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Category: NHL-Talk

They Lived Inside The Bubble

from Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

ESPN debriefed with nine players -- five from the Western Conference and four from the Eastern Conference -- who, on the condition of anonymity, answered dozens of questions about what life was really like inside the bubble, from playing in empty buildings to being trapped in hotels to food, drinking and drugs....

One Eastern Conference player said the testing made him feel "at ease," which was reinforced by "mask police everywhere" inside the bubble.

Another Eastern Conference veteran said mask culture, which was prevalent, was about "internal respect" as well as "optics."

"When you're at the rink, they're taking pictures of you walking in and walking around. If you're walking around with no mask on, that's not sending the right vibe," the player said. "Yeah, it was annoying. But we're still representing kids that are watching it. All a kid has to say is, 'Hey, Auston Matthews isn't wearing a mask to the rink, so I don't have to.'"...

"The fence that boxed us in, that made you feel like you were in more of a prison, kind of like an animal," he said. "Just the feeling of it. There's no other way to separate you from the outside world in a safe way, but it was an eye-opener when guys pulled up to the hotel."...

Many players thought the NHL exaggerated about the comforts of life in the bubble -- "Frankly, to get us all to agree to come out," an Eastern Conference player said. As one Western Conference player put it: "I would quote it as 'not as advertised.'"

"Once you got into the pattern of playing every other day, the amenities were less important," another Western Conference player said. "But they oversold what was delivered."

much more

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Your Weekly COVID Update

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Videos- Saturday Headlines & Brian Burke On Tax Advantages For Players In Some U.S. Cities

Topics of discussion include- Alex Pietrangelo contract status, when will next season start and expanding the playoffs and no delay for the Seattle Kraken start up.

via Sportsnet,

 

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Gary Bettman Today

via Pierre LeBrun tweets,

Gary Bettman, at his traditional Cup final media conference, says he wouldn't be surprised if next season's Dec. 1 start ``slips'' into later December, maybe into January. But no definitive decisions and/or plans yet.

Bettman reiterates what Daly told me and @OvertimeScottB last week: that the NHL still intends to try and play 82 games next season whenever they start...

Some rare Bettman speculation: it's ``conceivable'' that next season starts without fans in the building but then transitions to some fans in the rinks as the season goes on... he stressed that was speculation.

Bettman says emphatically that Seattle's entry into the league will NOT be delayed under any circumstance. They will begin play in 2021-22.

added 5:31pm, Chris Johnston at the same media conference, via tweets...

added 8:27pm, watch the full media conference below...

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When Will The 2020-21 Season Start?

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

The projected Dec. 1 startup date for next season now seems like a pipe dream. Pro leagues unable to fill the stands with paying customers are taking punishing losses, and probably not enough is being said or written about this.

That’s not even taking into account the seven clubs that weren’t invited to the expanded playoffs and could end up going eight months or more without playing a single game.

It seems likely NHL owners will want to have at least the possibility of paying fans some time during the next season before starting up again. How long will owners want to keep paying players when their revenues are so damaged? Would players accept pay cuts to keep the games going?

To be sure, the NHL has done a marvellous job in staging these playoffs, with the total absence of positive COVID tests while putting together the best possible television product in empty arenas. It’s unlikely, however, that this bubble concept can be used again when the league starts up. You can’t ask players to separate themselves from their families for an entire season.

Like the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s going to be difficult for the seven Canadian NHL teams to be involved in any process that involves crossing the U.S. border back and forth, or permits U.S. teams to enter Canada without quarantines. What the NHL really needs is for the border to reopen and, more important, a coronavirus vaccine that’s widely available. Neither of those issues fit very well at the moment with the hopes that there will be a 2020-21 season.

more to read SCF talk...

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Morning Line- Helene Elliott

Without fans there will be no one to uphold the tradition of booing Commissioner Gary Bettman when he hands off the Cup. If he has a sense of humor he’d allow a recording of jeers to be played as he comes out to the ice.

-Helene Elliott of the LA Times.  Read more on the NHL and the SCF.

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Will Canadians Watch The Stanley Cup Final?

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Whoever ends up winning the Stanley Cup, which begins on Saturday between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars, will not have an asterisk attached to their name. Although maybe they should, based on everything they went through and how hard it was to get to this point.

Of course the hardest part is still to come: Convincing Canadians to care about a final played between two southern U.S. teams that don’t have a pre-packaged star player to build a marketing campaign around.

Whether you live in Canada or the U.S., this series won’t be an easy sell.

Hard-core hockey fans will no doubt love this series, which will pit Russia’s Andrei Vasilevskiy against Anton Khudobin, four-time Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman against future Norris winner Miro Heiskanen, and the likeable Jon Cooper against the even-more-likeable Rick Bowness. But hard-core hockey fans also probably sat glued to their TV sets watching the six-hour, five-OT marathon between Tampa Bay and Columbus early in the first round.

It’s the casual sports fan whose wandering eyes the NHL should be worried about.

The sporting landscape has never been this crowded, this competitive. The Toronto Blue Jays are in the midst of a playoff run. Unlike last year, the Toronto Raptors are out of the playoffs. But the NBA western final still has Canada’s Jamal Murray up against LeBron James.

more

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Video- Refs Mic’d Up During The Conference Finals

Just over 2 minutes long.

 

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NHL Awards Show Will Be Televised On Monday, September 21st

EDMONTON (Sept. 18, 2020) – The National Hockey League announced today that it will reveal the winners of its five remaining regular-season trophies during “2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas,” a 30-minute show that will air at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 21, on NBCSN in the U.S. as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Co-hosted by NBC Sports’ Kenny Albert and Sportsnet’s Scott Oake from inside the site of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Edmonton’s Rogers Place, the program will announce the winners of the 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Vezina Trophy.

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Afternoon Line- Rick Westhead

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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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