NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2021

COVID-19 strikes the Stars and Blue Jackets, plus updates on Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Crawford and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars’ training facilities are closed indefinitely and the club’s practices canceled after six players and two staff tested positive for COVID-19. The NHL is revising the Stars’ regular-season schedule with the expectation the club won’t be able to play until Jan. 19 at the earliest. That means their season-opener on Jan. 14 and their following two games (Jan. 15 and Jan. 17) will be rescheduled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars and the league haven’t revealed which players tested positive for the coronavirus. The report noted forwards Jason Robertson, Joel L’Esperance and Tye Felhaber and defensemen Joel Hanley were missing from the Stars’ last practice but it’s unknown if those absences were injury- or illness-related.

While the Stars’ facilities are closed indefinitely they could reopen soon. As the report observed, the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning had several players test positive before the start of the 2020 playoffs, but their facilities opened several days later.

Despite the NHL’s health and safety protocols, it was inevitable COVID-19 would make its presence felt. Unlike the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the upcoming regular season isn’t being held in hub cities under strict quarantine conditions.

The coronavirus also affected Major League Baseball and the National Football League this season but those leagues managed to complete their seasons. This outbreak won’t prevent the start of the NHL’s overall schedule, but it means the Stars’ 56-game schedule has become more compressed.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets yesterday held 17 players out of practice for precautionary reasons. Most were regular roster players, including team captain Nick Foligno, forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand and Max Domi and defensemen Seth Jones, Vladislav Gavrikov and David Savard. The Jackets didn’t indicate if any of the absent players had tested positive for COVID-19.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out during this weekend if those players will remain sidelined and if the Jackets will be carrying on with their practice sessions. Their season-opener is Jan. 14. The report observed the Jackets dealt with an outbreak last month during small-group workouts that closed their practice facilities for a week.

NHL.COM: Henrik Lundqvist took to social media on Friday to report he is recovering well from his recent five-hour open-heart surgery. Lundqvist had signed with the Washington Capitals but his heart condition sidelined him for the entire season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to King Henrik for a swift and full recovery.

NJ.COM: Corey Crawford is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the New Jersey Devils for personal reasons. The 36-year-old goalie signed a two-year deal with the Devils in October. There’s no timeline for his return. The Devils are expected to turn to Scott Wedgewood as Mackenzie Blackwood’s backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping things are okay for Crawford and his family and he returns to action soon.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $700K contract. Sheahan was attending Sabres’ training camp on a professional tryout offer.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brendan Guhle suffered a sprained right knee during a collision with another player. He’ll be sidelined for six weeks.

CAP FRIENDLY: Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, New York Rangers blueliner Adam Fox, Pittsburgh Penguins rearguard John Marino, Washington Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov and Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk are among several players within five games of losing their waiver-exempt status.

ESPN.COM: Long-time Pittsburgh Penguins play-by-play man Mike Lange, 72, is sitting out the start of the 2020-21 season as a precaution due to COVID-19.

TSN: The province of Manitoba has given approval for the Winnipeg Jets to stage games in their home arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All seven Canadian teams have the approval of their respective provinces to play in their home cities this season.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Growing number of COVID-19 cases in California’s Santa Clara County is casting doubt on whether the San Jose Sharks can return to the SAP Center early next month as scheduled. The Sharks are starting the season on the road because of the county’s current restrictions on sporting events.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2019

The Devils win the 2019 Draft Lottery, Slava Voynov suspended for 2019-20, plus the latest on Victor Hedman, Zach Parise, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero is all smiles after his club won the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery (Photo via NHL.com).

  NHL.COM: For the second time in three years, the New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the top selection. They also won in 2017 and selected center Nico Hischier.

The New York Rangers will pick second and the Chicago Blackhawks third. The Colorado Avalanche, who held the Ottawa Senators pick, slipped to fourth in the draft order (Follow the link for the complete listing).

TSN: Fun fact: Ever since the Edmonton Oilers won the 2010 lottery and selected Taylor Hall, his teams have won the lottery five times.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The NHL suspended former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov for the entire 2019-20 season and the 2020 playoffs for “unacceptable off-ice conduct”. Voynov pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporal spousal abuse in 2015.

The NHL Players Association is reviewing the ruling. League commissioner Gary Bettman said Voynov will be eligible to return to the NHL in 2020-21, assuming good behavior on his part.

THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (upper-body injury) will return to action tonight in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is expected to center their third line while Boone Jenner centers the fourth. The Jackets also recalled defenseman Adam Clendening.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild confirmed head coach Bruce Boudreau will return behind the bench next season. Boudreau has one year remaining on his contract. The club also revealed left wing Zach Parise played with a broken right foot over the final month of the season.

THE TENNESSEAN: PETA is attempting to discourage Nashville Predators fans from tossing catfish on the ice during the Predators’ playoff home games.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Long-time Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange will miss the start of the playoffs because of an adverse reaction to pneumonia medication.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get well soon, Mike!