The International Ice Hockey Federation announced that the 2020 World Championships would be cancelled. Organizers made this decision after the increasing outbreak of Covid-19 throughout European Nations, primarily Switzerland. Considering that sixteen nations would’ve competed in Switzerland for this championship, organizers were forced to cancel the May 8th to 24th hockey competition.
The President of IIHF expressed that this has been challenging for decision with everyone involved, but that the protection of globally hockey communities is more important than a championship. Rene Fazel mentioned that it’s the responsibility of government bodies, major corporations, sporting outfits and the respective individual to ensure that Covid-19 doesn’t spread internationally anymore than it already has.
It should be mentioned that this is the 1st time in three decades that the IIHF Championship has been cancelled. The last time would’ve been 1988, which followed after two additional cancellations in 1980 and 84. Rene Fazel noted that something special would be implemented next season to honour the fallen individuals from Covid-19. The President was forced to make these announcements after multiple other hockey venues were terminated throughout Switzerland, which included the 2020 IIHF World Women’s Championship for March 7th. This venue would’ve been held in Nova Scotia for March 7th. An additional site for U18 Players was cancelled in Michigan.
Travelling internationally have become virtually impossible under the conditions of Covid-19. The International Ice Hockey Federation noted that transferring all registered players to Switzerland would be a logistical challenge for organizers. This means that the most significant hockey competition for Canadians and Europeans have been cancelled for a single year. It’s unknown what the financial impact will be with the lost sponsorship contracts, returned tickets and merchandise sales.
The federation confirmed in their announcement that protective measures had been implemented for their employed workers. These individuals are located at home in self-isolation and committing to their jobs in safer conditions. Employees will continue to be paid for their respective workloads through a robust insurance program maintained by IIHF. Organizers expressed that the safety of their staff, supporters and the overall community is more important than providing this tournament to millions.
The National Hockey League announced that they’d be pausing their 2019-20 Season following the continued outbreak of COVID-19. This announcement came directly from Gary Bettmen on March 13th. It’s unknown when the season will end, with regular series matches slated to end on April 4th. The Stanley Cup Playoffs would’ve started on April 6th. Some sporting analysts anticipate that regular season play won’t resume until May, meaning the NHL 2019-20 Season wouldn’t end until July.
The NHL Commissioner provided public statements regarding this decision. It was noted that with the ongoing developments surrounding COVID-19, medical experts were conveyed during a conference call with the Board of Governors. Consultation services were provided, and it was determined that the best decision going forward was to ensure the protection of public supporters. Mandated protocols from local authorities and health experts have demanded these provisions from the NHL. Strategies developments are being implemented to ensure that all measures are met for the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that increased delays are possible, with the cancellation of the season becoming entirely plausible.
The National Hockey League wasn’t the only sporting association to confirm the postponement of their regular season. The National Basketball Association also cancelled their season until April following the confirmation that multiple players had contracted COVID-19. It prompted all sporting associations in North America to terminate their respective seasons as well. This means that all NHL Facilities have been closed going forward, with janitorial staff being the selective personnel enabled to enter these locations.
Representatives with the National Hockey League confirmed that the situation would be continued to be monitored going forward, with the advice of medical experts continuously being provided daily. These same representatives urged that members of the NHL Community take the necessary precautions to ensure self-quarantine measures are met.
The 2019-20 Season will be resumed once government officials declare that mass gathering is safe. Medical experts believe that large groups of locals won’t be permitted until May or June 2020. It should be noted that team practices and meetings have been postponed within the NHL as well. The NHL Players Association has firmly agreed with the strategic approached displayed by league executives. Considering that this is the most dynamic medical situation seen since SARS, it’s not surprising that multiple sporting outfits have implemented security measures for personal and public safety.
After multiple decades of the National Hockey League being a popular sporting event, the first-ever all-female broadcast was held. This was maintained for International Woman Day, with the show being entirely produced and created by a woman associated with the NHL. The match they were provided for broadcasting included the Saint Louis Blues competing against the Chicago Blackhawks, with St. Louis winning by two goals.
This marks the 1st time in professional hockey broadcasting that an all-woman event was maintained. This included the Anchors, Reporters and Replay Artists. It should be noted that the anchors selected have previous experience reporting hockey, with Kate Scott working for the NBC Sports Network. Additional hosts for this venue included Kendall Coyne Schofield, AJ Mleczko, Kathryn Tappen and Jennifer Botterill. Both AJ and Jennifer have previous experience in the Olympics with professional hockey.
There has been a secretive backlash towards this decision, with some male anchors purposely providing horrendous advice to this woman. Immature actions primarily went unrecognized, with Mike Tarico mention to Kate Scott and Kendall Schofield that they should act like their unaware of the game. Considering this is Mike Tarico’s main tactic to create drama around his programs, it’s not surprising he’d suggest this advice to this woman. Both ignored Mike Tarico and focused on providing an incredible broadcast for two of the most notable franchises in the National Hockey League. Kate Scott expressed how she was excited to meet this Gold Medalist Olympians and that it was one of her best television experiences to date.
Additional Female Broadcasts
It should be noted that Sportsnet has regularly included a female presence with their productions for forty years. The most notable before this event was when more woman than men created a broadcast last year for the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames. It was this event that prompted the National Hockey League to create this concept for International Woman’s Day. Multiple all-female broadcasts with a minimal male presence have been maintained as well. This included a match between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils in 2008. Going forward it’s unknown the extent of power woman will have with NHL Broadcasting, with most sporting analysts collectively agreeing that this benefits the sport.
The Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins in the last couple of
days become trade allies. This comes after Boston signed Ondrej Kase from the
Anaheim Ducks and on Friday signed Nick Ritchie in exchange for Danton Heinen.
The brother of Nick Ritchie already is signed with Boston
but was moved to its AHL Providence team. The signing of Nick gives the Bruins
the higher valued brother who was chosen by the Ducks in the 2014 draft. While
most feel that at 24 Ritchie hasn’t played his best hockey yet but brings
plenty to the table and will be a welcomed addition to its lineup. At 6-foot-2
and 234 pounds, Ritchie uses his size as a physical forechecker and in the past
three seasons has averaged over 1000 minutes a season and is 21st in the
rankings for hits in a 60 minute period.
That makes him ideal for the Boston Bruins and their
style of play. He also can score and has averaged twelve goals for every 80
games player. This theoretically puts him in a good position to be the guy to
park in front of the net during power players, a role that the Ducks never
really allowed to blossom. In the 287 games he played in Anaheim, he averaged
almost 60 seconds per power play, and that puts him under the top 400 forwards
in the NHL.
In terms on the Ducks, they feel they got the better end
of the deal in Heinen. Only slightly older than Ritchie, he is under contract
through to the end of 2020-2021 before becoming a restricted free agent. He has
played alongside some of the Bruins best power lines but was never given a
major role and only averaging less than 15 minutes on the ice per game and was
often bounced around from left to right wing. However, is has been productive,
averaging 1.7 points per sixty minutes.
That puts Heinen on par with Patric Hornqvist, Jared
McCann, Kyle Palmieri and Kevin Labanc. Still, many feel he deserved a look at
a long-term role with the BDucks as they continue to rebuild and are perfectly
suited to give him that opportunity.
Two announcements were made regarding two players acquired during the 2021 NHL Draft. This included the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets, both teams being located in Canada. It was first revealed that Connor McDavid is remaining with the Edmonton Oilers on February 20th, with details regarding his return to the ice unknown. This comes as a substantial draft pick for the Oilers, with Connor McDavid, ranked 4th in the National Hockey League. Last season he maintained 30 goals with 51 assists throughout a 55-game period. The Edmonton Oilers have acquired McDavid after he was placed onto injured reserve retroactive leave on February 9th.
Head Coach for the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Tippet spoke to reporters regarding the condition of Connor McDavid. It was noted that the two had conversed earlier throughout the week, with their future centre forward receiving the necessary treatment. The healing period for these injuries is expected to be 2-3 weeks. These injuries occurred on February 11th, meaning he’ll be back in action roughly March 1st to 8th.
This doesn’t mean that Edmonton Oiler supporters and coaching staff are both hoping that these injuries will heal faster than anticipated. Dave Tippet noted that they aren’t concerned for the upcoming NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Connor McDavid expected to be fully healed and re-trained before this period. It should be noted he’s currently remaining in Toronto until the quad injury is treatable via surgery.
Winnipeg Jets Acquire Cody Eakin for 2021 NHL Draft
Another shocking announcement was made for the 2021 NHL Draft Period. It was revealed that Cody Eakin would be leaving the Vegas Golden Nights for the Winnipeg Jets, with this centre forward standing at the 4th round pick. This acquisition follows after committing to a four-year contract with the Las Vegas Golden Knights, with him acquiring four goals and six assists throughout this season. It should be noted that Cody Eakin is a Winnipeg native, with him often expressing a desire to play with this outfit.
It’s expected that both the Winnipeg Jets and Las Vegas Golden Knights will combat each other during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cody Eakin will be forced to compete against his new employers. Following this announcement, the Golden Knights are acquiring Alex Martinez from the Los Angeles Kings. He has performed a similar manner to Cody Eakin. This last season has seen Alex Martinez receive several assists and one goal, all of this while being in the defenceman position.
Players in the National Hockey League will need to consider the longstanding impact of their sticks moving forward into the 2020 season. Sacrificing their hockey sticks to intimidate opponents or express their aggression will be regarded as unwanted behaviour from coaching staff. This follows after the coronavirus in China, which is limiting the production of hockey sticks for global organizations. This extends to the NHL, which is raising concern regarding a shortage of sticks from CCM and Bauer. Their Chinese factories have been shut down since the outbreak reach their 1st peaks by February 5th. Subsequently, NHL outfits and players are beginning to prepare for a steep shortage. Some believe this shortage won’t last longer than two months.
It’s estimated that each player goes through 100+ sticks per season, with Jack Eichel and Tyler Seguin exceeding those numbers extensively. It’s reported that top-rated athletes in the National Hockey League use new sticks with each practice session or game. This luxury will be immediately terminated going forward, with CCM and Bauer representatives expressing that their monitoring this situation. There have even been players from the Toronto Maple Leaf’s and Dallas Stars that have brought home-based sticks to professional matches. It should be noted that both these manufacturers maintain production facilities in Tijuana, with 10% of their overall development going towards the NHL.
The Shortage Affecting CCM & Bauer
CCM and Bauer have received significant backlash from executives with the NHL, who claim their focus should be on prior contracts with sporting leagues and not global retail markets. This followed after both manufacturers said that amateur players wouldn’t have any impact on available products. However, considering that minor league hockey has more significant cash flows in North America, it’s not surprising that Bauer and CCM are focusing 90% of their production to retail markets.
This has resulted in NHL Equipment Managers, the representatives and players to navigate this shortage with the best of intentions. Paul Boyer from the Detroit Red Wings expressed that they have enough inventory to last two weeks, with the next shipment not coming for four weeks. This will create a two-week delay for multiple NHL organizations. It’s estimated that Bauer and CCM provide more than 50,000.00 hockey sticks throughout a standard NHL Season. This means 1600+ units per team. The NHL could be forced to contact other suppliers and create new contracts to keep teams stocked with hockey sticks.
The Toronto Maple Leaf’s saw themselves fail for another time this season, in their homeland of Canada in Montreal. Looking to dominate over their opponents to make the playoffs, the defensive performance displayed by the Maple Leaf’s has been borderline horrendous. When competing against Montreal on February 9th, Sheldon Keefe couldn’t help but notice how his team fell apart by the third period. It prompted the head coach to hold a morning meeting the next day, informing the players to get their affairs in order.
That’s because he will be challenging them to the highest form of physicality and will demand better performances out of each respective player. Refusal to improve will mark an immediate termination following the end of contract dates. It should be noted that the offensive squad for the Toronto Maple Leaf’s are considered one of the best in the NHL. Unfortunately, their defensive lineup is the flipside to the coin and has prompted numerous losses this season. Considering that this is the debut season for Sheldon Keefe, it’s understandable that the head coach is demanding better skillsets from his employed players.
Toronto didn’t remotely resemble the same club that dominated over the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers earlier in the week. Per the club’s history, Toronto has continued ups and downs that deplete chances at acquiring Stanley Cup contention. During their matchup against Montreal, eleven shots were broken through the defensive lineup in the second and third round. Luckily their goalie performed admirably and saved nine of the 20+ shots made to the net. The endgame was Toronto losing two – one, with the Montreal Canadiens stepping that much closer towards the Stanley Cup.
The Maple Leaf’s acquired a singular goal with their title player, John Tavares. This man completed a dangerous spring towards the Canadiens goalie in the 3rd period, allowing for a shot on net to break through their goalie’s defence. It was a memorable goal because it marks the 5th time that Tavares completed a back-net goal. Unfortunately, the skillsets of John weren’t enough to overcompensate the Montreal Canadiens. The third period saw Toronto outshot by Montreal at 16-1.
It’s been less than several days since the 2020 All-Star NHL Game took place, with it already being confirmed where the 2021 venue will be hosted. The Florida Panthers were announced as the hosts, with the All-Star Weekend taking place at the BBT Centre in Sunrise. Two specific events will be played at this hockey arene, including the All-Star Skills Event and All-Stars Game. Those wanting to witness this formidable event have to wait until January 30th, 2021.
This marks the second instance that the Florida Panthers get to host the National Hockey League All-Star Game, with their last hosting appearance being in 2003. The chief executive officer for the Panther expressed that they’re thrilled to welcome international hockey fans next year. Matt Caldwell noted that this organization couldn’t be prouder to host the NHL’s premier event. Unfortunately, information regarding the associated prices for tickets wasn’t released. Those details will be provided on the beginning of the 2020-21 Season.
The 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend just completed on Friday, January 31st. It saw Saint Louis defeat their rivals at the Enterprise Centre. Millions worldwide watched on the various sporting network. The central broadcasting company confirmed that they’d seen higher viewership number than ever before. This indicates that the National Hockey League’s popularity is continuously growing internationally.
The 1st NHL All-Decade Game
The national hockey league made a shocking announcement after confirming the location for the 2021 All-Star Game. Executives with NHL Corporate revealed the first-ever “NHL All-Decade Game”. This will comprise the best athletes in hockey from the last ten years, making them complete for victory. Whichever opposing team won this event could be considered the best squad of the decade. Confirmed players for the 2020 All-Decade Game includes Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Alex Ovechkin. Collectively, these six individuals have acquired thirteen Stanley Cup championships as a squad. Details regarding who they’ll compete against weren’t confirmed, with rumours indicating that the All-Star Game winners could take the opposing role.
Executives also confirmed the second lineup for the All-Decade Game. Patrice Bergeron, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, and Henrik Lundqvist are competing for the second lineup. They’ve won more than eight Stanley Cup Championships as a slightly worse group. It’s known that Scott Hartnell and Ryan Callahan will be the NHL Analysts that broadcast the events of the game to international viewers. Expect some of the most intense and fast-paced action in NHL history with the All-Decade game.
It will not only be the total goals inflated at this years NHL All-Star Game. The good news is, most do not care about that, a sediment that is shared by the players, and five minutes after the All-Star game comes to a close, most will be forgotten. That said, let us take a look at the salaries within the league and have some fun with it.
This season four teams within the Atlantic Division were able to fall under the salary gap set by the NHL, which is $81.5 million. However, what is important to remember is that only covers the salaries for eleven players and after factoring in a variety of other factors such as missed games or injuries, the Atlantic Division remains one of the largest spenders in the league. The division that spends the least is the Metropolitan Division with its combined roster coming in less than all others, but that will change as new contracts come into play.
One of the highest paid in the league, and rightfully so is Connor McDavid and while the cap is $12.5 million per year, his annual salary surpasses it, and should considering he is the top-ranked player in the world. However, Toronto’s Mitch Marner comes in even higher than McDavid at $15.3 million a season, and that is only the beginning as all in, there are four players in the Nation Hockey League whose combined contracts are worth $318+ thousand, which includes their base salaries and $72+ thousand in bonuses. Keep that in mind when watching the skills competition and remember that those skills, whether it is puck handling, speed drills or whatever, those are guys that are at the top of their game and are paid very handsomely for those skills.
The National Hockey League announced that the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills will take place at 8pm on Friday in St. Louis at the Enterprise Center, the arena where the St. Louis Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup. There are two main events that will be highlights, one will be the Adidas. Elite Women’s 3-on-3 and the others, the Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars
This year’s skills competition will also see the return of four other events; the Bud Light NHL Save Streak, the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, the Enterprise NHL Hardest Shot and the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting. The event will be televised on TVA and CBC in Canada and in the United States, on NBCSN. Each event winner will receive $30,000 for their efforts, and of course, earn bragging rights among their fellow NHL players.
The last time we spoke about the Toronto Maple Leaf’s, they were standing as one of the most formidable teams in the Eastern Division. However, history repeated itself in the new decade, and they’ve fallen into bad behaviours. Even with the assistance of Sheldon Keefe, the Toronto Maple Leaf’s have experienced two back-to-back losses. The 1st was against the Chicago Blackhawks, where the Leaf’s lost 6-2 and mere days later, suffered an 8-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. After this significant loss, Shelden Keefe named his defencemen immature and underperforming.
The head coach for the Toronto Maple Leaf’s, Sheldon Keefe expressed that when you compete against an organization like the Florida Panthers and lose, you know where the team is physical. He noted that reality checks followed after their loss against the panthers, where Keefe unloaded his aggression against the players. He made this public and mentioned that an extreme level of training discipline would follow for greater consistency. It should be noted that the Toronto Maple Leaf’s have lost five of their last six games. After failing to the Florida Panthers, Toronto’s hockey team cannot make the playoff division. This marks another year since 1969 that the Toronto Maple Leaf’s haven’t acquired playoff position.
Boston Bruins Coach Rages
Another organization in the National Hockey League received significant backlash from their head coach. The Boston Bruins lost their 3rd game in the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing by one point at 4-3. This followed after the Bruins maintained a formidable first period, acquiring their three goals immediately. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins returned for vengeance in the second and third period. Jack Johnson and Bryan Rust for the Bruins earned the game-winning goals with several minutes remaining. When the final goal followed, Bruce Cassidy displayed his aggressive on live television. The head coach could easily be seen screaming absurdities towards his fellow players.
Bruce Cassidy has experienced growing frustration in the last several days, with the Bruins having lost to Philadelphia earlier in the week. Bruce didn’t mention anybody’s name in a public forum, but it’s easy to decipher where his angry resided. It was towards McAvoy, who displayed childish-like defence against the Penguins in the last several minutes. The head coach and defencemen spoke with one another privately, with McAvoy admitting his mistakes to reporters after the match had concluded.