NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

The Canadian government clears the way for allowing hub cities, a CBA extension could be part of the return-to-play plan, plus updates on Seth Jones, Sean Couturier, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites a Canadian Press report indicating the Canadian government has issued an order-in-council that would allow Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver to serve as one of the NHL’s two hub cities for its 24-team playoff tournament later this summer.

Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena could be among one of two host arenas for the NHL’s playoff tournament.

The order, which now awaits the Governor-General’s signature, would allow the NHL to work around Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for individuals entering the country. The league had to provide a plan that adhered to Canada’s public health requirements before the government went ahead with the order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three Canadian cities are among 10 in the running to host the tournament. Las Vegas is reportedly considered the front-runner, but it’s also believed the league prefers placing one of those hosts in Canada.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun cites a source claiming the NHL and NHL Players Association are attempting to negotiate the layers for Phase 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan while also trying to hammer out an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun’s source, who’s close to the negotiations, suggested the return-to-play plan and a CBA extension (or a memo of understanding for the latter) could be presented as one package to the players before the end of this month.

LeBrun also reports there are players with questions about such issues such as health concerns in their respective NHL cities, life under quarantine conditions during the tournament, and economic issues such as escrow payments.

Should the playoff tournament go off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup could be awarded in early October, with the draft and free agency beginning later in that month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension (perhaps to 2026) would be a silver lining in the COVID cloud hanging over the NHL. Because of the effects of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue, both sides must work together to ensure labor peace in the coming years. Given the limited timeline and the myriad of issues to be discussed, it remains to be seen if they can work out an agreement by the end of June. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports if an NHL  player tests positive for COVID-19 we won’t know what team they belong to. Instead, the league could simply say a player has tested positive. McKenzie speculates it could be part of a weekly report going forward indicating how many players have or haven’t tested positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will raise questions over which teams those players belong to, how many of them could be sidelined, and the effect upon the proposed playoff tournament. 

McKenzie thinks most of the players understand the need to return to action is an important one but there is a vocal minority raising concerns. He feels a player could be allowed to opt-out of returning if he had strong objections of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league and the PA are believed to be working on opt-out language in the plan for players who don’t want to return. Friedman also said part of the pitch will be the quarantine bubble the teams will be under will be safer than in some parts of North America.

McKenzie also said a decision on the two host cities could come next week. The league’s preference is a home team doesn’t play in its own hub. In other words, if Las Vegas is selected, the Vegas Golden Knights could play in the other hub city.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL has assured its coaches they won’t face any restrictions preventing them from doing their jobs. Those of a certain age or in an at-risk demographic won’t be prevented from being behind the bench. Health and safety protocols for coaches and their interactions with players are still being discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaches could be required to wear masks behind the bench and elsewhere in the facility. We’ll learn more details when the league and the PA release their health protocol plans for Phase 3 and 4.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (right ankle fracture and sprain) and Dean Kukan (knee injury) have been activated off injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin knows he’s at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he’s a type-1 diabetic. Nevertheless, he remains focused on joining his teammates for the playoff tournament. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from suiting up,” said Kunin.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are among the Flyers that have taken part in small-group training at the team’s practice facility.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is among several Coyotes skating at Gila River Arena in preparation for the league’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of this NHL season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo is one of two former CHL players to file a class-action lawsuit alleging they were routinely hazed, bullied, physically and verbally harassed, and physically and sexually harassed and assaulted during their junior careers. This comes days after a former Kitchener Rangers player claimed he was forced to do cocaine in a team bathroom during his rookie season in 2016.

NHL Injury Outlook Week 7: Crosby, Marner top list

NHL Injury Outlook Week 7: Crosby, Marner top list


Breakout Candidates in the NHL Central Division

Breakout Candidates in the NHL Central Division


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2019

Game recaps, Mark Stone officially signs with the Golden Knights, an update on Erik Karlsson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Aleksander Barkov’s five-assist performance led the Florida Panthers to a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap their six-game losing skid. Jonathan Huberdeau had a four-point game, Evgenii Dadonov collected three assists, defensemen Mike Matheson and MacKenzie Weeger each scored twice, and goaltender Sam Montembeault picked up his first NHL win. The Wild (74 points) failed to widen their three-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. 

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov collected five assists in a 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images)

The Washington Capitals picked up their sixth straight win by blanking the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Braden Holtby had a 25-save shutout while Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom, and Lars Eller were the goal scorers. The Capitals (87 points) opened a two-point lead over the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division. 

A four-goal first period powered to the Winnipeg Jets to an 8-1 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes. Nikolaj Ehlers had three points and Andrew Copp scored two goals and Laurent Brossoit made 28 saves. The Jets (84 points) vaulted over the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division while the Hurricanes (79 points) slipped into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Adam Henrique scored a goal and added two assists and Tory Terry tallied twice as the Anaheim Ducks thumped the Montreal Canadiens 8-2. The loss leaves the Canadiens (79 points) just two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card spot. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights officially announced right wing Mark Stone’s new eight-year, $76-million contract. The annual average value is $9.5 million and comes with a full no-movement clause. More than half the contract ($48 million) consists of signing bonuses. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for my take on this deal, which was originally announced on Feb. 25. 

THE SCORE: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (undisclosed injury) said he doesn’t expect to return to the lineup anytime soon but anticipates he’ll be good to go when the playoffs open next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s absence won’t hurt the Sharks’ playoff hopes. With 88 points in 67 games and six wins in their last 10 games, they’re only one point behind the Calgary Flames for the top spot in the Western Conference 

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could crush the Avalanche’s hopes of securing a Western Conference playoff spot. Landeskog was their first-line left wing and one of their leading scorers.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

GRAND FORKS HERALD: Minnesota Wild center Luke Kunin is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2018

An update on Max Pacioretty, Blackhawks fans say goodbye to Stan Mikita, latest on Brady Tkachuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Facing an uncertain future with the Canadiens, left wing Max Pacioretty said he’s encouraged by the support he’s received from Montreal fans throughout this summer. Pacioretty, 29, resides year-round in Montreal. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and the coming season could be his last with the Canadiens. 

Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is grateful for the support he’s received this summer from Montreal fans. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty reportedly wants to re-sign with the Canadiens, who made a failed attempt during the 2018 NHL Draft to trade him to the Los Angeles Kings. He lacks no-trade protection and speculation persists that management intends to move him before the start of the season. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Devoted Blackhawks fans streamed to the United Center yesterday to pay their respects to Stan Mikita during a public visitation. Mikita passed away last week at age 78 to a suspected brain disease.

OTTAWA SUN: While there’s been no official announcement from prospect Brady Tkachuk or the Senators, a photo of the youngster wearing a Sens hat signing paperwork made the rounds online yesterday. Tkachuk is believed foregoing a return to Boston University this season to sign a pro contract with Ottawa. 

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin is hoping to bounce back from a torn ACL suffered last March to earn a full-time roster spot.

 LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley hopes to make his club’s pregame ceremonies “a little less playful and a little more serious this year.” He added that he loves “the “Apocalypse Now” intro with the music and the helicopter. I like it as loud as possible. And the “John Wick Mode” intro song is perfect, and we won’t be changing that.”


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Vancouver Canucks star Brock Boeser injured his lower-back during his club’s 4-3 win over the New York Islanders (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: A back injury suffered by Vancouver Canucks rookie star Brock Boeser overshadowed his club’s 4-3 overtime win over the New York Islanders. Boeser was taken to hospital for observation after suffering a lower-back injury when he collided with the open frame of the bench door following a check by Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck. The Isles suffered their seventh straight loss as Brendan Leipsic scored in overtime. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Boeser’s condition could be announced today. He had to helped from the ice following the collision and appeared in a great deal of pain. 

An overtime goal by Justin Schultz carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin also scored and added two assists. Pittsburgh (80 points) moved to within one of Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Flames (74 points) sit three back of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered their fourth consecutive defeat, falling 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres. Leo Komarov tallied twice for the Leafs. Following the game, Toronto head coach Mike Babcock voiced his unhappiness over the inconsistency of goaltender interference calls after Sabres forward Johan Larsson collided with Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen prior to scoring Buffalo’s fifth goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t sour grapes on Babcock’s part. He’s among a growing chorus of coaches and players complaining about the unpredictable interpretation of goalie interference by league officials this season. 

Erik Karlsson’s breakaway overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars, who also lost goaltender Ben Bishop for at least the next two games with a lower-body injury

The Edmonton Oilers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Oscar Klefbom netted the game winner while Leon Draisaitl collected two assists. Meanwhile, Oilers star Connor McDavid laughed off being heckled by some Oilers fans outside a restaurant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heckling the players during the game is one thing. Doing so when they’re on their own time away from the rink, especially when they’re with their family, is just stupid.  

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine and Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 4, 2018

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (knee injury) and defensman Victor Mete (fractured finger) could miss up to six weeks. 

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will miss the remainder of the season with an injured left hip. Teammate Scottie Upshall, meanwhile, will be sidelined at least four weeks with a left-knee injury, 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Luke Kunin will undergo season-ending knee injury.