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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.
Unless Gary Bettman contacts me directly to tell me the NHL will be awarding the Tournament Cup, then I will use it. Until then, it will be and hopefully always will be the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Next...Official practices for the playoff teams can begin today.
I am keeping my head above water during this pandemic and hope all of you are well.
I feel in my environment again since our game is back on the ice.
I will do my best to keep you updated on the news from the 24 teams involved and won't forget the other 7 teams.
Let the practices begin as we look forward to one team hosting the Stanley Cup in early October.
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from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
Max Domi has it right. For all hockey players, executives and fans.
Let’s just wait and see.
Domi, who has Type 1 diabetes, is going to pause for a week or so before deciding whether he wants to be part of the NHL’s ambitious restart effort. This is smart. It may not be the back-to-business message the NHL wants to see going out to the hockey public at a time when 24 of the league’s 31 teams are revving up operations south of the border, where there is no national plan to combat the coronavirus epidemic....
There has been a little too much celebration, and self-congratulation, for the plan that the NHL and its players association have cooked up. Nothing wrong with trying, mind you. But when you have a business plan in the middle of a deadly pandemic that is driven by pressing financial imperatives rather than medical priorities, you’re going to have a business plan with holes.
If money didn’t matter, and television contracts didn’t matter, there would be no reason to even attempt to complete the 2019-20 playoffs. But those things do matter, particularly the TV commitments.
Moreover — and this probably hasn’t been discussed enough — the NHL as a business is under severe duress. Consider that a year from now NHL teams will still likely not be able to fill their arenas with customers, and you start to understand that a flat salary cap may turn out to be the least of the money concerns for some teams.
from Samantha Pell of the Washington Post,
As the NHL tries to resume play and crown a Stanley Cup champion by early October, it is also shifting its operations to Canada. According to a pair of health experts, that might give the NHL the best shot among the North American professional sports leagues to complete the season.
“I don’t know what greater indictment you need of the United States’ response to the virus than the NHL picking up its puck and retreating to Canada,” said Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University. “That was a smart decision. That was a very smart decision.”
The NHL is unique in its plan to resume play, with its 24-team setup to be staged in two hub cities. The 12 participating Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, and the 12 participating Western Conference teams will compete in Edmonton, where the conference finals and Stanley Cup finals will also take place.
As of Friday, Toronto had reported 14,777 confirmed cases with 1,117 deaths since the novel coronavirus pandemic began; Edmonton had reported 1,202 cases and 19 deaths. Canada as a whole had reported 106,882 cases and 8,748 deaths.
“In both cities the trends are still low, and they are low, very low, compared to the U.S.,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the nonprofit think tank National Center for Health Research. Zuckerman also pointed out that Toronto has a mask requirement for indoor public spaces.
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