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The Latest COVID Update From The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

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Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award And Foster Hewitt Memorial Award Recipients Announced

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TORONTO (June 29, 2020) -  Frank Seravalli, President of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and Chuck Kaiton, President of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, announced today that Tony Gallagher will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Rick Peckham will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

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Wings Move Training Camp To LCA

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings today announced changes to their annual events held in Traverse City, Mich., including the relocation of the team's 2020-21 Training Camp to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and the cancellation of the 2020 NHL Prospect Tournament and Training Camp Golf Classic. The Red Wings look forward to both events, as well as training camp, returning to Traverse City next year.

"The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is our top concern," said Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman. "Based on discussions with local health experts, we have decided to hold our 2020-21 training camp at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. We look forward to returning to Traverse City next year. The Traverse City community is extremely hospitable to our organization, and Centre Ice Arena is an ideal location for us to hold our events each September."

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The Spirit Of The Draft Is Tossed Aside

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Pat Caputo of 97.1,

Think of :

- Toronto adding Lafreniere to Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander.

- Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Lafreniere

- Chicago with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Lafreniere.

- The Rangers with Lafreniere and the second overall selection from last year, Kaapo Kakko....

The twist of the knife to the Red Wings’ back is they did anything but tank. The Red Wings waited far too long to go into total rebuilding mode and continually overspent on veteran players.

Everything about this process goes against the spirit of the draft, which is to provide competitive balance.

The adding of the losing qualifying round teams to the lottery mix because of the pandemic was absurd, For one of those teams to get Lafreniere - especially if it is one of the Red Wings’ rivals - because of sheer chance adds salt to the wound.


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Approaching Phase 3 Of The Return To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

As players, executives and fans continue to adjust to the new normal, we will provide updates every week, answering all the burning questions about the various angles of the NHL's relation to the pandemic....

What are the league and the players still working on finalizing ahead of Phase 3's expected start on July 10?

Greg Wyshynski: There have been two separate, but undeniably related, negotiations going on between the NHL and the players: the return-to-play protocols and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is due to expire in September 2022.

The return-to-play vote is essentially simple: Do the players want to come back to complete the 2019-20 season in a 24-team tournament spread out between two hub cities, living in a quarantine bubble for up to two and a half months? There are complicated issues that inform that decision, including testing protocols, the ability to see their families, life during off days inside the bubbles and much more. But this is the question on which they'll vote.

And it's hard to get a handle on the players' sentiments. Older players with families and at-risk relatives are going to approach this differently than a 22-year-old who just wants to play hockey.


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Jamie Drysdale An Option For The Wings At #4

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Los Angeles Kings will then select either center Quinton Byfield or winger Tim Stuetzle at No. 2. The Ottawa Senators at No. 3 will take who is available between Byfield and Stuetzle.

The Detroit Red Wings select at No. 4. This is where the guessing begins, but defenseman Jamie Drysdale makes the most sense.

Scripts have a way of changing. We saw that in 2019 when Steve Yzerman, in his first draft as Red Wings general manager, pulled a surprise by taking defenseman Moritz Seider of Germany at No. 6, ahead of centers Dylan Cozens and Trevor Zegras, one of whom many anticipated Detroit would choose....

Drysdale (5-11, 175) is described by analysts as having a good combination of puck-movement skills and defensive acumen. He skates well and is aggressive for his size.

“His smarts with the puck and excellent footwork and stick placement help him against bigger players,” Red Line Report said. “Tough to gain the offensive zone on his side of the ice -- keeps his shoulders squared up to puck-carriers and closes gaps perfectly. Extremely dangerous when he has the puck. Calculated passer spreads wealth out to all areas in offensive zone. Utilizes pinpoint accurate snap shots from far out, aiming for areas where teammates can get deflections. Superb skater links together world class moves in all four directions.”

Red Line Report said Drysdale’s style compares to Cale Makar, the 2017 fourth overall pick who has had a strong rookie season with the Colorado Avalanche.


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The NHL Draft Worked As Planned And That Is A Sad Statement

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Steve Yzerman could’ve spewed some juicy expletives and fired a can of ginger ale at the TV screen. I mean, that’s what most Red Wings fans were doing Friday night.

But after the Wings suffered the sting of the NHL’s lottery buffoonery, Yzerman did the honorable thing, said he wasn’t surprised, and promised the Wings would get a great prospect with the fourth pick of the draft. And they probably will.

But this is the treacherous nature of rebuilding in the NHL, NBA or anywhere. The Pistons are next, and with the fifth-worst record, they have a 10.5% chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the Aug. 25 lottery, only a 44.3% of staying in the top five and a small chance of falling to ninth. Lesson: You put your fate in random acts, prepare for random, inexplicable results.

In the NHL, the random acts too often are comical and dumb. The draft lottery was an embarrassment, and I know the rest of the sports world doesn’t care if a Detroit team got jobbed. And maybe it’s our fault too for not shrieking loudly about the possible consequences before the disaster unfolded.

But with one of the worst regular-season records in franchise history, the Wings dropped from the No. 1 slot — and prized prospect Alexis Lafreniere — to No. 4. And here’s the ridiculous part: It’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.


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Have Some Hockey Notes With Your Sunday Morning Coffee

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- I want to see hockey. I’m selfish that way. I want the see playoffs in August. But I want them played under safe and healthy circumstances. And I don’t care where. Once the games are played, it won’t matter if it’s Toronto or Edmonton or Chicago or wherever. The arenas will be empty. The situations will be similar. The great hub-city dance is basically meaningless to most fans who will turn on their television and watch, no matter where the games will be played. The local economy will benefit for being a hub city. The fans will see games no matter where they happen to be played.

- There are MIT graduates who couldn’t explain the NHL’s draft lottery Friday night in less than 100 words. And try telling someone that some team won, we just don’t know which one. Weird stuff in the weirdest season in history.

- This is what the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee should do in the future: Publish the voting results. Not with names, with numbers. We know Jarome Iginla got 18 out of 18 possible votes. That’s obvious. But we don’t know who got in with 14 votes and who may have lost out having only 13 or 12 votes. You need 75% to be elected. The Hall should be more open with its disclosures. What it should announce every year is who was nominated and how the voting went. You don’t have to identify who voted for whom. The numbers will do and it will serve the hockey public well to know who didn’t get voted in and who wasn’t nominated at all. In baseball, we see the voting. In football, we find out who got in and who didn’t. In basketball, everybody gets in so it doesn’t matter. In hockey, we’re on the outside looking in.

a few more hockey blurbs....

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Don’t Feel Sorry For The Wings

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Sorry, no tears are being shed here over the plight of the Red Wings, whose historically bad season got them no more than the fourth-overall pick of the draft as a consequence of the way the pingpong balls bounced in Friday’s lottery drawing.

Do you think the Detroit organization, always arrogant in the good times, agonized when the 2016-17 Avalanche, nearly as bad as this year’s Wings, also slid to fourth out of the lottery while the Devils, who had recorded 22 more points than Colorado, scored the first pick?

And by the way, wouldn’t you say Colorado did just fine by tabbing Cale Makar three spots after the Devils selected Nico Hischier? Who do you think goes first in a re-draft; Makar, Miro Heiskanen (third to Dallas) or Elias Pettersson (fifth to Vancouver)?

I wrote weeks ago that the lottery should have been restricted to the NHL’s Seven Dwarfs who were omitted from the Hub-Bubble 24-team extravaganza that is tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of July. The draw thus would have been limited to Detroit, Ottawa, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, New Jersey and Buffalo, with the Sharks’ pick owned by the Senators. That seemed fair to me.

But the NHL went its own way, designed a system to create some intrigue, and I spent all of 0.2 seconds fretting about it.


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