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The Latest Talk On The Talks

07/01/2020 at 6:02am EDT

via Bob McKenzie tweets,

As has been the case recently, NHL-NHLPA negotiations on Phase 3/Phase 4 RTP protocols and CBA extension are going late into the night. Both sides know time is tight and the push is on to get this done.

Ideally (admittedly not a good word to use in 2020), an NHLPA membership vote on Phase 3/4 RTP protocols and a CBA extension would take place by the weekend but whether that is possible depends on how these talks proceed.

The expectation is that NHL players will be paid their 2020-21 contract year signing bonuses tomorrow on July 1, as scheduled. That’s an NHL expenditure of more than $300 million.

added 7:59am,

Enjoy Your Holiday Canada

07/01/2020 at 5:42am EDT

Hsppy Canada Day.

Stay safe, enjoy the day and have a few Molson XXXs for me.

Video- TSN Insiders Tonight

06/30/2020 at 8:30pm EDT

via TSN's YouTube page,

Bob McKenzie joins Gino Reda to explain what's holding up the hub city announcement, why there's potential that both hub cities could be in Canada and how all of this is affecting the Return to Play timeline.

Afternoon Line- Frederik Andersen

06/30/2020 at 3:28pm EDT

“I’m not quite 100 per cent confident yet, I think the league is very adamant about working towards that [return]. I think once we get to the hub cities, everyone has to be confident [in those] and that the league will have a good setup. So once we get there we'll be good, but I think it's a matter of getting there first. It looks like there’s some more things that need to be ironed out first.”

“I don't think I have just one [concern], there's a few things that need to be figured out, and players have to vote on it, and I think we still have a little bit of a ways to go. The whole thing in general has got to make sense. Just with future CBA stuff [the league’s current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2022], and obviously safety is very important. I'm confident that we'll have something to vote on. I want to play; I don't want to just sit and waste the summer or a season.”

-Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kristen Shelton of TSN has more.

Does Stalemate Come Next?

06/30/2020 at 1:42pm EDT

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

Two separate but inextricably linked negotiations have bogged down the National Hockey League’s announcement on hub cities and fixed dates as hockey marches toward a return to the ice.

The first involves the details on the hub cities, the multi-layered safety protocol, testing, and bubble/lifestyle restrictions, as well as training camp procedures.

The second revolves around an extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement – a near financial and economic prerequisite to return to play given the lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The players owe the owners hundreds of millions of dollars because they are responsible for a 50-50 revenue split and have already been paid 90 per cent of their compensation for the season.


Draft Lottery Odds Need To Change

06/30/2020 at 6:32am EDT

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The seventh-best team during the regular season could land the No. 1 pick in the NHL entry draft.

The Pittsburgh Penguins accumulated 86 points in 69 games for a .623 points percentage before the NHL season paused on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were on pace for 102 points.

The Penguins were fifth in the Eastern Conference, missing out on a bye into the first round of the playoffs. They will play 12th seeded Montreal in the qualifying round. If Pittsburgh loses that best-of-five series, it will join the other seven qualifying round losers in the second phase of the draft lottery.

Each of the eight teams has a 12.5 percent chance of securing the top pick, certain to be left wing Alexis Lafreniere.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings, who finished 23 points below the next-worst team – with 47 fewer points than the Penguins -- and posted the worst points percentage (.275) for a non-expansion team since 1997-98, will select fourth, as determined by Friday’s first lottery phase.


Bob McKenzie On Why The NHL Has Not Made A Decision On Hub Cities

06/29/2020 at 9:28pm EDT

Are positive tests causing the delay on the NHL’s hub cities announcement?

Bryan Hayes and Mike Johnson are joined by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie who breaks down the impact positive COVID-19 tests are having on the NHL’s return to play and why the league has yet to make a decision on the hub cities.

Watch at TSN.

added 6/30, or wath it below...

Video- Change Hockey

06/29/2020 at 4:46pm EDT

Watch the 38 minute video below.

The Latest COVID Update From The NHL

06/29/2020 at 2:49pm EDT

Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award And Foster Hewitt Memorial Award Recipients Announced

06/29/2020 at 11:59am EDT

TORONTO (June 29, 2020) - Frank Seravalli, President of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and Chuck Kaiton, President of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, announced today that Tony Gallagher will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Rick Peckham will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

Wings Move Training Camp To LCA

06/29/2020 at 11:02am EDT

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings today announced changes to their annual events held in Traverse City, Mich., including the relocation of the team's 2020-21 Training Camp to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and the cancellation of the 2020 NHL Prospect Tournament and Training Camp Golf Classic. The Red Wings look forward to both events, as well as training camp, returning to Traverse City next year.

"The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is our top concern," said Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman. "Based on discussions with local health experts, we have decided to hold our 2020-21 training camp at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. We look forward to returning to Traverse City next year. The Traverse City community is extremely hospitable to our organization, and Centre Ice Arena is an ideal location for us to hold our events each September."

The Spirit Of The Draft Is Tossed Aside

06/29/2020 at 10:15am EDT

from Pat Caputo of 97.1,

Think of :

- Toronto adding Lafreniere to Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander.

- Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Lafreniere

- Chicago with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Lafreniere.

- The Rangers with Lafreniere and the second overall selection from last year, Kaapo Kakko....

The twist of the knife to the Red Wings’ back is they did anything but tank. The Red Wings waited far too long to go into total rebuilding mode and continually overspent on veteran players.

Everything about this process goes against the spirit of the draft, which is to provide competitive balance.

The adding of the losing qualifying round teams to the lottery mix because of the pandemic was absurd, For one of those teams to get Lafreniere - especially if it is one of the Red Wings’ rivals - because of sheer chance adds salt to the wound.


Approaching Phase 3 Of The Return To Play

06/29/2020 at 8:10am EDT

from Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

As players, executives and fans continue to adjust to the new normal, we will provide updates every week, answering all the burning questions about the various angles of the NHL's relation to the pandemic....

What are the league and the players still working on finalizing ahead of Phase 3's expected start on July 10?

Greg Wyshynski: There have been two separate, but undeniably related, negotiations going on between the NHL and the players: the return-to-play protocols and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is due to expire in September 2022.

The return-to-play vote is essentially simple: Do the players want to come back to complete the 2019-20 season in a 24-team tournament spread out between two hub cities, living in a quarantine bubble for up to two and a half months? There are complicated issues that inform that decision, including testing protocols, the ability to see their families, life during off days inside the bubbles and much more. But this is the question on which they'll vote.

And it's hard to get a handle on the players' sentiments. Older players with families and at-risk relatives are going to approach this differently than a 22-year-old who just wants to play hockey.


Jamie Drysdale An Option For The Wings At #4

06/29/2020 at 7:16am EDT

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Los Angeles Kings will then select either center Quinton Byfield or winger Tim Stuetzle at No. 2. The Ottawa Senators at No. 3 will take who is available between Byfield and Stuetzle.

The Detroit Red Wings select at No. 4. This is where the guessing begins, but defenseman Jamie Drysdale makes the most sense.

Scripts have a way of changing. We saw that in 2019 when Steve Yzerman, in his first draft as Red Wings general manager, pulled a surprise by taking defenseman Moritz Seider of Germany at No. 6, ahead of centers Dylan Cozens and Trevor Zegras, one of whom many anticipated Detroit would choose....

Drysdale (5-11, 175) is described by analysts as having a good combination of puck-movement skills and defensive acumen. He skates well and is aggressive for his size.

“His smarts with the puck and excellent footwork and stick placement help him against bigger players,” Red Line Report said. “Tough to gain the offensive zone on his side of the ice -- keeps his shoulders squared up to puck-carriers and closes gaps perfectly. Extremely dangerous when he has the puck. Calculated passer spreads wealth out to all areas in offensive zone. Utilizes pinpoint accurate snap shots from far out, aiming for areas where teammates can get deflections. Superb skater links together world class moves in all four directions.”

Red Line Report said Drysdale’s style compares to Cale Makar, the 2017 fourth overall pick who has had a strong rookie season with the Colorado Avalanche.


The NHL Draft Worked As Planned And That Is A Sad Statement

06/29/2020 at 6:52am EDT

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Steve Yzerman could’ve spewed some juicy expletives and fired a can of ginger ale at the TV screen. I mean, that’s what most Red Wings fans were doing Friday night.

But after the Wings suffered the sting of the NHL’s lottery buffoonery, Yzerman did the honorable thing, said he wasn’t surprised, and promised the Wings would get a great prospect with the fourth pick of the draft. And they probably will.

But this is the treacherous nature of rebuilding in the NHL, NBA or anywhere. The Pistons are next, and with the fifth-worst record, they have a 10.5% chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the Aug. 25 lottery, only a 44.3% of staying in the top five and a small chance of falling to ninth. Lesson: You put your fate in random acts, prepare for random, inexplicable results.

In the NHL, the random acts too often are comical and dumb. The draft lottery was an embarrassment, and I know the rest of the sports world doesn’t care if a Detroit team got jobbed. And maybe it’s our fault too for not shrieking loudly about the possible consequences before the disaster unfolded.

But with one of the worst regular-season records in franchise history, the Wings dropped from the No. 1 slot — and prized prospect Alexis Lafreniere — to No. 4. And here’s the ridiculous part: It’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.


Have Some Hockey Notes With Your Sunday Morning Coffee

06/28/2020 at 9:28am EDT

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- I want to see hockey. I’m selfish that way. I want the see playoffs in August. But I want them played under safe and healthy circumstances. And I don’t care where. Once the games are played, it won’t matter if it’s Toronto or Edmonton or Chicago or wherever. The arenas will be empty. The situations will be similar. The great hub-city dance is basically meaningless to most fans who will turn on their television and watch, no matter where the games will be played. The local economy will benefit for being a hub city. The fans will see games no matter where they happen to be played.

- There are MIT graduates who couldn’t explain the NHL’s draft lottery Friday night in less than 100 words. And try telling someone that some team won, we just don’t know which one. Weird stuff in the weirdest season in history.

- This is what the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee should do in the future: Publish the voting results. Not with names, with numbers. We know Jarome Iginla got 18 out of 18 possible votes. That’s obvious. But we don’t know who got in with 14 votes and who may have lost out having only 13 or 12 votes. You need 75% to be elected. The Hall should be more open with its disclosures. What it should announce every year is who was nominated and how the voting went. You don’t have to identify who voted for whom. The numbers will do and it will serve the hockey public well to know who didn’t get voted in and who wasn’t nominated at all. In baseball, we see the voting. In football, we find out who got in and who didn’t. In basketball, everybody gets in so it doesn’t matter. In hockey, we’re on the outside looking in.

a few more hockey blurbs....

Don't Feel Sorry For The Wings

06/27/2020 at 10:08pm EDT

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Sorry, no tears are being shed here over the plight of the Red Wings, whose historically bad season got them no more than the fourth-overall pick of the draft as a consequence of the way the pingpong balls bounced in Friday’s lottery drawing.

Do you think the Detroit organization, always arrogant in the good times, agonized when the 2016-17 Avalanche, nearly as bad as this year’s Wings, also slid to fourth out of the lottery while the Devils, who had recorded 22 more points than Colorado, scored the first pick?

And by the way, wouldn’t you say Colorado did just fine by tabbing Cale Makar three spots after the Devils selected Nico Hischier? Who do you think goes first in a re-draft; Makar, Miro Heiskanen (third to Dallas) or Elias Pettersson (fifth to Vancouver)?

I wrote weeks ago that the lottery should have been restricted to the NHL’s Seven Dwarfs who were omitted from the Hub-Bubble 24-team extravaganza that is tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of July. The draw thus would have been limited to Detroit, Ottawa, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, New Jersey and Buffalo, with the Sharks’ pick owned by the Senators. That seemed fair to me.

But the NHL went its own way, designed a system to create some intrigue, and I spent all of 0.2 seconds fretting about it.


Weekend Thoughts

06/27/2020 at 7:34pm EDT

from Eliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

When it comes to the vote, I think it’s pure hypocrisy to judge anyone else any differently than I judge myself. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, certain NHL locations are out of control and there’s risk. We can argue about mortality rates for healthy athletes, sure, but we also have very little idea of what this disease does long-term to the human body.

A few weeks ago, I discussed with my wife about going back to work. We looked at the risks and agreed that when the time comes to go back into the office, I’m going back into the office. Some people can financially afford to say, “Don’t need this.” (I’m jealous, lol.) Some will say, “My job is simply not important enough to me.” But for many, many others, that route is not practical. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s benefits. Maybe it’s self-worth. Maybe it’s the fact that, as an athlete, your career window is so much smaller than most. All good reasons, and there are more. I decided a while ago that I was not going to criticize anyone – co-worker, athlete, coach, executive, official, blue-collar worker, white-collar worker – who said no. That’s their business, no one else’s.

There’ve been some raucous player calls. I’m told Montreal’s was one, and Carey Price gave a window into that with local reporters on Thursday. The time of year does not appeal to the players, who save the summer for recovery, training, golfing, weddings and timing the birth of children. Who’s going to be thrilled with flying into Florida or Texas? Who wants to take a triple connection to come back from Europe? Are there more positive tests than we know? These are all legit questions. But I don’t think it’s in any way wrong to say, “What are the implications if I say no?” The business is already taking a massive hit and each player’s salary is linked to it. That’s why I think the vote passes, then we see who opts out.

more Thoughts...

Meet Mike Milbury

06/27/2020 at 3:19pm EDT

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

In his garden, he is “Mellow Mike.” He and his family, including nine grandchildren, will soon enjoy the annual summer yield of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, green beans, arugula, oregano, and basil from his quiet Needham backyard. All 100 percent organically fed.

When the harvest arrives, he mused, “You know what you’re eating for a few weeks.”...

At the end of July, if all goes according to plan, the NBC hockey team will report to its Stamford, Conn., studio. Milbury expects the broadcast to emanate from there, with drastically reduced staffing and social distancing, though it’s possible they could travel for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final. NESN commentator Andy Brickley said for as long as the league allows local coverage, he expects to broadcast from Watertown.

“It might be six games a day for the first couple weeks,” Milbury said. “It’ll be nonstop hockey, that’s for sure.”

He doesn’t expect the Bruins to be lagging behind.

“I was talking with [assistant coach] Joe Sacco, and he was saying how their practices are short, and the pace is so high. This group is really good in the gym. They know how to take care of themselves. That’s a big factor.”

Milbury, like his first NHL coach, Don Cherry, is not stingy with his opinions. He is the object of Internet snark, from his time running the “Fish Sticks” Islanders and the infamous MSG shoe incident. If you’re a longtime Bruins fan, you may remember him as a hard-nosed guy from Walpole (and Brighton) who went the whole way in a Spoked-B. In the early ’80s, he also was the lone dissenting voice among players in a battle with powerful agent/NHLPA head Alan Eagleson.

“Mike was never afraid to sell himself,” Rick Middleton said, noting Milbury was one of the first whistleblowers against the later-disgraced Eagleson. “Never afraid to step into an [expletive] storm, and never afraid to open his mouth, whether he could back it up or not.”

more and other hockey topics...

A Bad Night For The Wings

06/27/2020 at 1:24pm EDT

Down Goes Brown pick the winners and losers from last night,

Look, Red Wing fans knew the odds. There was a roughly 50 percent chance this could happen. That’s the way it’s worked since 2016, and we’ve seen the last place overall team drop all the way to number four on multiple occasions, including a Colorado team in 2017 that might have been even worse than this year’s Wings. If you’re a Detroit fan and you were blindsided by what happened on Friday, you weren’t paying attention....

Red Wings fans are mad, and they should be mad. They get to be unbearable for the next few days. Save them your lectures about lucking into Pavel Datsyuk or getting to watch Nicklas Lidstrom. They don’t want to hear it right now, and that’s the way it should be. This hurts, a lot.


A Look At Prospect Cole Perfetti

06/27/2020 at 11:33am EDT

via TSN,

Gino Reda is joined by TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button to assess the skills and strengths of Saginaw Spirit centreman Cole Perfetti and why his hockey IQ is the highest of any player available in this year's draft.

Watch the short video...

Also, a link to YouTube containing highlights from Perfetti.

Local Reaction To The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

06/27/2020 at 6:20am EDT

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Red Wings didn’t win much during this past regular season and added one more loss Friday.

The team failed to win Friday’s NHL Draft Lottery, and will wind up pickingfourth whenever the actual NHL Entry Draft will be held (probably in October).

But let the conspiracy theories begin, as a team who will be playing in the qualifying round in July/August will be picking first overall.

Despite a 2.5% of being drawn, the placeholder team from the qualifying round won the lottery, beating the odds for sure.


from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The league announced in late May the lottery would feature the seven teams that were at the bottom of the standings at the time of the shutdown, plus eight qualifying-round losers. Since Friday’s Phase 1 saw a play-in team land the first pick, there will be a Phase 2 drawing after the qualifying round to determine the team’s identity.

What it boils down to is that a team the NHL deemed good enough to compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup can also win the right to draft Alexis Lafrenière, the consensus top pick. Meanwhile the Wings, who have fallen from 25th in 2016-17, 27th in 2017-18, and 28th in 2018-19 to rock bottom, got shafted.

“They have to do what they have to do,” Yzerman said. “Anything I say is going to be self-serving. They have to do what they have to do.”


from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

NHL Release On The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

06/26/2020 at 9:25pm EDT

NEW YORK (June 26, 2020) -- The Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators own the second and third overall drafting positions, respectively, for the First Round of the 2020 NHL Draft as a result of Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery Drawing at NHL Network’s Secaucus, N.J., studio. The first overall drafting position will be determined in Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be conducted between the Qualifying Round and First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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