In further evidence of hell freezing over, the Stanley Cup Final will likely be held in Edmonton according to a report yesterday from Bob McKenzie.
With Edmonton and Toronto being chosen as the two NHL Hub cities, the question most often asked now is, which of the two will play host to the Stanley Cup final and Conference finals?— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 2, 2020
The answer, apparently, is Edmonton.
Uncle Bob later walked this back later in the day just slightly saying that the decision isn’t final so I would interpret this as, unless something major changes between now and the end of September, expect Edmonton to host the Cup Final.
This is quite a change from a week ago when it looked like Edmonton might not even be one of the hub cities. But the US’ continued failure to deal with the spread of COVID-19 led to the NHL putting both hub cities in Canada and that has apparently led to the likelihood of the Cup being awarded in Edmonton.
We didn’t get much certainty on any of the many other issues that remain to be resolved. It still seems as though the league and the Players Association are close to arriving at a deal on a new CBA that will include the rest of the Return to Play plan.
McKenzie reported that the deal could be announced as soon as yesterday but that didn’t happen so now we’ll see if it gets done today. Once an agreement is reached by the two negotiating parties, it will go to the Players Association for a full vote where a simple majority is needed to pass. That process typically takes a few days. Assuming that vote begins either today or on Monday, Phase 3 could begin as soon as Monday, July 13th.
So once again, we’ll await news of that agreement today as nothing more can happen before that.
Other News and Notes
The Athletic did another round of mock expansion drafts this week. In this latest version, the Lightning lost Alex Volkov to Seattle. The mocks at The Athletic always assume the teams don’t make any trades, which makes the exercise more theoretical than an actual prediction for the Lightning. Given their situation, it seems likely they will make some sort of trade just like they did with Vegas to ensure that they don’t lose a player they’d like to keep.
Stamkos, Kucherov and Hedman all have no-move protection, while Point and Cirelli are their two top young forwards and staying put. Coleman is UFA in 2021. Johnson has geographic ties to the Pacific Northwest but there’s not much that separates him from Killorn, Palat or Gourde. All are signed until 2022 or beyond for salaries that range from Killorn’s $4.4 million to Palat’s $5.3 million. So, this becomes a guessing game and may hinge on intangible factors. Of that group, Killorn was having the best season. But Volkov and Joseph are younger and cheaper options. We’ll go with youth here.
The pick: Alexander Volkov.
Carolina Hurricanes’ broadcaster John Forslund is a free agent after not reaching an agreement to continue in Carolina before his contract expired yesterday. Forslund moved with the team from Hartford and is one of the most recognized play by play people in the business. The Canes continue to do things differently under owner Tom Dundon, this time refusing to offer salaried positions to their broadcasters and instead making them independent contractors.
Multiple sources said the Hurricanes have been unwilling to budge with the terms they are offering – terms that broadcasting professionals have called “unconventional” at best and “unprecedented” at worst.
The team is saying the stingy contract offers are due to COVID-19 but forgive me if I show some skepticism that the team wouldn’t have done the same thing under normal circumstances and is just using that as cover. We’re talking about an owner who made his fortune in subprime auto loans so I think it’s fair to take his framing of any issue with grains of salt the size of beach balls.
In much better, news Oskar Lindblom reached the end of his radiation treatments for Ewing’s sarcoma. That means it was time for him to ring the bell, and ring it he did.
And finally, in a small bit of site business, I have stepped back from the Site Manager role and Justin will be taking over. I have enjoyed doing my best to keep things on track over the last couple years after Acha moved on. But for a variety of reasons, now is the right time for me to hand over the day to day oversight to someone else.
I’ll still hang around but will be writing much less frequently. I appreciate all of you for putting up with me and my sometimes unorthodox perspectives on the game. I’m excited for Justin to get started. He has an incredible knowledge of the team history, much greater than mine, which I think will give the site a different flavor.
Raw Charge remains and will always be a fan blog. So changes in who is bearing the bulk of the responsibility for running it are healthy. It ensures that the blog doesn’t become one person’s personal platform and instead remains a place where the voice constantly changes and represents everyone in the fanbase as best we can.
In keeping with that, we always encourage you to participate in the comments, in fanposts, and as writers if you’re interested in that. This is an open forum for Lightning fans and as staff, our job is to maintain that forum and openness for all who want to get involved.
I’m certain Justin is going to do an incredible job and really, you’ll hardly notice the difference most days aside from maybe a few less charts.