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Lightning Round: NHL still planning on having a 82-game season

NBA is planning to return in December

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Commissioner Gary Bettman Press Conference Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The speculations regarding the potential start of the 2020-21 season are still circulating the hockey world. As it was announced before, officially the league is targeting January 1 as a potential start date, however details about the format of the new season are still not known.

Another speculation that appeared during recent weeks is that the Stanley Cup should be awarded before the start of the the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Given that the NHL and the Olympics share the same broadcast partner in NBC Network, it could complicate the broadcasting schedule for the league.

The Olympics, which were already postponed in 2020, are scheduled from July 23 till August 8. If the 2020-21 season started in January, and went the full 82 games, the NHL most likely wouldn’t be able to award the Stanley Cup before the start of the Olympics.

However, as the NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated in his interview to ESPN last week denied this rumour, saying that there’s still some flexibility.

“I think there is some flexibility if we were to choose that route,” Daly said. “There’s a lot left to be played out on the Olympics front, too. So I would just throw that in — we clearly have models that extend past the Olympic time period. Those are alternatives that are on the table. I can’t tell you they’re the ones that are necessarily going to be pursued, but I think there’s some flexibility there.”

Meanwhile the NBA is aiming to start the new season late in December and the MLB is still hoping to host the new season in a normal schedule.

Around the League

The post-election day wasn’t very eventful in a hockey world, although there’s still couple of news.

The Euro Hockey Tour is starting today in Finland. The Russian side is bringing what appears to be their full U20 squad to prepare for the upcoming World Juniors. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Maxim Groshev is on the team. The first game against Finland is scheduled for 11:30 AM ET.

The New York Islanders re-signed defenceman Ryan Pulock to a two-year deal, worth $5M AAV.

The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Dustin Tokarski to a two-year deal. Tokarski appeared in seven regular season games for the Lightning during the 2009-10 and 2011-12 games.

The Ottawa Senators signed a defenceman Christian Jaros to a one-year, two-way deal