NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2013.

The NHL officially announced its participation in the Sochi Olympics, released next season’s schedule and announced its new division names. Get the details plus the latest signings and more.

The NHL new division names were finally announced.

The NHL new division names were finally announced.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA yesterday announced it reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to allow NHL players to participate in the Sochi Olympics.

The league also released its full regular season schedule for 2013-14 and released the names of its four new divisions: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com there was little desire to move away from the geographical descriptors, believing it would be easier for the fans to follow.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I never doubted for a minute the NHL would approve player participation in the Sochi Game. They cannot afford the embarrassment of its Russian stars bolting their NHL teams to play for their country on home ice. As for the division names, I would’ve preferred if they’d named each division after an NHL great (like Howe, Orr, Gretzky or Lemieux), but ultimately it’s not a big deal. The fans will adjust to the new names.

SPORTSNET/NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Lists the highlights of the upcoming 2013-14 NHL schedule, including the Stars vs Bruins on Nov. 5 (Tyler Seguin’s return to Boston), Flyers vs Lightning on Nov. 27 (Vincent Lecavalier’s return to Tampa Bay), Red Wings vs Senators on Dec. 1 (Daniel Alfredsson’s return to Ottawa), Bruins vs Flames on Dec. 10 (Jarome Iginla’s return to Calgary), the Winter Classic on Jan 1, the Bruins vs Blackhawks on Jan 19 (Stanley Cup Final rematch), the Heritage Classic on March 2 (Senators vs Canucks, plus four other outdoor games, plus the 16-day Olympic break from Feb 9-15.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a recent report from InGoal Magazine indicating an NHLPA internal survey and informal approval at a recent meeting for the reduction in the overall height of goalie pads wasn’t specific enough for the NHL, leaving questions over interpretation and implementation of the new restrictions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully the two sides can reach an agreement on this soon, as the league’s goaltenders will have to order new pads and break them in before the season opens in October. 

CBC.CA: Insurance issues could derail Hockey Canada’s hope for an Olympic orientation camp for the Canadian men’s hockey team in August.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues GM Doug Armstrong said his club is doing everything necessary to re-sign star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, be it a short or long term deal. It’s believed the Pietrangelo camp seeks  close to $7 million per season, while the Blues may be countering with less than $6 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps it’s a three-four year deal at $6.25 million per? If they make it an eight-year deal, the Blues can use the variance rules to get a cap hit close to $6 million per or less.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Arizona State Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into possible violations of Arizona’s Open Meeting Law by the Glendale City Council during its private recent meetings with the NHL and the prospective buyers of the Phoenix Coyotes. “If violations are found, penalties could include fines of as much as $500 per person, assessment of the state’s attorney fees and removal from public office, according to the Attorney General’s Office.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, of course they are! You really didn’t think this saga was over, did you? Like the axe murderer in those cheesy 1980s slasher films, just when you think its dead and buried, it rears its ugly head again. This, however, isn’t likely to affect the new lease agreement with the new owners of the Coyotes. The real nightmare could be in five years time, if those owners decide to bail on the club.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers will be bringing back some of their esteemed alumni (like Pavel Bure and John Vanbiesbrouck) as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports via Twitter: “LA avoids salary arbitration and agrees to terms with Jordan Nolan on a 2-year deal — AAV $700,000.”

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Chicago Blackhawks signed a two-year deal with Drew Leblanc, and one year deals with UFA blueliners Theo Peckham and Michael Kostka. The Phoenix Coyotes signed forward Brandon Yip to a one-year, two-way contract.

CSNNE.COM’s Joe Haggerty reports via Twitter: “Also confirmed with a source that Jordan Caron’s deal is a 1-way contract for 640K for next season. Certainly cost effective.”

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Brendan Mikkelson to a one-year, two-way contract.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Zac Dalpe to a one-year, two-way contract.


    If Hockey Loving Canadians love to spend January in Miami, suggest you move next year vacation to February. This will be interesting, it APPEARS that the chances of a cup repeat over the past years has hindered the SC winner because of the short amount of time between the end of final and beginning of next regular season, not enough time to recharge the batteries ( as the theory goes). Well with the playoffs ending late June and the season starting October 1 that cuts off about 3-3.5 weeks from the recharge the batteries time. On the other hand Hawks and B’s only played 48 regular season games, will be interesting to see how this works out.

  2. I’m growing more disinterested with the NHL with each passing day. Not a fan of this realignment stuff at all. This drastic of a change was not needed. Just some tweaking would have been fine. Rivalries that took years to build into what they have become are being tossed out the window. I don’t feel Detroit belongs in the East. On the other hand I feel Nashville and Columbus do belong in the East. The names of divisions were fine with Patrick, Smythe, etc. Keep the history going. Metropolitan???

    I’m not a fan of all these outdoor games either. I don’t enjoy watching play from the view of a blimp. The camera angles are even worse playing in these places that weren’t built for hockey. They want to do the outdoor thing…have the all-star game outdoors and let it end there.

    This goaltender equipment thing has gone on years too long. Do some real research into the equipment used in the past and present. Make a decision on what is necessary and what is not. I like that they have regulated the width on leg pads. I do think the height of the pads is a little ridiculous. That extra height is being used to cover the five hole in the butterfly. Take some of that away and leave enough to protect the knees. Chest protectors and gloves are beyond ridiculous. These gloves are the size of a pizza for crying out loud. The chest protectors way to big for the chest size of the goalies wearing them. These guys look like bloated bullfrogs. The evolution of the mask to what it is was necessary, the size of everything else not.

  3. Metropolitan is the lamest thing ever. ugh. that just sucks.

    i mean they were in a bit of a pickle as the Metropolitan should have been called the atlantic and atlantic should have been called the northeast but you can’t really do that with miami and tampa in there. should have gone classic and called them adams, patrick, norris, and smythe. lame, bettman, lame.