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Saturday Chat: NHL working on January 2021 start – Pension Plan Puppets

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We’ve heard for a while now that the NHL has tentative plans to start the next season in November, then it was pushed back to December, then it was pushed back again to January. Now, we’ve learned two things:

1) The NBA has reached an agreement with the players to start a 72 game season in December 2020.

2) The NHL is expecting to announce more firm plans than “ehhh maybe?” in the next week or two.

This comes from Daly speaking about their hopes to have a January 1st start date.

There is still a lot of uncertainty for what could happen between now and then — where “then” could mean either the next week or so, or January 2021. COVID-19 cases are still rising in both the USA and in Canada, with both countries not really doing all that much to stem the tide.

While that’s something that could change, the issue of the USA-Canada border still looms. There looks like a more sane president and government will take power south of the border between this hypothetical January start date and now. That may make it easier for the Canadian government to negotiate border issues, but with so many cases still going up… I don’t know. That may lead to the much talked about all-Canada division, at least to start the season.

But it is interesting that the NBA already has made firm plans to start earlier than even January. They don’t have as big a problem with the border, mind you. But they’ve already decided to cut the season a bit short by 10 games, and they “hope” to have some fans in the stands and expensive boxes right off the bat.

With some Dallas Stars fans gathering in their empty arena to watch the Conference and Cup Finals, and with the MLB and NFL having some fans in the stands in certain markets… well, it will be interesting to see how the NHL decides that, in conjunction with each team’s local health authorities.

ONTO THE LINKS

Brendan Shanahan on his views on hitting and fighting in hockey | transcript by MLHS

Mirtle mailbag: Should the Leafs play at BMO? Plus Eric Joyce, line combos, more | by James Mirtle

Prospect Roundup: Rodion rises, the call of Karjala, Ovchinnikov on fire | by Nick Richard

MLSE continues to fund the league.

Leafs Prospect Kalle Loponen is getting a bit of a shot in the Liiga after Finland pulled some of their roster players for international play.

That new MacKenzie Weegar contract will look good on the Leafs in a year or two!

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Report: Rockets trade Westbrook for Wall – TSN

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HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets have traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a future lottery-protected. first-round pick.

Both teams announced the trade Wednesday night.

The move ends Westbrook’s tenure in Houston after just one disappointing season. Westbrook was traded from Oklahoma City or Chris Paul and draft picks in July 2019.

The Rockets had hoped that the 32-year-old Westbrook would be the final piece they needed to win their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1994-95. But instead were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

Westbrook was the 2017 NBA MVP and is a nine-time All-Star.

Wall, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, has spent his entire career in Washington. He’s a five-time All-Star.

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AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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A beaming smile behind the mask says it all for Russell – F1i.com

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George Russell broke out into a beaming smile that even his mask couldn’t hide when he tried out for size his Mercedes ride for next weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

Stepping up from perhaps the slowest car on the grid to F1’s fastest contender is a daunting task, but Russell will no doubt make the most of the unexpected but amazing opportunity to showcase his undisputable talent.

And who knows, this weekend’s one-off could be the harbinger of a full-time involvement with the mighty Mercedes team after 2021, a fantastic warm up of sorts for the 22-year-old charger.

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Lakers make re-signings of LeBron James, Anthony Davis official – Sportsnet.ca

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The Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday that they have officially re-signed both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

James’ deal was announced first, with the four-time MVP inking a two-year, $85 million contract through the 2022-23 season on Wednesday. The extension will take him into his age 39/40 season, and yet was a no-brainer for the Lakers, who are coming off a championship in which James was the Finals MVP.

“LeBron James is a transcendent basketball player, and human being,” said vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka in a press release. “LeBron put his trust in the Lakers in 2018, and now this contract extension paves the way for LeBron to further solidify his legacy as an all-time Lakers great. We could not be more honoured by this commitment.”

Davis, who was a free agent this off-season, signed his new deal with the Lakers only hours after James on Thursday morning, opting for a five-year contract worth up to $190 million. Many thought the 27-year-old would sign for two years with a player option for the third season, as that would have given him the most flexibility possible and allowed him to re-enter the market for his next deal having just met the criteria (10 years of service) to earn up to 35 per cent of the cap.

Instead, Davis took the largest contract he could in the present moment — a win for both sides, certainly, but one that also shows trust from Davis in the Lakers organization.

“In the Orlando bubble, Anthony Davis proved he is one of the game’s most complete and dominant two-way players,” Pelinka said of the big man. “Now, Lakers fans get to watch AD continue to grow and lead our franchise for years to come. This is truly a blessed moment for Lakers Nation.”

Both players, it seems, expect to play the rest of (or, at least, most of) their respective careers in purple and gold.

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