As we inch closer and closer to the NHL’s return to play, it seems to be a “one step forward and two steps back” venture. With cases of COVID-19 on the rise across much of the United States, the NHL’s players and staff have proven to be far from immune to the virus’ spread.
So - *cracks knuckles* - let’s get right into it. Here’s the Monday edition of Links, News, and Notes:
- Ugh, alright, let’s get this out of the way:
Look, I’ve been firmly in the “NHL can pull this off camp”, but this is getting wild. The number of new players testing positive for COVID-19 isn’t even being disclosed anymore, and it seems like the news gets worse every day.
Also, apparently the players “may” have contracted the virus at a bar. This goes without saying, but who is going to a bar right now?? How stupid and selfish do you have to be to attend a crowded place like that, even if you’re not a professional athlete. Don’t put others at risk, people.
- Further on the topic of the NHL’s return to play, I made another appearance on CTV News!
I had a great chat with Merella Fernandes about Toronto and Edmonton being named the NHL’s hub cities, and I hope you enjoy!
- NHL.com spoke with Bobby Orr for a July 4th piece, that makes for a really interesting read. The greatest defenceman ever to lace up a pair of skates had some glowing reviews for Sidney Crosby, saying “I want you to be very comfortable putting Sidney Crosby’s name with the rest of us”, in reference to the list of all-time greats:
“Sure, there’s the talent that he has and the drive. But look at what he’s been through. That tells me something. Look at the injuries he’s dealt with, especially earlier in his career. He’s been beat up, hurt, been through so, so much. And through it all, look at what he’s accomplished. He’s won all of those Cups. He’s won the Olympics; scored the goal to win it, in fact. The World Cups he’s won. The numbers he’s put up. Everything he’s done. He’s one of the greatest hockey players of all time.”
While it’s hard to dispute this claim from anyone - we can’t deny Crosby’s greatness - it speaks to what an incredible player he is to have someone like Bobby Orr heap this praise on him.
- Finally, getting back to the league as a whole, TSN’s Frank Seravalli is reporting that the NHL and NHLPA are close to a new all-encompassing CBA, that includes the Return to Play protocols.
“After a marathon week of bargaining, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are closing in on a tentative memorandum of understanding on an all-encompassing new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as all of the necessary Return to Play components to drop the puck on a 24-team play-in.”
A six-year agreement getting figured out would be huge for the league. After the debacle that coronavirus has caused, it would be catastrophic if the NHL were faced with another lockout at the end of the current agreement. If they want to further their cause to become a powerhouse sport in North America, the NHL needs to stay on the ice.