TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun join host James Duthie to discuss why it was important for the NHL to announce the targeted date for the opening of training camps, have the latest on which Canadian cities are still in the hub city mix and what the next CBA extension could look like.
The most significant official date so far in this new world NHL schedule, July 10, the targeted date for the opening of NHL training camps?
LeBrun: Yeah, that's a great question. James. It was important because you've got a number of your players overseas that have to make travel plans. And that's really the crux of this. You know, there were so many different dates being thrown around. There were reports last week of maybe training camp being pushed to an August 1 start, and I think the NHLPA, in particular, but also the NHL felt it was important to clear up any confusion on that so that players can make travel plans and target July 10 as a start of training camp, Phase 3, mandatory training camp for the 24 teams that are being invited back to play. Now. It has to be said that that date could still change if negotiations drag on Phase 3 and Phase 4, and those negotiations are just at its infancy right now, although there's a lot of back and forth happening hopefully over the next two, three, four weeks, they do get an agreement on return to play, finally. As far as the games and the protocols and everything else. The league and the players did not commit to announcing a start of those games, because that's the last [thing] being negotiated. But what they're hoping right now is for a start on August 1 for the tournament, in around August 1, perhaps a few days before a few days later.
Dreger: Well, teams and players now know when the start of training camp is going to be, July 10, as you've indicated as clearly the target based on release from the NHL in the NHLPA. But the players don't know which of the hub cities are going to be employed, the two hub cities that the NHL is ultimately going to have to determine. Now, as of this Insider Trading segment, there are still 10 teams that remain in the mix. I can tell you that the NHL Players’ Association are eagerly awaiting word from the Canadian federal government to determine ultimately whether or not across the country restrictions on quarantine will be lifted. It's interesting to note B.C. has acknowledged as has Manitoba, that if you have quarantined in Canada for 14 days, you do not have to additionally quarantine for 14 days in B.C or Manitoba. Does that apply to Ontario? The NHL needs to know this because Toronto is very much still in the mix. Edmonton, Vancouver openly campaigning that there are some who believe Toronto could have an inside track here given their World Cup hosting experience and on the other side, Vegas is believed to essentially be the front-runner there.
Pierre, you spoke on Tuesday about the ongoing CBA negotiations if they're able to come to an agreement. Do you have any idea on how long it will be? What kind of term?
LeBrun: Yeah, James, what they're talking about right now and again, they're in the preliminary discussions in the CBA. But they're talking about a four or five-year term as an extension. Now, I think on the NHLPA side, they'd rather go to four and not to five. And I think on the league side, they'd rather go five. Either way, let's say it is a four-year extension that both sides can agree to over the next month or two. That brings you right through to the 2025-26 season, because of course, they would tack on those four years to the remaining two years that are left on the current CBA. But whatever new rules are implemented in this new CBA extension, those would go into effect right away, of course, because the you need to know what's going on with a salary cap and escrow and perhaps player contracts. All that would become reality right away. That's if the two sides can find a CBA resolution here over the coming weeks and months.
And really quickly, Dregs, has a candidate, a leading candidate emerged in the New Jersey coaching search?
Dreger: Well, I'd say there's a number of top candidates including the interim head coach, who's with the New Jersey Devils, Alaine Nasreddine, but the name that I keep hearing, James, is a familiar one. And that is Peter Laviolette, formerly of the Nashville Predators, but Tom Fitzgerald, who is the interim general manager, who has been managing this search. He still hasn't had the interim tag removed from his title. So it's an ongoing process for the Devils.