- The NHL and the NHLPA agreed on a return to play plan on Monday, and we’re now getting a few more details.
There is going to be a lot of hockey at first, with six games per day on the schedule. Games will start at noon, 4pm and 8pm local time in each city, with the top-4 seeding games in the 4pm slot and the play-in games opening and closing the day.
Rosters are expanded, but not fully open unlike they usually are during the playoffs - teams are limited to 31 players, including goalies.
Players can leave the bubble only with permission for medical or family reasons. Leaving without permission could face a 10-14 day quarantine, or being removed from the bubble entirely. Teams that break the rules face fines or loss of draft picks.
- If a play-in team breaks the rules badly enough that they lose their 1st round pick, then lose the play-in, are they still in the secondary lottery? Probably not, but I kinda hope they would be, and win it - that would be some deserved salt in the self-inflicted wound, and would move Ottawa up to picks two and four.
- The return to play plan came along with an extended CBA. Some notes from that:
The cap will remain flat, at $81.5m, for next season and potentially further - until hockey related revenue hits $4.8b, which was the pre-Covid estimate for 2019-20. If 2020-21 is shortened or played even partially without fans, there’s a good chance we’ll see the same cap for 2021-22 as well.
The draft is pencilled in for sometime in October, and Free Agency is expected to be November 1st.
There are still negotiations required, but the NHL is saying “yes” to participation in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
- The flat cap will provide opportunity for the Senators - both in the sense of building the roster, and in backing up their words. Both Melnyk and Dorion, when discussing the ability of the Sens to spend on the roster have largely been saying the right things for some time now, but it’s easy to talk that talk when you’re at the point in a rebuild where spending doesn’t make sense. This could provide the chance to “show” and not just “tell” that to the skeptical part of the fan base, and in a way that can’t be written off as exceptions like the Chabot and White contracts.
- Apparently Flyers fans have a deep-seated hatred of the Ottawa Senators? It is Philly though - they hate everybody.