NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020
The Norris Trophy & Selke Trophy finalists are revealed, the latest COVID-19 testing results, plus the latest on Max Domi, Charlie McAvoy, Ilya Samsonov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE
NHL.COM: John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are this year’s finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hedman is a former Norris winner (2018) and was a finalist last season. This is the first time as finalists for Carlson and Josi. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring, with Josi second and Hedman third.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top defensive forward as voted by the PHWA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could win the Selke for a record-setting fifth time. O’Reilly won the award last season while Couturier was a finalist in 2017-18.
LATEST NHL COVID-19 TESTING RESULTS
The NHL yesterday released the results of their COVID-19 testing from last week, indicating two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Both players are self-isolating and following CDC and Health Canada guidelines. The league administered 2,618 tests to over 800 players from July 13-17.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a notable improvement over the previous numbers released by the league. At that rate, the league’s chances of staging its playoff tournament in Edmonton and Toronto look very good.
This week, however, will be the crucial period, as the players have been around each other more since Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan began on July 13.
PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NOTES
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Domi rejoined his teammates yesterday after taking a week to evaluate the risks to his health associated with COVID-19. He’s a type-1 diabetic and also suffers from celiac disease.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi will need some time to get up to speed with his teammates. Nevertheless, his return to the lineup should provide a boost to their forward lines entering their best-of-five qualifying-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner were missing from Bruins practice yesterday, joining wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase on the sidelines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy couldn’t elaborate as to why McAvoy and Wagner weren’t at practice due to league protocols. However, he seemed to hint at the reason behind their absence, noting that COVID-19 tests results are sometimes delayed or inconclusive. Pastrnak is out for precautionary reasons linked to possible secondary exposure to a person with the coronavirus. As per league rules, the Bruins say Kase remains unfit to participate.
CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is the sole member of the roster not to participate in Phase 3 training.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of league protocols, we don’t know if Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19 or is nursing an injury.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist was among nine players returning to the ice yesterday after being held out of practice as a precaution for potential secondary exposure to COVID-19. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed practice again yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. He will serve that suspension during the opening two games of his club’s qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.
IN OTHER NEWS…
SPORTSNET: released its broadcast schedule for the qualifying round and round-robin series commencing Aug. 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon reported hearing the NHL plans to put its World feed on a five-second delay to monitor the players’ language. Expect to hear plenty of bleeps given how salty their on-ice language tends to be and how clearly it will be heard without fan noise to drown it out.
Former NHL winger Alex Kovalev was named head coach of KHL team Kunlun Red Star.
Former NHL defenseman Jack McIlhargey passed away from cancer on Sunday at age 68. McIlhargey spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Hartford Whalers from 1974-75 to 1981-82, tallying 47 points and collecting 1,102 PIMs in 393 games. Following his playing career, he served within the Canucks system from 1984 until 2007 as a minor-league head coach and as a scout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McIlhargey’s family, friends, and former teammates and associates.