Getty Images

PHT Morning Skate: Kane strips; Pettersson faster, stronger

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

• NHLPA weighing risks of poking the bear. (

• NHL expands reach into Russia with new streaming deal. (The Canadian Press)

Evander Kane strips down, opens up about race for ESPN The Magazine’s BODY Issue. (The Undefeated)

• Maple Leafs’ Andersen ready to embrace load management once 2019-20 gets underway. (Toronto Sun)

• Laine, Connor could miss camp, but Jets claim it won’t be a distraction. (

• Morrissey would love to play his whole career with Jets. (Winnipeg Sun)

• Pettersson feeling quicker, stronger after summer of conditioning. (Sportsnet)

• New quarterback can help Oilers power play be magic, as opposed to tragic. (Edmonton Journal)

• Top NHL teams seek size after playoff failures. (Yahoo Sports)

• The Devils were one of the unluckiest teams in the NHL last season. (All About the Jersey)

• Sportsnet can’t dig out of hole created by NHL contract. (Troy Media)

• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

PHT Morning Skate: Chasing milestones; Toews wary of greed in CBA talks

Getty Images

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

• Ten players chasing milestones in 2019-20. (The Hockey News)

Jonathan Toews wary of NHL making players look greedy in CBA talks. (Yahoo Sports)

• Five things to like about new Edmonton Oilers, even if they have just a 20 percent chance of making playoffs. (Edmonton Journal)

• NHL 20 introduces 33 “Alumni Teams,” and the Whalers are among them. (Gamespot)

• Do the 2019-20 Vancouver Canucks have the makings of a contender? (The Hockey Writers)

• Is William Carrier worth more to another NHL team? (Sin.Bin Vegas)

• Outside the box thinking: The theory of constraints and the Devils. (All about the Jersey)

• Four milestones Phil Kessel can or will reach with the Arizona Coyotes. (Five for Howling)

• The Hurricanes’ magic in goal last season fueled their deep playoff run. Will it happen again? (Canes Country)

• Putting older players on LTIR is getting out of control. (Yahoo Sports)

Braden Holtby hoping to stay with the Caps. (Yardbarker)

Tom Wilson coming into his own. (The Hockey Writers)

• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

NHL decides not to reopen CBA; Now NHLPA must decide

Getty Images

If you’re a hockey fan nervous about the prospect of another lockout, then Friday brings good news — but this announcement doesn’t slam the door shut on another agonizing work stoppage.

The NHL announced that it has decided not to reopen the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, as the owners and Commissioner Gary Bettman faced a Sept. 1 deadline to do so. We’re not out of the woods yet, though, as the NHLPA faces a Sept. 15 deadline with a similar option.

Bettman’s statement indicates that the league wants to play through the full CBA, which is set to expire on Sept. 15, 2022 if the NHLPA decides to make the same choice that the league just did. Here’s Bettman’s statement:

“Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our Players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA. Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term – three more seasons through the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

“It is our hope that a continued, sustained period of labor peace will enable us to further grow the game and benefit all constituent groups: NHL Players, Clubs, our business partners and, most important, our fans.

“In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed. This is certainly true from the League’s standpoint. However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA – while working with the Players’ Association to address our respective concerns – far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season.”

The NHLPA released a statement as well:

“Today the NHL advised the NHLPA that the league will not exercise its early termination right under the CBA.  The NHLPA now has the same option.  We will continue to discuss this matter with players as our September 15 decision approaches.”

The players have some gripes, with how escrow eats up their salary looming largest, with 2022 Olympic participation also ranking among their top concerns. It also cannot be ignored that players likely have some hard feelings from past lockouts, possibly making some a little bit more willing to force the league into a fight it says it wants to avoid.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Sept. 15 deadline could be moved, too:

If the NHLPA decided to reopen the CBA, the threat of a lockout would loom over the 2020-21 season, not the upcoming 2019-20 campaign. While that development would be a concern, it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee a work stoppage anyway, as the two sides would have a year to hash out a new CBA.

For fans, it would certainly be a lot more pleasant if the NHLPA did the same as the NHL and let the CBA play out, but we’ll see how the union feels — whether that decision comes by Sept. 15 or not.

In other words, a battle has been won to avoid a work stoppage, but the war isn’t over. Here’s hoping that this time around, the league’s regular season isn’t one of the casualties.

• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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

NHL GMs still waiting for final 2019-20 salary cap numbers

Getty Images

The wheeling and dealing has already begun ahead of the start of the 2019 NHL Draft this weekend. Between trades, buyouts, and extensions, general managers are getting to work on preparing for next season.

There is one problem, however, as Friday approaches and the draft begins. Due to the Stanley Cup Final going seven games, the calculations that determine the salary cap ceiling and floor have yet to be finalized. GMs were given a projection of an $83M ceiling back during their meetings in December, but official numbers may not be finalized until Saturday — and the upper limit may come in lower than expected.

The cap ceiling for the 2018-19 season was $79.5M, an increase from $75M from 2017-18.

Now, if you’re a general manager who likes to spend to the cap ceiling to maximize your efforts to win the Stanley Cup, well you’re in quite the holding pattern at the moment. The delay could also have a major impact on trade talks this weekend, possibly making for a quiet Friday night on the draft floor as general manager wait and see where the range ends up.


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

NHL, NHLPA agree to no World Cup in 2020

1 Comment

The World Cup of Hockey will not happen in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the popular tournament is dead in the water.

That is the message from both the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association late Wednesday.

Both entities released statements stating each party’s agreement that a World Cup of Hockey in 2020 would be unrealistic to schedule.

“The players are focused on finding the proper time to schedule the World Cup of Hockey within the context of an overall international hockey calendar,” a statement from the NHLPA read. “While we and the league have discussed the possibility of holding the next World Cup in September 2020, we jointly concluded that it is unrealistic to expect that preparations for the vent would be completed in that time.”

The NHL’s statement said that both parties held constructive meetings in Toronto on Wednesday.

The NHL’s statement echoed that of the NHLPA and say both parties “plan to continue their dialogue with the hope of being able to schedules the next World Cup event as part of a broader agreement, which would include a long-term international event calendar.”

[Related: NHL and NHLPA meet to discuss CBA, World Cup of Hockey]

Looming large over all of this is the current collective bargaining agreement, which is in place until 2022 unless one side elects to terminate it. That early window to opt out of the current arrangement opens on Sept. 1, 2019, for the NHL and Sept. 15, 2019, for the NHLPA.

The thought is that, if the World Cup in 2020 had gone forward, it would have signified some semblance of peace between the NHL and the NHLPA in terms of labor talks. The fear here, then, is that both sides aren’t close enough to an agreement.

The flip side is that the World Cup is a massive event that would take much planning and coordinating to get sorted in a year-and-a-half.

For now, it seems like both sides are looking in the same direction, together. That’s a positive sign as no one wants lost hockey in any form. Delaying the World Cup is worth it if harmony (and a new CBA) sans a work stoppage is the end result.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck