Flames GM Suggests News About NHL Restart Coming Next Week
Flames GM Brad Treliving "expects news next week from the NHL regarding a restart scenario," but the ability for players to cross the U.S.-Canada border is a "big source of concern," according to Kristen Anderson of the CALGARY HERALD. Treliving said, "We monitor that daily and that’s something that the league takes into consideration. ... If you want to start on this date, you've gotta cover off so many things before you can get to that date. Right now, No. 1 is the ability to get into the country and access the borders. No. 2 is a quarantine period if you do get through. The league is trying to factor that in when they build their timelines. There is also discussion going on with both federal governments of a plan in place." He noted that "nothing has been set in stone" about the league's return from the Return to Play Committee, which is made up of Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr and other league execs and players. Anderson noted with cities in both countries "easing restrictions, there have been more realistic ideas of how players would soon be able to return to training facilities" to practice in small groups while adhering to local measures." Treliving: "My feeling is there is gaining momentum on a plan" (CALGARY HERALD, 5/15).
MEETINGS, BUT NO SOLUTIONS: TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported the Return to Play Committee met twice this week, though that is "not to say we're anywhere close to a big announcement." It is "very difficult for both sides to come together on a solution that makes sense." The idea of a 24-team postseason is "not for everyone," with teams falling on different sides depending on where they sit in the standings. TSN's Darren Dreger noted players outside of those on the committee are speaking up about finances, as some "want the economics determined now." Dreger said, "Some players want certainty that the escrow percentage that's attached to next year moving forward in the repair work financially is a workable percentage before puck drop and resumption of the 2019-2020 season." However, there is "no indication" that the two issues will be tied together. Despite that, there is an "appreciation by all that coming back is crucially important to that repair job both this season and the health of the sport moving forward" ("Insider Trading," TSN, 5/14).
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: In Toronto, Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs RW Mitch Marner is "more worried about the health of his fellow players than he is about playing through the COVID-19 pandemic." Marner was "caught on video during group play of a video game online," saying, "I'm all down for starting everything up, let's rock. But what if someone gets sick and dies? What happens? It's awful to think about" (TORONTO STAR, 5/15). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote Marner's comments bring up the point that players are "going to have to trust that the NHL and the NHL Players' Association ... are looking out for their best interests." Campbell: "Has the league historically done that when it comes to head trauma? A good number of former players would argue it has not. That's why the players are going to have to think long and hard before returning to play" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 5/14).