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Oilers’ Colby Cave in coma after suffering brain bleed

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Oilers forward Colby Cave has been placed in a medically-induced coma after suffering a brain bleed, the team announced on Tuesday.

“I talked to Colby’s wife [Emily] this morning,” said Oilers GM Ken Holland. “What she said was over the course of last night, he had some headaches and stuff, so they got him to the hospital in Barrie and determined he had some kind of brain bleed, and he was transported to the hospital in Toronto.”

The team said that the 25-year-old Cave is currently in the critical care unit at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. His agent, Jason Davidson, confirmed to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, that this is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cave was not involved in an accident.

Cave, show as acquired by the Oilers via waivers in Jan. 2019, has spent most the 2019-20 season with their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, playing 44 games and recording 23 points. He was up in the NHL for 11 games with Edmonton this season.

UPDATE: The Oilers say Cave is out of emergency surgery where doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. He remains in a medically-induced coma.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons COVID-19
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More leagues are canceling their seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the USHL and NAHL both recently made such announcements.

Update: The WHL also canceled its season. The OHL followed suit shortly after.

The USHL is the top junior hockey league in the U.S., while the NAHL represents Tier II.

USHL statement on canceling season

The USHL released this statement, clarifying the cancellation after previously announcing a delay on March 12.

“This decision was not an easy one to make, but was a necessity in order to keep our athletes, staffs and fans in all 16 of our communities safe amid this international health risk,” USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity said. “While we believe our product is the best junior hockey that fans can view, we also understand the health of our athletes, employees, fans and communities is more important during this time.”

NAHL releases statement on canceled season

The NAHL’s statement was interesting, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld made a point to say that the biggest disappointment was for players. Here’s that full statement:

“The NAHL and its Board of Governors did everything in our power to preserve a modified playoff and Robertson Cup Finals to ensure our players had every opportunity to compete for and win a Robertson Cup Championship. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of cancelling all events of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks made that reality impossible without dramatically disrupting the rest of our hockey calendar. All NAHL teams will move forward with their tryout camp schedule, which is currently outside the CDC window.”

“We have had an incredible and memorable 2019-20 season up until this point, so this is a very sad day for everyone associated with the NAHL. We share that disappointment with all of our teams, parents, billet families, staff, sponsors, and fans. However, the biggest disappointment we have today is for our players. They are the backbone of the NAHL and we are blessed to have some incredible players and talent in our league. However, the safety of our hockey community, including all of our players, is our top priority and the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was necessary and in the best interest of everyone involved.”

List of leagues keep growing, NHL and AHL in holding pattern

With these announcements, the USHL and NAHL join the ECHL, QMJHL, several European leagues, and others in canceling their seasons outright.

The QMJHL made this additional announcement:

As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

AHL’s Utica Comets sell ‘Puck the Virus’ shirts in hopes of helping employees

Utica Comets Puck the Virus shirts proceeds to employees
via Utica Comets

Here’s an opinion: there’s really no excuse for NHL teams not to take care of their employees during this “pause” because of the coronavirus. Maybe you can hem and haw about the arenas being responsible vs. NHL teams … but the point remains: take care of your employees.

Things can be more complicated for teams in leagues that aren’t so rich, though.

The AHL’s Utica Comets are taking a creative (and punny) approach to trying to help raise money for staff members with their “Puck the Virus” shirts. The Syracuse Post-Standard’s Lindsay Kramer reports that proceeds from the shirts will go toward the salaries of about 50 full-time employees who work for Mohawk Valley Garden, the Comets’ parent company.

For a blast from the past, consider this statement from Comets president and former NHL goalie Robert Esche.

Good stuff, and here’s hoping these “Puck The Virus” shirts cover the bases for the Comets’ staff. (Maybe the Canucks could even kick in a little for their AHL affiliate? Just throwing it out there.)

And, just to emphasize it once more: NHL teams, pay your employees. Just make it happen, and no, relying on Brad Marchand to promote fans’ GoFundMe accounts isn’t good enough.

MORE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

QMJHL latest to cancel its season due to coronavirus

QMJHL latest to cancel season coronavirus
via QMJHL

The QMJHL became the latest hockey league to cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

March 21 was the planned end date of the QMJHL regular season, while the league’s draft lottery had initially been scheduled for March 25. The draft lottery has been postponed while remaining games were canceled. The QMJHL laid out its draft lottery rules as part of its statement.

Along with several European leagues, the ECHL announced its cancellation on Saturday.

As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

UPDATE:

MORE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Players cope with changes; Jonas Hiller retires

Jonas Hiller retires NHL headlines PHT Morning Skate
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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• A detailed, honestly a bit depressing look at how the cancellation of the ECHL season affects a player. Eric Engels captures the impact for Terrence Wallin, 27-year-old member of the Maine Mariners. (Sportsnet)

• Meanwhile, John Matisz dives into how European hockey pro players are dealing with the isolation and disruption caused by the coronavirus-related cancellations/delays. (The Score)

• The Anaheim Ducks paid ode to Jonas Hiller, who decided to retire at age 38. Hiller played seven of his nine NHL seasons with Anaheim, winning 162 games while generating a .916 save percentage during his time with the Ducks. After spending two bumpy seasons with the Flames, Hiller played in the Swiss League from 2016-17 through this season. Not a bad run, Jonas Hiller. (Anaheim Ducks)

• Gene therapy provides Flames assistant GM Chris Snow hope in his battle with ALS. (NHL.com)

• What if the NHL season wasn’t “paused?” Dom Luszczyszyn provides his day-by-day “What if?” look here. (The Athletic [sub required])

• Canucks public address announcer Al Murdoch decided to call “goals” for fans on TikTok. (Vancouver is Awesome/Murdoch’s TikTok)

• The Rangers confirmed the K’Andre Miller signing. Blueshirt Banter points out a key that it’s set to begin in 2020-21. (Blueshirt Banter)

• Indispensable advanced stats site Evolving Hockey rolled out a player comparison tool recently, and took some requests in a Twitter thread that might cure a few minutes of boredom for you. (Evolving Hockey Twitter thread)

• Why AHL (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins) coach Mike Vellucci could be ready to coach in the NHL. (Sportsnet)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.