The NHL and the players union reportedly made progress in their talks to begin the 2020-21 season, and are now targeting a Jan. 15 start, with training camps opening as soon as Dec. 26 for the Ducks, Kings and five other teams that didn’t qualify for the Return to Play last summer. The season could…NHL targeting mid-January for starting new season — Daily News
The NHL could go with a temporary realignment of its teams for next season during the COVID-19 pandemic.NHL could go with temporary realignment for next season — The Denver Post
Two days after former Avalanche forward Colin Wilson published a story in The Players’ Tribune about how his untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) led to an NHL career that included drug and alcohol abuse, a friend sent me a link to a mini-documentary from TSN, dubbed “The Problem of Pain” in the NHL.Chambers: NHL should ban Toradol or limit consumption nhof the pain-masking drug — The Denver Post
GMs from seven non-playoff teams, including Doug Wilson of the San Jose Sharks, had asked the NHL for extra time to practice.San Jose Sharks, other NHL non-playoff teams, likely to have longer training camps — East Bay Times
NHL: Joe Thornton, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, had several noteworthy moments with the San Jose Sharks over the last 15 yearsJoe Thornton’s San Jose Sharks timeline — the good, the bad and the unforgettable — Times-Standard
On the eve of the coronavirus-delayed free-agent signing period, the Ducks on Thursday traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson and his $4-million salary cap hit for the 2020-21 season to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. Free agency opens at 9 a.m. (PDT) Friday, and the Ducks aren’t expected…Ducks ship Erik Gudbranson and his $4M salary to Ottawa — Daily News
MIDDLETON — On the eve of what could be a very big day for the Bruins, the club is at the center of much speculation on both the trade and free agent markets. A name constantly bandied about the last couple of years has been that of goaltender Tuukka Rask. But in his first public…Tuukka Rask wants to remain a Bruin — Boston Herald
MIDDLETON — On the eve of what could be a very big day for the Bruins, the club is at the center of much speculation on both the trade and free agent markets. A name constantly bandied about the last couple of years has been that of goaltender Tuukka Rask.
But in his first public comments since departing the Toronto bubble in the first round of the playoff Aug. 15, Rask made it clear that he doesn’t want to go anywhere. And in light of Don Sweeney’s recent public comments, in which he said that he has “zero reservations” about his goaltending tandem of Rask and Jaroslav Halak, he’s not concerned about getting traded.
“I think Sweeney came out and said that’s not going to happen,” said Rask in a brief interview with the Herald before golfing in the Shawn Thornton’s Putts and Punches tournament at Ferncroft Country Club. “I don’t want to play for anybody else but the Bruins.”
But things can change, especially in this volatile financial climate in which hockey finds itself along with the rest of the business world. There’s no telling if a deal comes across Sweeney’s desk that he must consider.
While the 33-year-old Rask didn’t come out and say he’d simply retire if traded – a declaration that would effectively squash any deal — it certainly sounds like any team that might acquire him would not be getting the happiest of campers.
“I don’t see any reason for that,” said Rask, who does not have full trade protection. “I’ve been here for a long time and the organization’s been so great for me. We’ve built our home in Boston and we call this home. So, yeah, I don’t want to play for anybody else. I think where my head’s at is focusing on next year and then hopefully a couple of more years after that and then pass the torch for the next guy after that. I want to help the organization as much as I can.”
As far as a possible extension with the Bruins goes, Rask said that discussion hasn’t happened yet.
“They have so much on their plate right now with the draft and everything, we’re just trying to get the next season going and get back to somewhat normal and then we can talk extension later. I still have one more year left. There’s no rush. But like I said, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I want to finish my career here,” said Rask.
Chances are that none of this trade speculation would be happening had he not left the bubble. But without detailing the emergency that brought him back home to Boston, Rask, the father of three girls, said he has no second thoughts about his decision.
“I got a phone call from my wife and my daughter was in a state that she needed medical attention and she wasn’t doing well. At that point, I had no choice but to go home. It’s as simple as that,” said Rask. “If you get a phone call wherever you are, like I did, it’s a pretty easy decision. What bothered me a little bit was people thinking that I just left because I didn’t like it there. I’m not going to lie to to you, (the bubble) was awful. But if I didn’t have a reason to leave, I wouldn’t have left, obviously. There’s that. But my daughter’s fine now, the family”s good, and it made me feel good. When I got home, they were happy to have me home and things got back to normal pretty quickly, so I knew that I made the right decision. It had nothing to do with hockey or the bubble. It was just the fact that I had to make that decision and I stand by it.”
Rask said there wasn’t much thought about returning to the bubble at that point. He would have had to quarantine for two weeks, but he said there was more to it than that.
“The whole thing was about the unknown,” said Rask. “It’s different when you’re going away for two weeks and you can tell your daughter that Daddy’s going to be home in two weeks. But if you’re like ‘listen, I don’t know when I’m going to be home,’ if that starts affecting her mental health or physical health, then I don’t think it’s good for anybody. That was that.”
Despite being recognized as one of the best goalies in the league – he finished second in Vezina Trophy voting in 2019-20 – Rask has long been a lightning rod for criticism, whether it be for not delivering a championship, for asking for a two-game leave of absence two years ago, for being ill for the final game of the regular season in 2016, for whatever.
But Rask has always been able to at least seem unaffected by it, and he was not overly concerned about fan reaction when hockey does returns.
“Everybody who has talked to me has been very supportive,” said Rask. “We’re professional athletes, but we also have families and we’re normal guys. It’s such a special time in the world for anybody right now that I don’t think you need to be judged as you normally would be. It doesn’t matter, because I know that I made the right decision and I know my family is well right now, and that’s all that matters. And any dad or any mother gets the same phone call I did, if they wouldn’t make the same decision I made, then they’d probably have to live with that consequence. I wouldn’t want to do that. I’d rather get the chirps or whatnot, but my family knows I made the right decision and that’s all the matters to me.”
Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes, if they want to trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, must do so by Friday, a deadline imposed by the no-movement clause-toting player. The B’s are one of two teams to whom Ekman-Larsson has agreed to be traded (Vancouver is the other). So far, the ask has been such that no deal has been consummated. Ekman-Larsson has seven years left on a deal that would pay him an average of $8.2 million annually, another major sticking point.
The free agent market is greatly expanded with teams buying out and not qualifying legitimate NHLers. Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Duclair have been added to a crop that already included forwards Taylor Hall, Mike Hoffman and Tyler Toffoli and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and the B’s very own Torey Krug. It should make for a very interesting weekend.
For as long as anyone can remember, the drill has been the same each summer. Read MoreLogistics completely different, unprecedented for 2020 NHL draft — Calgary Sun
Kristen AndersonPublishing date:Oct 02, 2020 • Last Updated 28 minutes ago • 4 minute read
For as long as anyone can remember, the drill has been the same each summer.
Gary Bettman congratulates the Stanley Cup winner to a chorus of boos and introduces the first team picking first overall at the National Hockey League draft.
The team steps up to the plate and announces their pick. There are cheers from the kid’s friends and family that have travelled ‘X’ kilometres to watch the most important moment in their loved one’s life to date.
The kid walks up to the stage and puts on a jersey. Conducts an awkward interview with the rights holder. And off he goes.
But much like everything in 2020, this year’s draft has been flipped upside down and is set to be one of the most unique experiences in its’ 58-year history.
Beyond being postponed over three months, everything will be different — visually, logistically, and technically.
“The NFL was more limited because it was a little bit earlier in the pandemic,” Flames head scout Tod Button was saying.
“Everyone was at their home work station. Because of different state laws and the NFL does everything uniformly throughout the league, the teams that were allowed to get together and didn’t have as many restrictions, they didn’t allow them to.”
Both Flames general manager Brad Treliving and assistant general manager Chris Snow have been in conversation with National Football League personnel, regarding the 2020 NFL Draft which was held in late April and shortly after the global health crisis hit its’ peak. Their advice?
Make sure things are covered from an IT perspective.
“The basis and the regulations, if you will, around the draft are similar,” Treliving said. “But it will be unique with the virtual (aspect). Normally you have a direct line to each table. The fact we’re not in the same building, that’s unavailable. You have enough contact numbers and people with cell phones so those will be active. What we saw stylistically (from the NFL draft), I don’t know all the things the NHL has planned, but we’re looking forward to it. It’ll be a well-done event.
“The NHL has planned really well on it so I think it’ll be a good event.”
With no mandated restrictions from the NHL except to adhere to the local government COVID-19 rules and regulations surrounding indoor public gatherings, the Flames are able to bring in some of their scouting staff members and management to set up in two different boardrooms at Scotiabank Saddledome. The rest — U.S., European and some Canadian-based scouts — will be present via the team’s WebEx conference call system.
There will be an area set up close-by with a Flames’ backdrop where they will announce their selections. For the Flames, that’s picks No. 19, 50, 96, 143, 174, and 205. (They’ll also potentially select 81st overall, but it’s dependant on the Edmonton Oilers who have conditions on the third-round pick due to the James Neal-Milan Lucic trade last summer).
The time frame to select will be similar to past years with five minutes from when a team goes on the clock until they make a selection in the first round with that allotted time dropping to three minutes in the second through seventh rounds.
Just to be safe, they’re planning to have two dress rehearsals — one on Sunday and one on Monday.
“All the warnings I’ve received from everyone is that IT is going to be essential across the league — fax machines, web, everything has to be working,” Button said. “All the rest of it, how you set up the war-room, the biggest complaint from the NFL and what I’ve read after, you couldn’t tell who was who. If you didn’t know a certain person and what team they were from, you couldn’t tell who they were. Some guys were set up in their kitchen. Some guys were set up outdoors.
“The big thing is when they go to the war-room or the staging area where they’re going to do the picks, it’s going to be easy to identify that it’s the Calgary Flames.”
There are rumblings that a large chunk of players have been given instructions on logging into the broadcast from their homes to be interviewed if they’re taken in the first round. So, if you’re watching on TV, it sounds like there will be an opportunity to see the players’ reactions.
But, like anything these days, working remotely and working from home will change things.
“It’s the first time this has ever happened,” Treliving said. “The biggest thing would be that … so, what do you miss? You miss the in-person stuff, but a lot of that stuff — regardless of whether you’re in the city or not — you’re doing it on the phone. It’ll be interesting to see how it flows. It’ll be new.
“I don’t think it’s going to prevent anything or change anything. It’ll just be a new process, for sure.”
The NHL has tentative dates for the start of training camps (Nov. 17) and the beginning of the 2020-21 season (Dec. 1). But few in hockey think those dates are realistic.NHL faces obstacles before making decision on 2020-21 season — Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 2019-20 NHL season ended almost 12 months after it started with the Tampa Bay Lightning lifting the Stanley Cup on Monday in Edmonton, Alberta.
No one knows when the next one will begin.
The NHL has tentative dates for the start of training camps (Nov. 17) and the beginning of the 2020-21 season (Dec. 1). But few people in hockey think those dates are realistic.
“If I was a betting man, I’d say we’re going to start later than projected,” Golden Knights center Paul Stastny said.
“Anything that anybody suggests or reads or writes or commentates about next season is nothing more than speculation,” commissioner Gary Bettman said Sept. 19. “Dec. 1 has always been a notional date. I will not be surprised if it slips into later December. It could slip into January.”
The NHL still is dealing with many of the same issues that caused it to retreat to secure zones in Toronto and Edmonton.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still a threat. Travel is still difficult. The ability to have fans is still in doubt. Those problems don’t seem to be going away anytime soon, either. https://player.simplecast.com/e90aa230-c939-4cd1-ad3b-a208ec739e34?dark=false&show=true
That’s why it makes sense for the NHL to potentially delay its season further and buy more time to make better informed decisions. Bettman compared it to the league’s diligent process when it came to selecting Toronto and Edmonton as its hub cities.
The NHL can’t wait forever, though. A typical season starts in October and ends in June. Its calendar is now way out of whack.
“My preference would be to stay out of summer as much as possible,” said Bettman, who added that he still wants a full 82-game regular season.
Still, even pushing back its start a little will give the league more time to determine what next season will look like. Will it stage games in home arenas, like the NFL and Major League Baseball have done? Or will it need to return to bubbles to ensure everyone’s health and safety?
The latter option is likely a final resort. Asking players to leave their families and friends and spend little time outside to chase a Cup is one thing. It will be a lot harder to convince the NHL Players’ Association to do it for regular-season games.
“I hope that doesn’t happen again,” Knights left wing Max Pacioretty said. “It was great to spend time with my teammates and to get an opportunity to play for the ultimate prize. But I just hope the world takes a turn for the better here and we’re able to hopefully get some normalcy back.”
Playing in home arenas has its own challenges. First of all, how will the league handle travel? The NFL plays once a week, so travel wasn’t a major issue. MLB played a 60-game regular season and limited teams to a regional schedule. That could work for even part of a hockey season, but then the Canadian border comes into play.
Restrictions on nonessential travel there meant the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to play in Buffalo, New York. It’s a much larger problem for the NHL, which has seven Canadian teams.
Even if the league can come up with a schedule, will fans be allowed? If so, how many?
The door opened for the Knights to have fans Tuesday when Gov. Steve Sisolak said facilities with capacity limits greater than 2,500 will be allowed to host 10 percent of their total capacity. That means T-Mobile Arena could potentially host about 1,800 fans.
Several NFL teams are allowing socially distant crowds. But the NHL hasn’t committed to anything.
“We’re going to do whatever is safe,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “Obviously, we’re all watching with interest with respect to what’s going on in European hockey leagues and their policies in relation to fans, and the National Football League and what’s going on in collegiate athletics. Those are all valuable data points that we’ll have to consider when it comes time to start making decisions.”
Even having limited crowds would be huge for the NHL. Bettman estimated at least 50 percent of the league’s revenue comes directly or indirectly (parking, concessions, merchandise) from attendance. He insisted the NHL was in fine financial shape despite the pandemic, but even a few extra bucks wouldn’t hurt.
Bettman also said it’s possible the league starts with no fans, moves to limited crowds and possibly has full buildings by the end of the season.
“How we start doesn’t necessarily relate to how we’re going to finish,” he said.
No matter what, it’s going to be one of the strangest regular seasons in league history after one of the most bizarre postseasons in league history. The NHL, despite numerous obstacles, found a way to award a Stanley Cup. Now the process begins to figure out how to do that in 2021.
“That’s a question for everybody,” Stastny said. “Who knows? Who knows how much changes in a week or two weeks or three weeks?”
Henrik Lundqvist will not be returning to the New York Rangers next season. The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello is reporting that on Wednesday the Rangers will buy Lundqvist out of the final year of his seven-year, $59.5 million deal that has a cap hit of $8.5 million. Lundqvist, 38, is the team’s franchise leader in wins, […]New York Rangers to buy out Henrik Lundqvist — RMNB
The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight. And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all. But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the […]Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win — Edmonton Sun
Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win
Author of the article:Robert Tychkowski
Publishing date:Sep 18, 2020 • Last Updated 1 hour ago • 4 minute read
The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight.
And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all.
But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the Lightning finally landed a shot that guarantees New York won’t be getting up off the canvas.
Anthony Cirelli scored 13:18 into overtime, banking the puck home off the post to close out the Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 and set up a Stanley Cup Final showdown with the Dallas Stars.
“It’s just a blur, but to be playing for the Stanley Cup final is every kid’s goal growing up,” said Cirelli. “The emotions are so high. We’ve worked all year to get to the Stanley Cup Final and we’re here now. We’re ready to go.”
Tampa improved to 5-0 in games following a loss, showing an ability to fight through adversity at every turn.
“It’s how we respond, the character we have in that locker-room,” said winger Patrick Maroon, who’s looking for two in a row after winning a Cup with St. Louis last season.
“We have that mentality of the next man up. I’m super proud of these guys. It just goes to show how much character we have. We have that no-quit mentality in our locker-room.”
It was a battle for most of Game 6. Despite a 17-6 advantage in shots, the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes on goals from New York’s Devon Toews at 4:15 and a quick reply from Tampa’s Victor Hedman at 6:28.
By the end of regulation, Tampa had doubled the Islanders’ shot total, 42-21, but still had nothing to show for it but frustration thanks to goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the Isles’ bend-but-don’t-break style.
“When you reach the conference final, there are no easy games,” said Hedman. “A great defensive effort on their part. They have a lot of skill up front and a great goaltender. It was a hard-fought battle.”
Cirelli ended it from the doorstep to put Tampa in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2015, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. It begins Saturday.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Hedman. “It’s such a hard league to go far in. We really came together here as a group and we’re super excited to get back to the finals. I can’t wait to get it going.”
It’s sweet redemption for the Lightning, who were Stanley Cup favourites last season only to be swept in the first round by Columbus.
“The belief in our group is so strong, and that’s not something that just happens overnight,” said defenceman Ryan McDonagh. “We knew it was going to be tough, but our group believes in one another. Now that we’re here, we’re really determined and focused to finish the job.”
Some teams consider it bad luck to hoist a conference championship trophy, preferring to wait until they get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, but the Lightning were all over the Prince of Wales trophy, including injured captain Steve Stamkos.
“We talked about it quickly after,” said Alex Killorn. “In 2015, we didn’t touch it. We’re not too superstitious, but we thought, ‘Screw it, let’s grab it.’ We’re going to celebrate this and hopefully celebrate another after.”
ON THE RISE
The Islanders finished in seventh place in the east and gained momentum as the playoffs went on, beating Washington in the first round and taking down Philadelphia in the second.
Coming two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final is tough to take, but with Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello driving the bus, their future looks very good.
“There are very few teams that put a group together and win a championship right away without a little failure on the way,” said Trotz. “When the Islanders won four straight (Stanley Cups), there was a lot of hardship on the front end. Same with Edmonton and Detroit. My former club (Washington) had a lot of heartbreak before we broke through. There are a lot of lessons on the way. Learning these lessons are invaluable.”
The Lightning lost Games 3 and 5, the two games that leading scorer Brayden Points didn’t dress for, so they were glad to have him back in the lineup for Game 6.
Point’s status has been a daily concern in the Tampa locker-room, but head coach Jon Cooper said they never put the situation ahead of the player.
“In the end, it’s the player we care about the most. If we’re going to put the player in harm’s way, we will not play him. If we do, then it’s justified because we’ve gone through all the steps. We’re always looking after the player first.”
Hedman’s first-period goal is his ninth of the playoffs, the third most by any defenceman in a single playoff year. Hedman moved past Denis Potvin and into a tie with Bobby Orr and Brad Park, two goals behind Brian Leetch and three behind Paul Coffey.
On Twitter: @Rob_Tychkowski
You can’t write about sports in Edmonton without writing about sports in Calgary. It’s just the way it works. Read MoreJONES: Expect repercussions in Calgary after huge Game 6 Flameout against Dallas — Edmonton Sun
Four days earlier Calgary fans were quite enjoying the contrast between the booted-out-of-their-own-bubble Oilers and the surprisingly fabulous Flames being led by former Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot.
Calgary was 15 seconds away from taking a three-games-to-one series lead over the Dallas Stars when they ended up in overtime and lost the game.
Thursday, the Flames became the first team in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs to be ahead by three goals and then behind by four in the same game.
From Calgary’s trip to the final in 2004 to defeating Vancouver in the opening round in 2015, it was a steady stream of one-and-done for the Flameouts. In 2016, the Flames missed the playoffs. They were swept by Anaheim in 2017, missed again in 2018 and were out in five to Colorado last year.