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. 










Could Eugene Melnyk Sell The Ottawa Senators?

Could Eugene Melnyk Sell The Ottawa Senators?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2019

Game recaps plus updates on Cory Schneider, Roman Polak, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in the 2019 Global Series at the 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Travis Konecny scored twice for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart made 28 saves. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks.

Blake Wheeler’s shootout goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Blake Wheeler’s shootout winner completed an impressive comeback by the Winnipeg Jets, overcoming a 4-0 deficit to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault and Neal Pionk each collected two points for the Jets. Blake Coleman tallied twice for the Devils, who also lost goaltender Cory Schneider with an apparent injury early in the third period. Teammate Taylor Hall believes Schneider was dealing with cramps.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly picked up three assists. Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson tied an NHL record by scoring in his sixth consecutive season-opening game.

The Vegas Golden Knights downed the San Jose Sharks 5-1 to sweep their home-and-home season-opening series. Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in his 800th career NHL contest while teammate Tomas Nosek netted two goals and added an assist. Tensions boiled over late in the third period, adding another chapter to what’s become a heated rivalry between the two clubs.

Rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov kicked out 25 shots for his first NHL victory as the Washington Capitals nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. T.J. Oshie’s second-period tie-breaker held up as the winning goal.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Player agent Allan Walsh called out Boston Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards for insensitive comments toward client Roman Polak when the Dallas Stars defenseman was injured during Thursday’s game between the two clubs. Polak crashed head-first into the boards after missing an attempt to shove Bruins forward Chris Wagner from behind.

Color commentator Andy Brickley suggested Polak’s collision was “self-induced” while Edwards replied it was “bad hockey karma”. Incensed, Walsh took to Twitter deriding the Bruins broadcaster as “truly a piece of shit and an absolute disgrace.”

Edwards stood by his real-time call, adding he felt Brickley was correct in calling the incident “self-induced”. Polak was stretchered from the game, spent the night in hospital, and was released after being diagnosed with a small fracture in his sternum.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Listening to the call, I don’t believe Brickley and Edwards were mocking Polak or making light of his injury. They made the remarks matter-of-factly immediately after Polak missed the check on Wagner and hit the boards, and well before the seriousness of the blueliner’s condition was known. I didn’t get the impression they were suggesting Polak deserved to be injured.

Edwards has an obvious bias when calling Bruins games and draws well-deserved criticism for some of his over-the-top calls. In this instance, however, I don’t believe his comment deserved such a harsh public response from Polak’s agent.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly claims the league and the NHL Players Association want to bring back the World Cup of Hockey tournament. They’re also committed to staging more Global Series games involving NHL clubs in cities outside North America.

Daly also said there have been no further talks with the PA regarding participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He pointed out the team owners consider it very disruptive to their season, puts the players at risk of injury, and has no financial benefit for NHL clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players would love to take part in future Olympics but I don’t think that’s the hill they’re willing to die on in their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations. If the owners don’t want to take part in the Olympics, it’s not going to happen.

THE WASHINGTON POST: The NHL is partnering with Russian tech giant Yandex to stream all its games in Russia this season.










Top Five Off-Ice NHL Storylines Entering 2019-20

Top Five Off-Ice NHL Storylines Entering 2019-20

 










NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: Ottawa Senators

NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: Ottawa Senators

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2019

The Senators re-sign Thomas Chabot, Patrik Laine tries to smooth some ruffled feathers with the Jets, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Dylan Larkin, Jake Allen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday re-signed defenseman Thomas Chabot to an eight-year, $64-million contract extension. The annual average value is $8 million. 

The Ottawa Senators re-signed defenseman Thomas Chabot to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the details of the deal, including a 10-team modified no-trade clause in the final four seasons of the contract. In a 2018-19 season filled with turmoil for the Senators, Chabot established himself as a talented young puck-moving defenseman, tallying 55 points in 70 games. His emergence as a top-pairing rearguard eased the sting of Erik Karlsson’s departure.

In locking up Chabot to a long-term deal, the Senators are committing themselves to the young talent on their roster, having recently re-signed center Colin White to six-year extension. It’s also a potential bargain for the Senators. Should the 22-year-old blueliner continue his impressive development, he’ll be worth much more than $8 million annually in a few years. 

CBC.CA: Speaking of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk was forced to go to court to get his company’s private jet back from an aviation company that was holding it due to an unpaid debt. Court documents revealed Flightpath Charter Airways claimed it was owed $693,524.19 for the operation, maintenance and storage of the jet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the same day as the good news about Chabot’s long-term contract extension, we’re reminded of the ongoing follies of the Senators’ owner and why the club’s fans remain nervous over its future under Melnyk’s control. 

WINNIPEG SUN:  Jets winger Patrik Laine reached out to teammate Bryan Little to apologize over remarks he made to a Finnish media outlet that seemed to disparage the veteran center. Little said the apology was unnecessary but he appreciates Laine making the gesture. The 21-year-old winger is currently embroiled in a contract impasse with the Jets and is practicing with the Swiss club SC Bern.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby leads all NHL players in eBay merchandise sales. He also had the top-selling NHL Shop jersey last season. 

WGR 550: An injured hand will force Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour to miss the remainder of the preseason. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should this injury threaten to keep Montour out of the lineup for the start of the season it could put a damper on the trade rumors swirling about Rasmus Ristolainen. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: A nagging foot injury has kept Red Wings center Dylan Larkin out of preseason play thus far but he’s hoping to see some action soon. Wings coach Jeff Blashill considers the injury a minor one but will give Larkin plenty of time to fully recover. 

STLTODAY.COM: After receiving off-season assurances he wouldn’t be traded, Jake Allen is focusing on regaining his role as the Blues’ starting goaltender. He was supplanted midway through last season by Jordan Binnington, who backstopped the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings’ recent signing of defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year contract was prompted by injuries to blueliners Derek Forbort and Paul LaDue. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils named Jake Reynolds as their new team president.