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NHL provides update on the 2019-20 season – Oilers Nation

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This morning, the NHL provided an update on the state of the suspended 2019-20 season through a quick Q&A and I wanted to look at a few of the answers provided in the short release.

Despite the videos from players like Connor McDavid, Matt Benning, and Caleb Jones, a lot of folks are wondering what’s going on with NHL players and whether or not they’re being asked to stay at home by the league. As expected, the NHL confirmed that players have been asked to stay in quarantine.

Are NHL Players currently under direction to quarantine?

Yes. The self-quarantine period should continue through and including Friday, March 27, unless a longer period might be required for some Players in accordance with local mandates that could be related to their recent travel.

In regards to players testing positive for COVID-19, the NHL provided an update that there are currently two known cases among the players and both of those happened in Ottawa. (The Senators announced this on Saturday)

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Have any NHL Players tested positive for the coronavirus?

We are aware of two NHL players testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Ottawa Senators Players, who tested positive, presented only mild symptoms and are currently in isolation.

Frankly, with the way this thing spreads and moves around, it seemed like only a matter of time before an NHLer would contract the virus and I commend the Senators for letting everybody know while also respecting the players’ privacy. Personally, I don’t care that they didn’t release the names but more so that they’re being upfront with their fans. Regardless of who these guys are, all we can hope is that they make a speedy recovery and remain locked down until the illness passes over.

Once the self-quarantine period for players is over, will they be allowed to resume meeting/skating as a team to stay in shape and prepare themselves for a resumption of play?

At the end of the self-quarantine period — and depending on developments regarding COVID-19 between now and then — consideration will be given to allowing the opening of Club facilities to Players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and Club care.

Even if the players are able to come back and start training again, I know a lot of people are wondering what will happen under those circumstances and what the league will be doing to keep guys safe. So will testing take place before a player is allowed to return?

Will there be any testing for COVID-19 required before the Players return in such a scenario?

If a Player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick and testing for COVID-19 is recommended by Club medical staff, the Player will be tested. We do not anticipate the need to conduct League-wide testing for all NHL Players for COVID-19 prior to their returning to NHL Club facilities.

Over the past couple of weeks, since this whole thing went down, we’ve seen plenty of scenarios get tabled for everything from a 24-team playoff format to games in August to the NHL not wanting an abbreviated season in 2020-21, so I was curious to see if there was any update on what’s to come or if plans have changed. Unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been anything new regarding the end of this current season or what to expect when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Has any decision been made regarding whether the remainder of the regular season will be played? Has any decision been made regarding what form the Stanley Cup Playoffs would take?

No. The form and format of resumption of play scenarios will depend entirely on what transpires between now and when we are permitted and able to resume — and, ultimately, on timing and taking into account logistical constraints. We are going to have to be flexible and react to events as they unfold as well as the best medical advice available.

What about the summer scenario that was pitched by the players? Would playing through what is normally the offseason affect the schedule in 2020-21?

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If the NHL playoffs go into July and/or August, could there be a shortened regular season next year?

No. We do not anticipate a scenario in our resumption of play format that would endanger or interfere with the League’s ability to stage and execute the 2020-21 NHL season in its entirety.

If the current season is able to continue and it eats up the bulk of the offseason, it’s easy to wonder what would happen to the NHL Draft. Much like most things in life right now, there were no concrete answers as to what will happen with the event that was originally scheduled to be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27th.

Have any decisions been made regarding the 2020 Draft or Combine?

At this time, no decisions have been made regarding the timing or format of the NHL Draft or Combine.

Another question that has come up frequently on social media and in our comments section is what would happen to player contracts if the season extends past the current June 30th expiry date. As expected, the whole situation would require a hefty dose of compromise between the league and its players in terms of making that work for both side.

How will the League handle Player contracts that expire July 1 in the event the season’s end is delayed?

Any decision we make on the schedule and critical dates calendar during the off-season ultimately will be done in conjunction with the NHLPA and, in that context, the parties will discuss how best to accommodate the resumption of play determinations that are ultimately made.

***UPDATE***

The Board of Governors meeting just wrapped up but it doesn’t seem like any new information came out of it as recapped by Pierre LeBrun.

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If you’re interested, there are more questions and answers in the release but I wanted to touch on a few specific items based on some of the things we’ve been talking about around here. While many of the answers are draped in uncertainty, an obvious byproduct of the ever-changing news when it comes to Coronavirus, I do appreciate that the NHL put out a little bit of information for fans that are trying to remain hopeful that hockey will resume again sometime soon. The reality of the situation, and everybody already knows this, is that trying to plan for the future is a fool’s errand and all we can really do is take things a day at a time and do what we all can to flatten the curve.

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In addition to this quick press release, the NHL will be having a Board of Governors call this afternoon at 1 PM MT to discuss the state of the league and I’ll be curious to see if anything new comes from that call. Obviously, the NHL remains hopeful that they’ll be able to play hockey again but it’s hard to see how that happens when the news regarding COVID-19 can change so much by the day or even by the hour. Even so, I’m still keeping my spirits up that we’ll be able to watch hockey again soon (whatever that means) so that we can all have even a little bit of normalcy back in our lives. Then again, we’ll have to wait and see what this Board of Governors call is all about. We wait…

Read the full release here.

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Four more members of Sens organization test positive for COVID-19 – TSN

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The Ottawa Senators announced on Wednesday that three additional players and one other member of the organization have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The team says that all four members of the team who tested positive have since recovered.

The unnamed players represent the seventh known NHL players to test positive, following two Senators teammates and two members of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Senators played the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center on Mar. 7, three days after Santa Clara County had issued a warning against holding large gatherings. The Avalanche played the Sharks the following night on Mar. 8.

Following the Sens visit to the Sharks, the team played the Los Angeles Kings on Mar. 11. On Mar. 10, the Staples Center, home of the Kings, played host to a Brooklyn Nets-Los Angeles Lakers game. Four members of the Nets, including Kevin Durant, have subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus.

The NHL suspended operations during the outbreak on Mar. 14.

The announcement of the first positive test from the Senators came on Mar. 17, four days after the player was tested. A second player was announced to have tested positive on March 21.

On Mar. 30, Gord Wilson, the team’s radio voice on TSN Radio 1200 Ottawa, announced that he, too, had tested positive for the virus.

The team says that there were 52 members of the organization in total who travelled on the Senators three-game California trip. The team says those on the trip have been in self-quarantine since Mar. 13.

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NBA Players Are Having An Official NBA 2K Tournament Featuring Stars Like Kevin Durant – Kotaku

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Photo: Al Bello (Getty)

If NBA players can’t get onto an actual court for the next few months for the televised enjoyment of millions, they may as well do the next best thing.

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Yahoo Sports reports that the NBA and ESPN have put together an official esports tournament, which will feature 16 NBA players going head-to-head in an NBA 2K20 tournament that will run for 10 days. Crucially, it’s going to feature only prominent, current players, like former MVP Kevin Durant, All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young and 2020 slam dunk champ Derrick Jones Jr.

NBA 2K20 is a game with a lot of problems, many of which I’ve covered over the last few months, but few of those are actually on the court. Seeing real players take each other on in such a fantastic simulation should be a blast.

Here’s how the first round, which starts on Friday and will be televised on ESPN, will shape up:

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Mailbag: 2020 Draft dark horses, Rangers future moves – NHL.com

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Here is the April 1 edition of Dan Rosen’s weekly mailbag. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

In this year’s draft class, who is your dark horse to maybe jump up and be selected early, much like when the Detroit Red Wings took Moritz Seider at No. 6 in 2019? — @theashcity

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a draft expert here, but your question piqued my interest and had me wondering the same thing. I am always a sucker for a good dark horse story and Seider certainly was that last season. Most draft experts, including our three at NHL.com — Mike G. Morreale, Adam Kimelman and Guillaume Lepage — had the defenseman going in the first round in their mock drafts last year, but few, if any, had him in the top 10. 

Since we collaborate on a lot of projects at NHL.com, I enlisted Mike’s help for this answer because he constantly is talking to scouts while reporting on and watching draft-eligible players. Nobody covers the NHL Draft quite like he does, and Morreale targets defenseman Jake Sanderson from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, and forward Jack Quinn of Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League.

Of Sanderson, the son of former NHLer Geoff Sanderson, Morreale said he made a great impression on him at the 2020 USA Hockey BioSteel All-American Game on Jan. 20. 

“I’m not sure if he’s considered just outside the top 10 right now, but I think someone could step up and take him top eight,” Morreale said. “What makes this interesting is that, right now, Jamie Drysdale of Erie is the top defenseman available on the draft board, but Sanderson has been so good down the stretch.”

Here is Morreale’s story about Sanderson from Feb. 20: Sanderson could rank among best-ever defensemen at NTDP

Of Quinn, Morreale said the forward has elevated his draft standing after finishing second in the OHL with 52 goals and eighth with 89 points. He scored 15 power-play goals and 240 shots on goal, each first on Ottawa.

“He’s smart with the puck, shows a lot of poise, and plays a real responsible two-way game,” Morreale said. “I think there’s tons of upside potential and someone may take chance on him inside the top 10.” 

Do you think the New York Rangers need to get one more ELITE player to get over the hump? And does Igor Shesterkin become the No. 1 goalie? — Reiku78

Every team will say it needs one more top player. The Rangers are no different in that regard. Realistically, though, they need their young players to develop into top players. They need rookie forward Kaapo Kakko, the 19-year-old who was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, to develop the way forward Andrei Svechnikov did from Year 1 to Year 2 for the Carolina Hurricanes. Svechnikov, the 20-year-old who was the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, had 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) in 82 games as a rookie last season and 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) through 68 games this season. Kakko, who has shown flashes of his potential, has 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 66 games. He should be the Rangers’ next elite player. New York also needs center Filip Chytil to continue his development and become more of a scoring threat. He has made great strides this season in many areas, including knowing how and when to use his strength and get to the net. His production has followed to a degree; he has 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 60 games after scoring 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 75 games last season. The Rangers need Chytil to become more of a 50-60-point player. They also need the continued maturation of defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, who look like they have the ingredients to be a top pair for a long time. Shesterkin, who already is the new No. 1 goalie, needs to continue to develop into the role. He has the makings of a future all-star. Still to come is the development of forward Vitali Kravtsov, and defensemen K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Matthew Robertson and Yegor Rykov. So, yes, the Rangers would love another elite player, but they should already have at least one more in their organization. They don’t need to sign another one like they did forward Artemi Panarin last offseason, they need to patiently wait for one to develop.

Video: Panarin lighting it up for Rangers so far

Can the Colorado Avalanche’s rapid turnaround be replicated by other teams or did general manager Joe Sakic catch lightning in a bottle more than once? — @jtthenutt

Rapid is not a word I would use for the Avalanche turnaround. It has, in fact, taken several years for them to get to this point. Sakic started running the hockey operations department on May 10, 2013, and 51 days later the Avalanche selected forward Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. They hit an unsustainable high in the 2013-14 season by finishing with 112 points only to lose to the Minnesota Wild in seven games in the Western Conference First Round. That team was nowhere near as good as 112 points would suggest. They didn’t possess the puck a lot and they relied on their goaltending to bail them out too often. They went down to 90 points the following season, 82 the season after, and bottomed out at 48 points in 2016-17, when they were not nearly as bad as their record because they still had the makings of a core with MacKinnon and forwards Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. Sakic has done a good job of filling in around that core in the past several seasons, and the addition this season of rookie defenseman Cale Makar, who was the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, has made a huge difference. But to say this has been a rapid climb to the Avalanche being Stanley Cup contenders wouldn’t be accurate in my opinion. The Avalanche this season, with 92 points in 70 games, have been bolstered by strong moves made in the offseason to acquire forwards Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi and put them around the many players already in place, a roster they have been building for several seasons. 

Video: COL@CBJ: Kadri snaps home tying goal

What rule changes would you like to see next year? I would like to see the ability to ice the puck on the penalty kill taken away. — @HHIGirl72

I’m in agreement with you regarding icing on the penalty kill by the shorthanded team. This isn’t a rule change under consideration as far as I know, but I would be interested in hearing a discussion on it among the general managers. The thing is, it wouldn’t be a small change. It would materially change how teams would kill penalties. Teams would have to adjust how much they pass or skate the puck out of the defensive zone without the ability to shoot the puck down the ice and change the penalty killers on the fly. It also doesn’t stop you from icing the puck. You’d still be able to do that, but you’d face the same consequences as a normal icing in that the whistle would blow, the face-off would be in your defending zone, and you wouldn’t be able to change players, meaning tired penalty killers could be left on the ice. But tired players and attempts to pass or skate the puck across the red line for a dump in creates the opportunity for turnovers that lead to offense. The NHL has for years now been making rule changes to benefit offense and this would be another one.

I’m very much in favor of eliminating foot-in-the-air offside calls on video review. The general managers feel the same way. They voted at their meeting on March 3 to make a recommendation to the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee that the application of the offside rule change to allow players to be considered onside as long as one of their skates is above the vertical plane of the blue line regardless if it is in contact with the ice. The hope among the GMs is that changing the rule to a more liberal interpretation of offside will lead to fewer coach’s challenges and that would lead to more goals being allowed to stay on the board. That means more offense, and that’s good.

While I’m not bullish on this last one, it would be intriguing to me to hear about penalties in overtime being reduced to one minute for a minor. Overtime is a maximum of five minutes and an argument could be made that it is too punitive to put a team on the penalty kill for two of those minutes, or potentially 40 percent of the OT session.

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