NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020

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.

The NHL extends its self-quarantine period for its 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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2020

A Senators player tests positive for COVID-19, NHL players propose a summer postseason schedule, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SENATORS PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, SEVERAL TEAMMATES BEING TESTED

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators released a statement indicating one of their players tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed player has mild symptoms and is in isolation. The club also indicated they’re in the process of notifying anyone who had known close contact with the player and is working closely with team doctors and public health officials.

THE ATHLETIC: Other Senators players are believed to be ill and they’re awaiting test results. It’s thought the infection occurred when the Senators played the Los Angeles Kings on March 11 at Staples Center, the day after the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets (who have four players who tested positive for COVID-19) played the Lakers at the same arena. The Sens also played games against the Ducks in Anaheim and the Sharks in San Jose and could’ve picked up the virus in one of those locations.

An Ottawa Senators player has tested positive for COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was inevitable an NHL player would test positive for COVID-19. Here’s hoping whoever it makes a full recovery, while the others receive negative results from their tests.

NHL.COM: A relative of a Buffalo Sabres employee tested positive for COVID-19 outside of New York state. They are receiving care and are in isolation outside the state.

MORE PROPOSALS FOR SAVING THE 2019-20 NHL SEASON

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports some NHL players have proposed resuming the season in July and August after recent reports from health experts suggest resuming the season in May or June seem overly optimistic. They’d rather not jump straight into the postseason, preferring a shortened regular-season schedule (following a brief training camp) that ends in late-July, followed by a two-month playoff run finishing in late-September.

After that, the proposal suggested a three-to-four week transition in October to allow for the draft, free agency and training camps. The 2020-21 season would follow with a condensed, 82-game regular-season schedule. The proposal is making its way to the NHL Players Association and potentially to the league,

The NHL is willing to consider all options to salvage this season. Seravalli pointed out the players’ proposal is similar to one recently pitched by a league governor. The biggest concerns, however, is broadcast availability (NBC Sports is covering the 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to Aug. 6) and arena availability.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston examined how a 24-team Stanley Cup playoffs could look following a halted season. Based on the seedings, the first-round matchups would look like this:

Pittsburgh vs. Montreal

Toronto vs. N.Y. Rangers

Carolina vs. Florida

N.Y. Islanders vs. Columbus

Dallas vs. Chicago

Vancouver vs. Arizona

Nashville vs. Minnesota

Calgary vs. Winnipeg

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Michael Traikos examined the NHL’s options when the season resumes. Among them could be a wild card play-in, or a round-robin, or a shortened playoff featuring the top-eight teams, a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final, or an inverted playoff pyramid with the first round a best-of-seven series, the second round a best-of-five, the Conference Finals a best-of-three, followed by a single-game winner-take-all Stanley Cup Final.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly reiterated the league’s intent to finish the 2019-20 regular season and the playoffs, but it won’t happen until approval is received from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Other factors must also be taken into consideration, such as broadcasting and arena availability. Daly also said every scenario is being considered.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players and the league appears to be on the same page with saving this season. One reason is the desire to crown a Stanley Cup champion, but trying to salvage as much remaining revenue as possible is another motivating factor. Another issue will also be ice conditions in each arena during the summer. At this point, I think the league will face canceling the season outright if they can’t at least resume action by mid-May.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: With quarterback Tom Brady’s long tenure with the NFL’s New England Patriots having ended, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron becomes the longest-tenured active pro athlete in Boston.

KHL.RU: The Kontinental Hockey League has suspended its playoffs until April 10 in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

THE SCORE: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) has canceled its regular season, with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL) are expected to follow suit.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield will spend another season in the NCAA.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2020

The NHL could be shut down until May, the latest on the potential effect upon the salary cap, and much more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the cancellation or postponement of all events consisting of at least 50 people for eight weeks throughout the United States. That would mean the NHL is unlikely to return to action until mid-May at the earliest.

NHL arenas could remain dark until mid-May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the league still intends on finishing the regular season and staging a full playoff schedule, the Stanley Cup wouldn’t be awarded until probably late July or early August.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Summer Olympics (July 24 – Aug. 9) could be the “drop-dead” period when resuming the NHL season no longer makes sense. He doubts the league wants the Stanley Cup Final going up against the Olympics. He also feels the NHL won’t drag out a decision if it gets a strong sense it cannot continue the season.

Citing multiple sources, LeBrun feels the league and the NHL Players Association won’t let teams fall into salary-cap hell by allowing the cap to drop by millions of dollars for 2020-21. In this exceptional circumstance, both sides can agree to an artificial cap that makes sense for all sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I and others (including LeBrun) have pointed out, the league and the PA agreed to an artificial cap for 2013-14 after coming out of the 2012-13 lockout, keeping it at the ’11-’12 level ($64.3 million). I expect they’ll at least maintain it at this season’s level ($81.5 million) if necessary.

TSN: LeBrun also reports it’s business as usual for college free agents hoping to sign NHL contracts. Colleague Mark Masters, meanwhile, interviewed two experts in the field of athletic performance over how the players can remain in shape during their period of self-quarantine.

Speaking of business as usual, the Anaheim Ducks yesterday placed forward Kiefer Sherwood on waivers.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the league wants its players to remain in the cities where they play for their protection and to make it easier to assess the overall health of the NHL community.

All five of Toronto’s professional sports teams combined to create a special assistance fund for event staff affected by the suspension of all major sports in the city.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens announced a support plan to assist game-day employees dealing with income loss during the pause to the NHL season.

WINNIPEG SUN: Following considerable public backlash, Jets chairman Mark Chipman announced the club would compensate part-time arena employees full pay for missed events.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames also reversed course under public pressure and will compensate their part-time and hourly employees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Flames ownership was shamed into action after it was reported their players were donating to a fundraising page to assist those employees. The Ottawa Senators are reportedly the only Canadian team yet to announce any support plan for their employees.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators center Nick Bonino took to social media to urge the city’s citizens to stay away from large gatherings to prevent spreading the coronavirus. “There is no excuse,” he wrote. “We have a chance to lock down our cities now, close restaurants and bars, or, if safe, only offer takeout/delivery, anything to slow the spread.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Swedish Ice Hockey Association canceled the remainder of its season.

THE SCORE: The KHL is defending its decision to continue its playoffs despite one of its best teams (Jokerit) dropping out over coronavirus concerns. “The (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, and in this regard, KHL is in consultation with clubs and all relevant authorities to diligently manage the impact of this matter.”

DEADSPIN: Now that quarantines are going into effect, Jesse Spector is revisiting old video games like NES Hockey.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2020

The latest league news, how some teams are looking after its arena workers affected by the pause in the schedule, how this unexpected break will help several banged-up rosters, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

 

 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the NHL will do whatever it takes to return to action and award a Stanley Cup champion this season, even if it means playing just a shortened playoff schedule without spectators. Doing so would allow the league to at least collect media-rights fees from broadcasting those games,

Will the NHL award the Stanley Cup this season?

If the season is canceled, the full 2020-21 season will proceed as usual, though the 2020 NHL Draft could become a teleconference affair. Buyouts and free agency would continue as normal, though the league and the NHL Players Association would have to agree to an artificial salary cap. If the number is the same as last season or lower, amnesty buyouts might have to be implemented to make the system work.

Should the league return to action and the playoffs extend into July, next season’s schedule will have to change, as will the dates for contract buyouts, free agency and the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rules regarding trades aren’t mentioned, but if the league returns to action in May or even June, I expect they’ll follow the usual off-season template. In other words, no trades over the rest of the regular season. When the post-season starts, non-playoff clubs will be allowed to make trades with each other, followed by clubs that are eliminated from post-season play. Once the playoffs are finished, everyone can get trade freely, though they’ll likely all wait until the salary cap for next season is determined.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks are joining several NHL clubs in ensuring its arena staff adversely affected by the postponement of the NHL schedule receive compensation.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula are also ensuring their arena staff continues to be paid. They’re also having their staff work from home if possible.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has committed to relief for his arena’s part-time employees. “They’re pulling together who works consistently, how many games are we actually going to miss,” Dundon said. “We’ll do something, though.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins parent company is “actively exploring support options” for their associates (arena employees). Meanwhile, several Bruins players have donated to a GoFundMe campaign to support TD Garden employees affected by the schedule postponement.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers announced plans to help its employees make up the difference between their regular salaries and what employment insurance covers. The Calgary Flames, however, indicated it won’t assist their part-time, hourly, and event staff who will be underemployed during the suspension of the NHL season.

 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets ownership is doubling down on its decision not to pay their staff affected by the schedule shutdown.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a good look for the Jets during a pandemic. The club’s billionaire owner could easily afford to compensate those workers. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any significant backlash.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The pause in the NHL schedule could help the banged-up Blue Jackets get some players back in time for when (if?) play resumes this season. Among the sidelined are Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, and Oliver Bjorkstand.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche could also benefit from this layoff. “Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Matt Calvert all were on “mid-March” return schedules, and superstar center Nathan MacKinnon is already a week into his projected one- to two-week absence.”

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks could also have a healthier roster if the league resumes play in a few weeks. Their sidelined players include Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Jay Beagle.

SPORTSNET: The ECHL canceled the remainder of their season and playoffs.

NBC SPORTS: Jokerit has pulled out of the KHL playoffs over coronavirus concerns.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2019

Penguins snap Islanders 10-game win streak, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock picks up his 700th NHL victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders 10-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit and picked up the win on Bryan Rust’s second goal of the night. Teammate Jared McCann enjoyed a three-point night. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs gave head coach Mike Babcock his 700th career victory by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime. John Tavares scored the game-winning goal. Auston Matthews also tallied for the Leafs. Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed Martin Marincin and Nic Petan on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock sits eighth on the all-time wins list for NHL coaches. He’s three wins behind Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice. 

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson scored the tying and winning goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist while John Carlson had a three-point night. Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. The Capitals (27 points) hold a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon collected four points in a 9-4 win over the Nashville Predators but left the game with an upper-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche tallied six goals within eight minutes in the second period to crush the Nashville Predators 9-4, snapping a five-game winless skid. Jonas Donskoi netted a hat trick while Nathan MacKinnon collected four points. MacKinnon left the game in the second period as a precautionary measure after suffering an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed starting goalie Philipp Grubauer would miss the next couple of games with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With first-line wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog already sidelined, it’s understandable why the Avs are being cautious with MacKinnon. It could sink their season if they lose him to a lengthy period.  

The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime tally by Sean Couturier. Goaltender Carey Price made 40 saves to carry the Habs into the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Flyers learned defenseman Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months during a conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A former first-round pick (11th overall in 2013), Morin has struggled to establish himself as an NHL blueliner. A second consecutive injury to the same knee could jeopardize his playing career. 

The San Jose Sharks took a 6-2 lead and held on to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-5. Sharks captain Logan Couture had a four-point performance while teammate Tomas Hertl picked up three points. Eric Staal had a three-point game for the Wild.

Patrick Kane scored and set up two others to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Corey Crawford turned aside 36 shots for the win and Dylan Strome collected three assists.

The Calgary Flames netted four unanswered goals to down the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin scored a goal and set up two others. Devils rookie Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist.

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 45 shots as the New York Rangers doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich each collected a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts. The Hurricanes have lost three straight games.

Gustav Nyquist had a three-point performance as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 stops for the win.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

HEADLINES

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko doesn’t see his league being in direct competition with the NHL. He believes there’s enough room for both leagues to thrive.

Chernyshenko also cited the difficult logistics of potential games between NHL and KHL clubs. He points out the KHL season is over 1 1/2 months before the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. KHL players also begin their preseasons earlier than NHL players.

While the NHL has reached an agreement to start broadcasting games in Russia, the KHL broadcasts games to 34 different countries and has teams in six countries. The KHL is also in the process of perfecting puck- and player-tracking technology, giving them a potential edge in sports betting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL has had its ups and downs in its short history. Nevertheless, it has not only survived but is continuing to build its product. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Bryan Little is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a perforated eardrum and vertigo from being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers during Tuesday’s game against the Devils. Little required 25-30 stitches and spent the night in a neurological ward for examination.

SPORTSNET: The hits keep on coming for the Jets as Gabriel Bourque will be out at least four weeks with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the next two weeks. Blueline John Klingberg (lower body) will miss the next two-to-four weeks.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alex Steen will miss at least a month with a high-ankle sprain.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (lower body) will be sidelined for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed winger Tomas Jurco on waivers and assigned Colby Cave to their AHL affiliate.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2018

The latest Toronto Maple Leafs speculation in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently speculated over some possible Western Conference trade destinations (and their defensive targets) for restricted free agent William Nylander if (“big if”) the Toronto Maple Leafs decide to part ways with him. 

“1. Arizona: Nicklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jakob Chychrun
2. Minnesota: Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon
3. Anaheim: Josh Manson, Brandon Montour
4. Edmonton: Darnell Nurse (imagine Nylander might be an upgrade on Connor McDavid’s wing from Ty Rattie, and the pressure in Oilersville got heavy fast)
5. Vancouver: Chris Tanev, Alex Edler
6. St. Louis: Colton Parayko”

Could William Nylander sign with a European team if unable to sign a new contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs? (Photo via NHL Images)

Fox said he’s “just spitballing here” and believes the Leafs and Nylander still want to work out a new contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox isn’t the only person to speculate over possible trade options and blueline targets for the Leafs should they put Nylander on the block. I don’t think there’s a fit with the Coyotes, the Wild won’t part with Dumba and could be reluctant to move Spurgeon, the blueline-thin Oilers won’t move Nurse and the Blues aren’t trading Parayko.

The Ducks could be an option, though they’re currently making do without Corey Perry, Ondrej Kase, Ryan Getzlaf, and Patrick Eaves. As for the Canucks, Tanev is often mentioned as a trade option for the Leafs but his injury history should give them pause. Edler, meanwhile, has a full no-trade and doesn’t seem keen to waive it. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: NHL insider Darren Dreger appeared on Toronto’s TSN 1050 yesterday and was asked about a report of a KHL team having a strong interest in Nylander. Dreger isn’t surprised by this, suggesting teams in other European leagues could also have an interest in the 22-year-old forward. However, he thinks those teams believe Nylander and the Leafs will eventually agree to terms.

Still, Dreger acknowledged the Nylander camp might have to consider its options if he’s unsigned by Dec. 1, making him ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the season. The KHL option could at least give Nylander a bit of financial leverage in negotiations with the Leafs. Dreger suggests it might provide the forward “a sense of comfort in having a “Plan B”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Playing in Europe is a possibility for Nylander but certainly not his top choice. Re-signing with the Leafs remains the priority. Signing with a European team could also depend upon each league’s rules regarding mid-season free-agent signings. 

Dreger was also asked if he could confirm or deny speculation suggesting the Leafs could have interest in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson. He cannot confirm it though he did note Anderson surfaced in trade rumors last fall during his contract standoff with the Blue Jackets. He said there was some talk at that time of the Leafs having “considerable interest” in Anderson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Anderson speculation came about because of the winger’s recent demotion to the Jackets’ fourth line. The Leafs may have looked at him a year ago but I think their priorities have changed.

The Leafs have Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson now skating on the right side, with Nylander usually playing on the right wing when he’s in the lineup. Their concern now is their right-side defense.