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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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Washington NFL team officially drops name after decades of criticism – CBC.ca

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The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday it would drop the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo after completing a thorough review, bowing to decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.

A new name must still be selected for one of the oldest and most storied teams in the National Football League, and it was unclear how soon that will happen. But for now, arguably the most polarizing name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the United States.

The move came less than two weeks after owner Dan Snyder, a boyhood fan of the team who once declared he would never get rid of the name, launched a “thorough review” amid pressure from sponsors. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.

The team said it is “retiring” the name and logo and that Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design.

WATCH | Pro sports teams reconsidering Indigenous nicknames:

CBC News’ Raffy Boudjikanian reports on the Washington Redskins’ plans to review their nickname, followed closely by the Cleveland Indians’ decision to reconsider their team nickname. 2:30

Native American advocates and experts have long criticized the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” Over a dozen Indigenous leaders and organizations wrote to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Protests against the name predate Snyder buying the team in 1999, and, until now, he had shown no willingness to consider a change. Strong words from sponsors, including a company run by a minority stakeholder of the team, changed the equation.

Dropping name keeps stadium options open

FedEx earlier this month became the first sponsor to announce it had asked the organization to change the name, particularly important because CEO Frederick Smith owns part of the team. FedEx also paid $205 million US for the long-term naming rights to the team’s stadium in Landover, Md.

The lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and dropping the name keeps open various possibilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for the team’s new stadium and headquarters. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the name was an “obstacle” to Snyder building on the old RFK Stadium site, which is believed to be his preference.

Washington recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved the team to D.C. four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate their team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Long removed from the glory days of winning Super Bowl titles in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons under coach Joe Gibbs, Washington has just five playoff appearances in 21 years and no post-season victories since 2005. The team has lacked a nationally marketable player since Robert Griffin III’s short-lived stardom, and the 2020 schedule features zero prime-time games for a franchise that used to be a draw.

Re-branding with a new name and logo — and perhaps the same burgundy and gold colours — coupled with turning football operations over to Rivera could be a boon for Snyder on and off the field. Even if a segment of the fan base opposes the change in the name of tradition, winning would more than make up for those losses.

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Washington NFL team dropping ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years – Sportsnet.ca

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WASHINGTON — The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday that it will drop the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo immediately, bowing to decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.

A new name must still be selected for one of the oldest and most storied teams in the National Football League, and it was unclear how soon that will happen. But for now, arguably the most polarizing name in North American professional sports is gone at a time of reckoning over racial injustice, iconography and racism in the U.S.

The move came less than two weeks after owner Dan Snyder, a boyhood fan of the team who once declared he would never get rid of the name, launched a “thorough review” amid pressure from sponsors. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which was given to the franchise in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.

The team said it is “retiring” the name and logo and that Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design.

Native American advocates and experts have long criticized the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” Over a dozen Native leaders and organizations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. Goodell, who has fielded questions on the topic for years, said he supported the review.

Protests against the name predate Snyder buying the team in 1999, and, until now, he had shown no willingness to consider a change. Strong words from sponsors — including a company run by a minority stakeholder of the team — changed the equation.

FedEx earlier this month became the first sponsor to announce it had asked the organization to change the name, particularly important because CEO Frederick Smith owns part of the team. FedEx also paid $205 million for the long-term naming rights to the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland.

The lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and dropping the name keeps open various possibilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington for the team’s new stadium and headquarters. District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser has said the name was an “obstacle” to Snyder building on the old RFK Stadium site, which is believed to be his preference.

Washington recently started cutting ties with racist founder George Preston Marshall, removing his name from the Ring of Fame and renaming the lower bowl at FedEx Field for the team’s first Black player, late Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. Marshall, who renamed the Boston Braves the Redskins in 1933 and moved it to D.C. four years later, was a segregationist and the last NFL owner to integrate their team. The current logo shows the profile of a red-faced Native American with feathers in his hair.

Long removed from the glory days of winning Super Bowl titles in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons under coach Joe Gibbs, Washington has just five playoff appearances in 21 years and no postseason victories since 2005. The team has lacked a nationally marketable player since Robert Griffin III’s short-lived stardom, and the 2020 schedule features zero prime-time games for a franchise that used to be a draw.

Re-branding with a new name and logo — and perhaps the same burgundy and gold colours — coupled with turning football operations over to Rivera could be a boon for Snyder on and off the field. Even if a segment of the fan base opposes the change in the name of tradition, winning would more than make up for those losses.

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TFC, D.C. United game rescheduled after COVID-19 test concerns – Sportsnet.ca

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A morning that had promised to start and end early Sunday turned into a stressful all-day marathon for Toronto FC and D.C. United.

The teams were slated to kick off their MLS is Back Tournament at 9 a.m. ET at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in the Orlando area. Minutes before the scheduled start, Major League Soccer called off the game — citing two problematic COVID-19 tests.

A round of pre-game testing Saturday had returned a positive test for a D.C. United player and an inconclusive test for a Toronto player. The positive test was considered unconfirmed until backed up by a second test.

While D.C. United made it to the playing field, Toronto never left the league hotel.

“Both teams participated in another round of testing (Sunday) and all players from the two clubs tested negative,” the league said in a statement issued Sunday evening. “Based on those results, the game will be played (Monday) morning at 9 a.m. ET.

“The player who received an initial positive test and the player whose test was inconclusive will undergo additional testing and will not play in (Monday’s) match.”

The league did not identify the players in question. Neither did Toronto FC, although GM Ali Curtis did say his player was asymptomatic.

The tournament, which marks the league’s first action since it shut down March 12 due to the global pandemic, has already lost FC Dallas and Nashville SC due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests.

Sunday was another day of drama and doubt in the pandemic sports world.

“These days nothing’s really normal. If anything the normal is kind of uncertainty,” Curtis told a virtual conference call Sunday evening.

“There’s a different situation each different day, for each different week,” he added. “And you just have to adapt.”

It marked the second delay for both Toronto and D.C. United. They were supposed to meet Friday night but the game was pushed back to Sunday due to Toronto’s late arrival at the tournament because of the need for additional COVID-19 testing in the wake of a player reporting symptoms.

Players and staff were tested Saturday in advance of the game. Curtis said the team learned of the inconclusive test around midnight, prompting another test in the player’s room that proved to be negative. The Toronto player has been isolated pending the result of another test.

The rest of the Toronto team produced negative results in the latest batch of testing.

Curtis, meanwhile, started his Sunday with a 6 a.m. Zoom call, the first of many.

With the game expected to start at 9 a.m. Monday, both teams faced another early morning wake-up call. Toronto’s pre-game meal Sunday was scheduled for 5:30 a.m.

Toronto’s second game against the Montreal Impact, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has now been pushed back to Thursday. And D.C. United’s game against the New England Revolution will now be played on Friday instead of Thursday.

Wednesday’s game between the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes will now start at 9 p.m. instead of 10:30 p.m.

After the threat of lightning delayed Atlanta’s game against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, there were more delays and drama Sunday.

“We believe the tournament can still be conducted safely,” MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told a virtual conference call Sunday morning. “And if at the point we determine it can’t, obviously we would make a decision then.

“In the case of Dallas and Nashville, the decision was made that based on the extent of the positive tests in those teams (and) their ability to train, that the more prudent course was to withdraw them.

“But we had established a set of protocols that are working as they were designed, which is to identify players that have had positive tests for COVID-19, to remove and separate them from the team and isolate them. And to continue the process of testing the other players … We view this (case) as the process working.”

Under league protocols, players who test positive are isolated while those who test negative “move forward.”

Abbott said because Toronto only arrived last Monday, the decision was made to await the results of tests conducted Sunday morning before playing the game.

Curtis said his team is still on task at the tournament.

“It’s an important competition. A lot of people have put a lot of work and effort into (it) … It’s important that we represent the club and we represent our city as best as we can.”

It all added to an already stressful morning for the teams given the unusually early kickoff time — made to avoid the Florida heat. Both Toronto captain Michael Bradley and striker Jozy Altidore had criticized the 9 a.m. start, saying it was not conducive to good football.

D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid suggested it was an inconvenience to fans, too.

“To every DC United supporter, our families & friends, I’m sorry you woke up so early to see us play, to then have the match postponed AGAIN,” he tweeted. “Especially after so many people planned originally to watch the game which was meant to play on Friday! Have a beautiful Sunday regardless.”

Curtis said while Toronto had always planned to show up late for the game, to avoid the heat for as long as possible, the team was on a group Zoom call abut what was going on with the COVID-19 test when he received the call from the league that the game was off.

While all 24 remaining teams are staying in the same hotel, they are isolated from each other in the MLS tournament bubble. Players and other personnel are tested every other day.

Curtis said his confidence level in the MLS protocols remains “very high.”

“When you look at the data, if you strip out the outliers of Dallas and Nashville, I think the numbers are fairly favourable” he said. “And then when you’re in the bubble you see some of the measures that are taken and that gives you confidence.”

But outside, the number of positive cases continues to climb.

On Sunday, Florida reported 15,300 new cases over the last 24 hours — a single-day record in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

There were some surprises in Toronto’s planned starting 11 Sunday.

While it fielded the same back five as it had in its last league game March 7, there were four changes further forward. Bradley and Argentine newcomer Pablo Piatti, who both missed the opening two games of the season, were to return from injury.

Tsubasa Endoh and Ayo Akinola were also in the starting 11.

Altidore did not make the matchday 23. He was late joining the team after spending the lockdown at his Florida home and had to train on his own while fulfilling quarantine.

Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio was a surprise omission from the matchday 23.

Sunday evening’s Sporting Kansas City against Minnesota United game went ahead despite confirmation Friday by Kansas City that one of its players had tested positive.

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