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Thursday Links, News and Notes: The NHL’s Road Map to Practices

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Also AHL updates, and a wild rumour

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images
  • The NHL and NHLPA have released an update on the “pause”. It’s pretty light though, with no details about returning to play or the draft (or lottery). Phase 2 (phase 1 being the self-isolation) would involve players returning to their team’s training facilities for “small group activities”. They don’t put a hard date, but are hoping it will be able happen in mid to late May
  • The ice is out at the CAA Arena in Belleville. Mayor Panciuk revealed that info in his update of the COVID-19 situation in Belleville on Monday, and he also said he expected a decision and announcement from the NHL and AHL soon. This isn’t a big surprise, given that the AHL is a very heavily gate-driven league for it’s revenue, but it (likely) brings Belleville’s strong season to an unfortunate end
  • The lead-in to this week’s 31 Thoughts dips in to that, suggesting that the reason is to not give players who may get called up the mindset that their season is over
  • The idea that the 2020-21 AHL season could be cancelled if they can’t play in front of fans is brought up as part of that. The AHL is far more heavily gate driven than the NHL and while the teams owned by their NHL affiliates might be able to absorb that loss, there are 12 independently owned teams that probably can’t afford much of that
  • Friedman also expands on some of the NHL’s post-pause planning chatter. If the training facilities do open up in mid/late May the hope is training camp in June, regular season in July, and playoffs to wrap in September. 2020-21 could be pushed back to December if it means playing in front of fans. Last, there’s a strong push-back against a June 5 draft date.
  • Reminder: Tomorrow could be Zub Day. If not tomorrow, then soon
  • Some happy Sens-adjacent news, Colton Smith, DJ Smith’s son, has signed his junior deal with the London Knights, after going in the second round of the draft
  • Back to 31 Thoughts for one last note - go read thought #5. It’s the only Sens-related thought this week, and it’s a rumour completely out of left field. I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. There’s probably a good reason why this wasn’t more reported when it was fresh, though