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Lightning Round: NHL hockey in North Dakota?

Is the NHL going to SuperBowl the playoffs?

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Quinnipiac vs North Dakota
Apr 9, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; North Dakota Fighting Hawks goalie Cam Johnson (33) celebrates after beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the championship game of the 2016 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Amalie Arena. North Dakota defeated Quinnipiac 5-1.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A report by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet that came out late last night indicates that the NHL and NHLPA are discussing possible third party locations to host the 2020 Playoffs. North Dakota has been the first location named so far.

Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense. Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s University of North Dakota, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States. - Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

None of this is beyond the spitballing stage, and I request everyone to take the grain of salt Elliotte put in his article seriously.

The idea of hosting the NHL Playoffs at a neutral, lightly-populated area is enticing, especially if the goal is to provide some closure (and possibly revenue) to the season. The NHL is going to be taking a massive loss this season, no doubt about it. Being able to recoup some of that money in a timely manner with TV revenue and whatever inclusion of ticket sales are allowed is a smart move, especially if it reduces the cost of hosting a game if only one venue has to spend it.

But that’s when the problems arise.

  1. What happens to the arena workers that would not see games (and therefore working hours) returned to their building until next October? There are still a number of teams who have hemmed and hawed about supporting their front-line staff.
  2. How is the NHL going to prevent fans to travel to the neutral site to watch the games? Are they even going to stop them at all? It would be a massive health risk for the host city.
  3. And before even thinking about spectators, will it be safe to commute some 400 players plus as many staff to the host venue? Without a vaccine, it’s hard to assume a major contact sport such as hockey could restart without another bump in cases among the community.
  4. “Hotel availability in Grand Forks would be a challenge,” according to Friedman.

The NBA is also thinking of a single location to complete the playoffs, their first consideration was Las Vegas, Nevada.

At the moment, the league is in a position where they are updating what they can do to restart their league as information is provided on a daily basis. The plan today might not be the plan tomorrow. Spitballing is a good practice for creative solutions. My takeaway from this particular thought experiment is that getting sports back is going to be damn hard and it’s going to take a lot of creativity. I really hope those in charge succeed.

Lightning Links

“Just chaos in front of Bernier,” as the Tampa Ba-e Lightning beat the D-e-troit Red Wings in what would’ve been the last game of the regular season. Pla-e-offs begin this week.

2020 NHL Draft prospect Egor Sokolov is in Sydney, Nova Scotia, delivering groceries to his adopted neighbours with his billet family. The 19-year-old winger who scored 92 points in 52 games plays for the Cape Breton Eagles (used to be known as the Screaming Eagles which was a much better name) of the QMJHL and is originally from Yekaterinburg, Russia.

“[Ashley] knows families with little kids who have immune system problems, so she made the page on Facebook, takes the orders and collects the money, packages the orders each morning and then I deliver them in the afternoon,” Sokolov said. “I do a workout when I get up in the morning, then go to the store in the afternoon and deliver everything.” - NHL dot com

Brother of old friend Vladislav Namestnikov was drafted into the OHL last weekend! He was taken by the Sarnia Sting, but is expected to not join them and eventually go to Michigan State of the NCAA instead. But still, Caitlin has a nice scouting report for the 2022 pick.

That’s a weird dream, Joe, but oddly enough, the next tweet below yours in this article includes our first trade rumor of the pause?

Dylan Strome, soon to be 24, is currently with Chicago after coming to them from the Arizona Coyotes. He scored 12 goals in 58 games for the team and has had middling to bad advanced numbers. Weird timing for a rumor like this.

Non-hockey (but kinda) related joke of the day, have you met Brad Marchand?