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NHL contingency planning for a resumption of the 2019-2020 season – Pension Plan Puppets

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Thursday’s Insider Trading is awash with news:

After the NHL set up what Gary Bettman called a trial balloon over having the draft in June before a potential resumption of the season, the response hasn’t been all that positive, as reported by Pierre LeBrun. One team, one that doesn’t need to personally care about draft order, is on side, though:

Shanahan was one of many NHL people out speaking to some of these issues on Thursday. There were some players quoted discussing the overall concept of a resumption of play in what looked like a coordinated media blitz.

The idea of resuming the season this summer is something anyone can sit down with a calendar and work out for themselves. I did that Thursday morning, and I didn’t start with the “pie in the sky” timing that Insider Trading reports some team and league sources are considering — a May 15 date (also reported by the New York Post). I started mine a whole month later with the idea that by June 14, players could converge on their “home sites” and beginning either an isolation period of two weeks, or a training camp combined with isolation depending on the rules in place at that time for sizes of gatherings and incoming travellers.

My plan had a full regular season using the NHL’s theorized four divisional locations. That would require a reset of the schedule of who plays whom, but the idea is to get everyone to 82 games played, not necessarily re-create the existing schedule. Of note, LeBrun says the NHL is currently considering 12 cities, and is actively vetting them to pick four locations from.

Once the regular season is done, the playoffs can happen in a revised format in the four locations and my guestimate, depending on format, was the Stanley Cup could be awarded sometime in early September. You can shorten this timeline by playing less regular season games, shorter playoff rounds, or having fewer days off.

The NHL’s concept — which is just that, and not a schedule they know they can pull off — sounds basically what I thought up. The 2020-2021 season would start close to on time, and there is enough days after the Cup is lifted in an empty arena to fit in all the free agency, player trades and RFA business needed.

If it can be done safely, there’s time to do it.

But then what happens?

The word out of Germany today was that the Bundesliga will resume in early May if they get the final go-ahead from the government, but they are preparing to play in empty stadiums for a long time, perhaps into next year. Part of their motivation to play, even if they have to have no ticket sales, is that they have clubs facing insolvency. For a TV event like German football or the NHL, there is a financial motive to play if it’s safe. For ticket-driven leagues, the picture is more bleak.

As Bob McKenzie outlines, the CHL is considering a host of options, and has planned to have the Memorial Cup next year in June to allow for the OHL, WHL and QMJHL to start late, possibly as late as January. There is no bankroll to keep those teams going without ticket sales, and it’s not like they can cut player salaries to save money. Even for leagues where some teams have owners with deep pockets (the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, for example) the league as a whole hasn’t got enough money behind it to successfully play to empty rinks long term.

Approximately half of the AHL teams are independently owned, or owned in a partnership with NHL affiliates. While NHL teams want their prospects to play, the only way the NHL could go on if tickets can’t be sold is if the NHL collectively pays for it. They might. They could do it simply because most of the players are getting paid on NHL contracts anyway, so they might as well, but what about the ECHL? The NHL doesn’t need them, and the affiliated teams are not owned by the NHL teams. Most ECHL teams run on a budget that could see them insolvent as soon as the seasons tickets for next year don’t go on sale in a few weeks.

The professional minor-league sports model in North America is about to face a huge test, and some teams and entire leagues might not make it out the other side. Even the NHL and the wealthiest teams can’t float along forever with no revenue, and not all NHL teams are floating now. A TV-only NHL is … well it’s like living on EI instead of your old salary. It beats the alternative, but it sure puts a crimp in your spending.

No one knows when the fans will return to sports stadiums. No one knows when the athletes will return to play to empty seats, but the NHL is trying very hard to be ready the second it becomes possible to try to resume the season. A lot of livelihoods depend on it, and a lot of lives depend on it being safe. What matters is that every member of the janitorial staff right up to Connor McDavid are all safe, paid and happy to do their jobs. If that can happen, then the show will go on on a date to be named later.

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Dykstra's libel suit dismissed: Reputation 'so tarnished that it cannot be further injured' – theScore

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Lenny Dykstra’s defamation and libel lawsuit against former New York Mets teammate Ron Darling was dismissed Friday by New York Supreme Court Judge Robert D. Kalish, according to ESPN.

Dykstra’s “reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured,” the ruling stated.

The lawsuit stemmed from Darling’s 2019 memoir, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” In the book, Darling wrote that Dykstra directed racist taunts toward Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during the 1986 World Series.

Darling petitioned to have the lawsuit dismissed by citing Dykstra’s past legal problems as well as comments made in Dykstra’s autobiography, “House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge.” Judge Kalish cited these documents as a contributing factor to the dismissal.

“Based on the papers submitted on this motion, prior to the publication of the book, Dykstra was infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug abuser, a thief, and an embezzler. Further, Dykstra had a reputation – largely due to his autobiography – of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires,” Kalish wrote.

The 57-year-old Dykstra played 12 major-league seasons between the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He’s made headlines in his post-playing career for various legal issues, including a 2018 arrest for drug possession and uttering terroristic threats. He served six-and-a-half months in prison after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and money laundering in 2012.

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Dana White: Jon Jones Has Made Enough Money from Fighting to Retire – Sherdog.com

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Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC live on
your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the
ESPN app.

If Jon Jones
wants to relinquish the light heavyweight title and walk away from
the sport, that’s his decision, according to Dana White.

The UFC president issued a brief statement to the
Canadian Press
on Monday after Jones tweeted that he planned on
vacating the 205-pound belt. Jones’ threat was the latest salvo in
a
public dispute
regarding negotiations for a potential
superfight with heavyweight Francis
Ngannou
.

Jon
Jones
is one of the greatest to ever do it,” White said. “The
decision he wants to make regarding his career is up to him. The
reality is that he’s made enough money from fighting that he’s now
in the position to retire and never work again in his life.”

White’s statement bears some resemblance to
remarks he made
about Conor
McGregor
after the Irish star earned in the neighborhood of
$100 million to box Floyd
Mayweather
in August 2017.

Money appears to be at the root of the issues between Jones and
White. The UFC boss claimed that “Bones” demanded a Deontay
Wilder
payday — around $25 to $30 million — to fight Ngannou.
Jones responded that he never provided a specific number, only that
he wanted a new deal for the added risk of moving up in weight.
Things have only escalated since then, as Jones wasn’t pleased with
White’s remarks at the UFC on ESPN 9 post-fight press conference
Saturday.

Jones’ attention has been elsewhere more recently. He took to the
streets to
stop vandalism
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, early Monday morning
during the George Floyd protests in the city and then assisted
local businesses
with clean-up and repairs during the day.

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Report: Players agree to MLB's radical realignment proposal – theScore

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Major League Baseball’s owners and players are locked in combative negotiations, but it appears they’re on the same page regarding temporary realignment.

As part of its counteroffer to the league, the players’ union agreed to MLB’s proposal to abandon the traditional American and National Leagues this year in favor of a regionalized three-division format, sources told Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe.

Under the plan, the AL East and NL East would merge into one 10-team division, with each league’s Central and West divisions doing the same, Silverman reports. Clubs would only play against their nine divisional opponents during the regular season in order to cut down on travel.

EastCentralWest
YankeesIndiansAthletics
OriolesRoyalsMariners
RaysTwinsAngels
Red SoxWhite SoxAstros
Blue JaysTigersRangers
BravesBrewersDodgers
NationalsRedsGiants
MarlinsCardinalsRockies
MetsCubsD-Backs
PhilliesPiratesPadres

All games would be played in each team’s regular home ballpark without fans in attendance. It’s unclear what the Toronto Blue Jays would do if Canada’s COVID-19 border restrictions are still intact when the season starts.

It’s also unclear what a playoff format in the realigned league could look like.

The length of the 2020 season remains in question as MLB and the union continue to negotiate. The players’ latest proposal called for prorated salaries over a 114-game season starting June 30 and ending Oct. 31 while including room for doubleheaders, Silverman reports. Owners, who had initially proposed an 82-game campaign, reportedly plan to counter with a shorter schedule of around 50 games along with prorated salaries.

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