The NTT IndyCar Series’ new-look calendar has taken most of the pre-coronavirus schedule, thrown it into a bag, and shaken it to the point of being barely recognizable.
Some dates are still gone, others have moved weeks or months, and with the uncertainty of COVID-19’s impact on the sport as it spreads from coast to coast, be prepared for more calendar shifts.
May 30-31: Detroit Grand Pix doubleheader. Unchanged.
June 6: Texas Motor Speedway. Unchanged, but now the first oval on the schedule
June 21: Road America. Unchanged.
June 27: Richmond. Unchanged.
July 4: Indianapolis Grand Prix. Changed.
Moved from May 9. Combined event with NASCAR. Like the original Indy GP date, the new July 4 event falls on a Saturday where IndyCar will race on the IMS road course prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series making its debut on the same circuit.
July 12: Toronto. Unchanged.
July 18: Iowa. Unchanged.
Remains a Saturday night race.
August 9: Mid-Ohio. Changed.
Moved from August 16 to accommodate practice and qualifying for the Indy 500.
August 12-13: Indy 500 practice. Changed.
Moved from Tuesday May 12 through Thursday May 14, and cut from three days to two. Practice now starts on a Wednesday.
August 14: Indy 500 ‘Fast Friday.’ Changed.
Moved from May 15 where all teams will receive increased turbocharger boost to prepare for qualifying where it will be used.
August 15-16: Indy 500 qualifying. Changed.
Moved from May 16-17. No alterations to the format.
August 21: Indy 500 Carb Day. Changed.
Moved from May 22. Expanded Pit Stop competition, Freedom 100 Indy Lights race.
August 22: Indy 500 Legends Day. Changed.
Moved from May 23. Public drivers meeting, autograph session.
August 23: Indy 500. Changed.
Moved from May 24.
August 30: Gateway. Changed.
Moved from August 22, and shifts from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.
September 13: Portland. Changed.
Moved from September 6 to provide a break for teams competing on four consecutive weekends from Mid-Ohio through Gateway. New Portland date clashes with the new 24 Hours of Le Mans scrutineering weekend where one or more IndyCar drivers and commentators will need to choose one or the other.
September 20: Monterey. Unchanged.
The weekend also serves as the new 24 Hours of Le Mans race date, which could lead some drivers and commentators to miss Portland and Monterey if they opt for the French endurance event.
TBD: St. Petersburg.
As expected, at least one of the first four races that were cancelled were likely to look for a new date once IndyCar published its amended calendar.
According to Green Savoree Race Promotions, the goal is to place St. Petersburg, originally set to open the championship on March 15, as the series’ new season finale: “This shift to a later date is in support of the NTT IndyCar Series’ efforts to run as many of its points championship races as possible in 2020 and would be expected to serve as the season finale round.”
It’s unclear whether Monterey, which has promoted its event as the championship finale, would be amenable to the curtain closer shifting to another venue.
Separately, RACER has also confirmed April’s Indy Open Test and June’s Richmond Open Test will not be rescheduled.
Could North Dakota be an NHL location if 2019-20 season resumes? – Sportsnet.ca
Let’s preface this with the fact that, at this time, we’re all just guessing at return-to-play timelines — but the NHL and NHLPA are beginning to spitball scenarios as to where remaining 2019-20 regular-season/playoff games could be held.
One location that’s been mentioned: North Dakota.
Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense. Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States.
Obviously, nothing is imminent. Hotel availability in Grand Forks would be a challenge. We also don’t know about travel scenarios, necessary logistics, or if the state itself would be willing to host such an event. But the area makes sense because of the arena, the likelihood of games being played without fans and North Dakota’s relatively low population density (only Montana, Wyoming and Alaska have fewer people per square mile).
It is expected that the NHL and NHLPA will discuss other locales this week. It’s never wrong to explore your options, regardless of what eventually happens.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported Friday that the NBA was considering putting all of its playoff games in Las Vegas. The Mirror reported Sunday there is a “tentative agreement” for the Premier League to return in June, with games played behind closed doors.
The league and players must agree on any return-to-play scenarios. The players are very concerned about the potential of 35 per cent escrow on future paycheques, and whether or not the NHL will consider allowing that to be paid over multiple years. (CBA discussions are believed to be taking place.)
Now, however, there is nothing but time to work on these issues.
Rookie Watch: Rangers' Fox best in Metropolitan Division – NHL.com
The play of several high-profile rookies, including forwards Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils and Kaapo Kakko of the New York Rangers, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks of the 2019 NHL Draft, respectively, is one of the major storylines of the 2019-20 season. Each Monday, NHL.com will examine topics related to this season’s class in the Rookie Watch.
With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, we continue our look at the top NHL rookies in each division. This week, the top six in the Metropolitan Division (player ranking on Dec. 3 in parentheses after team):
1. Adam Fox, D, New York Rangers (2): He’s third among rookie defensemen with 42 points (eight goals, 34 assists), first with 57 takeaways and plus-22 and tied for third with 92 blocked shots while averaging 18:54 in ice time in 70 games. Fox needs three more takeaways to pass John Carlson (60 in 2010-11) of the Washington Capitals for most in a season by an NHL rookie defenseman since the League began tracking the statistic in 2005-06. The 22-year-old ranks sixth in Rangers history in points by rookie defensemen behind Brian Leetch (85), Reijo Ruotsalainen (56), Ron Greschner (45), James Patrick (44) and Mike McEwen (43).
“I knew his strengths were going to be able to be influential at this level,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “I didn’t know to what degree, but I knew he was going to be a good player at this level, he was going to be a smart player who was going to generate some offense and get us out of our end. When you watched him in college you just knew this kid had that special ability that was going to translate.”
2. Martin Necas, F, Carolina Hurricanes (4): The 21-year-old right-handed shot leads Metropolitan Division rookies with 16 goals and 11 even-strength goals in 64 games. Necas ranks seventh among all rookies with 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) while averaging 14:10 in ice time. The Hurricanes control 51.9 of all shots attempted at even strength with Necas on the ice, first among rookie forwards in the division with at least 10 games played.
“I know when I first came over here at 16 (from Russia) it was so hard for me,” Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov said. “The game was so much faster and more physical. I think last year helped him so much to get ready for the NHL. As far as his skill, he’s so fast. When he gets the puck, you expect he’s going to do something good with it and have a good moment.”
3. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Columbus Blue Jackets (NR): The 25-year-old is tied for second among goalies with five shutouts (Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights; Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins). He’s a big reason the Blue Jackets are tied with the Hurricanes for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Merzlikins is 13-9-8 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 33 games.
“Merzlikins played a lot of games by the way of the injury to Joonas Korpisalo and was lightning in a bottle for them on a team that is still in contention,” NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said. “Especially considering the fact that Korpisalo was selected to the All-Star Game this year (but didn’t play because of injury). Merzlikins has taken the League by storm.”
4. John Marino, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (5): Marino ranks third among division rookies with 26 points (six goals, 20 assists), 77 blocked shots and 37 takeaways while averaging 20:15 in ice time in 56 games. The 22-year-old had seven points (one goal, six assists) in a six-game point streak (Nov. 16-27), the longest among rookies this season.
“Marino (6-foot-1, 181 pounds) is big and strong, he can really skate, defends well, has a good stick, and he is brave,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s willing to take hits to make plays. He can hang onto the puck, take a hit and make a subtle pass, a four-foot pass that helps us get out of our end clean with possession.”
5. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, New Jersey Devils (NR): Blackwood leads rookie goalies in wins (22), starts (43), saves (1,328) and shots against (1,452). He is 22-14-8 with a 2.77 GAA, .915 save percentage and three shutouts in 47 games. The 23-year-old was 8-2-2 with a 2.28 GAA and .936 save percentage in his past 12 games prior to the NHL pause March 12.
6. Jack Hughes, F, New Jersey Devils (1): The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Hughes ranks first among division forwards in shots on goal (123) and average ice time (15:52) and is third among division rookies with four power-play goals. The 18-year-old, who has been asked to do a lot in his first NHL season in a top-six role, has drawn 16 penalties and ranks second among division rookies with 42 takeaways.
Head to Head comparison
Hughes and Kakko each have spent much of the season learning what it takes to experience NHL success and though it may have taken longer than many have expected, there’s no doubt the future looks bright for each player. The Devils (average age, 25.7) and Rangers (average age, 26.0) are the two youngest teams in the NHL.
Kaapo Kakko, F, New York Rangers
Shots on goal: 109
Average ice time: 14:16
Telling stat: Tied with Fox for fifth among rookies with 13 power-play points.
Jack Hughes, F, New Jersey Devils
Shots on goal: 123
Average ice time: 15:52
Telling stat: Ranks fourth among NHL rookies in face-offs taken (462) and sixth in face-off wins (167), leading all first-year players with 38 wins on the power play.
Morreale’s Calder Trophy frontrunners
1. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche: Leads rookies in points per game (0.88) with at least five games played, and all rookie defensemen in goals (12), power-play goals (four) and even-strength goals (eight).
2. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks: First among rookies with 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) and 25 power-play points (three goals, 22 assists) in 68 games.
3. Dominik Kubalik, F, Chicago Blackhawks: First among rookies with 30 goals, 38 even-strength points and 157 shots on goal and third with 46 points in 68 games.
Short Shifts Greiss offers food, supplies to people affected by coronavirus – NHL.com
Thomas Greiss wants to do whatever he can to help people affected by the coronavirus.
The New York Islanders goalie offered to share food, order supplies or help anyone suffering during the pandemic in a post on Instagram on Saturday.
“Please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach or worry about doing without,” Greiss said in the post. “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Just send me a private message. We might not have it, but (we) will be more than happy to share whatever food or supplies we have.”
Greiss’ good deed came after fellow Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov led his teammates in donating 3,000 N95 masks to Northwell Health system on Long Island that were delivered Thursday
“We are all in this together,” Greiss continued in the post. “Be kind to one another. This is temporary and [we’ll] get through this together.”
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Could North Dakota be an NHL location if 2019-20 season resumes? – Sportsnet.ca
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