Hockey comes back this winter! On Sunday, the NHL and NHLPA announced formalized plans for the 2020-21 season, although it is actually the 2021 season, as it begins in week 13. The month of January begins.
But that’s another story, when the league plays 868 games in 116 days as part of the ongoing COWID-19 pandemic.
That’s all we know… And what else we need to know… About how the competition’s gonna do it.
When does the season start?
The training camp will take place on January 3, although the seven teams that did not qualify for the post-season 2020 will start their training camp on January 31. December. Teams may invite 36 skaters and an unlimited number of goaltenders to the camp.
In recent weeks, players have left their homes off-season to move to the cities where they play; some players (Joe Thornton or Toronto, for example) have even played for European teams to stay in shape during the long break. There are still players who have to return – and possibly quarantine – before they can hit the ice, depending on local restrictions. According to the agreement, these players will receive a daily allowance during quarantine.
Due to the shortened schedule, there are no preseason competitions. If we take immediate action, we may face unpleasant surprises in the first few weeks, but nothing is more unpleasant than in 2020. The NHL has said that it will release the full match schedule in the coming days.
What is the reclassification of the division?
Here are the new devices:
North: Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver CanucksEast: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington CapitalsCentral: Hurricanes Carolina, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay LightningWest: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, St. John’s, St. Louis Blues.
As you can see, the NHL has decided not to get too creative with names – the fans will inevitably call the all-Canadian band #WeTheNorth Division, related to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
All teams only play against league opponents during the regular season. Teams in the northern division play nine or ten times against each other, while other teams play eight times against their league mates.
The reason for the reclassification was that the Canadian border remained closed to non-essential trade, the same reason the Raptors start their season in Tampa, Florida. But there is an additional advantage: The fact that the NHL is spending this season on intra-divisional games also helps to reduce travel costs, which in turn helps to reduce costs, as does the potential spread of the virus.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Nine or ten laps of the Battle of Alberta this season? Yes, please! Derek Leung/Getty Images
Where are the teams going to play?
We hope that all teams will play in their own arenas, even if we already have a few bumps in the road. By far the most important problem is Canada’s problem. Some provincial health authorities are not happy to see whole teams moving in and out of the provinces all year round.
According to some sources, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have not yet signed home match contracts for their teams (Canucks, Maple Leafs, Senators and Canadians). Discussions between these governments and the NHL will continue this week. If no agreement can be reached, it is possible that these teams will play in a hybrid center (probably in Edmonton, where the NHL awarded the Stanley Cup 2020 this summer) or even temporarily move Canadian teams to the United States for this season. We should know more this week.
In the meantime, the Sharks cannot open a training camp in San Jose because Santa Clara County has banned contact sports for up to at least 8 years. The month of January is in effect. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Sunday that his team will start its training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Coyote base.
I think the county officials are doing what they think is in the interest of our community, and we certainly respect that, Wilson said. We hope that our team will be back in San Jose and the bay at the beginning of the regular season, but many of these decisions are out of our hands.
The NHL also promises to remain flexible and adaptable, perhaps even moving to centres at some point if something goes wrong.
Depending on conditions in local markets and in North America, the league will be willing to organize matches at one or more neutral locations in each division if the need arises, the NHL said in a statement Sunday.
Can fans attend the matches?
The NHL will not have a general policy regarding the number of fans allowed in the arenas, but will follow government guidelines from one market to another. Expect it to be similar to what we’ve seen in the NFL this season, with a changing crowd from team to team – and ever-changing market situations, even on a weekly basis.
Most arenas will not be able to accommodate the fans, at least at the beginning of the season, the NHL said in a statement on Sunday.
However, there are some markets that make it possible to jump, such as the Dallas Stars. Star President and CEO Brad Alberts told reporters Sunday that Dallas will have a fan presence at home games with a capacity reduction of about 5,000 people, similar to the number of fans at Stanley Cup final parties in September. By comparison: The Sterrenstadion normally seats approximately 18,500 spectators.
Texas currently gives its professional sports teams an occupancy rate of 50% for indoor events, although there are a number of social requirements regarding distance and distance.
Fault! The file name is not specified. While some arenas don’t allow fans, others have a limited number of fans that may resemble that scene from last season’s pre-game Stars-Predators warm-up. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
What happens if a player wants to quit?
The NHL and the NHLPA plan to release their health and safety protocols in the coming days so that we can get a better idea of what the players’ daily needs will be during the season. Of course, players make a lot of money from the game – but they are only human.
As a veteran recently told me, the only thing keeping him awake at night is the idea of bringing COVID-19 back to his family. The player has a young child with a weakened immune system and has been very careful in his interactions in recent months. As sure as he can be in the NHL, it is in his nature to take more risks by going to the ice rink, staying in a hotel and going to eight cities. This player has said that he intends to play this season, but I share his story to remind us that this season will require sacrifices and difficult decisions.
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According to the NHL and NHLPA protocols, players must indicate their intention to withdraw at least seven days before the start of the training camp. So the deadline is the 24th. December for players of the Sharks, Ducks, Kings, Devils, Sabres, Senators and Red Wings, and on the 27th. December for all the others. Teams do not have to pay the salaries of these players and teams also have the possibility to pay the contract of the players (transfer).
If a player decides not to gamble for medical reasons – if he or a member of his immediate family is considered to be at increased risk – the situation becomes more complicated. These players do not receive a salary or bonus during their retirement period, but they do receive a monthly allowance. The teams do not pay for the contracts of these players if they are signed from the 28th. February starts, although the teams have the possibility to pay contracts before this date.
A handful of players went out this summer, and there was one case where a player decided to leave the Bubble after the tournament had started (Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask referring to an emergency in the family). It is not exactly known how many players will be selected for 2021, although Capitals goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist announced last week that he will not play this season due to a heart condition.
What do we know about NHL and the COVID-19 vaccine?
The NHL has been approached to purchase the vaccine from private companies for distribution to players, coaches and other staff, but nothing has been done yet. As with the COVID-19 test in the summer, the NHL is very aware of the need to go overboard before the public needs it, so it’s something they can’t do for a couple of months.
Until then, the NHL had never prescribed a vaccine for players. Usually, the association sends vaccination recommendations to teams and players – such as the flu vaccine or the mumps outbreak a few years ago – and the doctors who can administer the vaccine come to the training camp or team headquarters. However, it is up to the player to decide if he wants to be vaccinated.
This is a discussion the NHLPA has with the NHLPA as they work out the details for the season, but several players and players’ agents have told me that they think the NHLPA will fight compulsory vaccinations. Although most people agree that vaccinations are the best solution, imposing compulsory vaccinations violates the rights of individual players and can be a mistake.
What do the playoffs look like?
The regular season ends on the 8th. May, after which the competition returns to a 16 team format with a best of seven with four playoff rounds. Four teams from each division take part in the playoffs.
The first two rounds take place within the division. The winners of the four divisions then go on to the semi-finals, counterbalanced by the sum of their points from the regular season (no. 1 plays no. 4, no. 2 plays no. 3). The two semi-finalists will play in the final of the Stanley Cup – and if you’ve followed the matches, that means it’s not necessarily an Eastern conference team against a Western conference team for the cup. It’s chaos!
The Stanley Cup is expected mid-July.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Normally Brown and Lightning are divisionals. They could be in the final of the Stanley Cup in 2021. Fred Kfuri III/Icon Sportswire
Are there any other important data you should know about?
Here are some other events you can mark on the calendar:
Here’s what you need to know, including the plans for the NHL season and how it might work.
– What the NHL will look like in 2020-21
– NHL and COVID-19 : What we know
– What you need to know for international events
– Overview of minor league plans
– How COVID-19 will affect the outlook.
- The deadline for exchanges is the 12th. April.
- The Seattle Kraken expansion project will take place on the 21st. July accepted (teams have until July 17 to submit their protected lists).
- Project 2021 will be published on 23 and 24. The month of July takes place.
- The Free Agency’s contract period shall commence on the 28th. July.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly stated that his goal is to return to a normal seasonal pace by 2021-22, which is particularly important for the league, which will then host Seattle and also begin a new agreement on television rights in the United States.
What other changes are we going to see?
For the first time NHL teams can place advertisements on the side of players’ helmets. This would be a way for the teams to generate income and it would also benefit existing sponsors or sponsors with naming rights. According to league sources, the deal is only for this season, and the league will be signing announcements (knowing the NHL, not expecting to see anything too strange).
The low season has also brought some other changes. For example, if a rookie plays 10 games, it usually means that his or her registration contract is valid for that season. This season the vegetable threshold is seven games.
Teams will be able to pull taxis with four to six players to facilitate the challenge. Taxi players receive their full salary from the AHL, which means they are not included in the team’s salary ceiling of $81.5 million. Taxi drivers train with the usual team of 23 players, possibly travel with a university club (this is an option, not an obligation) and must follow the same COVID-19 protocols.
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