NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2020

The Rangers win the 2020 draft lottery, the Panthers formally part company with Dale Tallon, the opening round of the 2020 playoffs begin today and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery yesterday, giving them the first-overall pick and the opportunity to select top prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.

2020 NHL DRAFT ORDER

1. New York Rangers

2. Los Angeles Kings

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)

4. Detroit Red Wings

5. Ottawa Senators

6. Anaheim Ducks

7. New Jersey Devils

8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Minnesota Wild

10. Winnipeg Jets

11. Nashville Predators

12. Florida Panthers

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs)

14. Edmonton Oilers

15. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Hurricanes received the Leafs pick as part of the return in last June’s Patrick Marleau trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was 24 hours of suck for the Maple Leafs. They would’ve kept that pick had they won the lottery.

As a result of the Penguins acquiring Jason Zucker in February from the Wild, Pens general manager Jim Rutherford has seven days to decide if he’ll send this year’s first-rounder to the Wild or defer the pick to 2021.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers have parted ways with general manager Dale Tallon. He’d been with the club for 10 years, most of that period as GM. The club issued a statement indicating the decision was mutual. It’s believed they’ll look outside the organization for a replacement. Assistant GM Eric Joyce takes over on an interim basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers made little progress toward their goal of becoming a Stanley Cup contender during Tallon’s tenure. His replacement must build around the club’s core talent (Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad), addressing their weaknesses (such as their poor defensive play), and change the culture of losing that’s dogged this franchise for over two decades. 

NHL.COM: The opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs begins today with four games. The Columbus Blue Jackets face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (3 pm ET), the Calgary Flames meet the Dallas Stars (5:30 pm ET), the Carolina Hurricanes square off against the Boston Bruins (8 pm ET), and the Chicago Blackhawks go up against the Vegas Golden Knights (10:30 pm ET).

SPORTSNET: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is sidelined indefinitely. As per league protocols, no information was revealed regarding his condition.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek (undisclosed) will be a game-day decision when his club faces off with the Canadiens in Game 1 of their opening-round series on Wednesday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Sammy Blais could miss the start of his club’s opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks. He suffered an apparent leg injury during Sunday’s round-robin loss to the Dallas Stars.

TSN: The NHL reported no positive COVID-19 tests in its first two weeks in their secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto.

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame has postponed its Induction Weekend ceremonies (Nov. 13-16) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rescheduling plans will be made during the board of directors meeting on Oct. 29.

TSN: Long-time NHL insider Bob McKenzie is scaling back his schedule in what he deemed a “soft retirement”. He’ll still appear in special events like the World Juniors and the NHL Trade Deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie is the best-connected man in hockey and the most trusted insider. Best wishes in his future endeavors.










Notable Former NHL Stars Still Awaiting Induction Into Hockey Hall of Fame

Notable Former NHL Stars Still Awaiting Induction Into Hockey Hall of Fame

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2020

A Bruins player tests positive for COVID-19, Las Vegas will reportedly be confirmed as a hub city for the playoff tournament, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: In a statement yesterday, the Boston Bruins announced one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to using the club’s practice facilities as part of Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. The player subsequently underwent two more tests, which came back negative. The player remains asymptomatic and all other Bruins players have returned negative tests.

T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty points out this serves as a reminder of the challenges facing the league in its quest to complete this season. The Bruins also indicated they’ll continue adhering to CDC guidelines and the league’s Phase 2 protocols. I suspect the player will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Las Vegas is expected to be among the two hub cities to host the 24-team playoff tournament when the NHL announces its selections on June 22. MGM Resorts International is reportedly keeping its Las Vegas hotels available for the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston expects that announcement could come before June 22. While some fans will wonder why the NHL favors a Sun Belt location like Vegas, that city has a suitable arena, training facilities, accommodation, and transportation within a closely-contained area that meets the league’s requirements for a host city. 

Johnston also reports the league prefers placing the other hub city in Canada, with Toronto considered the front-runner. That will depend, however, on whether the Canadian government relaxes its strict border protocols to allow NHL clubs to travel to that hub city.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa Bay received some buzz as a potential destination when there was talk of four NHL host cities. Once the league opted for two, however, Tampa slid down the list. The city and Amalie Arena lack the space the league needs to bring 12 teams together.

CALGARY SUN: Mark Giordano, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, and Mark Jankowski were the first Flames to hit the ice in Calgary for small-group training.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Former Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic is reportedly working on a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. The Capitals terminated the remainder of Leipsic’s one-year contract last month after his offensive remarks on social media about several current and former teammates were made public.

TSN: The Ottawa Sun recently issued a correction and an apology for errors in two recent columns regarding the Ottawa Senators Foundation’s decision to cut ties with the club’s ownership.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2020

Teams prepare for Phase 2 of Return-To-Play Plan, Patrick Kane donates to Chicago organizations to combat racism, Kyle Okposo undergoes surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TEAMS PREPARING FOR PHASE 2 OF NHL’S RETURN-TO-PLAY PLAN

SPORTSNET: Maple Leafs players already in Toronto underwent COVID-19 testing yesterday in preparation for the second phase of the NHL’s Return-To-Play Plan on Monday. Teams will be allowed to reopen their training facilities (based on local and state/provincial medical protocols) to allow voluntary small-group training of up to six players per group. Those in the Toronto area include Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Jake Muzzin, and Kyle Clifford.

NHL training facilities can reopen on Monday.

The Vancouver Canucks will be keeping Rogers Arena closed until there is a demand from the players for ice and training space. Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, and Troy Stecher are the only Canucks to spend the coronavirus shutdown in Vancouver, while Josh Leivo stayed for medical treatment.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens players will have to wait until Thursday to begin skating at their practice facility as no ice has been laid there. The club claims it’s due to maintenance work at the facility, but a source said the ice crew had been laid off because of the pandemic. Another source indicated the ice would be ready for the players on Thursday. Paul Byron and Jonathan Drouin are the only Canadiens currently in Montreal.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Nearly every member of the Jets are currently at their homes in Canada, the United States, and Europe. There isn’t expected to be much activity at the Jets training facility in the near future owing to travel restrictions and the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine upon returning to Winnipeg.

STLTODAY.COM: After consultation with his players, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said his club won’t be opening their facilities until they request it. Approximately 10 of the Blues’ players remained in the St. Louis area since the NHL began its self-quarantine period on March 12.

TRIBLIVE.COM: All Penguins players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 before using the club’s training facilities. Medical evaluations for those who test negative will begin on Monday.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders will be ready to open their facilities on Monday, while the Rangers will require an extra day before opening theirs. Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Adam Fox, and Brendan Lemieux are the only Rangers currently in the local area.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun (subscription required) has a full listing of each team’s status and how many of their players could use those facilities when they open next week.

Most players have resided at their off-season residences since the league paused operations in mid-March. Because participation in Phase 2 is voluntary and given travel restrictions and local health protocols, most will likely remain where they are during this period. Those who reside in NHL cities other than their respective teams’ have permission to train at those facilities if they wish.

OTHER NOTABLE HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is donating to local Chicago charities combating racial injustice.

“Racism and injustice in our country must end,” Kane said. “As a white male in this society, I will never truly understand. But I want to help in this fight for change – and I know I cannot do that in silence.”

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive VP for social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs, announced the league is forming four committees to examine and address the diversity issues facing the league and the sport. The committees are the continuation of the work announced at last December’s board of governors meeting after several players reported racist language and physical abuse from coaches during their playing careers.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo underwent successful surgery on his right knee this week. He’s expected to make a full recovery in six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Okposo could be ready to participate in training camp, tentatively slated to open sometime in July.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Eric Duhatschek reports the Hockey Hall of Fame’s annual selection committee will be held as planned on June 23 and 24. This year’s prominent first-year eligible players are Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa.

OTTAWA SUN: A debate over distribution of funds was among the main issues that led the Ottawa Senators Foundation to announce it was cutting ties with the club on July 3. The foundation’s focus is on supporting youth programs. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who underwent a successful liver transplant in 2015, wanted a portion of the proceeds to go toward organ donation awareness.

SPORTSNET: announced award-winning sports broadcaster Chris Cuthbert will be joining the network as an NHL play-by-play announcer.

KUKLA’S KORNER: The Athletic yesterday announced it was cutting eight percent of its staff. Among those laid off were hockey writers Ken Wiebe, George Richards, Scott Gordon, Tom Reed, Joe Yerdon, John Glennon, Craig Morgan, and Marc Dumont.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They are among some of hockey’s best pundits. Here’s hoping for better days ahead for all of them.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2020

The latest roundup of the NHL’s plans during the postponement of this season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL distributed a memo to its players yesterday outlining its plans for the coming days during the postponement of its schedule over coronavirus concerns.

The players will continue receiving their paychecks for the remainder of the season during their normal pay period. They’re also asked to self-quarantine themselves for a week in their club’s city and avoid travel, though they will be allowed to see family outside of their respective cities provided they alert their general manager.

The NHL could re-open their training facilities in a week’s time.

They are to work out at home and avoid informal skates at public arenas. Players rehabbing injuries will be allowed if necessary to continue using team facilities. Following the quarantine period, the league hopes to re-open facilities for players to work on conditioning before introducing a training camp period.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there would be no mandatory testing of players for COVID-19, but testing will be conducted if a player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick. He added the league will work in close conjunction with the NHL Players Association regarding the schedule, noting both sides can agree to extend existing contracts to accommodate the resumption of play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton believes the NHL will follow the lead of the National Basketball Association regarding the resumption of play. Both leagues share the same arenas. If the NBA returns in 30 days, the NHL could quickly follow suit.

A growing list of NHL teams will compensate their respective arena staffs for postponed games. They include the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Washington Capitals.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is pledging $100K to his club’s arena workers. His pledge will be matched by his teammates, with club ownership pledging to take care of outstanding amounts.

TVA SPORTS: No official word yet from the Montreal Canadiens regarding Bell Centre employees, but it’s expected they will also follow suit.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes the Jets must step up and do right by MTS Centre employees. Club chairman Mark Chipman said Thursday those employees aren’t full-time. “They work when we work. So, regrettably, to the extent that we’re not putting on shows and games, those people obviously would not have a call to work.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m willing to give Chipman the benefit of the doubt and suggest he was preoccupied with the fallout from the league’s announcement it was pausing the season. However, it won’t be a good look for the Jets if they won’t compensate MTS Centre workers when other NHL clubs are looking after their own.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is still counting on the 2020-21 season to begin on time and run its usual course.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame will be closed from March 14 to April 6 over coronavirus concerns.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Coronavirus concerns prompted the family of the late Henri Richard to close his funeral to the public. The Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer passed away last week at age 84. His funeral will be Monday, March 16.

TSN: The Department of Player Safety determined New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux will be suspended for his hit on Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi on Wednesday. “The precise parameters of the suspension will be determined and announced once resumption of play guidelines have been established.”










NHL Hall of Fame Debate: Golden Knights Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

NHL Hall of Fame Debate: Golden Knights Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury