The NHL’s Most Unassailable Records
Recaps from Saturday’s action, the Senators send Paquette and Galchenyuk to the Hurricanes for Dzingel, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk scored in the dying seconds of the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. Evgenii Dadonov scored the game-tying in the second period. Mark Scheifele tallied for the Jets. The Senators snapped a four-game losing skid.
Earlier in the day, the Senators traded forwards Cedric Paquette and Alex Galchenyuk to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Ryan Dzingel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paquette was the prize for the Hurricanes as they sought to add more grit and playoff experience to their forward lines. He’d won a Stanley Cup last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning before they shipped him to the Senators in an offseason cost-cutting move.
The Senators hope to boost their anemic scoring punch by reacquiring Dzingel, whose best seasons were in Ottawa before he was traded in 2019 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He signed later that year with the Hurricanes but struggled to regain his scoring touch. The 28-year-old winger is in the final year of his contract so the Sens won’t be on the hook for long if he doesn’t pan out.
Galchenyuk is now on his sixth team since 2017-18. His production has steadily deteriorated and was a frequent healthy scratch with the Sens this season.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, they downed the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. The Stars have dropped their last five games.
The San Jose Sharks dropped their belated home opener 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Chandler Stephenson tallied a goal and collected an assist for the Golden Knights. The Sharks also lost defensemen Erik Karlsson (lower body) and Radim Simek (upper body) to injuries.
Third-period goals by Mathew Barzal and Jean-Gabriel Pageau carried the New York Islanders to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins, snapping the latter’s 10-game points streak. Pageau had two goals for the Isles, including a short-handed tally.
Tyler Johnson scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning netted four first-period goals on route to a 6-1 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves for the Lightning, who also announced Anthony Cirelli was listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Panthers.
Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher tallied the tie-breaker as his club edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 to end the latter’s four-game win streak. Habs goaltender Carey Price made 21 saves. Leafs center Auston Matthews picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games.
The St. Louis Blues nipped the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 on an overtime goal by Mike Hoffman. The Coyotes played without forward Johan Larsson as he’s serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Blues forward Zach Sanford in their previous match.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the sixth straight game between the two clubs due to schedule changes brought on by COVID-19. They’ve each won three games with the final contest in this unexpected best-of-seven slated for Monday.
Alex DeBrincat’s overtime goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrick Kane collected two assists including one on the game-winner. Patrik Laine and Cam Atkinson replied for the Jackets.
The Detroit Red Wings doubled up the Nashville Predators 4-2. Wings forward Luke Glendening had a goal and two assists. The Predators pulled goalie Pekka Rinne after he gave up three goals on 21 shots.
Third-period goals by Tyler Myers and Brandon Sutter gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The win ended a six-game losing skid by the Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves for the Flames. Before the games, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini tweeted his “full confidence” in general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. “Progression is not always a straight line,” tweeted Aquilini. “There is no easy fix, only patience, commitment and hard work.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will buy some time for Benning and Green but we’ll see if they still have Aquilini’s confidence by season’s end if the Canucks miss the playoffs.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon has fully recovered from his lower-body injury and will be ready to suit up when the Colorado Avalanche face the Vegas Golden Knights today. It’ll be the Avs’ first game since their schedule was postponed by COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago.
NEW YORK POST: Former Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo took responsibility for the mistakes in his on-ice play during an interview with Larry Brooks on Friday. He also claimed he’s been misportrayed in the media. “I’m not a racist, I’m not an extremist and I’m not an insurrectionist”, said DeAngelo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo remains sidelined by the Rangers as they attempt to trade him to another NHL club.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins have made requests to the governor and the state of Pennsylvania seeking permission to open their arena to spectators at 25 percent capacity.
TORONTO STAR: Long-time hockey writer Frank Orr passed away Saturday at age 84. Winner of numerous sportswriting honors, Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He rose to fame during the 1960s and 1970s with his NHL coverage, particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also mentored countless sportswriters, many of whom still cover the NHL today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Orr’s family, friends and colleagues.
The NHL is still pushing for a mid-January start to 2020-21, the Wild sign Andrew Hammond as Alex Stalock remains sidelined, the Blackhawks name Stan Bowman president of hockey operations, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said the 2020-21 season could start in mid-January with a shortened schedule, a temporary divisional realignment with one of them composing all seven Canadian teams, division games only, and games in home arenas, hub cities or a combination of both.
Bettman indicated discussions between the NHL and NHL Players Association are ongoing as they try to adjust to government regulations at every level arising from COVID-19. He reiterated that playing an entire season in a quarantine bubble similar to the 2020 playoffs isn’t feasible. However, the league could consider moving teams toward a hub if enough of them cannot hold training camps or games in their home arenas due to local restrictions.
The commissioner maintains the biggest challenge facing the league remains to ensure the health and safety of the players and the support staff while ensuring they’re not doing anything that puts local communities at risk.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports five cities are under consideration if the NHL begins the season in hub locations. “Columbus, Newark, Vegas, and Toronto/Edmonton” are potential hubs but they won’t be permanent bubbles as in the playoffs.
KUKLA’S KORNER: cites TSN’s Frank Seravalli tweeting he’s heard the NHL is considering a triple header for opening night, centered around the Tampa Bay Lightning raising its 2020 Stanley Cup banner (“vs. CHI?”), with a “big East clash (NYR/BOS?) first and marquee West matchup late (COL/STL?).” While the league remains focused on a Jan. 13 start, Seravalli said they’re not beholden to that date. “Could be a week later.”
THE SCORE: cited Seravalli reporting Bettman sought the council of Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health over the course of the pandemic. Fauci recommended the best way to start the NHL season safely was to do so in hub cities. While that’s not the preference of the teams and the players, Seravalli said that option remains on the table.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Quebec premier Francois Legault believes the Canadiens and the league can put measures in place to protect the players. The Habs are hoping to receive permission to stage training camp at its practice facility in Brossard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m growing skeptical that the league can stage its season-opener on Jan. 13. Recent reports suggest a vote of approval by the league board of governors and the NHLPA executive would have to come by the end of this week to meet the necessary timelines.
The 2020-21 season will take place. The team owners and the players want it to happen. However, it could take a little longer than expected to reach an agreement because of the work required to address the issues raised by the pandemic. Jan. 13 remains possible but I wouldn’t be surprised if the season opener gets moved into late January.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. It’s expected promising Kaapo Kahkonen will back up starter Cam Talbot to begin the 2020-21 season. Talbot was signed in October to a three-year, $11 million contract.
The Wild also confirmed the signing of goalie Andrew Hammond to a one-year, two-way contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hammond will likely start the season with their affiliate in Iowa when the AHL begins its season on Feb. 5.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks named Stan Bowman as their president of hockey operations. He’ll retain his role as general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move has raised questions over whether Bowman can be his own boss. I wonder if this is a possible transition move if ownership decides at some point to make a change in the GM’s office.
CALGARY SUN: Former NHL goaltender Jason LaBarbera takes over as the Flames full-time goalie coach as the club announced the creation of a restructured goaltending department.
SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Hadall, the man charged with theft of hockey memorabilia from Walter Gretzky, has deep ties with the Gretzky family, as well as Hockey Hall-of-Famers Doug Gilmour and Bobby Orr. Hadall was slated for induction into the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in Parry Sound, Ontario.
Meanwhile, Ontario Provincial Police officer June Dobson also faces fraud and breach of trust charges in connection to a stick from Wayne Gretzky’s childhood sold to a memorabilia dealer for $6,000.00. The two cases aren’t related but the Dobson case stemmed from the Hadall investigation. She was a friend of Walter Gretzky for many years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both have not been convicted of the charges and remain innocent until proven guilty. If the latter, they would’ve taken advantage of one of the kindest men in hockey.
An update on the league’s return-to-play plans, the Ducks re-sign two players and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports a source claiming the NHL’s return-to-play plans have been narrowed down to two scenarios. The first involves a 24-team format in which the top four teams play for playoff seeding while the bottom teams would have postseason play-in games. The second involves going straight into the usual 16-team playoff format with no attempt to salvage the regular season.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Gross via e-mail every option considered by the league remains on the table. “Obviously, some may be being explored more extensively than others. But no decisions have been made,” wrote Daly.
Many health and logistic issues confront any of the league’s attempts to return to action, including self-quarantining of players and international travel restrictions. Some players expressed concern over the possibility of spending up to three months separated from their families while playing in four neutral-site host cities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gross also reports his source claiming the NHL was hell-bent on including regular-season games if play resumed. It would recoup more of its losses by completing the regular-season schedule. With the pandemic ongoing and social-distancing rules varying from market-to-market, that might not be possible. The health, logistic and family concerns cited by Gross could force the league into returning with a shorter format.
Gross also pointed out there’s been no clarity over determining which teams would return under 16 or 24 team playoff scenarios. However, it’s assumed points percentage will be the measuring stick.
THE SCORE: NHL legend Bobby Orr told TSN’s James Duthie he doesn’t see anything wrong with the NHL attempting to restart the season, but he cautions against trying to do it too quickly.
“We just cannot come back until the players are safe, the families are safe, anybody connected with those games, around the games, if they do come back, (we have to make sure) that everyone is safe.”
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed defenseman Brendan Guhle and center Sam Carrick to contract extensions Sunday. Guhle signed a two-season, $1.6-million contract and Carrick signed a one-season, $700,000 deal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: A Russian hockey website claims Oilers forward Markus Granlund will sign with KHL club Ufa Salavat Yuleaev next season. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and struggled to earn playing time with the Oilers this season. It’s believed the two sides have already agreed on a contract.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Concussion injuries have brought Ben Sexton’s playing career to a close. The 28-year-old forward spent most of his professional career in the minors, seeing two NHL games with the Ottawa Senators in 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sexton missed all of this season with a concussion. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the names on these lists might surprise you.
Latest on the league’s plans for the schedule and the draft, the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont cites Bruins president Cam Neely pointing out the NHL and its TV partners would have the opportunity of trying new camera angles if the schedule resumes without fans in arenas. That would include perhaps mounting some cameras in lower-bowl seats or along the top of the glass that surrounds the boards.
“Even closer to the action, league broadcast executives also have toyed with the idea of embedding cameras directly into the boards, or perhaps mounting them directly behind the boards with lenses shooting the action through small portals drilled into the boards.”
Another option could be mounting small Go-Pro cameras to players’ helmets, though the NHLPA would have to agree to it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a great opportunity to provide fans watching on television with some different angles they otherwise wouldn’t see. It would be a great way to give them the feeling that they’re in the game, especially for those who’ve never attended a live NHL contest.
I’m hearing of something of a potential turf battle brewing between NHL and NBA over having Vegas as a main neutral site for playoffs
— Adrian Dater (@adater) May 8, 2020
SPORTSNET: Mixed feelings persist among NHL executives over the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft before the resumption of the season. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was diplomatic when questioned about his take. “We’re just going to try to prepare as though it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s not going to be normal regardless of what it is, so we’re fine with whatever is decided.”
Player agent Allan Walsh, however, said most general managers he’s spoken with aren’t happy with the idea. “I have not talked to one GM who likes it, and I talk to almost all of them.” Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is among them. “I haven’t heard a good reason why we should do it prior to the end of the season if we do conclude the season over the course of the summer,” he said. Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake, however, indicated he and his staff are “quite comfortable with either scenario.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m against it, and not because I’m some old-school guy who’s against “outside-the-box” thinking. I’m against it because the league higher-ups believe it’s going to draw big TV ratings and generate excitement among sports fans heading toward the restart of the schedule. I doubt it, especially when the most exciting component of the draft – the possibility of a major trade involving established players – probably won’t be permitted.
What will generate fan excitement is training camp and exhibition games taking place leading up to the proposed resumption of the schedule in July. Save the draft for when the season is over.
Just talked to an NHL GM who said the league has been consistent in telling teams they will have at least one month’s notice for the draft. So right now, we’re looking at mid-June at the earliest — Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) May 9, 2020
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Today is the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the first Stanley Cup Final game I ever saw. I was seven-years-old at the time, and the only reason I got to see it was because it was an afternoon game. That goal was seared into my memory and made me a life-long Bobby Orr fan. He did many amazing things throughout his career and truly changed the game with his style of play, but it’s that goal everyone remembers. It wasn’t the prettiest goal Orr ever scored, but it’s certainly among hockey’s most memorable.
CALGARY SUN: Flames center Sean Monahan hopes the season resumes this summer. “Everybody is just looking forward to get back with one another and push each other to get to that end goal,” he said. That end goal being, of course, the Stanley Cup.
THE SCORE: If the league resumes play this summer, Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone will be ready to return from the lower-body injury that sidelined him before the schedule was paused by the pandemic.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang made an unspecified donation intended to provide meals to the Students and Families Food Relief Fund and the Knead Community Cafe in the Pittsburgh area.
More speculation on how the NHL might salvage the season, plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Todd Reirden, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly held a conference call with the league board of governors, but the fate of the season remains cloudy. The league and the NHL Players Association still hope to complete the remainder of the schedule and stage the 2020 playoffs to avoid the USD 1 billion revenue hit by canceling the season.
The league is studying various options, such as splitting playoff teams into four groups and staging separate tournaments at neutral sites (such as Grand Forks, ND, Manchester, NH or Saskatoon, SK) so nobody has a competitive edge. Free-agent players would extend their contracts beyond July 1 if required to play beyond then.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the following via Twitter: “(The) NHLPA is expected to release escrow money from 2018/2019 back to the players and the NHL later this week or early next. The owners share is around $230 million and the players share is $80 million.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch also reports the PA’s executive committee and the player reps are expected to hold a conference call today to discuss whether they’ll accept their final paycheques of the season. That payment is due Apr. 15 and worth $125 million. Some players want the owners to withhold that payment to reduce the escrow hit.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples predicts we’ll see the NHL playoffs staged this June in isolated locations under quarantine conditions without fans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bold prediction, but it’s a scenario the league seems to have under consideration. We’ll find out in two months whether this forecast comes to pass.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox wonders if some struggling NHL franchises, such as those in Ottawa, Arizona, Florida, and Carolina, could be forced out of business by this pandemic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman fights tooth and nail to ensure those struggling franchises stay alive. As Cox points out, he couldn’t prevent the Atlanta Thrashers from going under and moving to Winnipeg. It’ll be interesting to see what lingering effect this pandemic has on the overall health of the NHL’s 31 teams.
THE ATHLETIC: Seattle’s NHL expansion franchise has delayed revealing its nickname because of the pandemic, but general manager Ron Francis indicates the club is working with the league on the trademark and legal process. Construction is ongoing on the Seattle arena and the league anticipates it’ll be ready for the club’s inaugural season in 2021-22.
NBC SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko has fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that sidelined him since late October.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals head coach Todd Reirden revealed his son’s health is a concern. Travis Reirden was born with common variable immunodeficiency, leaving his body unable to defend against bacteria and viruses. They are taking extra steps to ensure he remains healthy.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins legend Bobby Orr write a heartfelt letter of encouragement and appreciation to the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Orr often received treatment there for injuries suffered during his playing career.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators Foundation distributed $700K to various local nonprofits.