The day after Thanksgiving is usually reserved for sleeping in, leftovers, unnecessary spending, and the annual NHL Thanksgiving Showdown. This year unfortunately, basketball and football will have to fill your lazy-day sports void. But don’t get down, your gut will bounce back into shape next week and there’s a hint of positivity from the hockey world.
I have no doubt we’re going to have a season. –NHL Executive to Bruce Garioch, Ottawa Citizen
A January start date is very unlikely, but the league nor its players are giving up on a faceoff a month later. And it’s not just fans waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Garrioch: COVID-19 mutes the usual trade talk by NHL GM’s around American Thanksgiving https://t.co/5RXei0xSgT pic.twitter.com/nxkxjfz09z
— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) November 27, 2020
In Garioch’s latest article, the Ottawa scribe wrote about the silence around the league, especially after last week’s COVID breakout surrounding the Golden Knights and other organizations. Normally, things would be heating up. Early season deals are made, coaches are fired, and fanbases are fully engaged. It’s time to forget what could’ve/should’ve been and deal with reality.
It’s got to make sense… If we’re able to play it’s going to be more about player supply and player development this year than anything else. Without fans in the buildings, it’s certainly not going to be about any meaningful revenue. So yes, we’re going to want to know what the NHL is doing before we finalize what our plan is going to be. -Scott Howson, AHL CEO & President
Everyone around the sport understands the NHL needs to act first before minor leagues can make their decision. A lost season would impact a lot of people, including the players. They lose out on salary, statistics, milestones, but most importantly, a year from their careers. Older guys won’t get that season back. A layoff of a year or more allows extra time for prospects to develop, mature, and steal jobs. In other words, they do not want to skip a season.
It’s understandable why the owners are hesitant to start a season without a packed house of screaming fans. They’re losing money by the day, but owners also understand that a cancelled season could damage them more.
According to several sources, a few owners have suggested to Bettman that the league might be better off financially if it shuts down next season, since playing in empty arenas could be crippling to the bottom line. The NHL is still very much a gate-driven league in comparison to a league like the NFL, which draws most of its revenue from media rights. Bettman responded that the NHL can’t lose a season because it’s too damaging in the long term, as the league has learned before in lockout seasons. –Report by Emily Kaplan & Greg Wyshynski, ESPN
Each side will need to come to an agreement, take their financial lumps, and create some type of a shortened regular season. If it’s a February target, the league will need to decide how the 2020-21 season will play out relatively soon.
The landscape is — there’s a lot of unknowns associated with where we’re going in the immediate future…Hopefully things, with all the positive news associated with vaccines and a hopeful climate that could potentially exist that we get back on track. But we have some ground to cover. -Don Sweeney, Bruins GM to Associated Press
Everything we hear or read from around the league tends to be positive, giving fans reasons to believe that their favorite players will suit up and eventually play a 2020-21 season.
What starts with me is: Let’s get the season started… I’m up for however it looks. Whatever the league and the PA think is the best way to get us back playing, whether it’s with fans, some fans, no fans, TV being (more) relevant, if you will. Whatever it takes to get this season going and get it in place. -David Poile, Predators GM to Associated Press
Normally, when a season doesn’t begin on time it’s due to some bitter work stoppage. Players, GMs, and owners are on opposite sides with little motivation to give in, but this is a unique situation. The comments from various league general managers give a sense that collectively the NHL is placing its product and their fans first.
The league and the players discussed this week and there is something on the table that if we can start on time this is what it’s going to be. It’s going to be a 60 game season, in your own arenas, MLB style schedule like back-to-backs in your own building, and an all-Canadian division. –Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet
It may not seem like it but there is real anticipation around the league. Certain GMs are being vocal now, spreading the word to fans and to the players. Since the players union and league office are ghosting each other a bit, it’s good that Poile, Sweeney, and others are giving us hope with their optimism. I think they speak for most NHL managers out there, and they help represent one side of the coin. Hopefully, things can quickly develop from there.
As fans, positive thinking is all we can do at this point, and pound down another turkey sandwich.
The Noodle King
Players union and league ghosting each other a bit…..?? Serious understatement there. The players are getting the squeeze, AGAIN, and they are f—-ng pissed off. Don’t blame them one bit. I seriously doubt 20-21 season happens.
What would you suggest Noodle King – it seems to me everyone is suffering across the board. No one in business ( make no mistake hockey like all sports is big business) is going to dish out $$$$ just just to satisfy anyone. It is a sad situation all around. I would hope they are working very hard one way or another to bring TV on board as they may be pleasantly surprised just how much of an audience is out there for the advertisers to benefit. With everything not going on, people stuck at home etc . they could find, with some promotion, a means to develop a huge following as there is little doubt it is probably the most exciting spectator sport bar none. It seems substantial strides have been make with the youth hockey and one step can lead to another. Given there are few breaks during a hockey game some adjustments would be necessary to accommodate the advertisers but smart people should be able to figure that out – split screens on occasion etc. No doors should be closed all avenues explored. Whatever is tried is better than what’s happening now. There is going to have to be some give and take all the way around initially to see how it could be worked out. Given promotion got around 150+ million people (dead or alive) to vote I am sure a large percentage of them could be encouraged to watch hockey which is far more exciting and probably more worth while to them personally.
The Noodle King
Millionaires don’t become billionaires by losing money. A billionaire turns 1 million into a 1,000 millions. Several owners already don’ want a season in order to cut their losses. Owners certainly don’t want a January 1 start and full 82 game season if there are no fans in the stands regardless of what the dynamic duo of Daley and Bettman spew. For the league to have thought arenas would be full this season must have been some sort of calculated ploy on their part to get the CBA altered, extended, and signed in order to get last season finished. I don’t blame the players for being pissed. 150+ million voted not because of any “promotion” (or did I miss that offer? I did mail in all 27 ballots I received though…..) but more so because they were pissed off and fed up. If it was just a snap of the fingers to get a large percentage of them encouraged to watch hockey, why hasn’t it been done before with ratings through the roof….? As you state, it is a sad situation all around. I just don’t see a 20-21 season happening.
Guess you did get the pro.otion unless you were sleeping for the last ten months. If you truly believe 150+ million voted (dead or alive) on their own accord you sleeping just delusional . If it wasn’t promotional the last 10 months not sure what your definition of that subject is. We are in agreement concerning the real possibility of no season and the economic consequences – actually all should be pissed as you referenced not just the players. I am sure if you were an owner you would have no interest in loosing money. Surely you don’t believe the govt will help you out. Socialism is not the answer
Again not to bring politics into this, but with Biden becoming President and already saying he would shut the US down again, I seriously doubt next season takes off. I live in NC and our Governor (D) has ready talked about shutting the state down again for 1-2 months. Some cruise lines have already canceled cruises thru March and I think the NHL will follow suit.
Hope your doing OK during these crazy times. Certainly understand your comments – unfortunately probably truer than anyone wants to believe . Living in Vegas these morons here (D) are doing everything they can to turn the city into a dust bowl in the desert rather than being the entertainment capital of the world. Pretty sad state of affairs and the issues they are causing far outweigh the results they hope to achieve whatever they are – not what the media says they are. Where politicians are concerned if their lips are moving what comes out in most cases is lies. It is truly amazing just how gullible people are!!!
Do the players get paid anything for unplayed games? Do owners have to pay anything to players if season cancelled?
I didn’t hear of any players offering a “covid” discount on any free agent signings, nor did I hear of any owners asking for one. Quite the contrary, I see a guy sign with the VGK for 8million per long term.
Maybe I paid more attention, can’t really say for sure, but I noticed they finished the season with no fans in the seats. I also noticed that some pretty smart people were saying covid would be around for awhile. It played a big part in me not participating in the seat selection for the VSK. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one that figured fan attendance might be in question for a season….maybe more. And I hear fan attendance is quite the money maker for all involved….except of course the fan.
I’m not going to cry for billionaire owners any more than I’m going to cry for millionaire players. If they play, they play. If they don’t, they don’t. I’m not out anything.