NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2020

​The NHLPA executive board has approved further negotiations for a 24-team tournament. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL Players’ Association executive board (comprised of 31 player representatives) voted Friday to authorize further negotiations with the NHL for a 24-team tournament format to award the Stanley Cup. The PA released a statement indicating several details remain to be negotiated before an agreement is reached on all issues relevant to returning to play.

The Home Of The Players | NHLPA.comThose issues include a timeline for returning to action, ensuring health and safety protocols for players and teams, the potential inclusion of family members in the hub cities, and the economic implications.

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reported the PA vote was 29-2 in favor of the return-to-play format. “Now you have to expect the league will make an announcement on the format sometime next week.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some concern over how many reps would vote in favor of the format. While there was reportedly some heated discussion over the matter, it’s clear the overwhelming majority were willing to accept it. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Pittsburgh Penguins player rep Kris Letang was among those who voted yes. “At the end of the day, nobody gets exactly what they want,” he said. “But, we all want what is best for hockey and to continue to grow the game.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An erroneous report last night claimed the Penguins had voted against it. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports several complex issues still must be resolved before this tournament can proceed. “It remains to be seen whether outstanding matters involving health and safety protocols; quasi-quarantine for perhaps up to 10 weeks within a hub city and separation from family; rules of engagement on the ice, and financial considerations including the players’ escrow obligations will be as difficult to navigate as this one that proved difficult.”

Brooks also points out there are “immigration, visa matters, and travel restrictions that must be resolved by government agencies” that must be sorted out before the league can resume play.

THE SCORE: cited Friedman yesterday indicating the players voted against a proposed best-of-three tournament because of concerns it could give an advantage to Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

“They felt it was not acceptable enough for the teams that had a better regular season and Pittsburgh looked at its matchup and it said ‘two out of three against Carey Price is not fair for a team that had zero percentage points to play in the playoffs.'”

“I did hear that the Western teams – and now it’s going to be Edmonton – they were like, ‘two out of three with Patrick Kane? I mean come on.’ But it wasn’t at the same level as Price.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial reports earlier this week that some player reps raised objections about facing Price in a best-of-three were greeted with skepticism and scorn by some NHL fans on social media. The Canadiens goalie isn’t the dominant player he once was, but there’s no denying his peers respect him enough to believe he can steal a short series. 

TSN: Rick Westhead reports Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, is encouraging NHL players to ensure the league and the teams commit in writing “to covering the costs of medical care, including rehabilitation, hospitalization, prescriptions and counseling” for any players who contract COVID-19 during the course of their employment.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets winger Patrik Laine is looking forward to returning to action, but admits his game will be a little rusty. “If I look at myself and think about myself, my game’s probably going to look terrible since I haven’t skated for two months, and it’s always a struggle to come back after a long period when you haven’t skated,” Laine said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why there will be a training camp period of two-to-three weeks before the tournament begins. It will allow the players time to regain their skills while also avoiding serious injury from the long layoff. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2020

Some players express reluctance about resuming the season, a look at some possible neutral-site host cities and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines,


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the NHL is expected to extend its quarantine period from April 30 to May 15. He also said there will be a call today between the league and the NHL Players’ Association to discuss player concerns regarding a resumption of the season. Those issues include travel and quarantine issues for European players returning to North America, the potential period players could be separated from their families, and the expense of continuing the schedule in divisional host cities.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The state of Texas is reopening, but Stars general manager Jim Nill said he’ll await approval from the league before allowing his players to resume small-group training at the team’s facilities.

Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault recently expressed concern about resuming the NHL season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players, such as the Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty, the Montreal Canadiens’ Phillip Danault, and the New York Islanders’ Ryan Pulock, expressed skepticism about returning to action or concern about lengthy family separations. Others, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jake Muzzin, said they’re looking forward to restarting the season.

Any plan to continue playing will require the NHLPA’s approval. While the concerns of some players are certainly justified, the possibility of larger escrow deductions from their salaries next season could tip the scales in the league’s favor.

If the NHL cancels the season, it will lose around $1.1 billion in hockey-related revenue. That reportedly means over 40 percent of the players’ salaries for 2020-21 will be clawed back. Completing this season would recoup between $400 million and $500 million, meaning next season’s escrow number would be around 20 percent. That’s still higher than the usual 12-to-15 percent escrow clawbacks, but more palatable than 40 percent.

Pierre LeBrun reports the league is also considering starting up the 2020-21 season in December if the end of the current season stretches into September or October. A December start also means a better chance of having fans back in the arenas again.

Bob McKenzie reports a decision on when to stage the 2020 NHL Draft could be made next week. He’s pessimistic that it could be held in June before the resumption of the season, citing the negative reaction to the idea around the league.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford expects the NHL will follow the National Football League’s lead in staging a virtual draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL canceled the remainder of the season and playoffs, it would make sense to hold the draft in June. The issues raised by staging the draft before resuming the season in July, such as sorting out the draft order and addressing conditional draft picks moved in trades earlier this season, would create unnecessary headaches and unpopular solutions.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/EDMONTON JOURNAL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Tampa Bay, Edmonton, and Columbus are among the clubs under consideration to become divisional host cities if the NHL season resumes this summer.

OTTAWA SUN: Don’t expect Ottawa to be a neutral site location. A lack of suitable hotels and their proximity to the rink are among the issues.

SPORTSNET: The NHL is selling team-branded face coverings with the proceeds going to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada COVID-19 Response Funds.



THE SCORE: Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom will undergo his final treatments as he makes progress against Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. “He feels great, considering the condition he’s in. He’s such a great kid and he’s determined. His focus is to play as soon as possible,” said Flyers assistant general manager Brett Flahr.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Lindblom makes a full recovery and resumes his NHL career.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Recently retired NHL player Joel Ward hopes to become a coach with the San Jose Sharks. Ward said he’s chatted with management several times.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes Foundation donated $478,000 during the 2019-20 season, including cash grants, to 26 local nonprofits and youth hockey organizations in North Carolina.