Mar 19, 2020
Insider Trading: 82 games in 2020-21 paramount
Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli explain why it's crucial for the NHL to have an 82-game season in 2020-21, discuss the fates of the Memorial Cup and the men's World Hockey Championship, the importance of keeping the league relevant, and more.
Dreger: Pierre, as much concern as there is with the possibility that this NHL season could be completely wiped out, it's crucial, is it not, that at some point they play 82 regular season games at some point next year.
LeBrun: Yeah, that's bang on , Dregs. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly twice mentioning that today on our podcast with Scott Burnside yesterday for The Athletic. Unsolicited, might I add, saying that having a full year next year is really the starting point that the National Hockey League looks at before trying to look at all of these other scenarios to have a season resumption this year. Now, I circled back to Bill Daly today, because I wanted to be sure that that didn't preclude, for example, a scenario that we talked about on Tuesday on Insider Trading with Frank, about having an August-September playoffs and a regular season that starts in November. And Daly said, no, it doesn't preclude that type of scenario. In other words, having a full season doesn't necessarily mean having a full season next year that starts on time. It can be delayed. It can go into June in terms of the playoffs, late June. You could cancel the All-Star (game), cancel the bye-weeks. There's many different ways to still have a full-year in 2020-21 without necessarily starting on time. So keep that in mind.
Dreger: Bob, without question, there are two major sporting events, hockey events that are now being somewhat questioned in terms of whether or not they can fly.
McKenzie: Let's start with the IIHF World Championships. Nobody, including IIHF President Rene Fasel, is at all optimistic that this is going to happen. In fact, it's pretty obvious that it's going to be cancelled. But they haven't had official word on that just yet. I talked to Rene Fasel this morning, he was out tending to his garden in Zurich. That gives you some idea of what's going on there right now as far as the Worlds. And he's still waiting for an official proclamation from the Swiss government. That's expected sometime in the next day, or two, or three. As for the Memorial Cup , which is May 22 to May 31st in Kelowna, B.C., the British Columbia public health office said there is to be no gatherings of more than 50 people in B.C. until at least the end of May. So technically, the Memorial Cup can't be played in May, but, the CHL hasn't yet written off their entire playoffs and , as a result, Bruce Hamilton and the Kelowna Rockets are just biding their time, waiting to see what happens. They have secured the ice for June if the Memorial Cup needs to be moved back a month. And they're also working on hotel blocks just in case. No one is necessarily optimistic but all options are still on the table for the Memorial Cup.
Seravalli: Guys, there's so many questions about how the NHL handles much of the minutiae that's related to contracts and trades. And one item that stands out as the juiciest item for sure is the James Neal and Milan Lucic trade that was conducted last summer. If you look at the seasons that these two guys have had, Lucic with nine goals and Neal with 21 goals, there's a conditional third-round pick that could go from the Edmonton Oilers to the Calgary Flames based on Neal hitting a minimum of 21 goals and Milan Lucic remaining under 10. What does the NHL do moving forward here? Do they decide to prorate it? In which case Lucic would remain under 10 and Neal gets to about 23? Or do they decide to leave it as is and that's just one of the questions at stake with regards to other bonuses in contracts and compensation. Things like expansion draft considerations and also other picks that changed hands for deals at the deadline. Can we see things like compensatory picks and such.
Dreger: Ongoing communication between the NHL and NHLPA as to how to keep hockey relevant. It could happen as early as next week. You see media accessibility from star players , NHL coaches and general managers. Again, the league and players' association discussion that.