NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2020

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.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

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.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New York Rangers

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New York Rangers

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2020

The latest roundup of the NHL’s plans during the postponement of this season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL distributed a memo to its players yesterday outlining its plans for the coming days during the postponement of its schedule over coronavirus concerns.

The players will continue receiving their paychecks for the remainder of the season during their normal pay period. They’re also asked to self-quarantine themselves for a week in their club’s city and avoid travel, though they will be allowed to see family outside of their respective cities provided they alert their general manager.

The NHL could re-open their training facilities in a week’s time.

They are to work out at home and avoid informal skates at public arenas. Players rehabbing injuries will be allowed if necessary to continue using team facilities. Following the quarantine period, the league hopes to re-open facilities for players to work on conditioning before introducing a training camp period.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there would be no mandatory testing of players for COVID-19, but testing will be conducted if a player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick. He added the league will work in close conjunction with the NHL Players Association regarding the schedule, noting both sides can agree to extend existing contracts to accommodate the resumption of play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton believes the NHL will follow the lead of the National Basketball Association regarding the resumption of play. Both leagues share the same arenas. If the NBA returns in 30 days, the NHL could quickly follow suit.

A growing list of NHL teams will compensate their respective arena staffs for postponed games. They include the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Washington Capitals.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is pledging $100K to his club’s arena workers. His pledge will be matched by his teammates, with club ownership pledging to take care of outstanding amounts.

TVA SPORTS: No official word yet from the Montreal Canadiens regarding Bell Centre employees, but it’s expected they will also follow suit.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes the Jets must step up and do right by MTS Centre employees. Club chairman Mark Chipman said Thursday those employees aren’t full-time. “They work when we work. So, regrettably, to the extent that we’re not putting on shows and games, those people obviously would not have a call to work.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m willing to give Chipman the benefit of the doubt and suggest he was preoccupied with the fallout from the league’s announcement it was pausing the season. However, it won’t be a good look for the Jets if they won’t compensate MTS Centre workers when other NHL clubs are looking after their own.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is still counting on the 2020-21 season to begin on time and run its usual course.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame will be closed from March 14 to April 6 over coronavirus concerns.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Coronavirus concerns prompted the family of the late Henri Richard to close his funeral to the public. The Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer passed away last week at age 84. His funeral will be Monday, March 16.

TSN: The Department of Player Safety determined New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux will be suspended for his hit on Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi on Wednesday. “The precise parameters of the suspension will be determined and announced once resumption of play guidelines have been established.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2020

What next for the NHL in the wake of pausing the season over coronavirus concerns? What could be the effect upon the playoff race and the off-season? Check out the latest in today’s morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had been closely monitoring what was going on regarding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus before its decision to pause the schedule. He admitted the NBA having a player test positive and forcing the cancellation of a game left him no doubt this would be a game-changer.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman remains hopeful of resuming the remainder of this season (Photo via NHL.com).

Bettman said he’s hesitant to use the word “suspension”, remaining hopeful the season will resume at some point. He’s not sure how far it could push the schedule into the summer. The league is taking a day-to-day approach for now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll depend upon how long before the spread of the virus is significantly slowed or contained. TSN’s Frank Seravalli cited an NHL governor telling colleague Darren Dreger the league is focused for now on returning to action within three weeks, but that will depend upon the players’ health, how many (if any) contracted the virus, and recommendations from the health community.

THE SCORE: The playoff picture, the ripple effect upon the off-season schedule, and the salary cap are the major storylines to monitor as the NHL pauses the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule over coronavirus concerns.

Depending on when the league returns to action, it could pick up its schedule where it left off, play an abbreviated number of games to begin the playoffs closer to the starting date, or cancel the rest of the regular season and opt for a wild-card play-in or beginning the postseason based on the standings at the time the regular season was paused.

It could also affect the dates when the league stages its annual prospect combine and draft in June. The annual July 1 start date for free agency could also change. Next season’s salary cap could remain closer to this season’s $81.5 million rather than reach the projected range of $84 million to $88 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, slated for April 9, will move to a different date later in the spring. 

NEW YORK POST: Teams are standing pat with no practices or meetings. That could change if they think they’ll start playing games again.

Most teams intend to deal with their ticket holders individually. Most could be willing to transfer those tickets to next season.

If the players are still paid during the hiatus, they could end up giving it all back via escrow to ensure the 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with team owners. As for hourly workers at arenas, individual teams could examine some form of compensation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Maple Leafs (via Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) and Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley announced they’ll look after their arena staff during this period. I expect the other clubs either have a plan in place for their respective personnel or are working on one.

ESPN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s a team-by-team thing for testing players for COVID-19. “Testing kits are controlled by local health, and each state is allocated different amounts based on population and experience. At this point, the need for testing is greater than the supply of tests. That will start to change as manufacturers are ramping up production.”

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks announced a part-time employee at SAP Center in San Jose tested positive for the coronavirus. The individual is under self-quarantine and receiving care from medical personnel.

SPORTSNET: The International Ice Hockey Federation is considering cancelling the Men’s World Championships. The 16-team tournament is set to begin on May 8.

NBC SPORTS: The AHL, ECHL, and CHL are following the NHL’s lead and pausing their schedules.

THE SCORE: Despite the interruption in the schedule, New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux will have a hearing today for interfering Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi during Wednesday night’s contest.

CALGARY SUN: Long-time Flames executive Ken King passed away at age 68. He was team president and chief executive officer for many years beginning in 2001, and until recently played a role in securing a deal for a new arena in downtown Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to King’s family, friends, and the Flames’ organization.










NHL Gold & Mold: Ovechkin passes Lemieux, Manning suspended for racial slur

NHL Gold & Mold: Ovechkin passes Lemieux, Manning suspended for racial slur

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2019

Alex Ovechkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Steven Stamkos reach new career milestones, the latest injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Warren Foegele scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Washington Capitals 6-4. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 256th career power-play goal to pass Teemu Selanne for third on the all-time list. Capitals winger Tom Wilson missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sits third on the NHL’s all-time power-play goal list (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is in striking range of Dave Andreychuk (274) and Brett Hull (265) on the all-time list. 

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for his 454th career victory in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Fleury moves into a tie with Curtis Joseph for sixth place on the all-time wins list. Teammate Shea Theodore collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury is just four wins behind the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who’s fifth on the all-time list. Both are the wins leaders among active NHL goalies. 

A three-goal second period enabled the Tampa Bay Lightning to hold off the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos picked up his 800th career point, Victor Hedman collected four assists, and Alex Killorn scored twice. Brendan Gallagher had two helpers for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos is third among the Lightning’s all-time points leaders. Martin St. Louis is first with 953 points and Vincent Lecavalier second with 874. 

The New York Rangers edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on an overtime goal by Tony DeAngelo, snapping the Leafs six-game win streak. Ryan Strome had a four-point performance and teammate Artemi Panarin collected three assists. Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals and set up another. The Rangers played without winger Brendan Lemieux, who’s sidelined 3-4 weeks with a fractured left hand. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is week-to-week with a broken foot whiile Ilya Mikheyev will miss at least three months following surgery to repair an artery and tendons in his wrist severed during Friday’s game against New Jersey.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 44 saves in a 6-4 win over the Nashville Predators. It was Murray’s first victory since Nov. 9. The Penguins blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads before Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust clinched the win with two late goals. Rust had a four-point night and Evgeni Malkin picked up three assists. Predators captain Roman Josi also had three assists while Mikael Granlund tallied twice. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist returned to action since being sidelined on Nov. 30 by a lower-body injury. The Predators placed winger Colton Sissons on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Timo Meier tallied a hat trick as the San Jose Sharks halted a four-game losing skid by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Sharks forward Melker Karlsson left the game in the first period after taking a slap shot to the head. He received some stitches and it’s hoped the injury isn’t as severe as it seemed.

Jacob Markstrom made a career-high 49 saves as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Elias Petterson had two points, including the game-winning goal. Kings captain Anze Kopitar also had a goal and an assist.

Ben Bishop made 41 saves in regulation and overtime backstopping the Dallas Stars over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov scored the only goals in the shootout. The Avalanche have dropped four of their last five games.

The Florida Panthers overcame a 3-1 deficit and held on for a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Mike Hoffman had a three-point peformance for the Panthers.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner is out three-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury suffered during Friday’s loss to the Boston Bruins.

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (upper body, injured reserve) and Charlie McAvoy (upper body) won’t be available for tonight’s rematch against the Sabres.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed Markus Granlund and Brandon Manning on waivers.

CBS SPORTS: The Winnipeg Jets placed goaltender Eric Comrie on waivers.