NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2020

The latest on the NHL’s return-to-play plan for 2020-21, an update on Elias Pettersson, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is exploring temporary hub cities, temporary divisional realignments and a reduced schedule as options for staging the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (NHL.com).

Bettman said he would never ask the players to return to a strict quarantine bubble similar to the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs for an entire season. They’re exploring teams playing in their own arenas with or without fans, depending on the location, in hubs or a hybrid system.

The commissioner suggested teams would play for 10-to-12 days in hub cities without traveling, followed by returning home to their families for a week. He indicated they would have testing protocols and other things in place. While admitting it won’t be quite as effective as in a quarantine bubble, they believe they can minimize the risks “to the extent practical and sensible.”

Bettman indicated any return-to-play plan would be a collaborative effort with the NHLPA. The two sides have been in regular and constant communication but regular meetings have yet to begin.

Border restrictions between Canada and the United States, as well as travel limitations between certain states, could force a temporary divisional realignment based on region.

Bettman also pointed to a lack of fans in the stands and casual fans being less inclined to watch hockey during the summer as two key factors why television ratings were down for the 2020 playoffs.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports deputy commissioner Bill Daly sent a memo to all 31 teams stating the league believes progress toward finalizing a recommendation for the 2020-21 season to the board of governors is being made.

If negotiations with the NHLPA can be completed by Thursday, the terms will be presented to the upcoming board of governors meeting for approval.

Daly indicated the objective remains to start on Jan. 1 with the regular-season schedule concluding in late-April. That would mean a shortened schedule of 48-56 games, with the league crowning a Stanley Cup champion before the summer and returning with a normal 82-game schedule from October to April for 2021-22.

Because of border restrictions, the seven Canadian franchises could be in their own division for at least the start of the season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL hopes to award the Stanley Cup by no later than July 15. He also said different sources have heard different potential lengths for the schedule, from as low as 56 to as high as 72 games, depending on when the season begins.

There’s a growing push for teams to play in their own buildings. One reason is the naming rights on those buildings. With fewer events, sponsorship deals could be affected.

One area of possible contention is player salaries for 2020-21. The players agreed to accept 72 percent of their gross pay for the upcoming season, but the owners feel they should be prorated if a significant decline in attendance creates losses higher than the 20 percent escrow could withstand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much of what Bettman said has already been previously reported or speculated upon. Bear in mind that those points he raises remain under consideration and haven’t officially approved.

The league’s plan also remains to have fans gradually returning to the arenas over the course of the season, with the hope of full arenas when the playoffs open in the spring. However, that’s going to depend on the severity of the pandemic in each region. Some could have loosened restrictions allowing a reduced number of socially distanced fans in the stands as we’ve seen in the NFL.

There was speculation suggesting the NHL could wait until as late as March to reopen to allow more fans into the stands by that point. Based on Garrioch’s report, however, the push remains to start in January and award the Cup by no later than mid-July to avoid having the playoffs drag on too deeply into the summer. I also think they want to avoid having to go up against the Tokyo Summer Olympics set to begin in late July.

While the league and the PA in constant talks, it’s interesting to note the supposed “return-to-play” committee still hasn’t met yet. It appears the leadership of both sides could be hashing out the framework of a plan and leave the finer details to the committee.

I’ve recently pointed out, however, the league is getting pressed for time to start on Jan. 1. All the players still have to return to their home cities. Training camps will have to begin in early-December, with the seven clubs that didn’t qualify for the 2020 playoffs probably to hit the ice by no later than the end of this month. The Christmas holiday break will also complicate an exhibition-game schedule.

THE SCORE: cites a report in The Athletic indicating the Vancouver Canucks haven’t yet begun substantive contract extension talks with Elias Pettersson. However, that lack of progress isn’t anything to be concerned about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson quickly established himself as the Canucks’ best player since his debut in 2018-19. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year that season with 66 points, followed by 66 points in 68 games last season. Pettersson, who turns 22 on Nov. 12, has yet to reach his playing prime. He’s entering the final season of his entry-level contract and will receive a significant raise in his next deal with the Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Seattle Kraken expect to have the main portion of their training facility ready to open next July.

ECHL.COM: released its schedule of critical dates that will see it gradually start its season in two stages. The first stage will see 13 teams start their seasons on Dec. 11 with the remainder beginning on Jan. 15.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2020

Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrei Vasilevskiy reach goaltending milestones, plus updates on Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Elias Pettersson, Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in a 7-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Fleury picked up his 460th career victory to move past Henrik Lundqvist into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Mark Stone led the way offensively with two goals and three assists for the Golden Knights (63 points), who moved within two points of the first-place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division. Max Pacioretty also tallied twice for Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 460th career victory in a 7-2 win over the Florida Panthers (Photo via NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Vasilevskiy set a club record with a 17-game points streak. Victor Hedman collected three assists for the surging Lightning (73 points), who sit five behind the first-overall Boston Bruins. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh left the game after being struck on the right leg by a shot from Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.

Jeff Petry scored in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Carey Price made 35 saves for the Habs (59 points), who’ve won six of their last eight games and sit five points behind the Panthers and six out of a wild-card spot. Montreal defenseman Shea Weber missed the game with a lower-body injury. He’s on injured reserve and expected to miss a week.

The Detroit Red Wings edged the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Larkin also scored twice in regulation. With 54 points, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are fading. They’re 11 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and 10 behind the third-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

New York Islanders rookie Kieffer Bellows scored the first two goals of his NHL career in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Isles overcame a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered goals. They sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 68 points.

MacKenzie Blackwood made 46 saves and picked up his first career NHL assist as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0. Miles Wood tallied twice for the Devils as the Flyers (65 points) slipped out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fifth win in their last six games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avs.

Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each scored twice to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 65 points, the Hurricanes hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Winners of just two of their last 11 contests, the struggling Coyotes (61 points) are clinging to the first Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jusse Saros kicked out 37 shots to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, who are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Nashville captain Roman Josi collected two assists. The Flames were playing without captain Mark Giordano, who’s listed as week-to-week with a hamstring injury. The Predators are now one point behind the Flames.

Andrew Copp tallied the game-winner as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the Blues 11-game home points streak. With 59 points, the Jets are one behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Brad Hunt and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist. The Wild (56 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks played without leading scorer Elias Pettersson, who missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Timo Meier scored twice and collected an assist as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. The Oilers (62 points) are two points behind the first-place Canucks in the Pacific, but only three points ahead of the ninth-overall Predators. 

HEADLINES

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook underwent successful right hip surgery on Thursday. He had surgery on his right shoulder in December and on his left hip last month. He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in September.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci will be out “for a while” with an ankle injury.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights purchased the American Hockey League team in San Antonio, Texas, and plan to move it to the Las Vegas area next season.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA will resume negotiations toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is due to expire in September 2022.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are seeking funding to stage an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium in 2021.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

Game recaps, the Penguins re-sign Marcus Pettersson, Hall-of-Famer Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: David Perron scored in regulation and the deciding goal in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues edged the Calgary Flames 5-4. Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Sanford each had two points. Blues forward Sammy Blais returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 19, but winger Oskar Sundqvist left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Sean Monahan scored twice for the Flames.

David Perron’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

Three goals in the third period lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis and Mike Reilly each had a goal and an assist. Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. Sabres captain Jack Eichel tallied his career-best 29th goal of the season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.025 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in 2018, the 23-year-old Pettersson has established himself among the Penguins’ top-four defensemen. Should he continue to improve, this contract will be a most economical signing by Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford.

Pettersson’s contract means the Penguins have over $62.7 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Their notable remaining free agents include goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, defenseman Justin Schultz, and forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Dominik Kahun and Jared McCann.

TSN: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ed Belfour was arrested on Tuesday morning in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on mischief and intoxication charges.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Belfour’s third brush with the law related to alcohol-fueled incidents. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in October 2000 and was charged with disorderly intoxication in April 2007.

WINNIPEG SUN: True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre, announced they’ll be implementing a plan to reduce prices on popular concession items such as beer, soda, bottled water, pizza, and popcorn. Over $9 million in venue improvements have been planned for this summer. Ticket prices will rise by 2.1 percent for 2020-21, the lowest increase in six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bloom seems to be off the rose a little for the Jets in Winnipeg. Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press pointed out the club’s eight-year sellout streak ended in October. There have been several games announced as sellouts where there were empty seats.

McIntyre also indicated ticket-sharing partnerships have fallen apart due to rising costs and lack of interest, while the waiting list for tickets has shrunk. He acknowledged part of the problem is the Jets are on pace for their worst home record since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights hired Steve Spott as an assistant coach.

 










Midseason NHL Sophomore Stock Watch for 2019-20

Midseason NHL Sophomore Stock Watch for 2019-20

 










An Early Look at the Top 2019-20 NHL Sophomores

An Early Look at the Top 2019-20 NHL Sophomores

 










NHL Gold & Mold: Personnel Problems Highlight Devils’ Current Struggles

NHL Gold & Mold: Personnel Problems Highlight Devils’ Current Struggles