- There’s so much uncertainty about where we’re going from a financial perspective that many ideas are being thrown around. Estimated losses of $220 million are projected if this year’s paused games are made up, including the playoffs. (That would likely add four percentage points of escrow to players’ paycheques.)
Projected losses if there’s no season are closer to $1.1 billion, and 35 per cent escrow whenever we resume. One idea: allowing players and teams to defer money. For example, a player with a five-year contract at a $5-million AAV would still have that term and cap hit, but could agree to hold some of the payments. Teams would get a break on cash flow, and players could save until escrow was lowered. Don’t know if it will happen, but spitballing never hurts. Both the NHL and NHLPA would have to agree. Also, the players will decide what to do about their final paycheque by next week.
- One exec wants me to push Saskatchewan as a playoff “hub” site if that method is necessary.
“Not too populous and back to our roots,” he said.
- Five years ago, the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers moved to Flint. The Firebirds had one winning season in its first four, a .369 points percentage and made the playoffs once (a five-game defeat). It was not a model franchise. In September, they acquired goalie Anthony Popovich from defending-champion Guelph. Popovich had backstopped the Storm to the Memorial Cup semifinal, but with talented Nico Daws ready to play, they had a surplus. Never drafted in the NHL, Popovich was trying out for the Red Wings at their rookie tournament in Traverse City when it happened.
“I had a feeling I was going to get traded,” Popovich said. “Some people thought it was a waste to go to Flint. Looking back, it was the best spot for me.”
His new goalie coach was a fiery, determined competitor who played 299 NHL games for Detroit.
“It’s been real tough here,” said Greg Stefan, who coached 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward on that Carolina Stanley Cup champion. “The second skate on the ice with him, you could hear the comments in practice from the veteran guys. ‘I like this guy,’ they were saying. I knew right away. His professionalism, character, work ethic, how he was a teammate, unselfish.