NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2020

Details on the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft next month before a potential resumption of the schedule, the Bruins re-sign Jaroslav Halak, an update on Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL issued a position paper Friday on the possibility of staging the draft next month. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly authored the report. Despite earlier pushback against a June draft before the resumption of the season, there’s a sense of resignation among the teams that this will happen.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (Photo via NHL.com).

Daly indicated the league needs a month to prepare. It’s rumored the target date is June 5, meaning a decision will have to be reached by next week. Daly also said the broadcast networks are on board with the plan.

If the draft isn’t moved up, the best-case scenario would be a short window following awarding the Stanley Cup in September and before the start of 2020-21. The worst-case scenario is canceling the remainder of this season, after which the draft lottery and the draft itself would be held at an uncertain time before next season.

Regarding conditional trades, the league would propose solutions, such as both teams reforming the terms of the deal or accepting the league’s proposals. Team point percentage would be used to determine the order of selection, as well as changing the draft lottery format for this year only by picking just one winner and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots.

Friedman and Chris Johnston detailed potential lottery outcomes under that scenario. “Detroit would pick no lower than second. Ottawa (with San Jose’s top selection), could do no worse than three and four. New Jersey, Buffalo, Montreal, and Chicago couldn’t jump above two, three, four, and five, respectively.” A June draft would prevent teams from trading players they’ll need if the season resumes.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun took to Twitter reporting the league reviewed 15 trades involving conditional picks with playoff implications and would be ready to suggest solutions to each trade or have both teams agree to reform the terms of the trade that would be acceptable to both parties.

The league memo acknowledged most NHL general managers would prefer maintaining the status quo, meaning holding the draft after the season. The league will decide either way next week. There is a Board of Governors’ conference call slated for Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When Bettman and Daly first floated this idea last month, LeBrun was the first to say this would be something the teams should prepare for because it was likely going to happen. Unless the board of governors rejects this plan, or the league decides to scrap the season, we’ll see a modified virtual NHL draft sometime next month.

NHL headquarters want to hold the draft in June to drum up fan interest before resuming the season in July. Part of the fun of the draft for hockey fans is the possibility of established NHL players getting traded. Without that buzz, I’m not sure how long casual NHL fans will stick with following this year’s draft beyond the opening round.


NHL.COM: Daly indicated coronavirus testing is a key part of any plan agreed upon by the league and the NHL Players’ Association to resume the season. “We’re going to need to have access to testing, and we’re going to make it a point that we’re not accessing testing, even in a private way, if testing availability is an issue in the community,” he said. The actual protocol testing has yet to be determined.

The deputy commissioner said several NHL clubs have offered to host games if the league decides to play in centralized locations. He admitted Edmonton is among those in the mix.

He also indicated this situation could provide an opportunity for the league and the PA to resume negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. “While we’re not there substantively yet because we have a lot of other things we’re working on, I think there’s a willingness and an interest on both sides to pursue that.”

Daly said the league has told the players it understands their concerns about the possibility of long family separations if teams play in centralized locations. “We understand the importance of kind of family interaction, and we’ll find a way to accommodate that,” he said.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming the league could be pivoting away from its centralized locations plan and is investigating the possibility of resuming games in its teams’ home cities after the players expressed their concerns about lengthy family separations.

“(This) would create an entire new set of issues for the league and union to confront and solve, most notable of which would be travel considerations and the means with which to test players and attendant personnel who live in disparate locations under divergent coronavirus-related government policies,” wrote Brooks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best plan to resume the season remains four regionalized host cities in areas where COVID-19 cases are low and suitable testing protocols are in place. Trying to reopen the season in all 31 cities will be too difficult to pull off right now. 



NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a one-year, $2.25-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Bruins want to keep their roster intact as much as possible for another shot at the Stanley Cup next season. The 34-year-old Halak has formed a solid goaltending tandem with starter Tuukka Rask. Without any suitable replacements within their pipeline, it made sense to keep him around for another season on an affordable deal.

The Bruins have over $63.5 million invested in 18 players for 2020-21. Defensemen Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller are their notable unrestricted free agents, while their restricted free agents include Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Anders Bjork.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook claims he’s feeling great after recovering from surgeries on both hips and his right shoulder earlier this season. He said he’s looking forward to skating again.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Ben Harpur to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS: St. Louis Blues broadcaster John Kelly is donating plasma in hopes his antibodies will help other battling COVID-19. He contracted the illness in March but has been symptom-free for over five weeks.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2019

The latest on Artemi Panarin, Alex Ovechkin, Joe Pavelski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin expressed criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The 27-year-old Russian forward voiced his distaste for the lawlessness in his country, accusing Putin of not knowing right from wrong.

“I speak sincerely and with good intentions,” Panarin said. “Our mistake is that we treat him like a superman. But he is the same as we, and in theory, serves us. I have no relation to him that he is a superman.”

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin voiced his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rare for a Russian athlete to be publicly critical of Putin. It’ll be interesting to see if any others follow Panarin’s lead. 

Speaking of the Rangers, they signed unrestricted free agent forward Phillip Di Giuseppe yesterday. Cap Friendly indicates it’s one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is headed to China next month as an NHL ambassador. The league is trying to grow its presence in that country. “Ovechkin’s trip to Beijing will include youth hockey clinics, a media tour, and business development meetings.”

THE MERCURY NEWS: Former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski has put his San Jose mansion up for sale. The asking price is over $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dang! Just slightly out of my price range…;)

SEATTLE TIMES: Ron Francis was officially introduced yesterday as the general manager of Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a little anticlimactic as the news of Francis’ hiring was leaked to the media the day before. See my reaction to Francis’ hiring in Wednesday’s morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HERALD: Former Bruins forward Chris Kelly is returning to the club as player development coordinator.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets renewed their affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2019

Latest on the Blues and Sharks, Sergei Bobrovsky puts his Columbus condo up for sale, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said his search for a full-time head coach is down to “a list of one”. Craig Berube is currently filling the role on an interim basis. He’s also among the finalists for the 2019 Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, expect the interim label to be removed from Berube’s job title once the playoffs are over. 

STLTODAY.COM: Speaking of the Blues, defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He’s questionable for Game 1 of the Blues’ Eastern Conference Final series with the San Jose Sharks. 

San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is playing more aggressively in his crease (Photo via NHL Images)

  THE MERCURY NEWS: Playing with a little more aggression between the pipes has improved San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones’ performance in this postseason. 

SPORTSNET: It looks like goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky’s time with the Columbus Blue Jackets is drawing to a close. He put his Columbus condo up for sale this week with an asking price of $2.95 million. Bobrovsky is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Bobrovsky is selling his condo because he’ll buy a new house near Columbus with the expensive new contract he’ll be signing with the Jackets? OK, even I don’t believe what I just typed. The widespread assumption is he’ll be moving on via free agency, with the Florida Panthers considered the likely destination. 

SPORTSNET: Promising prospect winger Kaapo Kakko tallied two goals to lead Finland to a 3-1 victory over Canada in a preliminary game at the World Championships. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ranked as the top European skater among this year’s prospects, Kakko is expected to be selected among the top three at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver next month. 

WGR 550: Dave Tippett and Jacques Martin are considered the front-runners for the vacant head-coaching position with the Buffalo Sabres.

NBC SPORTS: A Vegas Golden Knights fan gifted a team jersey to Pope Francis during a recent visit to the Vatican. 

Hockey luminaries, including former Toronto Maple Leafs Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Frank Mahovlich, and Dave Keon, were honorary pallbearers at Red Kelly’s funeral yesterday in Toronto. The Hall-of-Famer recently passed away at age 91. Also in attendance were Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, general manager Kyle Dubas, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and former Toronto captain Wendel Clark.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2019

Avalanche and Bruins tie their respective series at two games apiece. Recaps and a roundup of notable news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 32 saves for his first career NHL playoff shutout in a 3-0 win in Game 4 over the San Jose Sharks. Their second-round series is tied at two games apiece. Nathan MacKinnon extended his playoff points streak to eight games while linemate Miko Rantanen had two assists. 

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer picked up his first career playoff shutout. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Special teams were also a factor in this one for the Avs, killing off two penalties and tallying a power-play goal. MacKinnon, meanwhile, is emerging as an early favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s certainly been the Avs most valuable player thus far. 

The Boston Bruins also tied their series at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory in Game 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrice Bergeron scored twice and Tuukka Rask turned aside 39 shots. Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin’s goal was controversial, coming after the puck had deflected up into the mesh behind the Bruins net. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Bruins were upset over the Panarin goal they didn’t lose their composure. The stage is set for what should be an entertaining Game 5 back in Boston on Saturday. 

NEW YORK POST: Islanders coach Barry Trotz won’t rule out shaking up his lineup for tonight’s Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Those changes could include backup Thomas Greiss replacing starter Robin Lehner. The Isles face elimination tonight. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A popgun offense, not Lehner’s goaltending, is the reason the Isles find themselves down 3-0 in this series. Yes, Lehner’s turnover in the third period of Game 3 resulted in the Hurricanes’ game-winning goal, but he’s been otherwise solid throughout this series. Without him, the Islanders probably don’t reach the playoffs, let alone advance to the second round. Changing the goalies won’t improve the Islanders anemic scoring punch. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights yesterday announced assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon was promoted to general manager. Now-former GM George McPhee will remain president of hockey operations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights didn’t want to risk losing McCrimmon to another team. There was talk he was a possible candidate for the Oilers’ vacant GM role. McCrimmon played a significant role in assisting McPhee in building and maintaining the roster. McPhee will still provide oversight over all hockey decisions but he and McCrimmon have a solid working relationship. 

THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews underwent a procedure yesterday to remove surgical hardware from a 2014 surgery to repair a broken femur. The procedure isn’t expected to affect his offseason training routine. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed prospect defenseman Adam Fox to an entry-level contract. Earlier this week, the Rangers acquired Fox from the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPORTSNET: Hockey Hall of Famer Red Kelly passed away yesterday at age 91. Kelly won eight Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs during his 20-year career. He was a defenseman who could also play at center. A six-time First Team all-star, Kelly won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy four times and the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1953-54. In 1,316 games, Kelly scored 281 goals and 823 points. He also went on to coach the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kelly’s family, friends, former teammates, and fans. He was truly a unique NHL player and coach, pioneering the role of the puck-moving defenseman. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

Game recaps, rookie and three stars of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice and set up two others to lead his club to a 7-3 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Kane also collected his 900th career NHL point while teammate Brandon Saad also scored twice and Cam Ward made 40 saves. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger and Buffalo native Patrick Kane tallied his 900th career NHL point in a 7-3 win over the Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals and Filip Forsberg collected three assists. 

Victor Hedman scored in a shootout as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves while Isles netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 41 shots. 

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Nick Bjugstad, acquired earlier in the day by the Penguins in a trade with the Panthers, collected an assist. The Penguins also played without center Evgeni Malkin, who’ll miss at least two games with an upper-body injury

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s late third-period goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, snapping the Capitals seven-game losing skid. The Capitals played without team captain Alex Ovechkin, who served a one-game suspension for his decision not to participate in the recent NHL All-Star Game. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.  

Danny DeKeyser scored in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. During a pregame ceremony, the Wings honored Hall-of-Fame defenseman Red Kelly by retiring his No. 4

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Justin Faulk had a two-point performance, Petr Mrazek made 23 saves and winger Nino Niederreiter tallied his fifth goal in as many games since being traded to Carolina by the Minnesota Wild. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights placed Nick Holden (undisclosed) on injured reserve

Tyler Seguin scored twice in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were the NHL’s three stars for the month of January 2019

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for January 2019. 

TSN: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton has been playing hurt throughout this season. Coach Pete DeBoer said Thornton is close to getting fully healthy but isn’t there yet. 

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen is sidelined indefinitely due to a medical condition related to his vision. His agent dismissed a recent report claiming the injury was career-threatening, adding his client hopes to return to action later this season. The Canadiens expect he’ll make a full recovery. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2018

Game recaps, including the latest on Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, Nolan Patrick, Austin Watson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice (his eighth and ninth of the season) while John Tavares collected four assists to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs’ Morgan Rielly set a modern-era NHL record for defensemen by becoming the first to reach 12 points in his first five games in a season.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly set a modern-era points record for NHL blueliners. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Red Wings also announced they will be retiring Red Kelly’s No. 4 on Feb. 1, when the Wings play the Leafs. Kelly, a Hall of Fame defenseman who also played forward, won eight Stanley Cups with both clubs during his NHL career.

Phil Kessel tallied a hat trick, Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Casey DeSmith made 35 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the Vegas Golden Knight 4-2.

David Perron’s hat trick powered the St. Louis Blues to a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Jake Allen made 31 saves for the Blues.

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, Mikko Rantanen collected three assists and Semyon Varlamov turned aside 30 shots in the Colorado Avalanche’s 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. MacKinnon has points in four consecutive games.

Third-period goals by Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers, spoiling the latter’s home opener. Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) while the Panthers’ Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and two assists. In a pregame ceremony, the Panthers honored their 1993-94 inaugural roster.

Keith Kinkaid turned in a 21-save shutout performance and Kyle Palmieri scored twice as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Washington Capitals 6-0. Palmieri is the first player in Devils history to score two goals in each of the team’s first two games of a season.

Pekka Rinne’s 29-save shutout effort carried the Nashville Predators to a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets in a penalty-filled contest. Both clubs combined for 76 penalty minutes, with the Jets getting 60 of them. Earlier in the day, the Predators learned an independent arbitrator had reduced forward Austin Watson’s 27-game suspension stemming from his no-contest plea on a domestic assault charge to 18 games. 

Ryan Suter’s game-tying goal set the stage for Jason Zucker’s overtime tally as the Minnesota Wild downed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Zucker scored twice and set up another, as did Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat.

The Boston Bruins picked up their third straight win by beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Goalie Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves and Brad Marchand scored his first of the season. Connor McDavid tallied the Oilers’ only goal.

The Los Angeles Kings spoiled the Montreal Canadiens’ home opener with a 3-0 win. Jack Campbell made 40 saves for his first NHL shutout while Jeff Carter scored a goal and set up two others. Before the game, the Canadiens honored their 1993 Stanley Cup championship roster.

A four-goal third-period gave the Vancouver Canucks a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canucks winger Brock Boeser scored his first of the season. Rookie teammate Elias Pettersson also scored to extend his points streak to four games.

New York Rangers head coach David Quinn picked up his first NHL victory as his club edged the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brady Skjei.

NBC SPORTS:  Philadelphia Flyers center Nolan Patrick will be sidelined 7-10 days with an upper-body injury.