It sounds like many NHL players are as restless as the average hockey fan while waiting for the season to resume. The panel on TSN’s Insider Trading outlined a return to action timeline that a group of players has been developing and will submit to the NHLPA, which includes playing the rest of the regular season games in late July.
A plan like this would obviously be exciting for fans as hockey would be played throughout the summer, but there would be an incredible amount of logistics to be worked out. Part of the reasoning behind the plan may also be financial in nature, as players want the league to recoup all of their potential gate revenue in order to not get dinged with even higher escrow numbers than expected. None of the timelines being discussed have any legs at this point, given how there is so much uncertainty there still is on when the season could be allowed to resume. Remember however, that deputy commissioner Bill Daly was clear when speaking with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic recently that the league does not intend on shortening the 2020-21 season if they can help it, at least in terms of games played.
- The QMJHL has canceled the remainder of their regular season, meaning playoff seeding will be based on points percentage should it resume at some point. That same move is expected by the WHL according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, with the OHL also discussing their future tomorrow on a conference call. McKenzie suggests that the CHL playoffs at this point are a “long shot” and also notes that the Memorial Cup, which was originally set to start on May 22nd, is scheduled in a province that recently mandated no sporting events with more than 50 people could take place before June.
- While college free agents continue to sign with NHL organizations, there is some concern rising around the league that some teams are gaining an unfair advantage in negotiations according to Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest. Strickland suggests that some teams may find it more difficult to pay out bonus money to college and European signings while in a suspended league state, noting the difference in cash flow between organizations like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. It’s not clear however what would be done to stop teams from negotiating, especially when any contract signed would likely be ticketed to start with the 2020-21 season.