While the NHL has already revealed several of their end-of-the-year awards prior to recent playoff games, they will save the remaining awards for one special presentation. The league has announced today that the five remaining awards – the Hart, Lindsay, Vezina, Norris, and Calder – will be presented virtually in a 30-minute special at 5:30pm CT on Monday, September 21. Since the event is technically being hosted from inside the Edmonton bubble, the awards will also have an “Oilers twist” to them. Wayne Gretzky is set to present the Hart and Calder trophies, with Mark Messier announcing the Lindsay, Grant Fuhr announcing the Vezina, and Paul Coffey announcing the Norris. The winners will then be made available to the media via Zoom for interviews following the awards presentations.
- As the Stanley Cup Final gets underway in the Edmonton bubble, it is remarkable to look back at hat the NHL has been able to accomplish this postseason in Edmonton and Toronto. However, they face a much more difficult task right around the corner with trying to implement the 2020-21. While the league has held firm on their desire to begin the new season before the end of the calendar year and to play a full 82-game schedule, doubts are starting to creep in about how this can be arranged as COVID-19 continues to be prevalent in North America. Even Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently stated that he does not know for sure when and how the league will return to regular season play, though he did that a start date prior to December 1 is more unlikely than not. Speaking with others around the league, The Athletic’s Scott Burnside gets a growing sense of skepticism across all corners of the NHL . While most believe the season will still occur in some form or fashion, his sources believe that a likely start date is not until January at the earliest, which could rule out an 82-game season. Some believe that the league could wait until it is safe for fans to attend games before returning to play, while others believe that early-season schedules could be geographically-influenced to play a more compact schedule and to reduce travel risks. Burnside notes that continued outbreaks of Coronavirus in U.S. cities and the closed border between the U.S. and Canada will make a typical season impossible until they are resolved. In other words, there is still a lot to figure out before teams can return to play for the regular season, so a delayed start beyond what had previously been anticipated is an ever-growing possibility.
- Two USHL teams have now decided to scrap their seasons altogether in response to the continuing COVID pandemic. The league announced today that the Cedar Rapids Roughriders and Madison Capitols will suspend operations for the 2020-21 season. On top of troubles related to Coronavirus, the Roughriders sustained damage to their arena in a recent storm and are finding it impossible to be prepared for a new season, while the Capitols, who are owned by Minnesota Wild star Ryan Suter, are so overly restricted by local health regulations that they cannot operate this year. The league stated that a dispersal draft will be held to give the teams’ players a new home for the coming season. However, the rights of those players who wish to continue in the USHL beyond this season will revert back to their teams next year.