NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2020

The latest on Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Kesler and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov isn’t allowing the Dallas Stars to frustrate him and knock him off his game during the Stanley Cup Final. In the past, opponents would target Kucherov and get under his skin.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov’s taken his lumps from the Stars during the first two games of the series. He was held off the score sheet in Game 1 but the Lightning as a team played poorly for most of that contest. In Game 2, Kucherov got the primary assists on the Lightning’s first two goals and leads all NHL scorers with 28 points.

NATIONAL POST: The Stars need more from Tyler Seguin if they hope to win the Stanley Cup. The first-line center has just two goals and eight points in 22 games, with one assist in the last 12. His last goal was on Aug. 26 against Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Seguin’s production is troubling but could attributable to an undisclosed injury. He missed an exhibition game against Nashville and a round-robin game against St. Louis. It was a topic of concern in early August but hasn’t been mentioned much as the Stars rolled to the Cup Final.

ESPN.COM: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said the lack of education among NHL players regarding the painkiller toradol led to his chronic digestive problems. Kesler and other former NHL players talked about the overuse of pain medication in the TSN documentary, “The Problem of Pain”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL must do a better job educating its teams, medical staff, and players regarding pain management and the use of pain medication. Failure to do so can lead to addiction or serious medical side effects.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators won’t have a captain for 2020-21. They’ll go with three alternate captains on a game-by-game basis. Head coach D.J. Smith said the plan is to transition younger players like Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk into leadership roles.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, they and the other teams that didn’t qualify for the return-to-play program could be granted a longer training camp leading up to next season if the NHLPA agrees to it.

TSN: The San Jose Sharks named Bob Boughner their full-time head coach. Boughner took over on an interim basis on Dec. 29 after the club fired Peter DeBoer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes fired assistant general manager Lindsay Hofford.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2020

Vancouver is out as a possible hub city,  the latest CBA news, an update on the 2020 draft lottery, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST HUB CITY NEWS

VANCOUVER SUN: The city of Vancouver is no longer in the running to become one of the two hub cities for Phase 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Reports indicate the league was looking for some sort of waiver from British Columbia’s positive-test protocols. One example cited was the province of Ontario, where someone who tests positive but is asymptomatic can still return to work. League officials have said one player testing positive shouldn’t be ground to prevent a team from playing on.

TSN: The league is now shifting its focus to hosting bids from Edmonton and Toronto. Alberta’s chief medical officer signed off on a health-and-safety plan for a host city presented by the Oilers Entertainment Group.

Pierre LeBrun reports Los Angeles and Chicago are on standby in case the NHL cannot put a hub city in Canada to go along with Las Vegas. He also said an announcement probably won’t happen until Monday or Tuesday so as not to conflict with tonight’s draft lottery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league seems quite keen for a hub city in Canada. Edmonton looks like the front-runner now. It appears Las Vegas remains a lock as one of the hub cities despite the recent rise of COVID-19 in that city and the state of Nevada. 

UPDATE ON POSSIBLE CBA CHANGES

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the full membership of the NHL Players’ Association will vote on a comprehensive return-to-play proposal. It would include a collective bargaining agreement extension plus the health protocols for training camp and the playoff tournament once negotiations between the league and the PA conclude.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (Photo via NHL Images).

Rangers winger Artemi Panarin raised concern about escrow payments. He said the players cannot resume play until there is an agreement in place.

For nearly two decades, the Players have protected the owners income with escrow, including throughout this pandemic crisis, in which owners equity has continued to grow exponentially,” wrote Panarin. “It is time to fix the escrow.”

Brooks cites sources indicating the proposal generated by the league and the PA would include a cap on escrow on a de-linked flat salary cap expected to be around $83 million for at least the next three seasons as both sides continue to deal with the economic issues caused by the pandemic.

He suggested that the cap number could change over time. The excess could roll over two or three years, but a hard cap on escrow would be gradually implemented throughout the extension. Brooks also said the players would be responsible to make up 14 percent of escrow for this season.

THE SCORE: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler is also calling for changes to escrow.

“It’s about time … the owners need to understand we’re done paying their debts,” Kesler said. “You run your team into the ground it’s on you …. if there’s a pandemic it’s on the owners … figure it out it’s not a free ride.”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites sources claiming the escrow cap would be at 20 percent for 2020-21. There would also be a one-season-only salary deferral of 10 percent by every player. It would not be a rollback as the players would get that money back in the future, meaning the escrow on that money would be lower.

Friedman also reports the cap could be kept close to $81.5 million for the next three seasons. It could increase by $1 million in 2022-23.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he wouldn’t feel comfortable having an NHLPA vote right now.

There’s still a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said. “We have obviously a unique situation right now. The NHL and the NHLPA are trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. So moving forward I’d like to play, but we have a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of scenarios that need to be covered before I can vote yea or nea.”

The pandemic struck close to home for Price, as the mother of one of his good friends died earlier this year after contracting COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players will determine the fate of the return-to-play plan. The tournament and a possible extension to the CBA could be derailed if they reject the proposal. I don’t blame them for trying to leverage this to their favor, but it remains to be seen if the majority support that power play. 

UPDATE ON 2020 NHL DRAFT LOTTERY

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will be held tonight at 8 pm ET at the NHL Network studios in New Jersey. For the first time, there won’t be representatives from the various clubs in the lottery because of COVID-19.

McKenzie took to Twitter indicating the league has a Plan B for what will happen to the draft lottery and order of selection if the return-to-play plan doesn’t go through. He doesn’t know what it could be but cited one NHL GM suggesting the league should resort to the rules of the 2005 draft in which all teams would be eligible for the first-overall pick.

NBC SPORTS: has a draft lottery primer, including the top prospects, the odds for the NHL teams, and a brief explanation of the potential two phases of the lottery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Detroit Red Wings have the best singular odds (18.5 percent), but the Ottawa Senators have the second-best odds (13.5 percent) and hold the San Jose Sharks pick (11.5 percent). Rimouski Oceanic forward Alexis Lafreniere is considered the top prospect. 

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: The NHL could play daily triple-headers if play resumes.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: As of Thursday not a single member of the Winnipeg Jets roster has returned to Winnipeg for Phase 2. They could be kept off the ice by Manitoba’s quarantine protocols for 14 days unless they receive an exemption. It would affect their efforts to resume skating in preparation for the start of training camp on July 10. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is now a major shareholder of Tappara Tempere, his hometown club in Finland. He also claims he and his Panthers teammates are looking forward to resuming the season 

THE SCORE: Seattle’s KeyArena will be renamed Climate Pledge Arena after Amazon bought its naming rights.










The NHL’s Buyout Barometer – Pacific Division (Part I)

The NHL’s Buyout Barometer – Pacific Division (Part I)

 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2020

The latest on the Leafs, Jets, and Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE MAPLE LEAFS PURSUE MORE LTIR CONTRACTS?

TSN: Frank Seravalli expects the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire more players on long-term injury reserve. Under the NHL CBA, a player under a contract whose career is cut short by injury but doesn’t retire can be placed on LTIR. That allows a team sitting at the cap maximum to exceed it by an amount equal to the player’s annual average value.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs try to acquire a potential LTIR player like Chicago’s Brent Seabrook? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Leafs previously acquired the contracts of all-but-retired players like Nathan Horton and David Clarkson to give themselves more salary-cap wiggle room. With both players coming off the books at the end of this season, Seravalli believes Leafs management will be on the hunt for more LTIR contracts.

His suggested targets include Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, Ottawa’s Marian Gaborik, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, Arizona’s Marian Hossa, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook. Others could include Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doubts the Leafs are eager to go the LTIR route again. “They knew they were starting last year without Travis Dermott and Zach Hyman. It wasn’t an easy dance for them — or Vegas — last season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I anticipate this loophole could be closed in the next collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, there’s nothing within the CBA preventing the Leafs (or anyone else) from doing this again. Several LTIR contracts (including those of Gaborik and Hossa) were traded in recent years to cap-strapped clubs seeking some payroll flexibility. Bear in mind it remains to be seen if Kesler, Seabrook, Ferland, and Shaw become permanent LTIR players. They haven’t ruled out returning to play next season. 

Friedman raises a good point about the difficulty the Leafs faced to pull this off this season. It could become more complicated if their roster starts next season healthier than they were at the start of 2019-20.  

BACKUP GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE JETS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Ken Wiebe examined some backup goaltending targets for the Winnipeg Jets if they don’t re-sign pending free agent Laurent Brossoit. Trade targets could include St. Louis’ Jake Allen and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, while the UFA market includes the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss and San Jose’s Aaron Dell. New Jersey’s Cory Schneider could be a long-shot option if the Devils buy out the final two years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues could move Allen in a cost-cutting deal to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo, but they won’t just give him away. Their asking price could be a good, young, affordable NHLer.

Dubnyk has a modified no-trade clause containing 19 preferred trade destinations. There’s no certainty the Jets would be on it.

In addition to Greiss and Dell, Cam Talbot and Anton Khudobin are also potentially available. All but Dell, however, could cost over $3 million annually each.

LATEST DEVILS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if the New Jersey Devils might go after a big-name free agent like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo. While acknowledging the possibility, he considers the odds slim, suggesting it might not make sense to pay Pietrangelo huge money for a couple of seasons before the Devils are ready to become playoff contenders. He advocates pursuing a younger top-pairing blueliner in a trade. 

Asked if the Devils could shop one of their three first-round picks in this year’s draft, Masisak thinks it’s too early to tell. “I don’t think they would consider trading the Arizona pick or the Vancouver pick until we know if it’s being transferred in 2020 or is an unprotected 2021 choice,” he said. “The value of those picks changes depending on that information.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2019

The latest on the CBA negotiations, Stan Mikita had Stage III CTE, an update on Mitch Marner’s new contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Katie Strang examined the key issues in the NHL CBA talks as the NHLPA face tomorrow’s deadline to opt-out of the current agreement next September. Escrow calculations and post-career health care are of primary concern for the players. Strang also reports sources saying the league would like to address signing bonuses and front-loaded contracts, citing a competitive advantage to big-budget teams.

CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA continue as the latter’s opt-out deadline fast approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hands up everyone who isn’t surprised the league has concerns about those signing bonus and front-loaded contract loopholes. Critics of the current CBA saw these issues coming for a while now. Strang said it’s unknown if those will be sticking-point issues.

The PA has until tomorrow (Sept. 15) to exercise their early-out option. If they don’t, the current agreement expires on Sept. 2022, unless the PA and the league hammer out a CBA extension before then.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: A posthumous study of Hall-of-Famer Stan Mikita’s brain revealed he suffered from Stage IIIchronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head. Mikita passed away on Aug. 7, 2018. “Mikita is the eighth former NHL player diagnosed with CTE at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a list that also includes Derek Boogaard, Bob Probert, and Reggie Fleming.” The NHL continues to reject any link to hockey and CTE injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the reason the NHL refuses to acknowledge that link is because of the costs they’ll face in compensation to former players suffering from CTE. The evidence, however, is mounting against the league. At some point, it will have no choice but to seriously address this issue.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports nearly $61 million of Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner’s new six-year, $65.3-million contract will be paid out in signing bonuses. The bonuses provides a measure of insurance for Marner to get paid in the event of another NHL lockout as those must be paid in full every July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner’s contract is likely a fine example of the type the league wants to address with the PA in CBA talks.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was granted a leave of absence from training camp for personal reasons. Head coach Paul Maurice downplayed the situation, claiming there’s “nothing sinister” about it. There’s no indication how long he’ll be away.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Corey Perry will miss at least two weeks with a fractured foot. He suffered the injury on Wednesday after tripping on a step and rolling his foot. Meanwhile, defenseman Stephen Johns remains sidelined indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.

The Anaheim Ducks yesterday announced forward Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves will miss the entire 2019-20 season.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka revealed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is day-to-day following a minor procedure over the summer to “clean up a previous injury.”

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian will miss training camp as he continues to recover from off-season hip surgery.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Jake Virtanen is in head coach Travis Green’s doghouse after failing his physical exam. His conditioning is believed to be the issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a good start for Virtanen. He’s in the final season of a two-year contract and likely on a very short leash with Green.

 










Where Are They Now? 2011 Vancouver Canucks

Where Are They Now? 2011 Vancouver Canucks