Four months after the NHL season was suspended due to COVID-19, hockey is finally back!... sort of. We don’t have any games to watch just yet, but training camp is under way. After months of conjecture of how a return-to-play would look, we’re finally seeing it in action.
The Dallas Stars have 35 different players participating in the start of training camp, and there are some legitimate opportunities for some previously non-NHL players such as Jason Robertson or Thomas Harley to make the cut:
The Stars don’t have any players or coaches opting out save for Roman Polak. The verteran defenseman voiced his desire to remain in the Czech Republic about a month ago, and his agent recently confirmed that he is officially opting out:
As previously reported, Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak has opted out of the NHL’s Return to Play for personal family reasons. He wishes all of his teammates the best of success in the Stanley Cup Tournament.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 12, 2020
One of the concerns Polak had with returning was that he didn’t believe that, at his age, could get back up to NHL-speed after just two weeks of NHL training camp. It’s an interesting point to keep in mind given the Stars are a bit older team as a whole — will the team start slow out of the gate, or will they benefit from several months of rest?
Only one way to find out.
What else should you keep an eye on this training camp? Mike Heika gives his thoughts:
➖ What will our lineup look like?— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 13, 2020
➖ Who gets the nod in net?
➖ Which call-ups could make an impact?
Breaking down the key storylines to follow as training camp officially begins https://t.co/OGNhcuRuOA
Sean Shapiro talks a bit about what the Stars will be missing with Polak opting out of the postseason:
Shap Shots: What will the Stars miss after Roman Polak opts out? https://t.co/fx0eYjPvk9— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) July 13, 2020
There’s been a little shuffle in the Stars’ front office as of last Friday:
NEWS: Jim Lites will transition to Chairman of the Dallas Stars and Managing Director of Northland Properties Corporation, US Division, while Brad Alberts has been promoted to President and CEO. https://t.co/4abaYvNxKh— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 10, 2020
Around the League
The Minnesota Wild have their new head coach, giving Dean Evason a two year extension:
And while it’s not official yet, former Stars head coach Lindy Ruff is going to be the new head coach of the New Jersey Devils:
If you were annoyed by “lower body injury,” then you don’t have to worry anymore — we won’t be receiving any injury information this postseason:
Update on injury reporting for 2020 Return to Play. pic.twitter.com/d1lmNMMTbH— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 11, 2020
Something else that will irritate you: teams participating in a play-in series are considered to have made the playoffs, but not for the sake of player bonuses, trade conditions, and pretty much anything else.
From NHL press release tonight: "Teams participating in a best-of-five series during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers are considered to have made the postseason and participated in a postseason series."— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 11, 2020
Will hockey be the same without fans in the stands? Maybe, but probably not:
New post: As the NHL gets ready to return to empty arenas, I took a look back at five memorable moments that wouldn't have been the same without fans. https://t.co/NWFxoiYoI7 pic.twitter.com/zDu6HxeOdk— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) July 13, 2020
Finally, it looks like the NHL will be fully leaning into fake crowd noise:
As I reported yesterday, NHL teams are in the process of having fans record cheers, boos and obscure chants to be used during games in the season restart. “TUUUUUUUK!” https://t.co/r0xizY3tWS— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 13, 2020
Unfortunately, that won’t be including, “Who cares?” much to the disappointment of Stars fans everywhere.