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More than four months have passed since the last slate of NHL games, but there is now finally a confirmed schedule in place for the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
August 1 marks the resumption of hockey, with the Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers kicking things off. The postseason format will see 24 teams battle it out, with the teams from each conference split into two centralised hubs in Toronto (Eastern Conference) and Edmonton (Western Conference).
NEW YORK (July 15, 2020) – Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Jack Adams Award, presented to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association submitted ballots for the Jack Adams Award after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
Following are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, in alphabetical order:
NEW YORK (July 15, 2020) – Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dominik Kubalik and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the three finalists for the 2019‑20 Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:
from Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily Herald,
It's only a matter of time before Eddie Olczyk finds his way to the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.
But it's not just in that role that he understands the game's value. It's in his 35 years in the NHL that he has learned what the game means to those who need it.
And it's why he knows the return to action Aug. 1 is significant.
"It's an opportunity to entertain," Olczyk said. "We know what's happening in the real world. This is not the real world, but it's an opportunity for all of us in hockey to at least bring some enjoyment to people's lives, to turn on a TV or a radio, and watch or listen to your favorite team, to see the Blackhawks in the playoffs.
"We all know you can't get away from real life, but at least for a few hours it's good for the mind and soul to have something else.
"Players and coaches and organizations look at this chance here to bring some positive feelings and galvanize a community or a city by going out and entertaining.
We all know this year the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be unlike anything we have experienced.
Personally, I am taking a view of this on a 'one day at a time' basis but I certainly am enjoying getting back to work instead of doing things including binge watching old series on Netflix or taking a chance and playing slot games.
NEW YORK (July 14, 2020) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates and starting times for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, which begin Saturday, Aug. 1, with a slate of five games.
The schedule, which can be viewed in its entirety here, offers flexibility to maximize the viewing experience for fans. Games have been scheduled on a staggered basis, providing hours of continuous action.
Darren Dreger joins Glenn Shiiler to discuss the NHL coaches association working toward restoring full salaries, why preparation in the Hub Cities is intensifying this week and why it was a difficult task for many teams to get under the 52-person mandated cap for the bubble.
from Max Bultman of The Athletic,
(Jake) Sanderson is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman for the NTDP, which plays a schedule featuring opponents in the NCAA and USHL as well as international tournaments. He was the team captain, and he had 29 points in 47 games this season.
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman did a full video breakdown of Sanderson last month, in which Pronman gave Sanderson’s skating a grade of 60 (on the 20-80 scouting scale), which translates to the top third of professionals, and called Sanderson “the best defender I saw this season among draft-eligible players and arguably among all NHL prospects.” On Pronman’s draft board, he also gave Sanderson’s hockey sense a 60 grade and rated his puck skills and physical game both above average. He ranked him 13th overall for this draft class, and The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranked him 19th.
The case to pick him
How’s this for the first line of a sales pitch: “He just smothers his opponent.”
That’s how Appert describes his captain’s defense.
“And it’s skating, but it’s (also) gap control … his lateral closing ability in the neutral zone on line rushes against is really impressive, and he can do it against the college players,” Appert said.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
The Wings only have $46.2 million committed to 11 players right now, with decisions pending on 12 restricted free agents. The Wings will bring back some of those restricted free agents but still will have plenty of money to add productive, proven players from cash-strapped teams.
Pittsburgh (15 players under contract, $13.2 million available cap space), Tampa Bay (15 players, $5.3 million cap space), St. Louis (20 players, $2.04 million cap space) and Toronto (16 players, $4.5 million cap space) are teams who will have to make deals.
With that in mind, here are some players who could interest the Wings this offseason:
- Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay, center: Johnson has a cap hit of $5 million over the next four seasons and his statistics have dropped over the last three seasons (14 goals, 31 points this season). But general manager Steve Yzerman is familiar with Johnson from his days in Tampa and at 29, Johnson would strengthen the Wings’ lineup.
- Yanni Gourde, Tampa Bay, center: With a cap hit of $5.16 million for the next five seasons, Gourde’s six-year, $31 million deal seemed generous as soon as it was signed, and it now haunts the Lightning. Gourde slumped from 25 and 22 goals in 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively, to 10 this season. He might actually thrive with a bigger role on a team like the Wings.
- Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay, center: With three more years at $4.45 million, Killorn scored a career-best 26 goals this season. But at age 30, how much better will Killorn get? The Lightning need the cap cushion to sign several important restricted free agents.
"This is probably not something that a lot of people are going to call a perfect agreement. A lot of people are going to find faults with one thing or another. That's always the case. And I'm pretty sure there's going to be unanticipated events and perhaps even unintended consequences. But I do think this agreement meets the challenge, and the next challenge is going to be to implement it both in the short-term and in the long-term, and there's a lot in this agreement, I think, players can be proud of."
-Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association. Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN have more from Fehr.
TORONTO (July 14, 2020) The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today the three finalists for the 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award (TLA) are forwards Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers. The TLA is presented annually “to the most outstanding player in the NHL,” as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.
Each player is seeking his first TLA honour. MacKinnon is a TLA finalist for a second time (also 2017-18), while Draisaitl and Panarin are both first-time finalists for the award. All three players led their respective teams in scoring this season while helping reach the field of teams scheduled to return to play this summer.
from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,
“Does anybody really know how and when people catch this thing?” he asked rhetorically. “The best you can do is get good rest, eat healthy, take care of your body, do the little things that lower your chances. What else can you do?
“Sitting around and worrying about it is just going to drive you crazy. The NHL’s gone to great lengths to create a safe environment. It’s far from perfect, but everyone has their own beliefs in seeing where they stand with all this.”
Toews’ comments caused a stir on Twitter, with many fans pointing out studies indicating scientists actually have determined how COVID-19 is transmitted, and that social-distancing has proved effective in slowing that transmission.
from the CP at Global News,
Ontario’s top doctor doesn’t see COVID-19 testing capacity being an issue in the province once the NHL hunkers down in Toronto for its restart.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, expressed confidence in the NHL plan for testing in the province.
“They can go through private sources to get it done,” Williams said. “We just want to make sure that it is of quality and can be covered that way so that if there were any concerns, Toronto Public Health or the province can be informed of any issues.
“We’re looking at the volume of the testing, how much per day, with the players being tested. More at the beginning, I guess. As teams get eliminated at their playoff venue, they’d have less and less testing … Right now we feel we can handle that capacity but we will continue to monitor that and to be in discussion and dialogue with the NHL with Toronto Public Health throughout this process.”
via the YouTube page of TSN.
Bryan Hayes and Mike Johnson are joined by TSN Hockey analyst Ray Ferraro to get his take on the terminology the NHL plans to use calling players ‘fit’ or ‘not fit’ to play and the negative connotations around that phrasing.
from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,
NHL teams had a framework of what was and wasn’t allowed during the negotiation window. The intent was for an owner and GM to sit down with a player early, talk about the team’s vision and figure out if there was a fit, said Octagon player agent and co-managing director Allan Walsh, who represents the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Marc-Andre Fleury. Teams were told they could discuss the “general parameters” of a deal. But because the rules weren’t strictly enforced, the definition of “general parameters” was pretty open to interpretation, and teams started all but hammering out contracts in advance.
“It couldn’t be policed properly, so it was disregarded,” Walsh said. “So in effect, July 1 actually opened five to seven days before July 1. And it was the Wild, Wild West.”
Contracts couldn’t officially be signed, but Walsh estimates most were essentially done about 48 hours before July 1.
“July 1 in the morning, you talk to a GM, and he says, ‘I’m done,’ ” Walsh said. “You’re done? Free agency opens in an hour. ‘Yep, I’m done. I feel good about what I’ve done.’ ”
The murky guidelines of what was allowed meant every team perceived things differently and nobody knew exactly how far one could push a negotiation – or when to start discussing actual offers.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Hockey Night In Canada — brought to you, for the very first time, by Americans.
NBC will fly upwards of 50 broadcast people to Toronto — producers, directors, camera people, technicians and more — to serve as the world feed for all National Hockey League games played in this hub city, while many Canadian broadcast freelancers, out of work since March, are not at all happy about the snub.
“It’s a travesty,” said one longtime Canadian broadcast worker, who asked not to be identified for obvious reasons. “The NHL sold us out. Our own government sold us out. All we want to do is work and this is our job.
“I could understand (NBC) bringing people in if we couldn’t do the job, but it’s proven we can.”
Canadian hockey broadcasters have long been considered the best in the world. Virtually every Winter Olympics world feed in recent memory has been produced and directed by a Canadian. The majority, it not all, of the world feed staff at every Olympic hockey tournament of the past 25 years has been Canadian.
NEW YORK (July 13, 2020) – The National Hockey League will reveal finalists for the 2020 NHL Awards beginning this Tuesday, July 14. The complete schedule, which is subject to change, is listed below:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
His scouting report showed a complete package of size, strength and skill, a forward who could fit into the top six and factor at both ends of the ice.
In this edition of Detroit Red Wings Fast Forward, a series that projects how a player will perform in 2020-21, the subject is Evgeny Svechnikov. In the five years since the Wings plucked him from the 2015 draft board 19th overall, Svechnikov has appeared in 20 games, tallying two goals and two assists. The coming season may finally shed light on how — or if — he fits into the rebuild.
Svechnikov has to be on the roster this fall, because he is no longer exempt from waivers. To get into the lineup, he’ll have to beat out the likes of Dmytro Timashov, Justin Abdelkader, Adam Erne and Christoffer Ehn for a job as a bottom-six winger.
via the YouTube page of Sportsnet,
Caroline Cameron looks back at the last day in March before the NHL lockdown, and looks ahead to the season of second chances, where the race to the 2020-21 Stanley Cup will soon re-start.
from the Minnesota Wild,
Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has named Dean Evason its full-time Head Coach. As part of today's announcement, Evason has signed a two-year extension with the organization through the 2021-22 season.
"I am very excited to announce that Dean Evason is our full-time head coach," said Guerin. "Dean has done a fantastic job as our interim head coach and deserves this opportunity. I look forward to watching our team under his leadership going forward."
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Let’s be honest. We don’t know whether this is going to work. We have no idea whether the NHL’s Stanley Cup tournament scheduled to run from Aug. 1 into early October (if necessary) will come to fruition.
We cannot even guarantee that the 24 NHL clubs invited to the 2020 Cotillion Ball will make it to their respective hub cities in Toronto and Edmonton because we don’t know whether clubs will be able to avoid outbreaks during the two-week training camp period that opens across the continent on Monday.
But it is safe to say that the NHL and NHLPA conducted all due diligence and have attempted to construct an environment that will protect its athletes’ and employees’ physical and mental health as much as possible. Indeed, the run-up to this return to play has been remarkably drama-free. If any league has a chance to pull it off, the NHL at least seems in decent position.
And no, attempting to play this tournament does not equate to what popularly and improperly has been framed in so many precincts as a money grab.
from the CP at TSN,
Andrew Copp got a chance to skate in Michigan but isn’t sure how many of his Winnipeg teammates have been on the ice.
Voluntary player workouts have been going on for more than a month, but full NHL teams will be together Monday for the first time since March. Mixed with the excitement of hockey being back is the uncertainty of which and how many players might opt out and how the long layoff could contribute to injuries.
“(It’s about) trying to make sure that when you come back your hips and groins are all right,” Copp said. “For some guys, it’s going to be ease in and make sure you make it through the first four or five games healthy and making sure you don’t hurt yourself. At the same time, we are getting ready for the playoffs.”
It’s a training camp unlike any in history, with expanded rosters on 24 teams coming back from a four-month absence to compete for the Stanley Cup. It’s a two-week sprint from home cities to Toronto for Eastern teams and Edmonton, Alberta, for their Western counterparts.
Already, a handful of players have opted out of participating and more could make the same decision before a Monday afternoon deadline.
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