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.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates, Sabres to terminate Patrik Berglund’s contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist and goaltender Matt Murray made 31 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Washington Capitals 2-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin saw his 15-game point streak come to an end. Washington winger Tom Wilson knocked Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak out of the game with three punches during a first-period fight between the two. An update on Oleksiak’s status is expected today.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog gave the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Habs goalie Carey Price’s ill-timed pass across his crease led to Rantanen’s game-tying goal. On a plus note for the Canadiens, they got a rare power-play goal. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres yesterday placed center Patrik Berglund on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He was recently suspended by the club for failing to report but there have been few details from either side regarding the situation. Berglund has three years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $3.85 million but that will be removed from their cap payroll once his contract is terminated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHLPA could intervene on Berglund’s behalf, though his refusal to report gives the Sabres justification to end his contract. 

NBC SPORTS: After a slow start with the San Jose Sharks, defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting his offensive groove back. With seven assists in his last six games, he now has 23 points in 35 contests.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman John Klingberg will return tonight from a six-week absence (broken hand) to face the Chicago Blackhawks.

THE SCORE: Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to return from ankle surgery on Saturday to face the Sharks.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings starting goaltender Jimmy Howard will return to action tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Howard hurt his back during warmups prior to Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes general manager John Chayka said starting goaltender Antti Raanta (lower-body injury) could miss the remainder of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta’s been out since Nov. 27. The Coyotes are 5-6-0 in his absence. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights placed winger Max Pacioretty (leg injury) on injured reserved and called up Brandon Pirri.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Marcus Kruger became the third Blackhawks to be placed on IR with a concussion within the last 10 days. Artem Anisimov recently returned but goalie Corey Crawford remains sidelined. 

EDMONTON SUN:  Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira received a two-game suspension for a cross-check to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn on Tuesday. Dunn received a $1,942.20 fine by the league for cross-checking Khaira. 

SPORTSNET: Ottawa’s National Capital Commission “is moving to terminate a development deal with Rendez-Vous LeBreton Group, which includes Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, in the wake of bitter legal infighting within the development group.” Melnyk and business partner John Ruddy have filed lawsuits against each other. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as Melnyk is the Senators’ owner, the club seems to have little chance of getting a new downtown arena. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2017

Game recaps, injury updates, Tkachuk suspended and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 36 shots while Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin scored the only goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the New York Rangers 2-0. It’s the first time in five games the Jackets scored more than once in regulation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have suffered a significant power outage so far this season. In 2016-17, they were sixth in goals for per game (3.01) and 12th in power-play percentage (19.0). They’re currently 18th in goals for per game (2.85) and have the league’s worst PP percentage (10.5). If not for Bobrovsky’s stellar goaltending over the last five games, the Jackets probably wouldn’t have won their last three games. 

Third-period goals by Tomas Tatar and Dylan Larkin gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings and Sabres are two rebuilding club heading in different directions right now. The Wings have won six of their last 10 games and hold third place in the Atlantic Division, while the Sabres have won only three of their last 10 and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. 

USA TODAY: Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk received a one-game suspension for his role in a line brawl during his club’s recent game against the Red Wings. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Good news for the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending depth, as Malcolm Subban has been activated off injured reserve. Subban could get the start in Vegas’ game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Chris Wideman will be sidelined for weeks with a ripped hamstring. 

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs re-signed winger Josh Leivo to a one-year, $925K contract extension.

SPORTSNET: With the cities of Houston and Seattle expressing interest in acquiring NHL franchises, and with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators in need of new arenas, league commissioner Gary Bettman subtly raised the heat on Calgary and Ottawa to get those venues built.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames and Senators agree to pick up a healthy portion of the construction costs, the cities of Calgary and Ottawa will certainly do their part to help those arenas get built. The problem, as always, is the ownership of those respective franchises want, or will want, the cities to pick up most of the tab. Recently re-elected Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has already made it clear that’s not something he supports, while the Ottawa city council wants to ensure its taxpayers aren’t overburdened by an arena deal. 

THE ATHLETIC: The effects of the changes in the coach’s challenge rule and the crackdown on slashing were among the items discussed during yesterday’s meeting of NHL general managers in Montreal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The general managers met in the same hotel where, 100 years ago, the NHL was born. Apart from the photo op commemorating that event, it doesn’t appear as though very much was accomplished in yesterday’s meeting. 

KUKLA’S KORNER: presents an interesting breakdown, from data provided by the NHL, of the coach’s challenges thus far this season. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2016

The Columbus Blue Jackets celebrated one of their 10 goals against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.

The Columbus Blue Jackets celebrated one of their 10 goals against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.

Game recaps, no 2017 NHL game on Parliament Hill and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell and Josh Anderson all scored twice as the Columbus Blue Jackets humiliated the Montreal Canadiens 10-0, handing the Habs their first regulation loss of the season. Canadiens backup goalie Al Montoya was in goal for the entire game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an embarrassing loss for the Canadiens. The only person to feel sorry for is Montoya, who was left hung out to dry by his coach and his teammates. They should be ashamed of themselves. You can also bet Carey Price wouldn’t have been left in that situation.  

Rickard Rakell scored twice to help the Anaheim Ducks thump the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. 

Brandon Tanev scored the first two goals of his NHL career as the Winnipeg Jets rallied to down the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. 

PHILLY.COM: Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will return to the Philadelphia Flyers lineup after missing the opening three weeks of this season to injury. 

THE DENVER POST:  The Colorado Avalanche placed center John Mitchell. 

NBC SPORTS: Free-agent forward Sean Bergenheim is returning to Europe, signing with Sweden’s Frolunda HC. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Canadian government rejected the idea of staging an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in 2017, citing “the need for uninterrupted operations of parliamentary business, public access and security.”