NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2020

NHLPA executive board approves tentative CBA, three games per day are planned for the playoff tournament, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST CBA AND RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

NHLPA: announced its executive board (which includes the 31 player representatives) approved the tentative extension to the collective bargaining agreement. It moves today to a ratification vote by the full PA membership. The results will be announced on Friday, July, 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The CBA extension is packaged with the return-to-play plan that requires the approval of the players and the NHL board of governors. A simple majority by the PA membership is needed to approve the CBA extension. Despite recent reports suggesting some players weren’t happy with the process of negotiations, this package is expected to be approved.

No word yet when the board of governors will vote. That will require a two-thirds majority but it is also expected to sail through.

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the return-to-play plan will see three games a day in both Edmonton and Toronto with local start times at noon, 4 pm and 8 pm. Given the two-hour time difference between those cities, it means six games spread over 15 hours per day, perhaps longer if games go into overtime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talk about hockey overdose! My wife is telling me to enjoy the rest of this month because she knows she won’t see much of me in August and September. That’s assuming COVID-19 doesn’t derail the planned tournament. 

The seeding games involving the top-four clubs in each conference during the qualifying round won’t go into unlimited overtime to decide a winner. They’ll instead follow the regular season rules of a brief overtime period followed by a shootout if necessary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 16 teams involved in the qualifying round will be under playoff overtime rules.

Will players with pre-existing medical conditions, like Montreal’s Max Domi, be prevented from skating in the upcoming playoff tournament? (Photo via NHL Images)

McKenzie also reports the league has the power to deem players unfit to play if they think there’s a higher risk of that player becoming extremely ill if they contract COVID-19. He cites Montreal Canadiens’ center Max Domi and New York Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko as examples. Both are type 1 diabetics with celiac disease. To the best of McKenzie’s knowledge, Domi and Kakko intend to play, but doctors will have to sign off on that first.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams has concerns over the coronavirus, but he’s still keen to contend for the Stanley Cup. “I didn’t come back to play 20 games,” said Williams during a video media call. “I came back for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”

Williams also stressed the need for the players to take responsibility to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

You need to tighten up the bubble of people you’re hanging out with,” Williams said. “You need make your inner circle is pretty darn small because what you do affects everybody else.

That’s pretty much the basis of what a team is anyway. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, but at this point your weakest link can take down your whole team.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s probably going to be the approach for all the teams throughout Phase 3. Despite the increase in detection, disinfection, and social-distancing protocols during the phase, the players will still be at risk because they’re still living at home, traveling to and from their team arenas and training facilities, and still in contact with the general public.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Seth Rorabaugh provides further details about the league’s protocols for Phases 3 and 4.

Some of the noteworthy Phase 3 rules include the independent media being allowed at team facilities but prohibited from direct contact with the players, the players being discouraged from socializing with one another outside team facilities, and tighter restrictions on commonly-used items and food.

In Phase 4, everyone must use league-provided and approved transportation with the secure zone. There are detailed guidelines on the use of masks and face coverings, and a limited number of media allowed access to the games, with interviews conducted remotely. Speaking of the media…

CBC: Broadcasters and print journalists still have questions over how they’re going to cover the playoff tournament in the two host cities. Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production, said those details have yet to be finalized. Frank Seravalli, president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, said the situation remains in flux.

It’s believed the broadcasts will be handled like the Olympics, with only cameramen, technicians, and production staff allowed inside the bubble while commentators call the games elsewhere from a live feed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The media won’t have the usual access during these two phases that they enjoy in normal situations. It will be challenging to provide the usual in-depth coverage. The teams might prefer the absence of media intrusion, especially during and immediately following the games.

ESPN.COM: Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, doesn’t expect any hurdles in negotiations with the league regarding its intention to return to the Winter Olympics. Issues such as health insurance, travel costs, and marketing rights must be worked out before NHL players can participate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The IIHF desperately wanted the NHL to take part in the 2018 Winter Games, even offering to pick up the tab for travel, insurance, and so on. 

IN OTHER NEWS…

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks released a statement indicating they intend to keep their name and logo but are committed to raising the bar even higher in their efforts to increase awareness of Native American culture. The statement comes amid discussions by the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Cleveland Indians about changing their names.

TSN: The NHLPA will be in court today attempting to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee alleging the cover-up of more than $100K from union funds by one of its executives between 2008 and 2019.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020

NHL extends self-quarantine period, asks its teams to provide available arena dates in August, and temporarily cuts employee salaries. Details and much more, including the latest on Kyle Palmieri and Kyle Clifford, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COVID-19 HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the NHL instructed its players and team staff to extend their period of self-quarantine to April 6. Two players to date, both Ottawa Senators, have tested positive for COVID-19.

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the league yesterday requested its 31 clubs to provide available home dates for August. That suggests the playoffs could be as late as August. McKenzie also believes the league must address the legal technicality of extending contracts that expire at the end of June and the effect on work visas for European players.

The NHL extends its self-quarantine period for its players.

Pierre LeBrun indicates the cost of maintaining ice in those buildings during the summer will be costly in terms of refrigeration and air conditioning in the arenas. He also reported the league had a conference call with general managers. Lots of questions about the “draft, combine, lottery, schedule/playoffs, free agency,” but the league has few answers at this stage.

Frank Seravalli reports the league doesn’t anticipate any meaningful insurance bailout. Facing potential revenue losses of $1 billion, the league will do whatever it takes to get back on the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’ll be another month before we get clarity over when the schedule will resume and when the playoffs will be staged, as well as determining what the off-season schedule will look like. The longer this pandemic goes on in North America, the less likely the league can return to the ice and salvage the season and the playoffs, especially when they consider it a priority to stage 2020-21 in its entirety.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston also reports the league told its teams Monday that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will extend the potential window for staging the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer. “The league shares a U.S. broadcast partner with the Olympics in NBC and had previously believed the playoffs had to be wrapped up before the cauldron was lit during the Opening Ceremonies.”

THE SCORE: The league is reported to have temporarily reduced the pay of its office staff by 25 percent because of the coronavirus epidemic. It’s also hoping to avoid layoffs.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens is making temporary job cuts of its staff affecting up to 60 percent of its personnel. It has established a $6 million assistance fund to help its employees. TVA Sports reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Claude Julien have agreed to give up 20 percent of their salaries in support of the club’s laid-off employees.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The company that owns the New Jersey Devils has reversed its decision to levy a 20 percent pay cut on its employees.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: TD Garden part-time workers have been laid off.

KHL.RU: The Kontinental Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its’ 2019-20 season over coronavirus concerns.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NJ.COM: Despite the New Jersey Devils’ disappointing season, winger Kyle Palmieri remains optimistic over the club’s future. He cites promising prospects such as Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, Daniil Misyul and recently-acquired Nolan Foote, as well as rookie center Jack Hughes. “We’re building and we’re young, and guys are going to keep getting better year by year,” Palmieri said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen whether Palmieri will be part of the Devils’ rebuild. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer.

THE SCORE: There’s mutual interest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and UFA forward Kyle Clifford in working on a contract extension. No deal is imminent as this time owing to uncertainty raised by the current pause in the league’s schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $76 million invested in 16 players, the Leafs will be awaiting next season’s salary cap numbers before getting down to contract talks with free agents like Clifford.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets have started contract extension talks with restricted free agent Vladislav Gavrikov.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2020

No decision yet on the fate of the 2020 regular season and playoffs, more speculation over the format of the 2020 post-season, interim coaches facing an uncertain future, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The NHL has not yet decided whether the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played, or what format the 2020 playoffs might take. In a press release, the league indicated the resumption of play and format would depend upon what transpires between now and when it is permitted to resume play.

Still no word as to when the NHL will return to action.

The league reiterated it doesn’t anticipate any resumption that would affect its ability to stage the 2020-21 season in its entirety. It also stated it was premature to assume games would be closed to the public whenever the schedule recommences.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the league told the board of governors it is too soon to determine when the schedule will resume, adding it is considering every option. Sources said some team executives prefer the usual 16-team playoff field, while others like an expanded one. A larger playoff format could also affect the draft lottery.

LeBrun speculates the likely postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 24 to Aug. 6) could provide the league more flexibility to return to action this summer. He also said he couldn’t recall a higher level of cooperation between the league and the NHL Players Association than he’s seen right now, but that collaboration could be tested as both sides consider difficult financial decisions that affect both sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams on the playoff bubble would prefer an expanded playoff format if the regular season cannot be staged. Whatever that might look like remains to be seen. It will depend upon when they’re approved to resume by health officials in Canada and the United States.

NBC Sports provides national US TV coverage of the NHL. They’re also scheduled to cover the Tokyo Olympics. Postponing the Olympics ensures no broadcast scheduling conflict for the league.

It’s in the best interest of the league and the PA to cooperate during this crisis. They cannot allow petty squabbles of the past to derail efforts to find a workable solution to the anticipated decline in hockey-related revenue brought about by this pandemic. If they can successfully navigate through this, the stage could be set for a rancor-free extension of the current collective bargaining agreement.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon observes the pause in the NHL schedule leaves the league’s interim coaches in limbo. They include the Calgary Flames’ Geoff Ward, the Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness, the San Jose Sharks’ Bob Boughner, the New Jersey Devils’ Alain Nasreddine, and the Minnesota Wild’s Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nasreddine could face the most uncertain future. He was hired by Ray Shero, who lost his job a month later. There’s talk the Devils could replace interim GM Tom Fitzgerald. If so, that person could bring in his own bench boss.

TSN: Mark Master reports ice makers in the 31 NHL arenas will face a daunting challenge if the league returns to action this summer.

THE SCORE: The 2019-20 Canadian Hockey League playoffs and the 2020 Memorial Cup have been canceled. It’s the first time in the Cup’s 102-year history that it won’t be awarded to Canada’s top junior team.










Olympics At The Forefront As NHL CBA Talks Resume

Olympics At The Forefront As NHL CBA Talks Resume

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2019

The Lightning edged the Sabres in the first game of the 2019 Global Series, 2020 Global Series sites and teams revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in the first of their two-game NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Yanni Gourde scored for the Bolts while Sam Reinhart tallied both Sabres’ goals. Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka left the game following a low-bridge hit by Kucherov, who could face supplemental discipline.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov was among the scorers in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the 2020 NHL Global Series in Stockholm (Photo via NHL Images).

Robby Fabbri scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Boston Bruins 4-2. It was Fabbri’s first game with the Wings since they acquired him in a trade with the St. Louis Blues earlier in the week. Anthony Mantha also tallied a goal and an assist for the Wings. Bruins winger David Pastrnak picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 14 games.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen turned in a 29-save shutout performance in a 4-0 blanking of the New Jersey Devils. Leon Draisaitl scored to extend his points streak to eight games while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Chiasson had two points each. Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen left the game in the first period after being elbowed in the head by Chiasson.

The Winnipeg Jets extended their points streak to four games with a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves while Kyle Connor scored and collected an assist. Earlier in the day, the Jets reassigned defenceman Ville Heinola from the Manitoba Moose to Lukko Rauma in the Finnish Liiga.

HEADLINES

The NHL announced it will stage regular-season games next season in the Czech Republic and Finland in the 2020 NHL Global Series and preseason contests in Germany and Switzerland as part of the 2020 Global Series challenge. The Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators will take part in the Global Series Challenge while the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off in the Global Series.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman remains resistant to his league’s participation in the Winter Olympics. “I don’t want to sound like a broken record on the subject, but I think going to the Olympics is a challenge for us,” Bettman said during a press conference Friday at the Global Games in Sweden. He feels the Olympic break is very disruptive to the NHL season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Artem Anisimov was placed on injured reserve with a nagging groin injury. There’s no timetable for his return.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov is sidelined indefinitely after taking a puck to the face during Thursday’s win over the Nashville Predators. He joins sidelined Avs Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Colin Wilson, and Philipp Grubauer.

CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno (lower body) is questionable for tonight’s contest against the Arizona Coyotes.

NJ.COM: A New Jersey Devils spectator struck by a puck during a 2017 game filed a lawsuit against the club.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2018

Jets re-sign Josh Morrissey plus the latest on Victor Rask, Brent Seabrook, Mika Zibanejad and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets re-signed Josh Morrissey to a two-year contract worth $6.3 million. The annual average value is $3.15 million.

Winnipeg Jets re-sign Josh Morrissey to a two-year contract. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable contract for Morrissey coming off his entry-level contract. He quickly blossomed into a reliable top-four defenseman in just two NHL seasons. If he continues to develop as projected he’ll be in line for a considerable raise on his next deal.

Morrissey’s new contract could also affect restricted free agent blueliners such as Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse and Vegas’ Shea Theodore. More on that later this morning in the Rumors section.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER’s Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes forward Victor Rask could be sidelined for months. He accidentally sliced tendons and fingers on his right hand last week preparing food at home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Rask, who was hoping to bounce back from a 31-point performance last season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook returned to the ice Sunday after missing the opening two days of training camp with an abdominal injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad avoided serious injury following a collision with a teammate during a training-camp practice yesterday. He left practice but cleared all concussion testing. Rangers coach David Quinn said Zibanejad had the wind knocked out of him but was otherwise fine.

LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed assistant coach Kirk Muller to a two-year contract extension. 

TSN: Calgary Flames co-owner Clay Riddell passed away on Sunday. He was 81. “Riddell joined Flames ownership in 2003 after spending much of his life building oil and gas companies, including Paramount Resources.”

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

CALGARY SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s efforts to grow the game in China doesn’t necessarily mean it will participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Though Bettman didn’t say the league has slammed the door on the possibility, he said 2022 “is a long ways off and lots of things can happen between now and then.” The NHL declined to participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, citing the disruption to their regular-season schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact Bettman is playing coy about the 2022 Games suggests the folks at NHL headquarters could be willing to take part provided certain conditions are met. While the league made a lot of noise about team owners unhappiness over shuttering the schedule for two-three weeks in midseason for the Olympics, I believe the real reason is they weren’t getting a bigger slice of the Olympic revenue pie. If the International Olympic Committee dangles more cash in front of the NHL, the owners could be more likely to go along.