The Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League have had to forfeit two NHL Entry Draft picks over the next two years because of violations to the combine testing policy according to Emily Kaplan of ESPN. The Coyotes tested more than 20 players from the Canadian Hockey League, before the NHL scouting combine, when teams are first allowed to test players.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could have fined the Coyotes $250,000. However, instead of a financial punishment, he elected to penalize the Coyotes with lost draft picks instead. Arizona will lose their second round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, and their first round draft pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
It is not known at this time if the recent resignation of Coyotes general manager John Chayka of Lincoln, Ontario was connected to the testing violations. Chayka resigned as the Coyotes general manager on July 30, and was replaced by interim general manager and former Coyotes player Steve Sullivan, who had previously held the role as Coyotes assistant general manager.
The Coyotes were very disturbed with Chayka’s resignation as it came immediately before the resumption of play of the 2019-20 NHL season. In the qualification round, the Coyotes stunned the Nashville Predators in four games. Arizona then played the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference quarterfinals, but subsequently lost in five games.
In other NHL news, the NHL players decided to take two days of pause from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to protest racial injustice issues according to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post. In the words of Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri who is of Lebanese descent, “it’s something that needed to be done.” The NHL followed the decision made by the NBA, which took days off from their playoffs on Wednesday and Thursday.
The NHL playoffs will resume Saturday. Currently, in the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars lead the Colorado Avalanche two games to one and the Vancouver Canucks are tied with the Vegas Golden Knights at one game each. In the East, the Tampa Bay Lightning lead the Boston Bruins two games to one, and the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders are tied at one game apiece.