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from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
The rules are extreme — if not excessive.
Handshakes and high-fives are prohibited. The same goes for fist bumps. During games, you can’t re-use towels. After games, you can’t use the spa, sauna or steam room to soak those sore muscles. Want to take the elevator to your hotel room? Make sure to use your knuckle or elbow — not your finger — to push the buttons. And remember that talking is strictly off limits once the doors close.
The 47-page return-to-play document, which covers everything from daily tests and disinfecting dressing rooms to preparing team meals and the proper way of behaving in the hotel, still has to be agreed upon by the NHLPA and the Board of Governors. And with a failure-to-comply penalty of a lost draft choice, it might sound a tad draconian.
But according to an infectious disease physician, the strict guidelines is what separates the NHL from the NBA and MLB in being able to safely crown a champion sometime this year.
“I’ll be honest with you — I’m impressed. I think they’ve thought long and hard about this,” said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, who is based out of Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont. “This plan could work. It is certainly a possibility. I think the chance of the NBA or MLB (returning) right now is very, very unlikely. But I think this is a good idea.”
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has put his two young children to bed almost every night for nearly four months since the NHL paused its season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Avalanche center now faces the possibility of not being in the same room with his family for a minimum of five weeks if the Avs reach the Western Conference finals in the proposed 24-team playoffs.
The NHL is still working on an official Phase 4 return-to-play announcement to coincide with a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association, but according to a TSN report published late Sunday night, the league will conduct its 24-team playoffs in two “bubble” cities — Edmonton and Toronto. It will also not allow advancing teams to see their families until the conference finals....
“It’s a difficult situation. As the parent of two, it’s going to be really mentally difficult to not see your family for a while. I have mixed feelings about it,” Bellemare said Monday in a phone interview. “But I’m ready to return to play. We have a great team. I’m ready to win the Cup. I’m ready to make some sacrifices to win that Cup.”...
“It’s a different situation right now, but normally when you come to pre-camp, you’re already in town and you’re practicing on the ice in different groups. This is similar but I feel like the intensity is a little bit higher just because everybody realizes what’s at skate,” he said. “So everybody is trying to get back to feeling good on the ice but also thinking about getting that edge quick because it’s going to come fast.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Bertuzzi has hovered near 50 points two years in a row. That will help his cause in the offseason, as he’s a restricted free agent. He is coming off a two-year, $2.8 million contract ($1.4 million salary cap hit) and is likely to be signed to a four- or five-year contract in the $4.5 million annually range.
Read: Red Wings' 2017 draft review: 11 picks, but only 2 projected for rebuild
Bertuzzi, 6-foot-1 and 199 pounds, isn’t a fluid skater, but makes up for it with grit and savvy. He’s effective in front of the net, and at digging pucks out of corners. He has developed excellent chemistry with Larkin and Mantha.
Bertuzzi projects in the 25-goal, 55-point range for next season (based on an 82-game season, which the NHL has said there will be in 2020-21 even if the pandemic delays the start until January). If general manager Steve Yzerman makes improvements to the team — such as adding a puck-moving defenseman and shoring up goaltending — Bertuzzi could flirt with the 30-goal mark.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
It remains to be seen if any player even gets inside the “secure zone” the NHL hopes to create in Edmonton and Toronto this summer.
But the consequences for leaving that highly controlled area and re-entering during a season restart are already tentatively set: At least four days confined to your hotel room, with four consecutive negative results needed from coronavirus tests before you’re able to resume practising, playing or just walking around the bubble.
That’s part of a dense booklet of protocols finalized Sunday, but still subject to ratification by NHL players and owners. Voting should happen in the coming days, once the NHL and NHL Players’ Association finish the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement and tie up other loose ends.
The protocols they agreed to for Phase 3 (training camps) and Phase 4 (competition) are at once expansive and open-ended.
For example, it’s not entirely clear how players with an excused absence for the birth of a child, or an illness or death in the family, will be reintroduced to the bubble beyond needing to produce the series of four negative tests.
If the NHL can actually pull off this bubble deal, it would be one of the great successes in league history. Problem is, league already encasing entire experiment in secrecy. Public has a right to know facts, not just NHL public relations propaganda.
NHL should and must reveal names of those who test positive, and make public any and all violations by team members. This isn’t their secret to keep.
-Damien Cox via Twitter
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The list of players they might take includes centers Cole Perfetti of Saginaw (OHL) and Marco Rossi of Ottawa (OHL), Swedish wingers Lucas Raymond (Frolunda) and Alexander Holtz (Djurgardens) and defenseman Jamie Drysdale of Erie (OHL)....
The Red Wings need scoring and they need help on the blue line. They also need a goaltender of the future and Yaroslav Askarov of St. Petersburg (Russia) is sure to be available at No. 4. But it seems unlikely the Red Wings would take a goalie that high.
Here is a look at some post-draft lottery projections on who the Red Wings will select at No. 4:
Sportsnet: Cole Perfetti, C-LW, Saginaw (OHL)
Sam Cosentino writes: “There are countless ties between Detroit and Perfetti. Most importantly, Perfetti spent the season a short drive away from the Motor City, allowing everyone in the organization to get multiple looks as well as get up close and personal to know him away from the rink. He’s equally as impressive a young man as he is a player. For Perfetti, his hockey IQ may be the best in this draft class. His awareness is uncanny. Anticipating a play in neutral ice or jumping the play to earn a breakaway is not uncommon.”
TSN: Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
Craig Button says: “It changes significantly from 1 to 4, but it doesn’t with respect to Jamie Drysdale, a No. 1 elite, complete, right-shot defenseman. You can build a winner with Jamie Drysdale on your blue line.”
First up is Sportsnet, 8 1/2 minutes long.
Below is TSN with Bob McKenzie, a bit over 3 minutes to watch.
The NHL and NHLPA have agreed on protocols to resume play, Sportsnet can confirm. The two sides continue to negotiate an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.
Once a CBA extension is agreed upon, the NHL’s board of governors and the full membership of the NHLPA will vote on both the extension and the return-to-play protocols that were agreed to on Sunday.
The newly agreed-upon protocols cover Phase 3 and 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, this includes a framework for how the return-to-play would be called off if the COVID-19 virus cannot be contained.
The NHL and NHLPA have finalized a tentative agreement on Phases 3 and 4 of the league's return-to-play protocols, but are still working on finalizing the details of the Collective Bargaining Agreement Memorandum of Understanding, according to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie.
Both the return-to-play protocols and CBA will need to be ratified by the NHLPA executive committee followed by a full membership vote. However, no ratification will take place until the CBA MOU is finalized. It will also require ratification by the NHL Board of Governors.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
With the new NHL collective bargaining agreement keeping the $81.5 million salary cap team ceiling, general managers and free-agents and their representatives trying to get new deals are all going, “Uh, oh…this is not good.’”
As Brian Burke said Friday on Sportsnet as he talked about COVID-19 and teams looking at huge losses this upcoming season because they could be playing in empty or near-empty rinks for a long time, “We’re not dealing with a lunar landscape, we’re dealing with a Martian one and nobody has been there before.”
If you’re a GM, it’s like knowing you need the roof fixed and work on the bathroom and kitchen, but you only have so much money to spend. If you’re a player, it’s the realization that being a free-agent really means you’re not that free. Especially with every team well over 90 per cent of their cap space for next season eaten up already.
continued, Oilers related...
At a time when other leagues are looking lost and about to play games in high risk — some would say insane — situations, Gary Bettman’s owners and Donald Fehr’s players, appear to have combined to give themselves long-term stability with a template to get through the next six years. Maybe seven.
They’ve created what appears to be a contract that will allow both to come out the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic challenges triumphing together.
-Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun. Jones has more on this topic.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
...in September and October, just weeks before the NHL Entry Draft, many of the European prospects in this draft class will be playing hockey again.
With the pandemic easing in Europe, at least for now, most of those leagues should be up and running in the autumn.
The North American junior leagues likely will not be.
So, for Red Wings’ general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff, it’ll be another valuable scouting opportunity and chance for those European players to sell themselves on the ice — while comparable North American prospects are sitting.
“That could just confuse the situation even more,” Yzerman said. “We thought about that. In all likelihood, you’ll have some of these kids playing, the way it looks right now, and potentially, some of the North American kids not playing.
“So, depending on who’s playing, who’s not playing, who plays well, who doesn’t, it can complicate your decision-making even more.”
It certainly does offer, everyone around the NHL agrees, the unique opportunity for a young player to give himself a second chance to move himself up in the draft.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The 2017 NHL draft was a busy and unusual one for the Detroit Red Wings.
It marked the first time they were in the draft lottery, earning entry after missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 seasons. They finished with the sixth-worst record but were pushed back to ninth because expansion Vegas won the sixth spot and Philadelphia and Dallas moved ahead of Detroit. The Wings have been pushed back four straight years, including this year, landing the fourth pick despite finishing in last place.
They made 11 picks in 2017, including four in the third round that stemmed from trades and compensation from the Toronto Maple Leafs for their hiring of Mike Babcock. The Wings also had two picks in the sixth round.
Two picks from the draft already have made appearances with the Wings and look like they will help shape the rebuild.
Given how recent the draft was (only eight players overall from the class have topped 100 games), there aren’t many instances where it is clear if a better choice could have been made.
If a couple of stir-crazy players decide to tie up some bedsheets and slip out for a night on the town, the NHL owns that. If a bunch of hospitality workers serving the meals get sick and one of them dies, the NHL owns that. If a COVID cluster pops up and the league decides to tough it out because it’s Game 7 of the conference final, the NHL owns that.
-Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic.
Sportsnet with their all time soundbites.
6 1/2 minutes to watch.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The puck is on the goal line. Now the NHL and NHLPA just need to poke it home.
After a marathon week of bargaining, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are closing in on a tentative memorandum of understanding on an all-encompassing new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as all of the necessary return-to-play components to drop the puck on a 24-team play-in.
The MOU would need to be ratified by both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s full membership. A player vote could begin electronically as soon as Monday if an agreement is announced on Saturday; players will have 72 hours to vote.
There are more i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed. But the deal is believed to be imminent and multiple stakeholders in the NHL community have now been apprised of the details.
Here is a rundown of the pertinent particulars:
Stay safe, enjoy your hot dogs, apple pie or whatever food you are indulging in today.
Again stay safe.
On a local note, anyone else tired of seeing 90 degrees pus in the weather forecast os is this my 'get off the lawn' moment?
With the action on pause of 2020, many of us are looking forward to 2021 for all the excitement of an NHL draft. But which players should you be looking out for that can bring value to the league? To help you out, we have compiled a list of players we think you should be aware of that are in the 2020 draft.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
As the NHL/NHLPA continue to grind their way through a return-to-play/CBA agreement, terms continue to seep out. Here’s some of what we’re hearing:
The updated rules will carry through 2025-26, although there is a provision for a one-year extension if more than $125 million in escrow is owed to the league. The salary cap for 2020-21 is $81.5 million. The NHL/NHLPA are talking about keeping it there until revenues hit $4.8 billion. At that point, they will use the two years prior to calculate the cap number — meaning the 2022-23 ceiling will be based on 2020-21 revenues. That will give more certainty and planning.
Cap on escrow is 20 per cent next season. Somewhere between 14-18 per cent in 2021-22, depending on 2020-21 revenue. Then we go 10 per cent in 2022-23, with a maximum of six per cent over the remaining term (if there is an extra year, the escrow cap will be at nine per cent). There will be a 10 per cent salary deferral next season. It will be repaid during the final three years of this CBA.
Olympic participation for 2022 and 2026 is guaranteed pending agreement with the IOC. This year’s playoff fund (a bonus pool of money players earn the longer their team plays) will be doubled to $32 million. It is much higher this year since more teams are eligible and players are coming into a bubble during a pandemic. It will go to $20 million next season. The minimum salary will rise to $750,000 next season and reach $800,000 by the end of this deal.
There are some interesting modifications:
Athletes must train mentally, physically, and emotionally to reach their top game. Some might even go so far as to say that training for sports is a spiritual process involving sacrifice, dedication, and equanimity.
There is more in Bob McKenzie's recent tweets, so check them out.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Toronto and the National Hockey League had plenty of work when it came to choosing Hogtown as a hub city, but it doesn’t seem the Stanley Cup will be raised here by the Maple Leafs or anyone else.
While Toronto and Edmonton are awaiting official designation as the two hosts for the 24-team tournament, a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Thursday said the Alberta capital is the favourite to go on and stage the best-of-seven conference finals and championship rounds.
Both burgs will get 12 respective Eastern and Western teams in their towns, playing four best-of-five qualifying rounds while the top four teams get byes and go into a round- robin event to determine future seeding. The surviving eight teams then go to first and second round series that are best-of-sevens. But if Edmonton is indeed to be the site of the final, the two Eastern survivors will head there.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press answers a few questions...
Does picking fourth set back the rebuild? I was really hoping for at least second.
Drafting second would have given general manager Steve Yzerman a choice of Tim Stützle and Quinton Byfield, who are expected to go after Lafrenière, the consensus top pick. Instead, Yzerman is likely to choose from top forwards including Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz, and defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Picking lower isn’t a setback if Yzerman makes the right choice.
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