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Sweater rendition below. more added at 12:17pm...
“I think the resilience of America and the resilience of our fans should not be underestimated. I think what you’ll see is that once the coast is clear, once the health authorities and the political authorities get together and say the coronavirus is on the decline or once a vaccine is developed, I think you’re going to see people return to arenas and stadiums across this country in record numbers because they want to support the United States.”
-New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky. Thomas Barrabi of Fox Business has more.
from Joshua Clipperton of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
If they haven’t done so already, NHL players across North America are set go through something similar on Sunday before setting up shop in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton for the league’s 24-team restart to its pandemic-hit season.
There will no doubt be tears and hugs. Once inside those secure bubbles, players will be locked down and segregated from the general public in hopes of keeping COVID-19 at bay.
FaceTime and video conferencing platforms will have to do when it comes to staying in touch with loved ones.
“This is part of the game right now,” said Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin, who has a wife and one-year-old daughter. “You want to be away as long as we can because that means you’re doing well and you’re going on.
“It’ll be tough leaving the family, but I’m committed to leaving and going as far as we can.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
In this edition of Detroit Red Wings Fast Forward, a series that projects how a player will perform in 2020-21, the subject is Frans Nielsen....
Nielsen’s role on the team has diminished, an organic development as younger players have pushed for a bigger footprint. He didn’t play with scoring wingers this season, drawing the likes of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Adam Erne and Luke Glendening. Nielsen used to be a regular on the power play but that changed this season, and he spent more time killing penalties. That played into numbers that stand out against his career output: He’d never before tallied below double digits in assists as a full-timer.
There are two years left on Nielsen’s contract. It is doubtful GM Steve Yzerman will buy him out because it’d be prohibitive — it would cost around $3.4 million against the salary cap in 2020-21 and roughly $4.4 million in 2021-22. Nielsen is still a good skater and passer, and is a dependable penalty killer.
He can still be of value to the Wings, and if he can earn some confidence with a good 2020-21, then there’s a chance Yzerman can unload him at the 2022 trade deadline, similarly to how veteran Mike Green was dealt at the 2020 deadline.
from Julia Wong of Global News,
While many public health experts say large gatherings are not recommended amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a plan to allow for large watching parties for NHL games once the hockey season resumes is beginning to take shape in Edmonton.
Edmonton and Toronto will serve as the hockey league’s two hub cities once it resumes play next month.
Tim Shipton, vice-president of corporate communications for the Oilers Entertainment Group, said plans are in the works for the site of the old Baccarat Casino beside Rogers Place.
from David Waldstein of the New York Times,
After months spent working from home, scores of behind-the-scenes employees of the National Hockey League will assemble at two sites in Canada this week to prepare for the resumption of the season, which was halted March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But many of those league employees say they have been told they will do so while being paid only 75 percent of their regular salaries, despite the health risks and hardships they will face by leaving home and sequestering in a restricted site in Edmonton or Toronto — the league’s two hub cities — for two months or longer.
In April, shortly after the season was suspended, the N.H.L. cut salaries of league personnel by 25 percent for all employees making more than $75,000 annually. Employees were told at the time that, in order to avoid layoffs and with no hockey being played and no revenue coming in, employees would have endure the reduction in salaries.
But with the postseason set to begin on Aug. 1, three N.H.L. employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from the league, said they have been told that their full pay will not be reinstated this year.
The league declined to comment, saying it does not comment on matters relating to employee compensation.
“It’s inhumane that there are 100-plus employees risking their health and livelihoods to bring hockey to the masses and they are not being compensated or promised anything,” one of the employees said.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
If the rumours are true, the ear-piercing Columbus Blue Jackets cannon explosion will echo through Scotiabank Arena when they put a puck behind Frederik Andersen during their Stanley Cup qualifying series.
Consider that one of the many ways the Toronto Maple Leafs will be made to feel a little less at home while serving as Eastern Conference hub hosts.
The NHL is prioritizing a level playing field both here and in Edmonton, where the Oilers will be home, but not, for this 24-team restart. Players from both teams will move to hotels inside the secure zone on Sunday and be subjected to all of the same rules and restrictions as everyone else.
From a hockey perspective, that’s going to see the Leafs visit parts of their own building some players may be unfamiliar with. They will almost certainly have to dress in the converted media room space and the Toronto Raptors locker room at some point, in addition to the NHL visiting room and their typical home setup behind the sliding silver doors.
from Mark Lazerus of The Athletic,
When the puck drops between the Blackhawks and Oilers in Edmonton on Aug. 1, Olczyk will be at NBC Sports studios in Stamford, Conn., nowhere near Emrick. The production team will be scattered between Stamford and Edmonton. And when the puck drops for Game 2, Olczyk still will be in Stamford, while Foley calls the game from the United Center, some 1,600 miles from Rogers Place and some 850 miles from his partner....
“Pat’s sitting in a studio here, I’m sitting in a studio in Connecticut, and we’re doing a game in Edmonton, Canada,” Olczyk said with a laugh. “We’re playing five-card stud with two cards here. The daunting part is the technical part. We’re just going to make it work and try to entertain everyone.”
Now, Olczyk’s task is intimidating. And Foley’s and Emrick’s task is difficult. But Blackhawks radio play-by-play man John Wiedeman’s task seems damn near impossible. He’ll be in the same room with his partners, Troy Murray and Chris Boden, in WGN’s downtown studio. But he’ll be calling the game while watching it on television.
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An NHL dynasty seems far away, but maybe the Rangers have a semi-reasonable shot to pull it off.
-Larry Brooks of the New York Post. Read on to find out why.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
The Red Wings are going to be able to monitor the progress of Albin Grewe a little better next season.
The Swedish prospect, who was a Wings’ 2019 third-round pick, last week signed an Ontario Hockey League contract with the Saginaw Spirit.
So, the Wings can keep tabs on one of their more intriguing prospects with a drive north on I-75.
“He wants to do what he can for his development, and playing more games over here in the best junior league in Canada is definitely going to help his development,” said Shawn Horcoff, the Wings’ director of player development.
NEW YORK (July 21, 2020) – The National Hockey League today announced the national North American broadcast schedule for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers™, which begin Saturday, Aug. 1, with a slate of five games across NBC, NBCSN, NHL Network™, NHL.TV™ and NHL Center Ice® in the U.S., and Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports in Canada.
The full North American broadcast schedule – including the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers™ (Qualifying Round and Round Robin) and exhibition games (July 28-30) – is available in its entirety here. Starting times and national broadcast information for games listed as TBD will be announced when available. In the U.S., many games will be available in the local market on the team partner regional sports network.
The NHL’s national North American broadcast schedule across NBC Sports, Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NHL Network, NHL.TV and NHL Center Ice includes:
NHL Insider Darren Dreger joins Glenn Schiiler to discuss what we will learn about the NHL bubble and what hub city life will look like during the league's announcement on Thursday. He also touches on the how important the next week is for testing and discusses the latest on Taylor Hall's contract status.
STAMFORD, Conn. – July 21, 2020 – NBC Sports will present up to 120 hours of coverage from the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on NBC, NBCSN and USA Network beginning August 1, highlighted by at least 10 hours of wall-to-wall NHL action each day from August 1-5, comprised of Qualifying Round and Round Robin matchups.
Beginning Saturday, August 1, through Wednesday, August 5, NBC Sports will present coverage from at least four games each day across NBC, NBCSN and USA Network, including some games that will be joined in progress.
Ken Reid of Sportsnet has been great with these videos over the forced break.
NEW YORK (July 21, 2020) – Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Hart 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 Hart Trophy (who also are the finalists for the 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award), in alphabetical order:
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Playoffs or post-season?
Call it semantics, but there is a difference between the two this year. Depending on the team, it’s a rather big difference.
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will play the Blue Jackets in a best-of-five series, the Stanley Cup qualifiers might as well be the start of the playoffs. Win and they move on. Lose and they are out.
For the Boston Bruins, who will keep busy by playing in a four-team round robin to determine playoff seeding while the qualifiers are going on, the stakes are significantly lower. Win or lose, nothing really changes. Maybe that is why head coach Bruce Cassidy is treating the start of the post-season as more of a warm-up than anything else.
“The round robin gets you prepared for the playoffs,” Cassidy said in a Zoom conference call on Monday.
NEW YORK (July 20, 2020) – New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux has been suspended for the first two games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers for interference against Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi during NHL Game No. 1081 in Colorado on Wednesday, March 11, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 17:06 of the third period. Lemieux was assessed a minor penalty for interference.
The Department of Player Safety initially held a hearing with Lemieux on Friday, March 13, but waited for the Return to Play guidelines to be established before making its decision on the incident.
Lemieux will be eligible to play in the Rangers’ exhibition game on Wednesday, July 29, before serving his suspension.
Watch the incident below.
Excitment is building and players are practicing to prepare for the playoffs.
NEW YORK (July 20, 2020) – Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke 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 Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:
NEW YORK (July 20, 2020) – John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2019-20 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris 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 Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:
via Ryan Rishaug tweets,
NHL players need 3 negative tests spaced 48 hours apart in the 7 days prior to travel to Canada. Any positive tests after Wed or Thurs this week and they won’t hit that mark. We could be talking about players left behind until cleared. Crucial week for the leagues testing.
Any positive tests, teams would likely re-test immediately to rule out false negatives, but each test has turn around time, and there is little margin for error. Have heard stories of teams testing twice the required amount the last 10 days or so to make sure they’re good.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are some lingering questions about what the Red Wings might do with their highest pick since 1990:
Q. What are the chances that Byfield or Stuetzle is available at No. 4?
A. It would be a major surprise, much more so than in 2018 when Filip Zadina unexpectedly dropped to No. 6 for Detroit.
The Los Angeles Kings, selecting second, could have Byfield, who has been likened to Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. Byfield (6-4, 215) is a two-way center with soft hands and good vision, able to play with power or finesse. He tallied 32 goals and 82 points in 45 OHL games this past season.
Or the Kings could take Stuetzle. At 6-foot, 187, he is described as possibly the fastest skater in the draft, someone who makes plays at top speed and is more of a facilitator than a shooter at this stage of his career.
The Ottawa Senators, who select third (a pick obtained from San Jose) and fifth, seem certain to select whoever is available between Byfield and Stuetzle.
If either falls through the cracks, the Red Wings surely would take that player.
Q. Will the Red Wings draft for a position to take best player available?
A. They are apt to select the best player on their board, whether it is a center, winger or defenseman. They need everything -- scoring, help on defense and a franchise goaltender. They are more likely to draft for a specific position in the second (they have three picks) or third (they have two picks) rounds.
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