The Best And Worst Luck In NHL Draft Lottery History
TSN: Frank Seravalli suggests a 68-game rollback could be a fair way of determining positioning for a standard 16-team playoff bracket. “Under this plan, only each of the team’s first 68 games of the season would count for the playoff standings,” writes Seravalli. “Eight teams would have three games negated, 11 teams, two each; and 10 teams, one each.” He points out the same 16 teams that would qualify under points percentage would also qualify under this scenario.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren looked at what could be the NHL’s faint hope of completing the season during the summer in neutral sites. He cites the difficulty in protecting players plus team, arena, and hotel staff. There is also the issue of the cities involved exempting the NHL from physical distancing guidelines and how local health facilities would be utilized to test players.
“Yet if there’s any hope for the NHL to recoup some dollars from their enormous advertising and TV broadcast deals, the league isn’t going to quietly skate away without exploring any and all options,” writes Warren.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The logistics of pulling off neutral-site games are daunting, but not impossible. Nevertheless, the course of this pandemic will determine the viability of staging those contests. Contrary to popular belief, the league and the NHL Players Association aren’t delusional. They’re well aware that the longer this goes, the less likely their chances of salvaging the season. But until that door slams shut, they’re going to consider every possibility.
OTTAWA SUN: Some good news from the Ottawa Senators. Head coach D.J. Smith said the five players who tested positive for COVID-19 have fully recovered.
TSN: Veteran NHL linesman Scott Driscoll hopes he hasn’t called his final game. The 28-year veteran was set to retire after officiating 1,850 NHL games. He had three more to go when the schedule was paused by the coronavirus.
SPORTSNET: CCM Hockey, alongside many of its star endorsees, are donating 500,000 surgical masks to front-line medical personnel battling the coronavirus. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Montreal’s Carey Price, and Toronto’s John Tavares are among the players contributing to the donation.
RDS: Former NHL star Vincent Lecavalier said the current pause to the schedule reminded him of the uncertainty he and his peers faced during the 2004-05 lockout. “For a hockey player, the hardest part is the fact that there is no date for a return to play,” said Lecavalier. “The players are used to a calendar: in the summer we know that it’s two months to train before resuming action. At the moment, they cannot even skate or be with their coaches.”
NHL.COM: Rimouski Oceanic forward Alexis Lafreniere topped the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American prospects for the 2020 Draft. Left wing Tim Stuetzle of Mannheim in Germany’s top professional league is No. 1 in the final list of International skaters.
Latest on Taylor Hall and Dustin Byfuglien, Vincent Lecavalier injured in a bus crash, and more in today’s NHL morning headlines.
NHL.COM: The NHL schedule resumes tonight with the Winnipeg Jets in Philadelphia to face the Flyers while the New Jersey Devils travel to Pittsburgh to face off against the Penguins.
NJ.com: The Devils will be playing without superstar left wing Taylor Hall, who’s been sidelined by a nagging lower-body injury since Dec. 23.
The Jets will be without defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot. Byfuglien’s been sidelined since Dec. 29 with a lower-body injury while Chiarot (lower body) has been listed as day-to-day since Jan. 13. The Jets recalled blueliner Sami Niku.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier suffered minor injuries on Saturday following a charter bus pileup on the Selmon Expressway. Lecavalier and two others were transported to a local hospital. His agent said the former NHL star was ok.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wishing Lecavalier and the other two people who were hurt a swift recovery.
Game recaps, Capitals re-sign Eller and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Goaltender Andrej Vasilevskiy stopped 44 shots, including an impressive behind-the-back glove save, for his league-leading 33rd victory as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Before the game, the Lightning honored Vincent Lecavalier by retiring his No. 4 to the rafters.
Mitch Marner enjoyed a five-point performance (two goals, three assists) as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Leafs winger Patrick Marleau also had a three-point game.
The Nashville Predators’ 3-2 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens was overshadowed by the sparring between Predators’ defenseman (and former Hab) P.K. Subban and Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arpon Basu notes Gallagher’s post-game view that Subban came into this game wanting to make it about himself. Basu suggests Subban’s outsized personality and how the Canadiens handled it during his tenure in Montreal could explain why the blueliner was shipped to Nashville in 2016.
The Buffalo Sabres doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2, ending Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s 21-game points streak. Sabres center Jack Eichel left the game with a right-leg injury and will be evaluated in Buffalo today.
A 44-save shutout performance by Devan Dubnyk carried the Minnesota Wild to a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the Hawks their fifth straight loss and putting them 10 points out of a playoff spot. Forward Charlie Coyle scored two goals for the Wild.
Artemi Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand each collected a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a five-game losing skis by crushing the New Jersey Devils 6-1, handing the latter their third straight defeat.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth became the first goaltender in NHL history to win a shootout in relief, replacing Brian Elliott to backstop his club to a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Elliott suffered a lower-body injury during the second round of the shootout and will be evaluated today in Philadelphia.
Joe Pavelski had a four-point game (including two goals) and rookie Joakim Ryan scored his first two goals of his NHL career to give the San Jose Sharks a 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.
Two goals by Brock McGinn gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed center Lars Eller to a five-year, $17.5-million contract extension. The annual average salary is $3.5 million, the same as it is on his current deal. In real salary, however, he’ll earn “$5 million ($1 million signing bonus), $4 million ($1 million signing bonus), $2.5 million, $3 million and $3 million.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by the Capitals, as they now have their top three centers under long-term contracts. Eller is on pace to exceed 40 points this season.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knight goaltender Malcolm Subban was placed in injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Lightning to retire Vincent Lecavalier’s number plus updates on Jonathan Drouin, Brian Gionta & more in your NHL morning headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning announced they will retire Vincent Lecavalier’s No. 4 when the Los Angeles Kings visit Amalie Arena on Feb. 10. Lecavalier spent 14 season with the Lightning, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2004.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lecavalier remains the Lightning leader in games played (1,037), career goals (383) and points in a single season (108). He also won the Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer in 2006-07 with 52 goals.
LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
NBC SPORTS: New York Rangers forward Andrew Desjardins received a two-game preseason suspension for an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils winger Miles Wood.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues is sidelined with a hand injury while Jake McCabe is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, it appears increasingly likely former Sabres winger Brian Gionta will played for Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta, 38, is an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn’t sign with an NHL club he’ll be free to participate in the Pyeonchang Games.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes goaltender Louie Domingue suffered an upper-body injury during Monday’s preseason loss to the Anaheim Ducks and left the game as a precautionary measure.
TSN: Several American-born NHL players weighed in with their thoughts on athletes taking a knee as a protest during the playing of a national anthem. Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler said he would support a teammate’s protest and Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk agreed with Wheeler’s recent tweets taking U.S. President Donald Trump to task for scolding NFL players who staged such protests.
Others, such as van Riemsdyk teammate Auston Matthews and Boston Bruins winger David Backes, take a different view. Matthews said he supports athletes taking a stand but considers it a dishonor to the American flag to sit or kneel during the anthem, citing family members and friends who’ve served in the military. Backes believes there’s other ways to express a beef regarding social justice or other issues.
THE MERCURY NEWS: An early playoff exit and the departure of Patrick Marleau had little effect upon San Jose Sharks’ season ticket sales.
CALGARY SUN: Flames president Ken King said his team is now a “have-not” franchise, citing the revenue-sharing check they received from the league this year after 10 seasons as a revenue contributor. He made the remarks yesterday at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. The Flames are currently in a standoff with the city of Calgary over plans and funding for a new arena. King also declined to answer a question about how the ticket surcharge revenue is Flames’ revenue towards arena costs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I disagree with King’s claim that the Flames are playing in a “have-not” market. They are regularly among top-10 teams in NHL attendance and play in a hockey-mad market.
Calgary is also an oil town and the Flame’s dip in attendance last season was likely tied to the downturn in the local economy. Those numbers will rebound as the local economy inevitably improves.
That revenue-sharing check could also be tied to the decline in value of the Canadian dollar, which fell to around. 75 cents USD through most of 2016-17. If the Flames’ attendance remains steady and the current value of the “loonie” remains at its current level of .81 cents USD, they could once again become a revenue contributor for 2017-18.
YAHOO SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights have printed the names of their first season-ticket holders on the ice of their arena for their inaugural season.