2020 NHL Awards: Hart, Norris, and Selke Finalists
Hart Trophy Finalists revealed, plus the latest on Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Toews, Carter Hart, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are this season’s finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the player adjudged most valuable to his team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three are also the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award honoring the most valuable player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.
LATEST NOTABLE PHASE 3 TRAINING CAMP NEWS
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has a small fracture in one of the fingers on his left hand but he doesn’t believe that will impede his play. He said the injury happened several weeks ago and it’s feeling much better.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nevertheless, you can bet opposing players will test that hand by firing more shots to his glove hand wherever possible.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews left practice early on Monday and was out for Tuesday’s scrimmages. Coach Jeremy Colliton said Toews was “unfit to participate”, citing league protocols.
Meanwhile, Corey Crawford’s chances of returning to the ice before the Blackhawks head to Edmonton on Sunday appear to be dwindling. Teams are allowed to bring 31 players to the upcoming playoff tournament. The club isn’t ruling out saving a roster spot for Crawford.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford hasn’t participated in Phase 3 training, sparking speculation he’s nursing an injury. Without their starting goaltender, the Blackhawks could face long odds of upsetting the favored Edmonton Oilers in their qualifying round tournament.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart left the ice during the first period of a three-period scrimmage yesterday and didn’t return. Because of league injury protocols, the Flyers provided no details for Hart’s departure. Local broadcaster Colby Cohen said he was told Hart experienced minor back spasms and could return in a day or two.
CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman returned to the ice Tuesday after missing a pair of practices to a leg injury suffered when he blocked a shot on Friday.
TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester won’t be traveling with the club to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament. He’s been sidelined since suffering a cardiac incident on Feb. 11 during a game with the Anaheim Ducks.
Speaking of the Blues, STLTODAY.COM reports Ivan Barbashev will miss one or two round-robin games and the start of the opening round of the playoffs to attend the birth of his child. He’ll have to test negative for COVID-19 four times in four days before he can rejoin his teammates in Edmonton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Capitals forward Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin will also be departing the quarantine bubble in Toronto to be with their wives when they give birth. They’ll have to go through the same testing before rejoining the Capitals.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports every player traveling to the bubble cities in Edmonton and Toronto for the upcoming playoff tournament must have three negative COVID-19 tests within a 48-hour period.
Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.
NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.
WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.
SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.
Vancouver is out as a possible hub city, the latest CBA news, an update on the 2020 draft lottery, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
LATEST HUB CITY NEWS
VANCOUVER SUN: The city of Vancouver is no longer in the running to become one of the two hub cities for Phase 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Reports indicate the league was looking for some sort of waiver from British Columbia’s positive-test protocols. One example cited was the province of Ontario, where someone who tests positive but is asymptomatic can still return to work. League officials have said one player testing positive shouldn’t be ground to prevent a team from playing on.
TSN: The league is now shifting its focus to hosting bids from Edmonton and Toronto. Alberta’s chief medical officer signed off on a health-and-safety plan for a host city presented by the Oilers Entertainment Group.
Pierre LeBrun reports Los Angeles and Chicago are on standby in case the NHL cannot put a hub city in Canada to go along with Las Vegas. He also said an announcement probably won’t happen until Monday or Tuesday so as not to conflict with tonight’s draft lottery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league seems quite keen for a hub city in Canada. Edmonton looks like the front-runner now. It appears Las Vegas remains a lock as one of the hub cities despite the recent rise of COVID-19 in that city and the state of Nevada.
UPDATE ON POSSIBLE CBA CHANGES
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the full membership of the NHL Players’ Association will vote on a comprehensive return-to-play proposal. It would include a collective bargaining agreement extension plus the health protocols for training camp and the playoff tournament once negotiations between the league and the PA conclude.
Rangers winger Artemi Panarin raised concern about escrow payments. He said the players cannot resume play until there is an agreement in place.
“For nearly two decades, the Players have protected the owners income with escrow, including throughout this pandemic crisis, in which owners equity has continued to grow exponentially,” wrote Panarin. “It is time to fix the escrow.”
Brooks cites sources indicating the proposal generated by the league and the PA would include a cap on escrow on a de-linked flat salary cap expected to be around $83 million for at least the next three seasons as both sides continue to deal with the economic issues caused by the pandemic.
He suggested that the cap number could change over time. The excess could roll over two or three years, but a hard cap on escrow would be gradually implemented throughout the extension. Brooks also said the players would be responsible to make up 14 percent of escrow for this season.
THE SCORE: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler is also calling for changes to escrow.
“It’s about time … the owners need to understand we’re done paying their debts,” Kesler said. “You run your team into the ground it’s on you …. if there’s a pandemic it’s on the owners … figure it out it’s not a free ride.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites sources claiming the escrow cap would be at 20 percent for 2020-21. There would also be a one-season-only salary deferral of 10 percent by every player. It would not be a rollback as the players would get that money back in the future, meaning the escrow on that money would be lower.
Friedman also reports the cap could be kept close to $81.5 million for the next three seasons. It could increase by $1 million in 2022-23.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he wouldn’t feel comfortable having an NHLPA vote right now.
“There’s still a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said. “We have obviously a unique situation right now. The NHL and the NHLPA are trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. So moving forward I’d like to play, but we have a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of scenarios that need to be covered before I can vote yea or nea.”
The pandemic struck close to home for Price, as the mother of one of his good friends died earlier this year after contracting COVID-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players will determine the fate of the return-to-play plan. The tournament and a possible extension to the CBA could be derailed if they reject the proposal. I don’t blame them for trying to leverage this to their favor, but it remains to be seen if the majority support that power play.
UPDATE ON 2020 NHL DRAFT LOTTERY
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will be held tonight at 8 pm ET at the NHL Network studios in New Jersey. For the first time, there won’t be representatives from the various clubs in the lottery because of COVID-19.
McKenzie took to Twitter indicating the league has a Plan B for what will happen to the draft lottery and order of selection if the return-to-play plan doesn’t go through. He doesn’t know what it could be but cited one NHL GM suggesting the league should resort to the rules of the 2005 draft in which all teams would be eligible for the first-overall pick.
NBC SPORTS: has a draft lottery primer, including the top prospects, the odds for the NHL teams, and a brief explanation of the potential two phases of the lottery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Detroit Red Wings have the best singular odds (18.5 percent), but the Ottawa Senators have the second-best odds (13.5 percent) and hold the San Jose Sharks pick (11.5 percent). Rimouski Oceanic forward Alexis Lafreniere is considered the top prospect.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE SCORE: The NHL could play daily triple-headers if play resumes.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: As of Thursday not a single member of the Winnipeg Jets roster has returned to Winnipeg for Phase 2. They could be kept off the ice by Manitoba’s quarantine protocols for 14 days unless they receive an exemption. It would affect their efforts to resume skating in preparation for the start of training camp on July 10.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is now a major shareholder of Tappara Tempere, his hometown club in Finland. He also claims he and his Panthers teammates are looking forward to resuming the season
THE SCORE: Seattle’s KeyArena will be renamed Climate Pledge Arena after Amazon bought its naming rights.
Talk of resuming the NHL season in North Dakota, plus the latest on Robin Lehner, Seth Jones, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL and NHLPA are spitballing scenarios over where the remainder of the 2019-20 NHL season/playoff games could be played. One suggestion is staging a tournament-style schedule in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Other locales are also being discussed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most fans and pundits are writing off this season, but the NHL and NHLPA will explore every viable option to at least stage the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s more than just about crowning a Stanley Cup champion, as they also want to reduce their revenue losses. Canceling the season will reportedly cost them up to $1.1 billion in lost hockey-related revenue.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly will reportedly provide an update today to the league board of governors. It’s expected to focus on the recent talks between US President Donald Trump and the heads of the respective major professional sports leagues and organizations. The various models for a potential return to action could also be discussed.
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner recently celebrated his second year of sobriety by taking to Twitter to thank his family and friends for reaching that milestone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Lehner for turning his life and career around. Here’s hoping he has many more years of happiness.
ESPN.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones has resumed skating at the club’s training facility. He’s recovering from ankle surgery. As an injured player, he’s allowed to work out on team property as part of his rehab.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones should be ready to return to the Jackets’ lineup if the NHL returns this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau finds his professional and personal life in limbo because of the coronavirus. He was traded to the Islanders from the Ottawa Senators at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He and his wife are still searching for a home.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights will donate meals to doctors, nurses and employees at local hospitals who are working during the coronavirus pandemic.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets training camp invitee Egor Sokolov is helping to deliver groceries around Sydney, Nova Scotia. Sokolov plays for the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.