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Lightning Round: Two Hub Cities in the West?

Reporters are certain at least one set of teams will be in Canada.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Vancouver Canucks
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Vancouver Canucks
Credit: Getty

Is this the week we finally nail down some information on when and where the NHL Playoffs are going to be?

Maybe?

Over the weekend, we learned that the Canadian Government is allowing teams to come to Canada and play games, giving them an exemption to quarantine and other travel restrictions. This quickly allowed a couple names to pop up as potential Hubs for the NHL to run their playoffs. Vancouver and Toronto.

A lot of reporters corroborated this story, saying they would all be surprised if a Canadian city wasn’t picked, and Vancouver was the most advertised choice among their speculation.

In terms of a potential second Canadian city hosting the event, it looks like Edmonton is not in the running, according to a local media member.

I don’t have much faith in Vegas remaining a hub for teams, especially considering their recent spike in cases as they’ve opened. According to local reports, people are not following social distancing guidelines and keeping safe the way they should. It doesn’t look safe. That leads me to believe Toronto is a real option due to their amenities (close location between hotels, food, and arena).

I shared a tweet thread that contains COVID-19 case data for each states with NHL teams in them in order to show which areas will be safe for hubs, but also just for training camps.

I have lots of questions as to how teams — reportedly including the Tampa Bay Lightning — are going to have a training camp if they can’t open their training facility without an outbreak. Arizona is another team that likely had to close their facility after 11 cases in one day. St. Louis, Vegas, Carolina, Nashville, and Dallas are all teams in states with rising cases that look like Arizona and Florida as of Friday.

In terms of timelines, here’s what the Insiders think. A lot needs to happen in the next two weeks as deadlines loom and hard plans need to be made with the hub cities.

In terms of what the players think, some aren’t so hot on this idea. At all. The following quote comes from a star player in the Western Conference. The NHLPA has not actually had any member vote, only executive committee meetings and votes (one player from each franchise). I wonder what the Lightning are thinking after last week, too. They voted against the NHL’s plans in the PA executive committee votes.

In other sports, MLB had 40 positive tests in one week as they still negotiate the playing of games. Toronto had to close their Dunedin training facility and move back to Toronto for training camp. Unless they move in with the Rays, that is.

And in some local Tampa Bay news, check out the front page of the Sports section at the Tampa Bay Times.