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PHT Morning Skate: Botterill firing aftermath; AHL’s Return to Play task force

Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp debate if this year's Stanley Cup will be the toughest to win ever due to the new playoff format and surrounding circumstances.

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at

• “We believe in open communication between all the powers that be in the organization, and sometimes that breaks down.” On the disconnect that led to the firing of Jason Botterill. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• The firings didn’t stop with Botterill. A good number of Sabres’ scouts and their AHL coaching staff were also let go. [WGR]

• Looking at Kevyn Adams’ rise within the Sabres organization. [Die by the Blade]

• Now that he’s free, should the Penguins look to bring back Botterill? [Pensburgh]

• More arena drama for the Islanders: “Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which operates [Nassau Coliseum] under a lease from Nassau County, is planning to shutter the venue indefinitely while it seeks investors to take over operations and pick up the remaining debt on the building, according to people familiar with the matter.” [Bloomberg]

• The AHL has announced the formation of a Return to Play task force featuring a number of league and NHL executives with the “purpose of providing expert leadership and strategic direction to the AHL in planning for the league’s return to play in the 2020-21 season.” [AHL]

• Don’t expect Josh Anderson in the Blue Jackets’ lineup against Toronto if the NHL resumes play. The Columbus forward is expected to remain out after shoulder surgery in March. [TSN]

• On NHL players and their partners who planned out off-season due dates, but are now in a tough spot should the league return to play. [ESPN]

• How social distancing guidelines could play a role in a delayed start to next season for the ECHL. [Journal Gazette]

• Maddie Rooney, goaltender for the gold medal-winning 2018 women’s Olympic hockey team, has a busy future with playing professionally and coaching a high school side in Minnesota. [Olympic Talk]

• Finally, Gritty made a surprise appearance at a kindergarten graduation this week:


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