People who criticize winter sports such as basketball and hockey often point to unnecessary large postseason fields, where more than half the teams in the NBA and NHL make playoffs.
What is the point of a regular season, they say, if it eliminates less than half the teams in the league?
And while the regular season is entertaining and exciting in the NHL and NBA, hockey will go too far if it implements the rumored plan on how to potentially end a season disrupted by COVID-19. Per report, NHL will go into the field of 24 teams, potentially having each division hosting a neutral site series if it cannot complete the regular 82-game season.
If you are NBA and NHL and you have lost almost two months of your season, trying to get a more regular season game should be thrown out the window. We have passed that point. The hockey team played between 68 and 71 matches before the 2019-2020 season was suspended, enough time to make or skip the playoffs given all the circumstances in the US and Canada at this time.
Would it be difficult for a team like New York Islanders, who finished one point from the last wild card position in the Eastern Conference despite having two games at the Columbus Blue Jackets? Correct. But if you give Isles two extra matches, do you also give Carolina Hurricanes, tied with Columbus, those two extra matches too? Then teams like Toronto, New York Rangers and Florida will ask for more time too. Same in the West Region for teams like Vancouver and Minnesota, who are chasing Winnipeg, Calgary, and Nashville to get the final place.
People like the campus basketball championship week with all conference tournaments during the normal years to determine automatic beds for the NCAA Tournament, but in the end they don’t need to take money. What is the purpose of the regular season if each team actually makes its own conference tournament? That is why people live and die with campus football, because each game becomes very important when only four teams compete for the national championship in the end.
Are there NBA teams like Portland, New Orleans, San Antonio and Sacramento who wish they had an extra game to catch Memphis for the last playoff spot in the West? Of course. Will the NHL team and their rights partners be upset because they won’t get income for the remaining 11-14 regular season matches? Clear. Maybe that’s why the 24 team plan was floated from the start.
But there isn’t just the possibility that there’s no more time for regular season matches, putting 24 teams in the playoffs reducing the regular season to a point that’s almost irrelevant. Play five and a half months of exhausting and intense hockey to eliminate only seven of the 31 teams?
If we use Sportsnet model from the 24-member team quoted in CBS VIAC article, the top two teams in each division play each other for the title and we have 3 vs 6 and 4 vs 5 battles to qualify for the 16-team field. That will put the Buffalo Sabers and Anaheim Ducks, who get less than one point per match, in the playoffs against the Toronto and Calgary teams who finished 13 and 12 points respectively. In the best-of-three series, the bad regular season can be played very quickly in an inappropriate way.
Would it be great if everything could return to normal where the regular season can be finished and we can have as many normal playoffs as we can in the NHL and NBA? Definitely. But at the stage where we are now in the days of the coronavirus, normal conditions throughout North America do not occur anytime soon. So a compromise must be made. The 24-team playoff that makes the regular match of the season fought hard shouldn’t be one of those compromises.
Based on SiriusXM NHL Network RadioByfuglien’s release was part of a mutual agreement between the two parties to resolve the complaint filed by Byfuglien against the Jets after the Jets suspended it in September.
Jet it depends Byfuglien after he failed to report to the team during the training camp while considering retirement.
Byfuglien did not finally report to the team at any point, and the 2019-20 season was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
35-year-old Byfuglien is a 14-year-old NHL veteran who also spends time together Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta Thrashers, who later moved on to become Jets. He spent eight seasons in Winnipeg and nine in the Jets organization counting one season in Atlanta.
Byfuglien is a four-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion who has been one of the best offensive defenses in the NHL over the past decade.
The Roseau, Minnesota, the original has scored 177 goals and 348 assists for 525 points in 869 regular matches of the season. He also finished with a plus in each of his last five campaigns after failing to do so in eight of his first nine seasons.
Entering the 2019-20 season, Byfuglien has performed in at least 66 matches in seven of the previous nine seasons. He reached 45 points in each of the seven years.
While Byfuglien spent some time advancing early in his career, he was primarily a defender, adding to the impression of his seven career seasons with at least 15 goals, including two seasons of 20 goals.
Byfuglien has excelled in the playoffs too, registering 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 66 post-paid matches.
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Byfuglien played a major role, because he finished with 11 goals and 16 points in 22 playoff games.
Even without Byfuglien in this year’s drawing, the Jets have a wild No. card holder. 1 in the Western Region with 80 points. It is unclear whether the NHL will try to finish the regular season or go straight to the playoffs if the 2019-20 season continues.
While Byfuglien may decide to retire and stay away from the game forever, the fact that his contract with the Jets is terminated means he can seek to join the team to stretch this season or find a new home for the 2020-21 campaign and beyond.
As players, executives and fans continue to adjust to new norms, we will provide updates every Monday, answering all the burning questions in various angles of NHL’s relationship with the pandemic; although the action on the ice is still on the shelf, there have been major developments since then last week’s update. Caught here:
Are there updates when play can continue?
Emily Kaplan: Not really. The NHL is still aiming to hold a Stanley Cup Playoff this summer, if it gets approval from the health authorities. This will depend on where North America is on the curve, what remains at home orders are still in place and the availability of rapid turnaround testing – and whether it is ethical for private companies such as NHL to secure such large numbers of tests.
“We just started thinking about that,” Daly said. “It’s kind of a combination of things, like when we can start the regular season [in 2020-21] and how much time we need for the offseason, and then what the playoff format looks like, in terms of knowing what you need to have a regular season. We started to think about it a little. I don’t think I’m ready to share any dates. “
Daly acknowledged that the truncated playoff series – which is usually best of seven – is clearly an option if the NHL faces a time constraint. “I would say that the best is not something we will visit,” Daly said. “I always have a warning that everything is on the table and nothing is out of the question. I would say there will be strong opposition to ever making a playoff where it is a single elimination. I think the best of the three is more likely, disliked, but more likely than the best scenario. “
The NHL and NHLPA have been in constant communication during the break, and from all sides, both parties have been collaborative and the relationship seems strong, which is one of the positive things to come out of this. Daly said the NHLPA had articulated the amount of time the players needed for the “right” offseason before the 2020-21 season could begin. Do the players need four weeks? Six weeks? Two months?
“We’ve talked about it in general, and we have a good idea,” Daly said. “But I don’t want to be too specific.”
Does the goal still complete the 2019-20 regular season in some way before the playoffs begin?
Greg Wyshynski: That is the goal for the NHL and its players, as long as the calendar allows it. Mathieu Schneider, special assistant for NHLPA’s executive director, said Sirius XM NHL Network Radio “Hot Stove” that the players believe “there is a path to” completing the regular season and “there is enough optimism that we will be able to play again, in whole or in part, for the rest of the season.”
It really depends on how much time they have to prepare for the regular season and playoff games this summer. “The biggest problem for our people, in this scenario of returning to play, is that they are not on the ice,” Schneider said. “Maybe in a limited way [for] some people in Europe or Sweden, or something like that. Men can train at home, but lack of ice time is critical for our players. “
The NHLPA held its first formal (and far socially) meeting last week with the NHL leadership, including league scheduling teacher, Steve Hatze Petros. NHLPA executive director, Don Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman have been in contact with each other every day, but this meeting is an opportunity to have a greater exchange of ideas.
NHLPA wants to get a “working group” together to produce “a number of different scenarios accepted by both parties, so when everything turns around and we can return, we will be in a much better position, ready to make decisions,” Schneider said.
Are there concerns that even if fans are allowed to go to matches, attendance will be lower than usual?
Wyshynski: There are, for various reasons. The economic impact of this pandemic cannot be understood at this point, as far as how it will affect entertainment expenses such as hockey tickets. But health considerations are an actual conundrum: Even if the NHL is allowed to play with fans in the arena, how many fans choose not to be present until, say, there is a suitable treatment or vaccine for COVID-19?
For this reason, the NHL team began to consider what a game with a lower arena capacity would look like – whether their own caps were present or the social mandate from the government that could limit it.
“We have a task force that we have placed internally to discuss all of these options,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a video conference call last week. “One of them is we return without fans, and how we will deal with it. The second choice is that we go back and can only have – choose a number – five or eight thousand people in the building.” The third option is that we can be truly open. We’ve talked at length and have plans for all of those situations. “
Daly said on Friday that the Storm did not always get the idea from the NHL, but a restricted presence was considered in other sports.
“Before the closure of all sports, I think there are some college teams that are experimenting with social exclusion in the arena. I can’t tell you what the results of the experiment are,” Daly said. “I just think that only Carolina is comprehensive in understanding what options are in every possibility. We all try to do that in a world where there are many unknowns.”
Are there updates in which cities can host empty arena games?
Kaplan: Among the locations that might be reported for neutral site games, which are likely to be held in empty arenas, are Grand Forks, North Dakota; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
But Daly said the NHL hadn’t even “created a field” in determining which sites would function. In fact, as word got out that the NHL was considering neutral locations, cities and places throughout North America were beginning to reach the league, making themselves potential hosts.
“We have people who compile a comprehensive laundry list of what we will need from the facility and evaluate some facilities at a certain level,” he said. “But I can’t tell you that we’ve even finished making the list [of potential sites], let alone narrow it. “
Wyshynski: There is a reason the NHL is delaying instead of canceling its merger in Buffalo, scheduled for June 1-6. If possible, the team wants the opportunity to scrutinize prospects before making a draft decision.
“Obviously, our manager has the same concerns as the NBA manager. The more information you can or get before you make a concept day decision, the better,” Daly said. “If we can do some form of incorporation and create opportunities for clubs to conduct due diligence on the players before the draft, we will definitely try to accommodate that. If we can’t, we can’t. I think we the club understands that.”
Wyshynski: If the NHL draft has to happen with all 31 teams in remote locations, the league believes it’s ready for it.
“I think that’s pretty easy,” Daly said. “Almost like [going] back to the future, right? Our draft, long ago, was held by the telephone. If modern technology can be used to create video images, it really is no different from the choices sent via electronic media. “
(Now, if only there was a way for virtual Gary Bettman to choose the option to announce trade …)
Is there anything new about the lack of income and escrow for the players?
Wyshynski: As of Friday, the NHLPA has not yet decided what to do with the final salary due to the players for 2019-20, which is scheduled for April 15. They can choose to include part, all or nothing in escrow payments to owners for lost income this season.
But NHLPA and its owners completed and processed escrow payments for the 2018-19 season, which had been delayed. NHLPA confirmed that around $ 230 million will be released to the owners, while the players will get back about $ 80 million from their deductions. Remember: Collective bargaining agreements mandate a 50-50 split in income between the owner and the player, and the escrow deduction helps balance the split.
How does the NHL plan to stay relevant when there is no game?
Kaplan: Just as your workplace has hugged Zoom, so does the NHL. The league has become an all-in video conferencing platform.
It manages media calls with most league superstars – Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid among many others – and has pumped that content on all of its platforms, including released this ad in honor of the postponed playoff. Each team arranges Zoom calls with their local reporters, while the NHL has arranged several lighter calls (reunions between Patrick Marleau, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner), plus calls with trainers, as well as international outreach efforts. For example, the league makes calls on Swedish players speaking Swedish to Swedish journalists. On what will be the first night of the playoffs last week, the NHL organizes a virtual reunion with the whole St. Louis Blues the team, which will be aired on NBC Sports on Monday night.
The NBA, meanwhile, is holding a KUDA tournament, which was filmed at the player’s home and aired on ESPN. Several NBA stars, WNBA players, and NBA alumni registered to participate. I asked Daly how ambitious the NHL was with their alternative programming and whether they could use something similar.
“I really think we have been very active in creating all kinds of different content,” Daly said. “Our players have been very cooperative. With all respect to the NBA, I think we have pushed content that is far more original than other sports leagues at the moment, and I think it will continue.”
Are there any more players who have tested positive? Are any positive cases recovering?
Wyshynski: The last positive test confirmed by NHL was unnamed Colorado Avalanche players on April 7, the third member of the franchise contracted the corona virus. Avalanche was on a California road trip before the season was stopped; so as Ottawa Senator, other NHL teams affected by COVID-19. Five Senator players, Gord Wilson’s radio color analyst and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. But the Ottawa coach D. J. Smith said that Wednesday “They are all on the other side now.”
What if the NHL starts again and the player chooses not to return to ice because of COVID-19 concerns?
Wyshynski: This can be called “The Roman Reigns Issue.” WWE superstar recently opted out of WrestleMania and other events due to immunocompromised and because of concern for his family who contracted the virus. There are hundreds of players at the NHL; what if some of them are not interested in returning to play unless there is treatment or vaccine available?
Daly said that was not yet a topic of conversation at the NHL.
“Clear, [the players] want to be healthy and safe, “he said.” If a particular player has special attention, we have the same situation in the past, and we as a league have been sensitive and accept that situation. Obviously, if [concerns like this] becomes too broad, then it becomes more problematic in terms of our ability to return. But that will be handled up front. All indications at this point, as far as I know, are that the players really want to come back. “
If the league will lose substantial income, how will it affect the salary cap next season?
Kaplan: Let’s start with this: Before the pandemic struck, NHL was in very good condition. At the GM meeting in early March, Gary Bettman boasted – because he had the past few years – that the NHL was as strong as before, especially because he planned to welcome Seattle for the 2021-22 season as the 32nd franchise (and received Seattle’s $ 650 million expansion fee) . The league told general manager in early March that he projected the salary limit for next season to be between $ 84 million and $ 88.2 million. That means a minimum increase of 3% from the limit of $ 81.5 million this season. Obviously, that is in line with projected income, and we know the league, which is very gate dependent, was hit by the pandemic.
“Whatever our salary limit is, or set for next year, is something we must discuss and agree with the players,” Daly said on Friday. “Obviously, it looks pretty sure that there will be a significant shortage in projected income, when we can say the ’19 -20 season is done. If we adhere to the formula in the CBA, it will produce a cap that is much lower than we have this year. What I think doesn’t need to be practical or realistic, either for the club or the players. So it’s definitely something we need to talk about with the players association. “
Is the NHL concerned about some ownership groups that cannot survive this closure, and the subsequent economic impact?
Wyshynski: Daly told us that “there is definitely no indication that there is” reason for NHL to worry about the team and its team owners during the pandemic.
“I will return to the case that I know is the case: Our ownership is stronger than it has ever been in league history, financially,” he said. “The entire global economy has taken a big, powerful blow. It certainly involves some of the businesses owned by our owners, a significant loss of revenue and profitability. But we have no indication that any club is at the peak point as far as it is unable to fulfill its obligations to the League National Hockey. “
Finally, what is your latest pop culture addiction this week?
Kaplan: I have rearranged the episode of the flu epidemic “Always Bright in Philadelphia” – Season 9, Episode 7: “The Gang Will be Quarantined” – twice since I was stuck at home. It survives very well. It is available at Hulu (which is owned by Disney), for anyone who is looking for humor in the nose.
Wyshynski: I have been tearing up sports documentaries lately. After going through 30 for 30 – and if you haven’t already, they all use ESPN + – several other documents caught my attention this week. “Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story “(Amazon Prime) is the same part as a tribute to the battle skills of a heavyweight hockey champion and a sad examination of his evil ice-demon.” Diego Maradona “(HBO) used an exceptional archival record to tell the story of a football legend; and the second season of” The Dark Side of the Ring “(VICE) still shines on the most famous figure and pro wrestling moment, starting with the intricate legacy of Chris Benoit. Give a documentary round if you are looking to improve sports.
Dylan Samberg signed a three-year, initial stage with the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
The contract has an average annual value of $ 1,175 million and will begin next season.
Samberg, a 21-year-old defender, has 21 points (one goal, 20 assists) in 28 games this season, the third at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“Obviously it was exciting for him, for our team and us,” said defender Jets Josh Morrissey the word. “I only really had the chance to see him play in World Junior for a number of years and it was clear he was a big, strong defenseman and it was great to put him in the fold. Obviously he had three really good years at school and it will be a great addition to our team, hopefully as soon as possible in the future and hopefully for years to come. ”
Samberg (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) can be in the running for the full-time NHL place next season. Jet has a deep problem about defense this season after trading Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers in June and lost Tyler Myers (Vancouver Canucks) and Ben Chiarot (Montreal Canadiens) in free agency. Additional, Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended all season.
Winnipeg also faces many injuries in defense. Neal Pionk, which was acquired in trade for Trouba, was the only defender to play all 71 matches; Morrissey came second (65). The Jets have used 11 defenses this season, including Ville Heinola, option No. 20 in the 2019 NHL Draft which is one of two 18-year-old defenders playing in the NHL this season (Tobias Bjornfot, King of Los Angeles). Heinola played eight NHL matches in October before being assigned to Lukko in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.
In the second round of choice (No. 43) in the 2017 NHL Draft by Winnipeg, Samberg helped Minnesota Duluth win the NCAA Division I men’s hockey championship in 2018 and 2019. In three college seasons, he had 53 points (nine goals, 44 assists) in 109 competition.
Samberg also played for the United States in the IIHF World Junior Championships 2018 and 2019. He has four points (one goal, three assists) in seven matches to help the US finish third in 2018, and two assists in seven games in 2019 when the US lost to Finland in a championship match.
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report