Yesterday’s call with the NHL board of governors didn’t result in any sweeping announcements about next season, but insiders around the game have gleaned a bit of information about what was discussed and what is still on the table. Frank Seravalli puts many of those information nuggets into his latest piece for TSN, including the fact that preference now seems to be moving away from hybrid bubbles or “hubs” as commissioner Gary Bettman recently called them, and towards teams playing in their home arenas. Seravalli suggests that regional realignment would be required, but that teams would play a baseball-like series of two or three games to reduce travel.
He also reports that there is “no concept on the table that includes a full-length regular season.” That seemed clear when Bettman publicly spoke about a reduced schedule, something the league was obviously hoping to avoid but is now inevitable. There are no formal proposals on the table yet, but with the January 1 target date getting closer every day, there will need to be a decision at some point in the near future—even if it is just another delay.
- With the hockey offseason moving at a snail’s pace in November, fans have started to scour overseas boxscores to see how their favorite prospects are doing. Mike Shulman of Sportsnet published a piece today going over many of the most interesting names, including several 2021 draft prospects that are still trying to raise their stock. Among the group of already drafted players is Yaroslav Askarov once again, who continues to turn heads every time he hits the ice. Even Shulman sold him a bit short, without updated statistics from the KHL. Askarov returned to the SKA St. Petersburg crease yesterday after dominating at the Kajala Cup and put on another show, stopping 24 of 25 shots in a huge victory over HC Vityaz. Askarov is now toting a .960 save percentage in five KHL games, allowing only five goals on 125 shots.
- Speaking of overseas prospects, the New York Rangers will have another one to keep an eye on as Libor Hajek joins HC Kometa Brno on loan for the time being. Hajek was loaned to Brno originally, then switched to Olomouc, but is now apparently heading back to where he started. The 22-year-old has struggled during his time in the NHL over the last two seasons and will need to take another step in his development before the Rangers can really rely on him as a full-time option.