November is the time of year when we’d normally be celebrating, or fuming over, the Dallas Stars’ current record and whether they’d be a playoffs team by Thanksgiving.
Instead, the NHL is in a weird, COVID-induced limbo. After pulling off an almost miraculously successful Stanley Cup playoffs mini-season with its Return to Play plan, the league is now trying to figure out what it does for an encore.
It will take a fair amount of divergent thinking to pull off a 2021 season, but Gary Bettman seems open to almost all of it – including a truncated schedule and a modified a hub-city system that will allow teams to play in their own arenas for at least part of the year. NHL.com columnist Nick Cotsonika distilled the NHL commissioner’s comments from a Tuesday remote event:
“You’ll play for 10 to 12 days,” Commissioner Bettman said in a virtual panel discussion during the 2020 Paley International Council Summit. “You’ll play a bunch of games without traveling. You’ll go back, go home for a week, be with your family. We’ll have our testing protocols and all the other things you need.
One of the biggest variables has to do with travel restrictions between the United States and Canada. The league is examining a pandemic reshuffle that could (temporarily) fulfill the fantasy of an all-Canadian division:
“As it relates to the travel issue, which is obviously the great unknown, we may have to temporarily realign to deal with geography, and that may make sense, because having some of our teams travel from Florida to California may not make sense.
“It may be that we’re better off, particularly if we’re playing a reduced schedule, which we’re contemplating, keeping it geographically centric, more divisional based, and realigning, again on a temporary basis, to deal with the travel issues.”
There’s more at the big site. [NHL]
By the time you read this, you may already be watching. “We’re Not Going Home” debuts at 6 p.m. Central time on FOX Sports Southwest, and soon after on Stars YouTube.
Sean Shapiro talked with Lone Star Emmy winner Jeff Toates, the mind behind the “Stars Open Ice” videos. about how this mini-doc came to be.
Jeff Toates spent his fall chronicling the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final and turning the footage into a documentary. Now, on the day of its premiere, @seanshapiro caught up with Toates to get the scoop on "We're Not Going Home" was made. https://t.co/AT7jWngkmn— The Athletic Dallas (@TheAthleticDFW) November 12, 2020
Around The Leagues
The Seattle Kraken are this much closer to becoming a real team.
The Kraken said their practice rink is on target to open in mid-July during a tour of the facility Tuesday. Seattle will begin play in 2021-22 as the 32nd NHL team.https://t.co/ogGS60CZ2R— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) November 12, 2020
The International Ice Hockey Federation will take NHL lessons learned, and some innovations of its own, into the Edmonton bubble next month.
The world is already missing Alex Trebek as the host of Jeopardy! But it’s his near-miss in hockey broadcasting that may haunt you.
Answer: "If not for a tuft of hair, he and not Dave Hodge, would have landed the job as host of Hockey Night in Canada." Question: "Who is the late Alex Trebek?" My blog on what might have been. https://t.co/b2TMHM4YmE— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) November 10, 2020
The USA observed Veterans Day on Wednesday. It’s a good time to remember, and thank, the Paralympic heroes who sustained their wounds in battle.