NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2020
A plan to resume the season could be coming soon, the latest on this year’s draft, P.K. Subban believes he’s still among the top defensemen, Ales Hemsky retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
LATEST ON THE NHL’S PLANS FOR THE SEASON AND THE DRAFT
TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports a source claims the NHL and NHL Players’ Association could have a plan in place next week to determine what the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule will look like. Several issues must be worked out with the Canadian and American governments regarding travel, work vias, and self-quarantining. Decisions must also be reached determining the four hub cities and the type of playoff format. An NHL Board of Governors meeting is set tor Monday, which could shed more light on this plan.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars owner Tom Gaglardi believes “there’s a very high likelihood” the NHL will stage its postseason at some point this summer. “I expect we will play the season. I think we’re down to logistics, said Gaglardi. “I keep saying it, people that talk to me are tired of hearing it, but it really comes down to being able to test, effectively test on a timely basis. If we can test, I think the season is going to happen.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving also hinted this week that a decision on a return-to-play schedule could be coming soon. Whenever it does, we’ll get more details on how those other issues will be addressed. The host cities will be decided by local and state/provincial officials. Toronto mayor John Tory cautioned pro sports (even without fans) might not return to his city until this fall. That would take Toronto out of the running as a host city.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch scolds some NHL general managers for their resistance toward staging the 2020 Draft in June before the presumption of this season. The proposed draft lottery format based on points percentage, the risk of the draft lottery winner going on to win the Stanley Cup, the inability to trade established NHL players, and the possibility of non-contending Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens being able to participate in an expanded playoff format are among their concerns.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch believes those general managers are missing a golden opportunity to capitalize on the lack of live sports for big programming ratings by holding the draft in June.
As The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson observed, the NFL got big ratings last month for its draft because more sports fans follow US college football than follow junior, college, and European hockey, which is where NHL prospects come from.
The possibility of a blockbuster trade involving established NHL stars generates as much excitement during the draft as the coverage of the opening round. Without those trades, many fans will probably tune out following the first round.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NJ.COM: Despite a lousy performance this season, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban still believes he’s among the NHL best defensemen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s play has declined since 2017-18, prompting some to suggest that his best seasons are behind him, as well as stoking criticism that he’s putting more focus on his interests outside hockey. The 31-year-old’s confidence in his abilities remains unshakable, but he’ll need a strong performance next season to silence his doubters.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are among the NHL stars taking part in an upcoming Fortnite tournament for charity. Others include Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is regularly checking in with his teammates on their mental health.
SPORTSNET: The minimum wage class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has been settled for $30 million. It brings to an end a six-year standoff with former players over whether “WHL, OHL, and QMJHL players are “employees” or “student-athletes.”
TSN: The Washington Capitals extended its affiliation with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former NHL winger Ales Hemsky announced his retirement. He spent nearly 11 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, followed by stops with the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and Montreal Canadiens, amassing 174 goals and 572 points in 845 NHL games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A slick playmaker, Hemsky’s best seasons were with the Oilers, which included two 70-plus point performances. He probably would’ve had more if not for injuries. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors.