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Canada is among the most liberal states in the world and in many regards, it is even ahead of the United States. When it comes to online sports betting, people would expect Canadians to be allowed to legally bet on their favorite teams and athletes. The fact that the legal framework is not clear is surely surprising, but steps are being taken in the right direction. For now, many online forms of games remain in the gray area, but at least players are not in danger of suffering the repercussions of breaking the law.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
- All but a certainty now that the NHL will not complete its regular season, which will leave David Pastrnak two drops short of 50 goals and 5 points short of 100. As things stand, “Pasta” would finish tied with Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals (48), although Ovie collected his in 68 games and Pastrnak in 70. The only player to reach the 100-point plateau: Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (43-67—110), who also topped the league in assists.
- If the season goes by the boards without the Cup being awarded — potentially the third time in history — Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron will be the two Bruins whose NHL careers will have stretched over both the non-Cup seasons of 2004-05 and 2019-20. Big Z already had played 459 NHL games when the league went dark in the ’04-05 lockout. Bergeron had posted the 71 games of his rookie season.
- In the three years since the expansion draft, Matt Murray has gone 76-41-14 (.633) with the Penguins in the regular season and Marc-Andre Fleury 91-50-14 (.632) with the Knights. Playoffs: Murray, 6-10; Fleury, 16-11.
more plus other hockey topics...
from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,
Patrick Curry, who just completed his collegiate career at Boston University, signed a two-year contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday.
The 24-year-old forward totaled 79 points (39-40-79), a plus-10 rating and 116 penalty minutes in 141 career games over four seasons with the Terriers.
He was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward as a senior in 2019-20, he established career highs with 32 points and a team-best 19 goals and equaled his career mark with 13 assists in 34 appearances.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The decision to postpone the NHL draft scheduled for June 26-27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal didn’t come as a surprise because the league either expects to be playing hockey at that point or be unable to have large crowds in a rink — because the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Health Canada haven’t given the green light to hold large gatherings.
There has been idle chatter that if the league does decide to cancel the rest of the regular season and go to the playoffs that the format of the draft lottery may change. A check with a handful of league executives in the last couple of days indicates they don’t expect that to be the case and that the teams with the best odds in the lottery will retain those numbers whenever the league loads the balls into the machine....
“I don’t see any reason to change the format and I’m not sure it would even be given any consideration,” a league executive told this newspaper this week. “If they go straight to the playoffs, a good portion of the season has already been played and those teams at the bottom weren’t really going to gain much ground if the league hadn’t gone on pause.”
The sentiment from league executives I’ve spoken with is, just because the season might end up being shortened, it doesn’t mean you can arbitrarily just change the rules.
The St. Louis Blues have issued the following statement regarding FOX Sports Midwest play-by-play announcer John Kelly, who tested positive for COVID-19:
The St. Louis Blues are confirming that play-by-play announcer John Kelly has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
John has been in self-quarantine since March 13. We are thrilled to report that John is feeling strong and symptom free.
The health and safety of the entire Blues family remains our core focus during these unprecedented times. We wish John well as he continues his recovery at home.
added 6:59pm, Chris Kerber talked with John Kelly, watch below, via Blue Note Productions.
from the CP at CTV,
Connor McDavid is at odds with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
McDavid's Oilers sat comfortably in a playoff spot when the NHL suspended its season earlier this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but unlike his contemporaries, Edmonton's captain thinks going right into the playoffs if the league gets the all-clear to resume would be a mistake.
Speaking on a video conference call Friday, McDavid said “a full season's a fair season” when asked how he'd like to see things play out.
And if the NHL has to shorten proceedings, the 23-year-old superstar says teams would need at least a few games to find a rhythm.
Crosby and Ovechkin said in separate video conferences Thursday they wouldn't mind if the league went right into the playoffs.
Do you agree?
from David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner is pessimistic the NHL season will resume.
In an interview with Swedish-based publication SportExpressen that was published online Thursday and translated to English, Lehner said he saw “a zero percent chance” the regular season and playoffs can be completed after the league’s pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“No, I don’t think it is possible to shut down and then run again when you have 100,000 cases of the coronavirus,” said Lehner, according to the translation. “Safety goes first. You can’t turn 180 degrees and start playing again. I see a zero percent chance that you can save this season. Now I hope that next season can start as usual in October.”
via the YouTube page of TSN,
Brendan Shanahan joins James Duthie to discuss how he's coping with the 'new normal' nowadays, how his players are handling the self-isolation, what the impact may be on the game of hockey when the COVID-19 pandemic is said and done, reflect on the Maple Leafs' roller coaster season and much more.
Sidney Crosby has said that he wouldn’t mind going straight to the playoffs, but would prefer to get in as many regular season games in to keep the integrity of the game. Our TSN Hockey Insiders have the latest on what some NHL general managers are suggesting should play resume, how long the league will go before making decision on the season, what to do with the draft and more.
As I sit here bored, and slightly terrified, I want to say I miss all of you. The bad jokes, the horrible hockey, but now I'd give my figure skates just to share some time joining in a Live Blog. We all know the seriousness of what we're up against, and, now more than ever we need to try, even if only for a minute, to remember all the good things we share here. Every one of us have something to offer in the way of friendship, a good word, a bad joke, or, if you need to vent. The door is always open, and the Hasek is always open for business. All the best to all 19 of us.....
Lets Go Humanity!!!!!
from Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News,
The National Hockey League season has been a trying one for Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings. They are last in the league with 39 points as the season remains in limbo after being put on hold as a precaution to deal with the coronavirus.
Howard, who turned 36 on Thursday, has lost the starting job to Jonathan Bernier. The 13-year NHL veteran has a 4.20 goals-against average to go with an .882 save percentage. He hasn’t played since Feb. 27.
“It has been a tough year and it has been for everyone in the organization,” Howard said. “We are going through a rebuilding process and it has been a perfect storm. Everyone has needed to step up and that hasn’t been the case.”
Howard’s contract, which pays him $4 million, is up at the end of the season.
“I want to play another year. I still have game left in me, but I’ll have to wait and see if any other general managers feel the same way,” Howard said. “I know I will have to transition to being a backup goaltender. It is a young man’s game. These young goalies eat, breathe and sleep hockey. It’s fun to watch.”
from Justin Bourne of Sportsnet,
What needs to change? The slot the NHL season takes up on the calendar. This current season and its potential endpoints aside, the NHL season generally pushes far too deep into summer for the liking of just about everyone.
Last season the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup on June 12. Given the majority of NHL cities are located in colder climates, we’re talking about one of the three or four months where it’s really nice and hot — proper summer — and where it sure as heck isn’t hockey season. At that time, you’re also going head-to-head with the NBA finals, which means the NHL never truly has the sporting spotlight to itself for the culmination of its season....
This isn’t some drastic change I’m proposing – really the whole season just needs to be pulled back about three weeks, moving puck drop to early- or mid-September (around the 10th or so) and ending in mid-to-late May. With training camps starting a couple weeks prior to the season, we’d be looking at teams getting going within a handful of days of Sept. 1.
In most years it would be hard to drop a shortened summer on players, particularly those who’ve played into June, but this isn’t most years. A big part of what we’re talking about here hinges on the worst-case scenario (at least financially) of the league not being able to resume the 2019-20 season in any fashion. This is the doomsday scenario, but also not an unrealistic outcome at this point.
An earlier start to the 2020-21 season would offer at least a tiny bit of consolation for fans who’ve had their seasons cut short by a month or more. It would allow players to fully let go of 2019-20 and focus on their families in a time where their families deserve to have their sole focus. It would avoid a scenario where you rush players back into situations that still feel riskier than they will in late summer/early fall, when we hopefully have the worst of all this in check.
Five minutes to watch.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said numerous times that having a full 82-game season in 2020-21 is paramount. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr agrees, but like Daly, says that doesn't mean next year's start date can't be pushed back to accommodate playoff hockey this summer.
"It doesn’t mean that you couldn’t alter the dates of next year’s season a little bit in order to accommodate playing late this year going forward," Fehr said Wednesday while on The Athletic's Two-Man Advantage, hosted by Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside. "But remember, while players get paychecks over the course of the regular season, their salaries include revenue that’s earned during the postseason, so the two are not divorced."
On the podcast, Fehr discussed a wide-range of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to a possible resumption of play this season in the NHL.
Earlier this week, the NHL reached out to its 31 teams and requested available dates for possible home games in August.
With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Fehr notes there could be additional fan and broadcast opportunities that weren't there before if they can get back on the ice for August hockey.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
When you have a 24-year-old defenseman, and a righty, no less, who records the fourth-most goals and points in the NHL at his position and who is coming up on restricted free agency, it’s a no-brainer to lock him up for at least five years, isn’t it?
Or, in the case of one Tony DeAngelo, is it?
This is likely the most daunting question Rangers management will confront this offseason in evaluating whether it can afford to sign No. 77 for what likely would be at least $6 million per year on a long-term deal.
There are options, of course.
from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,
The National Hockey League needs to cancel its remaining regular-season games.
It brings me no pleasure to put this out there. We all want to see this season to its equitable completion; if there is a postseason, to have the previous five-and-a-half months boiled down to the points percentage variance between teams, with differing numbers of games played, would be a shame. Playing those postponed regular-season games would mean money in the depleted coffers of NHL teams. Regular-season games would also mean a much-needed cash insurgence for local business around arenas, presuming they're in operation as the coronavirus pandemic hopefully wanes.
But this is a fantasy.
Let's start with the obvious, which is that the NHL is at the mercy of local municipalities when it comes to restrictions on travel, mass gatherings and business operations. It's entirely possible that one team's state will be closer to an "all clear" than another's. It's entirely possible that the medical experts from one city will be more stringent than another's.
from Kirkland Crawford of the Detroit Free Press,
The Detroit Red Wings of the mid-1990s were labeled as soft.
Critics said they lacked the toughness to win the Stanley Cup, even though they resided atop the NHL standings for much of the decade.
On March 26, 1997, the Wings said enough was enough.
That night represented more than just revenge on Claude Lemieux of the Colorado Avalanche. It was more than just drawing blood to avenge the facial injuries Kris Draper dealt by Lemieux in the 1996 Western Conference finals.
It was a chance to show the hockey world — and even themselves — they weren't going to be pushovers.
[ Darren McCarty: Mike Babcock cost the Wings the Stanley Cup in 2009 ]
And one could argue that the Wings got the Stanley Cup monkey off their backs, not in early June, but on this late March night at Joe Louis Arena.
With every fist that Darren McCarty dropped on Lemieux in that first-period fracas, the confidence level seemed to rise, both for the Red Wings, and for their fan base.
Let's look back at some of the finer details from that night:
Below, watch 15 minutes of highlights from the game.
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