While the NHL is hoping to be able to have all 31 teams play in their arenas assuming the season is able to get up and running next month, there is some uncertainty surrounding a handful of teams. With that in mind, the league is still investigating the possibility of opening up in short-term bubbles as a contingency plan, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Unlike the postseason, one of the options that was previously being considered was that teams would play a handful of games in that environment, go back to their club cities briefly to be with their families, then return for another set. At the moment, Friedman notes that Columbus, Edmonton, New Jersey, Toronto, and Vegas are among the sites under consideration; while Edmonton is hosting the World Juniors, that tournament will be over by the time the NHL season gets underway.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- The Senators received some short-term relief from the City of Belleville in terms of aiding their cash flow when it comes to their AHL team and as Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch notes, the Sens have in turn agreed to a two-year lease extension. Instead of their agreement with Belleville expiring in 2025, it will now run through June 30, 2027 with an option to further extend the deal tacked on as well. Belleville took over as Ottawa’s top minor league affiliate back in 2017 following Binghamton being in that spot for 15 seasons.
- Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is expected to be asked to serve as Canada’s GM for the 2022 Olympics, reports Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic in the latest TSN Insider Trading. He was at the helm for Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey which was the last best-on-best tournament with the NHL not participating in the 2018 Olympics. An official announcement isn’t likely to come for a while until further plans for NHL participation in the 2022 Games is solidified.