The NHL and NHLPA have agreed on July 10th as the day in which training camps can open and the league can begin Phase III: The Search for Hockey.
A concise memo was released last night, but don’t get that jersey out of storage just yet. The restart is contingent upon, “medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.”
Pierre Lebrun talked about this “overall agreement on resuming play” at The Athletic and there’s a lot on the table. We’re talking hub cities, safety issues, a CBA extension, escrow concerns, a salary cap, and other items that need to all be worked out before everyone agrees to hit the ice again. (I think we can assume that whole free agent contract starting thing is on the list, too)
However, that training camp start date is still subject to change if talks stall during Phase 3/4 negotiations. And while a source confirmed on Thursday that discussions for an overall agreement have commenced, the talks are still in the early stages. I think it’s safe to say both sides need at least 2-3 weeks to get through the Phase 3/4 protocol agreement — a timeline that also accounts for an NHLPA Executive Board (31 player reps) vote.
It’s important to remember that the players haven’t yet agreed to play again this season; they’ve only agreed to what the format would look like if they indeed decide to play.
Larry Brooks also has a run down of the hurdles facing the league and PA before restarting. Escrow - Brooksie’s favorite topic - is pretty far down on the list so you know there’s way more important stuff ahead of it in the queue.
But there’s a date to look at on the calendar as of now. How long has this layoff been? This long:
The gap between the end of the regular season and the start of training camp on July 10 would be 121 days. For contrast, the Bruins had 92 days between Game 7 and the first day of training camp last September.— Ted Starkey (@TedStarkey) June 11, 2020
- Johnny Boychuk is nearly fully recovered from his (uh, pretty gnarly) eye injury and feels he’s ready to put on his skates again. [Newsday]
- Bridgeport goalie Christopher Gibson was part of the first group of Islanders on the ice this week, and he talked to Arthur Staple about growing a multiracial kid in Finland and the lessons his father taught him.
“Right now, I think it’s great there’s some big names out there — I don’t have a big name right now, but when the big names talk about serious stuff, a lot of people will listen and hopefully bring some change,” he said. “People should be united together. There shouldn’t be any bad vibes against anyone. The more diverse, the better. Hockey is an amazing game that anybody can fall in love with.”
- Staple also had former Islanders goalie Steve Valiquette on the No Sleep Till Belmont podcast to chat about goalie systems, his data tracking company and the ideas that opened his eyes late in his career. There’s also an excerpt of the conversation in Q&A form.
They’re in last place, we’re in first place and I get scored on twice in the first period against a team that, full disclosure, I think I’m too good for them. I’m too good to be playing against them. And that’s not a good thing. Any time you let your guard down because you think you’re better than somebody, you end up taking that bite in the butt. That’s everything in life, isn’t it?
- Newsday’s Island Ice podcast talks about the restart, chats with Brendan Burke and dives deep in the whole Sorokin... thing. [Soundcloud | Newsday]
- Our friends Dan and Noel debuted a new program on YouTube last night called Advanced Scouting, in which they discuss sports topics (and obviously a lot of hockey) alongside actor and fan Michael Vartan, who’s been on Isles Buzz previously.
- An anonymous coach, scout and NHL executive all (barely) pick the Islanders to beat the Panthers in a five-game series thanks to their structure (provided the Islanders found theirs in the last 100-whatever days). Quoth the scout: “I’m going Islanders and the lack of drama.” [The Athletic]
- Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts is A. a full 31 thoughts and B. covers a wide variety of topics including CBA negotiations, diversity in hockey and which extra players teams want to begin the restart with. The Islanders weren’t mentioned, but I think we all know who they want to see here when camps can begin.
- Ted Nolan, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jordin Tootoo and others discuss the prejudice they faced in hockey as Indigenous Canadians, that is also still alive. [The Athletic]
- This has always fascinated me: Two years after moving from Oakland, the Cleveland Barons were dissolved and their roster was absorbed by the Minnesota North Stars in a one-of-a-kind ownership swap. [The Hockey Writers]
- Not hockey: How Keith Hernandez ended up on Seinfeld. Turns out it was a pretty whirlwind event, and scared the shit out of the former MVP. [NY Post]
Now in animated form: the story of the legendary Islanders softball team.