NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2020

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.

Completing the regular season might not be possible for the NHL.

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.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sam McCaig looks at the all-time single-season scoring and wins leaders for all 31 NHL teams. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the names on these lists might surprise you. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2020

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. 


Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (Photo via NHL.com).

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.   

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.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2020

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.

Could the NHL stage the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a neutral, quarantined site?

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.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2019

Connor McDavid has a career night plus the latest on T.J. Brodie, Sidney Crosby, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected a career-high six points in one game to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Colorado Avalanche 6-2. McDavid also tallied his second hat trick in three games while linemate Leon Draisaitl had five assists. It was the Oilers’ third win in their last four games. The Avalanche received some good news earlier in the day, as defenseman Nikita Zadorov (broken jaw) will rejoin them in Vancouver for Saturday’s game against the Canucks.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid netted six points in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ dynamic duo feasted on the Avalanche’s inexperienced goaltending, chasing Adam Werner after he gave up five goals on 18 shots. That doesn’t detract from their remarkable performance in this game. McDavid and Draisaitl are the best one-two offensive punch in the NHL today. Draisaitl sits atop the league scoring race with 41 points while McDavid is second with 37. Draisaitl is on pace for 160 points, McDavid 145.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and added three assists in a 9-3 thumping of the New York Rangers. Five of the Lightning’s goals came on the power play. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Alex Killorn each had three-point performances. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko missed the game with the flu.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew 3-1 and 4-3 leads before downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Hurricanes wingers Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and two assists. The Sabres are winless in six games (0-4-2). Earlier in the day, they learned winger Marcus Johansson will miss three games with an upper-body injury,.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ recent performance is drawing comparisons to the same time last season when they started strong in October and faltered in November. They would eventually collapse and tumble out of playoff contention. Avoiding a repeat will be Ralph Krueger’s first big test since taking over as Sabres’ head coach earlier this year.

The Dallas Stars extended their points streak to seven by doubling up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Tyler Seguin, Joe Pavelski, and Miro Heiskanen led the way with two points each. The Canucks have dropped five of their last six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Sabres, the Canucks also face trying to avoid a repeat of last November’s season-killing slump following a hot October.

Tomas Hertl’s two-goal performance in the San Jose Sharks 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks was overshadowed by his departure in the third period with a suspected leg injury. The Sharks extended their win streak to a season-high five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Hertl for a significant period would be a big loss for the Sharks’ offense. He’s their leading scorer with 21 points in 20 games.

Mark Scheifee and Patrik Laine each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Florida Panthers 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers.

Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway snapped a 2-2 third-period tie to give his club a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

Alex Iafallo’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Tyler Bertuzzi scored both Wings’ goals.


CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman TJ Brodie was discharged from hospital last night after being stretched off the ice from practice earlier in the day. Brodie suddenly collapsed and went into convulsions during a routine drill. He was immediately treated by the team medical staff and rushed to a hospital, where he was described as alert and responsive. The club will provide a further update later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping this wasn’t anything serious and he makes a full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is sidelined for six weeks following successful sports-hernia surgery. Alternate captain Evgeni Malkin acknowledged his readiness to step up in Crosby’s absence.

TORONTO SUN: The charge of disorderly conduct against Auston Matthews was dismissed after the Maple Leafs center settled with the female security guard who filed a complaint against him in Arizona.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks won’t receive salary-cap recapture relief with Roberto Luongo joing the Florida Panthers as a special advisor. Luongo retired this summer, leaving the Canucks carrying over $3 million annually in cap recapture penalties through 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing in the current collective bargaining agreement to address this issue. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a topic of interest in the ongoing CBA talks.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders placed winger Andrew Ladd on waivers to assign him to their AHL affiliate. If he clears as expected on Friday, Ladd will be re-assigned to the AHL affiliate and remain on LTIR following a voluntary five-game conditioning stint. The club feels he needs more time strengthening his surgically repaired knee in the minors before he’s NHL-ready.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bobby Orr came to the defense of friend and former coach Don Cherry, calling his firing from Hockey Night in Canada disgraceful. “I have known him a long time and I know he is not a bigot or a racist. He is the most honest and generous guy there is. He’s very good to the veterans, the police, the firefighters, minor hockey players, and fans.”

The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite Team: Central Division

The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite Team: Central Division


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their eighth consecutive win by edging the Boston Bruins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Cam Atkinson. Rookie Ryan Donato made a memorable debut with a goal and two assists for the injury-ravaged Bruins, who were playing without winger Rick Nash and defenseman Adam McQuaid. The Jackets (85 points) move into a tie with the Philadelphia Flyers for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne picked up his 40th win of the season with a 35-save shutout of the Buffalo Sabres. Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the Predators, who extended their points streak to 15 games.

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 76th career NHL shutout in a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images)

Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo collected his 76th career shutout backstopping his club to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Aaron Ekblad and Aleksander Barkov were the goal scorers. The Panthers (79 points) sit three points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Dustin Brown’s game-tying goal set the stage for Jeff Carter’s overtime winner as the Los Angeles Kings rallied to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Carter scored twice and Drew Doughty had three assists for the Kings (86 points), who maintained their hold on third place in the Pacific Division. Wild center Eric Staal scored his 39th of the season and sits just three shy of Marian Gaborik’s franchise record of 42 goals.

The Calgary Flames’ fading playoff hopes suffered another blow as the Arizona Coyotes scored four unanswered goals on route to a 5-2 win. The Flames (80 points) sit six points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.  Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson became the sixth Swedish defenseman in NHL history to tally 100 career goals.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis McElhinney are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 18, 2018.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is sidelined “for the foreseeable future with what is most likely a concussion,” though the club maintained that diagnosis has yet to be made. Trouba currently remains in concussion protocol. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin (concussion) is sidelined indefinitely. 

TORONTO STAR: With a playoff spot assured and five of their last nine games, the Maple Leafs are in no hurry to bring back sidelined first-line center Auston Matthews, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury. 

NBC SPORTS: Some Ottawa Senators fans have expressed their frustrations with team owner Eugene Melnyk by putting up four billboards in downtown Ottawa calling for Melnyk to sell the club. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s unlikely Melnyk will be moved by the billboards, but he should at least consider the reasons why some fans are taking this unusual step. He’s been the target of growing annoyance among Sens followers for the club’s disappointing performance this season, fueled in part by his tone-deaf criticisms of their support and his recent veiled threat to move the franchise. Melnyk has his work cut out for him to repair his relationship with the fans, though he’s shown little interest thus far in doing so. 

TSN: NHL general managers are weighing potential change to goaltender interference. Those changes, however, are unlikely to be implemented before the end of this season. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:  Larry Kwong, the NHL’s first player of Asian descent, passed away last week at age 94. Kwong played one game with the Rangers in 1947-48. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kwong’s family and friends. 

Happy birthday to Bobby Orr, the greatest defenseman in NHL history. Orr turns 70 today.