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Which Teams Should You Keep Your Eye on When the NHL Resumes?

The NHL came to a standstill when the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a national emergency at a pandemic level. In response to the threat, the NHL closed its stadium doors on March 12th.

The regular season was in full swing, and the 82-games were on the final stretch for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. We're now approaching the dates when the Cup finals were supposed to be taking place. Instead, the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the newly established Return to Play committee are busy drawing up plans on how to resume the season.

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An Announcement Coming Today From Gary Bettman On The Return To Play Plan

NEW YORK (May 26, 2020) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman will make an announcement today at 4:30 p.m. ET regarding the Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 NHL season. It will air on NBCSN and NHL Network in the United States as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada, and will be streamed live on NHL.com and across NHL Social platforms (TwitterFacebookYouTube).

An interactive media availability with Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will follow via Zoom at 6 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on NHL.com.

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An Eye-Opening Memo

from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,

...Monday’s memo was a tad sobering, especially with the warning in the introduction that the extensive protocol “cannot mitigate all risk. A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome.” The memo goes on to say that the virus mostly affects those in an older age bracket and people with pre-existing conditions, but that was an eye-catcher.

The protocol is nothing if not comprehensive. According to the league’s framework to move into “Phase Two” or the Return to Play plan, which the league hopes to institute by early June (there is no firm date yet), the voluntary workouts are limited to six players at a time with no coaches on the ice, a kind of coronavirus captain’s practice....

The hope, of course, is that Phase 2 goes off without a hitch — or a minimum of hitches — and the league can move on to Phase 3, which are the training camps, and then ultimately Phase 4, which would be the 24-team playoff tournament.

On Friday, that seemed tantalizingly close. And if all goes right, maybe we will be seeing some July hockey. Again, if all goes right.

But the lengthy nature of Monday’s memo, while detailing the abundance of care which the league is using, also highlights how easily it can all go wrong.

more

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Video- Cup Clinching Goals Starting In 1933

from Ian Oland of Russian Machine Never Breaks,

What does Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, and Capitals’ center Lars Eller all have in common? These players have all had the distinction of scoring a Stanley Cup-winning goal. They are five of nearly 100 hockey players who have done so since the NHL formed in late 1917.

YouTuber yosoo created a marvelous 26-minute video showing 73 of those Cup-winning goals since 1933. The montage captures how hockey has evolved over the last century from its gameplay and speed to its arenas and broadcasting.

continued with the video or watch the goals below...

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Video- A Sit Down With Jim Montgomery

via TSN's YouTube page,

Former Stars head coach Jim Montgomery joined TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun to talk about how he has shifted his focus to his sobriety and recovery since being fired by Dallas. Montgomery also explained why he believes the team was correct to let him go and opened up about his issues with alcohol and when they began.

 

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Evening Line- Bob McKenzie

Imagine the possibilities.If one of the 8 nameless teams were to win the lottery in late June and secure No. 1 overall, the 16 teams participating in the play-in would know if they lose the play-in they might have a shot at No. 1.

-Bob McKenzie via Twiter on lottery talk.  There's more on his recent timeline.

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What’s Ahead In The Near Future

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Before NHL players are permitted to step back inside a team facility they must first have a swab inserted roughly four centimetres into their nasal cavity.

Laboratory-based RT-PCR testing is used to detect any active or recent infection with COVID-19, and will be administered 48 hours prior.

The next stage of life in the time of the novel coronavirus for players and team staff will then include at least two more of those tests each week, plus daily temperature and symptom checks — one self-administered at home and another from medical personnel upon arrival at the facility.

All of that just to walk through the door.

You want to get on the ice? Well, there’s a pre-participation medical exam, which includes an EKG test and screening for pre-existing conditions, to be administered before that can happen.

What resonates most about the NHL’s return-to-sport protocol is how much meticulous effort will be required just to get six players working out inside the rink together, never mind what’s still to come when teams progress to training camps or actually start playing games again.

continued

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More Hurdles Ahead Before The Puck Hits The Ice

from Michael Russo of The Athletic,

On Monday, the NHL announced a comprehensive protocol that must be followed to begin Phase 2 (the opening of team facilities so players can voluntarily work out in maximum groups of six) early next month. As early as Tuesday, the NHL is expected to announce exactly how the 24-team return to play format will work.

“But that does not mean hockey’s back,” Dubnyk asserted during a phone conversation with The Athletic. “We still have a long way to go.”

Dubnyk doesn’t want to be a buzzkill, but he thinks it’s important for everyone to understand there are still lots of hurdles ahead as both sides try to navigate the murky waters of return to play in the midst of a global pandemic.

“We voted strictly on the format,” Dubnyk said. “In other words, ‘If we are to come back, this is how it’s going to be played.’ But we have not even touched on logistics or cities or travel or testing or how the economics will work or what this quarantine bubble (the players are) supposed to live in will be like or any of that stuff yet.

much more ($$$)

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Phase Two Begins Soon For The NHL

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Big Hits From This Season

Part 2, 3 1/2 minutes to watch.

 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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