Happy Birthday, America. The NHL is just about officially back, but Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet detailed the complex financial negotiations currently underway. The St. Louis Blues became the second team to formally close their practice facility after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19, and there is a silver, er, gold lining to the NHL season pause. The owners needed to repay the players, and some Pittsburgh Penguins will benefit. Plus, we have a brewing bombshell for the NHL trade rumors crowd.
My spidey sense says under normal circumstances, the NHLPA would have pushed for the Olympics, but the owners would have won because the players didn’t have enough leverage. The season pause and the players’ willingness to return gave them the advantage to gain Olympic participation in 2022.
You know what that means … Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin get one more chance for gold (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now is one of the most connected writers I’ve ever met. He downplayed the story with a soft headline, but he spoke with multiple NHL GMs and more scouts. If you think the media is waiting for Eichel to ask out of Buffalo … so are hockey people. And it is going to be a frenzy (Boston Hockey Now)
This one will stir a few NHL trade rumors, eh?
OK, grab your coffee and roll through the financials of the NHL return. Realize, the players are giving up a ton of money and imagine how much worse it will / would be without the return to play (Sportsnet)
The St. Louis Blues closed their facilities on Friday after multiple players tested positive (The Athletic)
There are no reports of severe effects, which is a continuing trend. There have been 15 NHL players test positive since the beginning of Phase 2, but thus far, no reported illnesses.
And, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t the only ones getting healthy before the NHL return. Nine other stars are going to be back on the ice later this month when Phase 4 begins (Sportsnet)