The media’s access to NHL players has been limited over these past two seasons, in large part thanks to restrictions placed on locker room access in order to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission to players. Per the Professional Hockey Writers Association, as relayed by Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, those restrictions are ending. Per Thomas, NHL clubs were informed via email that “locker rooms must be open following all games and practices and all active players must be made available” to the media.
While the lifting of these media restrictions doesn’t have any direct impact on transactions or things such as the salary cap, it does serve as another piece of evidence pointing to a return to normalcy for the NHL. Given what deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last month, — that a rise to the salary cap could be coming earlier than anticipated, perhaps even as soon as the end of the 2023-24 season — the return of the media to NHL locker rooms is another indication that things are getting back to normal in the world of hockey.
Now, for some other notes from across the NHL:
- The Florida Panthers made some additions to their Performance Department today, announcing the hires of Chris McLellan, Mike Joyce, and Mark Gaydos. McLellan was named vice president of sports performance, Joyce was named head strength and conditioning coach, and Gaydos was named assistant strength and conditioning coach. The Panthers have big plans for this season, and these three hires beef up the off-ice support they’re offering to their players as they hope to achieve their lofty goals in 2022-23.
- Four players have signed professional tryout agreements (PTO’s) today, and there are likely a few more on the horizon. As relayed by Ian Mendes of The Athletic, Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion strongly indicated that he’d be signing a skater to a PTO, saying “there is a contract to be had and there’s a spot to be had.” (subscription link) There are quite a few veteran players still on the market, such as P.K. Subban and Sonny Milano, and it looks like Dorion will be adding someone from that market for the preseason.