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Bob McKenzie joins Gino Reda with the latest on the Return to Play schedule and why the league is hoping to play three games a day in each Hub city of Toronto and Edmonton. He also touches on a clause in the new agreement that could allow the league to prevent 'high risk players' from playing.
from Jim Morris at CBC,
Rob Corte, vice president of Sportsnet and NHL Production, said many of the tournament's details – especially those related to the media – still haven't been finalized.
"Part of the challenge is, there's been so many different ideas and potential ways to do this," Corte said. "We've been having so many discussions, and when you think you're moving in a certain direction, then about 10 more questions come up that actually disqualify everything you have been thinking before.
"That's probably been the frustrating part."
Print journalists are also waiting to learn how they will go about their jobs.
"We have been told there has been no determination made yet in terms of media access and what that may or may not look like," Frank Seravalli, president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, said in an email. "The situation remains in flux."
via the YouTube page of the NHL,
Mike Smith falls victim to an improbable bounce, Tuukka Rask loses an edge at an inopportune time, Bobby Ryan scores with an opponents stick while Shane Doan fakes out Frederik Andersen with a broken stick.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
A strange sensation may have washed over you early Monday evening.
Call it the promise of labour peace in our time.
Unless you are middle-aged, or took a keen interest in labour negotiations before grade school, this isn’t something you’ve experienced courtesy of the NHL. Before this announcement of a memorandum of understanding to extend the collective bargaining agreement through the 2025-26 season, if ratified, you have known the 2012-13 lockout … and the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out the entire season … and the 1994-95 lockout … and the 1992 strike.
That dispute-filled past provides context every bit as important to this agreement as our uncertain present, which underpins the new deal. The transition rules and a four-year extension to the CBA are built around sharing the economic pain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic until more prosperous days return.
Let it be said that this is what leadership looks like in difficult times.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
As the NHL inches closer to starting the playoffs, there will be a lot made of the fact that players can opt out of playing out this season for any reason. A player can tell his employer that playing this season will get in the way of his golf game and he’ll be able to skip the playoffs with impunity. This will be seen as a triumph for the players. You have to wonder why the NHL and NHL Players’ Association even bothered to take the time to negotiate this aspect of the agreement.
Here’s a bold prediction, a hot take, if you will. Of the 744 players – 31 for each of the 24 teams taking part – who will be eligible to play in the playoffs starting in August, I don’t believe a single one will opt out of playing. Not one. No number of positive cases of COVID, which is essentially at 35 and counting, no amount of risk and the possibility of not making anything more beyond playoff bonus money will keep these guys off the ice.
The players agreed to hold back their last paychecks from this season as part of their contribution to offset the owners’ losses and reduce the amount of escrow and players never get paid during the playoffs. That will reduce the amount they owe by about $140 million. Players whose teams lose in the first-round play-in series will receive $20,000 each and those whose teams win the Stanley Cup will make an extra $240,000. Neither of those is a insignificant amount of money, but for most of the stars of the NHL, it basically represents money that gets lost in their couches. If the Toronto Maple Leafs manage to win 19 games and capture the Stanley Cup, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Auston Matthews will receive approximately 1.5 percent of what their signing bonuses and salaries were supposed to be this season.
via Sportsnet's YouTube page,
Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman joins David Amber to break down the key points of the NHL & NHLPA’s CBA agreement. Find out who came out a winner, who won’t like the new deal, and when Elliotte plans on shaving his beard.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The next logical question for the NHL after COVID-19 testing and securing the bubble environment for 12 teams in each hub, will be keeping its main stages, Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Place, from becoming mush.
Commissioner Gary Bettman got out in front of that months ago, insisting ice-making technology has advanced to the point where high temperatures wouldn’t be a problem and the experts say there will be another huge advantage for arena staff — the COVID crowd curtain.
“There aren’t going to be fans in the building,” said Bob Hunter, former general manager of SBA/Air Canada Centre and now CEO of Toronto Wolfpack rugby. “That’s just as important as what the weather is outside. You get 18,000 people in there and they generate a lot of heat. By the second and third periods, it’s a challenge to keep the ice hard and fast.
“When I worked there, we were able to get the humidity down. We spent $5.3 million on a de-humidifier many years ago and I know they’ve made improvements since. Just look at Las Vegas hosting a Stanley Cup final in June a couple of years ago.”
NEW YORK/TORONTO (July 6, 2020) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a Return to Play Plan and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that adds an additional four years to the term of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar. As part of the tentative agreement, the following dates have been established: July 13 – start of formal training camps; July 26 – Clubs travel to hub cities; August 1 – start of Qualifying Round. The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors, as well as the NHLPA’s Executive Board followed by the full NHLPA membership. The respective review and approval processes will take place over the next few days and there will be no further comment until those processes are completed.
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.
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