Both the NBA and the NHL managed to pull of a playoff season and crowned champions earlier this year. It was difficult, but they managed to do it. Now, the harder part comes as both leagues try to put together a regular season amidst the rigors and regulations of a world still well in the grips of COVID-19. One of the main hurdles they are facing is crossing the US/Canadian border. The NHL seems to be leaning to an all-Canadian division as a solution. With only one team residing north of the border that option is not available to the NBA, so it looks like they might have to relocate their lone Canadian-based team - the Toronto Raptors. One of the possibilities - Tampa.
It would make sense from a logistical standpoint due to the world class facilities at Amalie Arena and the proximity of hotels in the area. The NBA has set guidelines for fans attending games as long as the local governments allow it. As of right now Florida guidelines would allow for fans to be in the building. The NBA would like that. Jeff Vinik would like whatever rent payments the league would make to use the arena.
For the Lightning it would add a bit of a logistical issue. The main issue would come from scheduling if Tampa is chosen as a hub city that would see multiple hockey teams in the city at the same time.
If the NHL moves forward with the hub city concept, there would be games played every day for seven to ten days in one area at a time a few times throughout the season. The NBA hasn’t set a schedule yet, but hub cities don’t seem to be on their agenda - that would mean long road trips for the Raptors.
This is just one minor detail that the NHL has to iron out before the players return to the ice. Issues such as safety protocols, pay, roster size, call-ups, travel, accommodations, revenue splits, and a host of other logistical issues we haven’t even thought about have to be resolved. The NHL reiterated that a January 1st start date is feasible. If that’s the case, training camp would be opening in a month or so. Time is ticking.
On Thursday, both the NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA Executive Boards held meetings to update everyone on the current situation. Nothing concrete came out of the meetings, but it’s most likely the start of a bunch of meetings that will eventually shape what a 2020-21 NHL season will look like.
Still, it would be cool to have professional basketball in Tampa.
Maxim Groshev seems to like his new team. After being traded from Neftekhimik to SKA St. Petersburg earlier this fall, it was announced on Thursday that he signed a contract extension through the 2022-23 season.
What does that mean for the forward’s future with the Bolts? Well, don’t expect him to be looking for a condo in Tampa anytime soon. There is no formal transfer agreement between the two leagues, and for the most part the NHL honors KHL contracts. So it’s unlikely he’ll come to North American anytime soon. Does it hurt his development? Not really. Another two seasons playing against top level competition in Russia will be good for him. He would still be in his early 20’s when the contract is over and primed to come over and play in the AHL or NHL.
Another prospect who is probably another couple of years away is Quinn Schmiemann. He was #25 on our list of top 25 players under the age of 25. [Raw Charge]
There probably won’t be much more player movement until some concrete decisions are made on what next season will look like. Does that mean we can’t talk about trades? Of course not, so how about an article about why Tyler Johnson to Detroit makes sense? [The Hockey Writers]
It looks like another collegiate hockey league is calling an end to their season before it gets going. The Ivy League has cancelled all of it’s winter sports (that includes hockey) and postponed the start of spring sports until the end of February. That doesn’t really affect the Lightning since their lone prospect in the league, Alex Green of Cornell, signed his professional contract earlier this year. [The Boston Globe]
The NHL and Adidas continue to tease the Reverse Retro jerseys.
The Capitals also announced the first female coach in their organization’s history. Emily Engel-Natzke was hired as the Hershey Bear’s video coach after their current one was promoted. Her previous position was at the University of Wisconsin where she served as the assistant director of operations/video coordinator for both the women’s and men’s hockey programs. [The Washington Post]
Wear your mask.
Wash your hands.
Have a good day.