NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2020

Potential progress being made toward a 24-team playoff format, Eugene Melnyk hopes the 2020 draft will be held in June and the latest on Ryan Miller in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL-NHLPA PROGRESSING TOWARD 24-TEAM FORMAT

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports sources claimed the NHL-NHLPA Return to Play committee made progress over the weekend toward a 24-team playoff format if the league resumes action this summer. He cautions more work needs to be done and it’s difficult to determine if a decision will be reached this week. Discussions are expected to continue in the coming days. LeBrun also reports the NHL Board of Governors will have a conference call slated for 3 pm ET today.

LeBrun indicated the potential format wouldn’t jump straight into playoff action, but would instead see some games leading up to the postseason. Several NHL players aren’t on board with this concept but it appears more of them would support that format. The committee also has to determine the timeline for when the self-isolation period is lifted to enable players to return to NHL facilities for small group workouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas could be among the players against this idea. He reportedly believes the NHL should simply cancel the season. Gudas isn’t on the Return to Play committee, but I daresay his concerns are shared by some of his peers. He’ll get an opportunity to express his views to his NHLPA player rep, who’ll cast a vote on his teammates’ behalf on whether to resume the season. 

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is the latest team owner to state his belief the league will return to action soon. However, this proposed return-to-play plan is drawing criticism from several pundits. The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox dismisses the notion of summertime hockey, suggesting the league is running out of time to reach a decision. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson doesn’t see the sense of a 24-team playoff, though The Hockey New’s Ken Campbell points out the league can recoup more of its lost revenue with that format.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (Photo via NHL.com).

Addressing the logistics of a 24-team format in four hub cities with many players cut off from their families while undergoing regular COVID-19 testing will be challenging. Gudas, Cox, and Matheson raise valid points that are likely shared by many hockey fans.

The NHL might not be able to pull this off. Nevertheless, they’re going to try. We’ll find out soon enough if they can do it. 

LATEST ON THE 2020 NHL DRAFT

LeBrun also believes the 2020 NHL Draft will also be a topic of discussion among the Board of Governors today. He feels there’s been too much opposition to staging the draft before resuming the season. However, it doesn’t require official approval from the governors. The final decision rests with Commissioner Gary Bettman.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk hopes the league stages the draft lottery and the draft next month. “I just hope that we can have some events happen in June to keep people interested. And if that’s just a draft lottery, that would be great. If it’s a draft as a draft lottery that’s even better,” Melnyk said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk has good reason for wanting the lottery and the draft to be held next month. The Senators have three picks in the first round of this year’s draft, including two that would be second and third overall based on the current standings. That third-overall pick belonged to the San Jose Sharks.

Under the league’s proposed one-time change to this year’s draft lottery, the Senators would drop no lower than one place if a low-seeded club other than themselves or the Detroit Red Wings win the lottery. If they or the Sharks win, they’ll have the first and third overall selections.

The Senators wouldn’t be part of the proposed 24-team playoff format. Holding the lottery and the draft next month would give their fans something to get excited about for this summer and looking ahead to next season. 

THE SCORE: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller hopes to keep playing hockey next season, but acknowledged this pandemic could also force his retirement. “I mean the desire is there, but there’s going to be a lot of factors. First of all, we’re all going to have to address this new normal. What that means for sports and life – and wrapped up in that is family and how family is going to need to be taken care of during this time,” Miller said. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Where Miller is at this stage in his NHL career will also be a determining factor. The 39-year-old goalie is already in the twilight of his career. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. If he can’t sign with a California-based club, he could be forced to hang up his pads. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2016

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes one of his 42 saves against the Vancouver Canucks.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes one of his 42 saves against the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, Senators acquire Condon from Penguins, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.  

NHL.COM: Carey Price put in a 42-save shutout performance as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Vancouver Canucks 2-0. The victory was the Habs eighth straight, lifting their record to 9-0-1 on the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price is showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season. He’s now second among goalies in wins (six) and save percentage (.964) and third in goals-against average (1.17). 

Defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Matt Murray returned from injury to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 thumping of the Anaheim Ducks. Letang scored a goal and set up another, while Murray made 32 saves. The Ducks were playing without first-line forwards Ryan Getzlaf  (day-to-day, upper-body injury) and Nick Ritchie (concussion protocol). Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed winger Mason Raymond on unconditional waivers in preparation for a mutual termination of his contract. 

Mark Streit scored the game-tying goal late in the third and Jakub Voracek potted the winner in overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. 

TSN: The Ottawa Senators yesterday acquired goaltender Mike Condon from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2017. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Andrew Hammond injured and Matt O’Connor still not fully ready for prime time, the Senators needed a quality backup for starter Craig Anderson, whose wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. Condon is an affordable short-term option for Ottawa. 

THE TENNESSEAN’s Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert faces a disciplinary hearing today for boarding/charging Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in a recent game. 

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (lower-body injury) on injured reserve. 

NBC SPORTS:  The league is investigating the poor ice conditions at Barclays Center, home of the New York Islanders.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis hints at a possible moves of those teams out of their downtown Washington arena.  He stresses he’s not actively seeking to move those franchises to Virginia or Maryland and hasn’t had any active discussions about leaving Verizon Center. Leonsis danced around the suggestion of moving to the current site of RFK Stadium.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds to me like Leonsis is eyeing a new stadium to house his teams sometime within the next 10 years.