NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2019

An update on NHL CBA negotiations, the latest on Justin Williams, Ben Lovejoy retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL is expected to announce it will decline its Sept. 1 option to reopen the current collective bargaining agreement “within the next day or two.” Dreger claims the decision will be based on “progressive discussions” with the NHL Players Association.

Will the NHL and NHLPA pass up on their early-out CBA options?

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports the NHLPA executive board plus other players are expected to meet in Chicago next Wednesday for an update on the discussions. The PA can reopen the CBA on Sept. 15. The two sides have had numerous meeting throughout the summer but LeBrun declined to speculate over where this all leads.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having covered the last two NHL lockouts, these latest reports give me cause for cautious optimism. The run-up to the last two work stoppages saw both sides snipe at each other in the media. Indeed, the coverage in the summers of 2004 and 2012 was filled with daily CBA reports and analysis even though most NHL insiders were on vacation.

We haven’t seen that this time around. Reports have been few and far between, as both sides kept mum other than to say talks were ongoing and positive. If the league doesn’t take the early out, the pressure falls on the PA to do the same. It’ll be interesting to see what they do. I’m guessing they’ll also pass on the early out.

If both sides decline to reopen the current CBA, they’re either close to a new deal or kicking the can down the road to when the current agreement expires in three years.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Ben Lovejoy yesterday announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. He played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Stars, winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lovejoy in his future endeavors. TSN’s Rick Westhead points out the blueliner became the first active player to pledge his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston. No other active player followed his lead. “I am a believer in science,” said Lovejoy. “I want to do anything I can to help.”

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour has an idea over whether Justin Williams is leaning toward returning or retirement. However, he’s not saying which direction it’ll be.

THE ATHLETIC: Financial pressures led to Sportsnet cutting NHL analysts Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons recently reported John Shannon is also out but there’s been no official statement. Nevertheless, Sportsnet’s hockey coverage will have a significantly different look this season.

CAP FRIENDLY: released a list of notable dates on the NHL’s 2018-19 schedule. The Christmas holiday trade freeze (all times Eastern) begins at 11:59 PM on Dec. 19 and ends at 12:01 am on Dec. 28. The league’s holiday break runs from Dec. 24 to 26. The NHL trade deadline is 3 pm on Feb. 24. The regular season ends on Apr. 4.