NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020
NHL extends self-quarantine period, asks its teams to provide available arena dates in August, and temporarily cuts employee salaries. Details and much more, including the latest on Kyle Palmieri and Kyle Clifford, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL COVID-19 HEADLINES
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the NHL instructed its players and team staff to extend their period of self-quarantine to April 6. Two players to date, both Ottawa Senators, have tested positive for COVID-19.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the league yesterday requested its 31 clubs to provide available home dates for August. That suggests the playoffs could be as late as August. McKenzie also believes the league must address the legal technicality of extending contracts that expire at the end of June and the effect on work visas for European players.
Pierre LeBrun indicates the cost of maintaining ice in those buildings during the summer will be costly in terms of refrigeration and air conditioning in the arenas. He also reported the league had a conference call with general managers. Lots of questions about the “draft, combine, lottery, schedule/playoffs, free agency,” but the league has few answers at this stage.
Frank Seravalli reports the league doesn’t anticipate any meaningful insurance bailout. Facing potential revenue losses of $1 billion, the league will do whatever it takes to get back on the ice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’ll be another month before we get clarity over when the schedule will resume and when the playoffs will be staged, as well as determining what the off-season schedule will look like. The longer this pandemic goes on in North America, the less likely the league can return to the ice and salvage the season and the playoffs, especially when they consider it a priority to stage 2020-21 in its entirety.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston also reports the league told its teams Monday that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will extend the potential window for staging the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer. “The league shares a U.S. broadcast partner with the Olympics in NBC and had previously believed the playoffs had to be wrapped up before the cauldron was lit during the Opening Ceremonies.”
THE SCORE: The league is reported to have temporarily reduced the pay of its office staff by 25 percent because of the coronavirus epidemic. It’s also hoping to avoid layoffs.
SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens is making temporary job cuts of its staff affecting up to 60 percent of its personnel. It has established a $6 million assistance fund to help its employees. TVA Sports reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Claude Julien have agreed to give up 20 percent of their salaries in support of the club’s laid-off employees.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The company that owns the New Jersey Devils has reversed its decision to levy a 20 percent pay cut on its employees.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: TD Garden part-time workers have been laid off.
KHL.RU: The Kontinental Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its’ 2019-20 season over coronavirus concerns.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NJ.COM: Despite the New Jersey Devils’ disappointing season, winger Kyle Palmieri remains optimistic over the club’s future. He cites promising prospects such as Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, Daniil Misyul and recently-acquired Nolan Foote, as well as rookie center Jack Hughes. “We’re building and we’re young, and guys are going to keep getting better year by year,” Palmieri said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen whether Palmieri will be part of the Devils’ rebuild. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer.
THE SCORE: There’s mutual interest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and UFA forward Kyle Clifford in working on a contract extension. No deal is imminent as this time owing to uncertainty raised by the current pause in the league’s schedule.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $76 million invested in 16 players, the Leafs will be awaiting next season’s salary cap numbers before getting down to contract talks with free agents like Clifford.
TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets have started contract extension talks with restricted free agent Vladislav Gavrikov.