The NHLPA was back to work on Return To Play negotiations today, this time taking the league’s recent proposals and discussing them internally. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the NHLPA Executive Board, which includes the player rep for each of the 31 NHL teams, met virtually this afternoon for about two-and-a-half hours. No action was taken, but those in attendance discussed the owners’ proposal that players take on an extra 13% of deferred salary in 2020-21 beyond the 10% deferral and 20% escrow already agreed upon in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. LeBrun believes that the NHL’s request was not well-received by the players, but that more discussion is needed. That includes both more internal talk, but also negotiation with the other side to see what concessions the league may make in order to achieve greater salary deferral this year. The one thing both sides have in common is wanting to get the season started as soon as it is feasible to do so, so hopefully terms of the Return to Play can be hammered out sooner rather than later.
- Once the NHL season is ready to begin, San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl will be ready to go as well. Hertl suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL tear in 2019-20, but tells The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz that he has resumed skating and off-ice training and his knee is “feeling good”. There was some concern that perhaps Hertl would not be ready for the start of the season, depending on when that was, but Hertl states that he has been working out since August and would be playing already if the season had already begun. This is great news for the Sharks, as the team needs as much help as they can get after an extremely disappointing season and Hertl has become one of the club’s core offensive players.
- Rochester Institute of Technology is also ready for the new season, the NCAA season that is. After initially planning to cancel their 2020-21 season for men’s and women’s hockey, RIT announced that they had reconsidered their position and will play this season. Atlantic Hockey has submitted its own Return to Play plans and proposed schedule and the Tigers are now part of those plans. While RIT does not currently have any drafted NHL prospects, the program has produced talent in the past, highlighted by a top 2020 free agent signing in defenseman Chris Tanev.