the season. Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho collected two assists for his sixth straight multi-point game while Teuvo Teravainen scored twice. Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period while Jonathan Drouin missed the game with a non-COVID-related illness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens began this game with just three players with salary-cap hits over $1 million. That dropped to two when Gallagher was sidelined. It’s the latest lowlight in a season of suck for the hapless Habs.

A shootout goal by Gustav Nyquist lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine scored in his return to action since being sidelined by injury on Nov. 3 and the recent passing of his father. Matt Duchene collected two assists for the Predators.

Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists in his return from COVID protocol as his New York Islanders downed the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Barzal extended his points streak to seven games. Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov kicked out 36 shots.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau had two goals as his club downed the Seattle Kraken 6-4. Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each finished the night with three points. Kraken captain Mark Giordano also collected three points (one goal, two assists) in his first game against his former club.

The Vancouver Canucks suffered their first loss under head coach Bruce Boudreau as they dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Los Angeles Kings with Viktor Arvidsson tallying the game-winner. Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in a losing cause for the Canucks, who remain unbeaten in eight regulation games (7-0-1).

Tomas Hertl’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hertl now has points in eight straight games. Flyers goalie Felix Sandstrom turned aside 36 shots in his NHL debut. With the win, the Sharks (35 points) moved within a point of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

LATEST NHL COVID HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he still believes the league will complete a full 82-game schedule despite the recent outbreak of the Omicron version of COVID-19. He indicated the schedule is being revised to use what would’ve been the Olympic break in February to fill replacement dates for recently postponed games.

Daly remains hopeful that by mid-January there should be a normalization of the schedule. Nevertheless, he acknowledged it’s been a daily balancing act in recent weeks given how quickly the latest COVID outbreaks have spread around the league.

Regarding attendance restrictions for Canadian clubs, Daly said the league is trying to be as cooperative and flexible as possible when it comes to making up those games or moving them. They’re exploring all alternatives, including playing those games in empty home arenas or on the road until local restrictions are lifted.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of attendance restrictions for Canadian teams, the Ontario government yesterday announced stadium capacity will be reduced to 1,000 fans. They also announced the reduction of isolation for fully-vaccinated people with COVID symptoms from 10 days to five if those symptoms improve and all public health and safety measures are followed.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced there will be no sold tickets for Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors home games for at least the next three weeks.

TSN’s Gord Miller yesterday reported Canadian-based NHL teams are asking the league to shift their home dates to later in the season.

NHL.COM: The number of postponed games reached 81 with the league announcing Sunday’s contest between the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes will be rescheduled for COVID-related reasons.

SPORTSNET: has the latest updated list of NHL players and coaching staff in COVID protocols.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing wrist surgery. Pacioretty has missed 17 games earlier this season with a broken foot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could have an effect upon the Golden Knights’ possible plans for freeing up cap space for Jack Eichel’s anticipated February return from neck surgery.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier (upper body) is listed as week-to-week after being placed on injured reserve.

CBS SPORTS: New York Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri (lower body) was placed on injured reserve backdated to Dec. 16. There’s no timetable for his return.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild announced multi-year contract extensions for head coach Dean Evason and his staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Evason and his staff have done a fine job since last season turning around the Wild. They finished with last season’s ninth-best record and are just two points out of first place entering tomorrow’s Winter Classic at Target Field against the St. Louis Blues.

ESPN.COM: Canadia women’s hockey player Brigette Lacquette has been hired as a scout by the Chicago Blackhawks. She becomes the first Indigenous woman to become an NHL scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Lacquette, who also made history in 2018 by becoming the first First Nations woman to play for Canada’s Women’s Olympic hockey team.










Laviolette Latest To Find A Ride On NHL Coaching Carousel

Laviolette Latest To Find A Ride On NHL Coaching Carousel










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

A roundup of notable news from the opening day of Phase 3 training camp, including the latest on Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, Corey Crawford, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTES FROM DAY ONE OF TRAINING CAMP

NHL.COM: The league revealed a total of 30 positive COVID-19 tests from 4,934 tests administered to over 600 players taking part in the Phase 2 voluntary training period (June 8 to July 12). They’re also aware of an additional 13 players who tested positive outside the Phase 2 training. All players who tested positive were/have been self-isolated and followed CDC and Health Canada protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league will continue testing players in Phase 3 and will release weekly updates. Bear in mind this doesn’t mean all the players with positive tests remain sidelined. A number of them may have already recovered. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 last month. He said he was asymptomatic during his two weeks of self-quarantine at his Arizona home and is now fully healthy. Matthews indicated he couldn’t really pinpoint how and when he contracted the virus.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews remains the only player to be publicly identified as testing positive for the Coronavirus.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were missing from the opening day of Bruins’ training camp. Their absence was due to their quarantine period since returning from the Czech Republic. They’re expected to join their teammates within the next couple of days.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford missed practice yesterday and was declared “unfit to play” by head coach Jeremy Colliton. Under the NHL’s return-to-play protocols, the Blackhawks cannot disclose the reason behind Crawford’s absence or how long he’ll be away. Center Zack Smith (back injury) was also absent. 

TSN: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw opted out of participating in the return-to-play plan to recover from ongoing concussion symptoms. He hopes to return to action for the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for opting out was 5:30 pm ET yesterday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and forward Robert Bortuzzo were absent from practice yesterday. General manager Doug Armstrong said he expects the duo will return soon.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist is among 11 players absent from Penguins practice yesterday The others include forwards Anthony Angello, Adam Johnson, Sam Miletic, Sam Poulin, Phil Varone, defensemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Juuso Riikola, goaltenders Casey DeSmith, Alex D’Orio, and Emil Larmi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nine of the players were reportedly sidelined because of exposure with a person who has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, though the teams didn’t identify them as per league protocols. They won’t be participating in practices until they’ve passed additional screenings. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and forward Colton Sissons weren’t with the main group at practice but skated earlier in the day.

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland was listed as unfit to play yesterday. It’s believed linked to post-concussion symptoms related to a head injury suffered nine months ago.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Martin Necas was the notable absence from the Carolina Hurricanes practice yesterday.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arpon Basu updated his story on three Montreal Canadiens reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, indicating two of those players tested were false positives.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: reported Brett Kulak, Xavier Ouellet, and Josh Brook missed practice yesterday. Max Domi is taking 7-10 days to decide if he’ll rejoin his teammates because he’s a type-1 diabetic with celiac disease.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones was listed unfit to play with the main group yesterday, but would skate with a smaller group working with extra goaltenders.

CALGARY SUN: Flames forwards Dillon Dube and Buddy Robinson were absent from yesterday’s practice.

TSN: Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen opted out of the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We better get used to this lack of information regarding the absence of players throughout the return-to-play plan. Don’t be surprised if this trend continues beyond the return-to-play period. It could make one yearn for the days when a player was absent because of an “upper-body” or “lower-body” injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gotisbehere underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the league’s hiatus. He was at training camp yesterday but admitted he’s not fully 100 percent.

TSN: Speaking of the Flyers, Nolan Patrick remains sidelined with a migraine disorder. He’s not expected to participate in the return-to-play plan.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE/NEW YORK POST/TWINCITIES.COM: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov, New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, and Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov signed their entry-level contracts (ELC) yesterday. They’re allowed to practice with their new clubs but cannot participate in the upcoming playoff tournament in Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan. They will also burn off the first year of their ELCs.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild removed the interim label from head coach Dean Evason’s title, signing him to a two-year contract extension.

SPORTSNET: Mikhail Grigorenko is returning to the NHL in 2020-21, signing a one-year, $1.2-million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL.

TORONTO SUN: Canadian broadcasters are unhappy over NBC Sports serving as the world feed for all NHL games played in the hub city of Toronto. Sportsnet will provide the world feed for the hub city of Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final, to be held in Edmonton, will have Canadian and American feeds for the individual rights-holders.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2020

The latest on the league’s potential plans to resume the schedule in July, stage the draft in June and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL SCHEDULING AND DRAFT NEWS

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman told Sportsnet the NHL is considering a scenario of resuming the season by staging three games per day in arenas without fans. He said the number of cities and locations hasn’t been determined yet, but indicated they would be in areas that aren’t COVID-19 hot spots.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo via NHL.com).

The league also ruled out holding games in non-NHL neutral site cities because NHL arenas are best equipped to handle its needs if it decides to centralize games. Bettman stated the NHL isn’t in a race to resume action, stressing the importance of ensuring everyone involved is safe and healthy.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers president Matthew Caldwell told a conference call yesterday the league is considering returning to action in July.

“At least for the NHL, we’re trying to target sometime in July and then when we feel that players are safe, we have enough testing, and have enough ways to get back on the ice, it’s probably going to be contained to playing at four or five neutral sites, so that’s all being discussed right now,” Caldwell said. “My guess is that we would start with either limited fans or empty arenas.” He added nothing’s been finalized, “but this is the direction things are going.”

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it appears the league intends to complete its 82-game schedule divided into divisions and following an intradivisional schedule.

“Columbus and Carolina (Raleigh) would be options for the Metro Division; Tampa Bay and Florida (Sunrise) in the Atlantic; Minnesota and perhaps Colorado or Dallas in the Central and Calgary and Edmonton among those in the Pacific,” writes Brooks, who adds Las Vegas is also under consideration for a Pacific Division location.

Team presidents have been pushing for completing the schedule, rather than implementing an immediate, expanded playoff schedule. Plans also include expanding each team’s active roster to 30 players.

OTTAWA SUN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly remains optimistic about resuming the schedule this summer. “We have to be prepared for every eventuality. We need to do our due diligence so that the time it takes for us to respond to the circumstances is basically that the work is done and the only thing that needs to be implemented is the decision,” said Daly.

He added there’s been growing optimism over the past couple of weeks around the league. He also stressed holding those games would have to be done in a safe environment with plenty of readily-available testing.

Daly said the league hasn’t closed the door on staging game in non-NHL cities, but felt it makes more logistical sense to play neutral-site games in NHL cities. He said the league has been in touch with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s office to keep them informed on the league’s plans for the seven Canadian franchises.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Alberta premier Jason Kenney said Bettman spoke to him about staging 2020 NHL playoff games in Alberta. Reports have suggested Edmonton as an option. The city has a high number of people tested for COVID-19 but a low number of confirmed cases and deaths per million.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes told the NHL it was interested in having its state serve as a host site to resume the schedule. The team has declined to comment on the matter.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman, Daly, and Caldwell aren’t definitively saying the league is returning to action in July. Nevertheless, it appears their wish is to resume the schedule during that month in NHL cities with the highest COVID-19 testing and the lowest confirmed cases and deaths.

Health and safety, however, remain primary concerns. League officials appear to be hoping for a flattening of the coronavirus curve in the cities they’re looking at staging their games. They also want to make sure the players have a training camp period (perhaps in June?) to get back into game shape and avoid unnecessary injuries. There must also be a sufficient self-quarantine period for players returning from European countries.

As a freelancer, I’ll be thrilled if the NHL returns in July. My income has taken a substantial hit since the schedule was paused in mid-March, so a resumption of the season will benefit me. However, I don’t want to see the league rush its return, only to end up shuttering again within weeks because a player or a league official tested positive for COVID-19. They must be certain they can ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.

Bettman also said the league floated the idea to the general managers of holding the 2020 NHL Draft in June before the season ends. “No decision has been made. And I said as we were getting some feedback, ‘We don’t live in a world of perfect anymore. We’re going to have to make adjustments.’

SPORTSNET: Daly said the league must decide “relatively quickly” if it’ll hold the draft in June. He said the league will consult with all 31 teams before deciding on staging a virtual draft two months from now.

TSN: NHL general managers will be paying close attention to the NFL’s 2020 Draft, which begins today and runs through Saturday, April 25. League commissioner Roger Goodell will be hosting a virtual draft, with team executives making their selections remotely from their homes.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun examined the pros and cons of staging the NHL Draft in June ahead of the resumption of the schedule. While most team executives he spoke to seem cool to the idea, LeBrun speculates the league’s trial balloon was less to receive feedback and more of a heads-up of what is coming.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league could be trying to gin up some excitement among sports fans for their product with a June draft, especially if a resumption of the season gets pushed ahead to August. Doing so, however, means untangling several problems, such as sorting out the draft lottery and addressing the issue of conditional draft picks exchanged in previous trades. There won’t be trades involving NHL players in a June draft if the league is returning to action soon afterward.

IN OTHER NHL NEWS…

NATIONAL POST: NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr isn’t ruling out the possibility of working out a multi-year extension to the current collective bargaining agreement with the NHL.

“It’s easy to envision scenarios in which in order to resolve everything we need to resolve, it would be much easier to do it in the context of a multi-year arrangement rather than a single year,” said Fehr. “Whether that’s going to come to pass remains to be seen. But it is certainly conceivable.”

Fehr said he and league commissioner Gary Bettman speak almost daily about the issues currently facing the league amid the coronavirus pandemic. For now, their focus is on salvaging this season.

THE SCORE: Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka said the current NHL schedule hiatus won’t prevent his club from making a contract offer to Taylor Hall. The 28-year-old winger is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

TSN: Jacob Markstrom said his goal is to stay with the Vancouver Canucks. The 30-year-old goaltender will become a UFA following this season.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard donated $50K worth of N95 masks to the Detroit Medical Center.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights re-signed Nicolas Roy to a two-year contract extension worth an average of $750,000 a year.

NJ.COM: Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine hopes to stay on as their full-time coach after this season.

TWINCITES.COM: Minnesota Wild interim coach Dean Evason hopes he’s done enough to stay on as the club’s full-time bench boss.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2020

No decision yet on the fate of the 2020 regular season and playoffs, more speculation over the format of the 2020 post-season, interim coaches facing an uncertain future, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The NHL has not yet decided whether the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played, or what format the 2020 playoffs might take. In a press release, the league indicated the resumption of play and format would depend upon what transpires between now and when it is permitted to resume play.

Still no word as to when the NHL will return to action.

The league reiterated it doesn’t anticipate any resumption that would affect its ability to stage the 2020-21 season in its entirety. It also stated it was premature to assume games would be closed to the public whenever the schedule recommences.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the league told the board of governors it is too soon to determine when the schedule will resume, adding it is considering every option. Sources said some team executives prefer the usual 16-team playoff field, while others like an expanded one. A larger playoff format could also affect the draft lottery.

LeBrun speculates the likely postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 24 to Aug. 6) could provide the league more flexibility to return to action this summer. He also said he couldn’t recall a higher level of cooperation between the league and the NHL Players Association than he’s seen right now, but that collaboration could be tested as both sides consider difficult financial decisions that affect both sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams on the playoff bubble would prefer an expanded playoff format if the regular season cannot be staged. Whatever that might look like remains to be seen. It will depend upon when they’re approved to resume by health officials in Canada and the United States.

NBC Sports provides national US TV coverage of the NHL. They’re also scheduled to cover the Tokyo Olympics. Postponing the Olympics ensures no broadcast scheduling conflict for the league.

It’s in the best interest of the league and the PA to cooperate during this crisis. They cannot allow petty squabbles of the past to derail efforts to find a workable solution to the anticipated decline in hockey-related revenue brought about by this pandemic. If they can successfully navigate through this, the stage could be set for a rancor-free extension of the current collective bargaining agreement.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon observes the pause in the NHL schedule leaves the league’s interim coaches in limbo. They include the Calgary Flames’ Geoff Ward, the Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness, the San Jose Sharks’ Bob Boughner, the New Jersey Devils’ Alain Nasreddine, and the Minnesota Wild’s Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nasreddine could face the most uncertain future. He was hired by Ray Shero, who lost his job a month later. There’s talk the Devils could replace interim GM Tom Fitzgerald. If so, that person could bring in his own bench boss.

TSN: Mark Master reports ice makers in the 31 NHL arenas will face a daunting challenge if the league returns to action this summer.

THE SCORE: The 2019-20 Canadian Hockey League playoffs and the 2020 Memorial Cup have been canceled. It’s the first time in the Cup’s 102-year history that it won’t be awarded to Canada’s top junior team.