It’s already early November and the Detroit Red Wings were supposed to already be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by now. But not only is the NHL not playing games, beyond shooting for a loose start date of Jan. 1, it’s not even giving us any idea when we’ll be watching the best league in the world play again.
But things are inching forward, not near as quickly as most hockey fans would like, but inching forward nonetheless. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman updated the league’s board of governors Thursday afternoon, about the same time the NHL Players’ Association’s executive board was meeting to discuss return-to-play options. Those looking for the league to make a bold proclamation and set a date in stone the way the NBA did when it struck a deal with its players’ association for a 72-game season starting Dec. 22, will be disappointed. The purpose of both meetings was basically to lay out possible scenarios for return-to-play and update its constituents.
The league has said on numerous occasions that it is shooting for a start date of Jan. 1, but has been very clear that the date is subject to change. There was very little on Thursday’s call that hasn’t already been discussed, but it’s important to note that the NHL prefers using all of its buildings and having opponents play two- or three-game series against each other rather than using the short-term bubble concept. Bettman laid out the plans to the board of governors as follows:
* The league is still shooting to start Jan. 1, with training camps beginning in mid-December. Pre-camp skates would begin Dec. 1, with teams that failed to make the playoffs last season starting earlier.
* The league would like to see the season end by late June or mid-July at the latest, which would eliminate the possibility of a full 82-game season. The more realistic number is between 48 and 56 games. One of the reasons the league wants to use all their buildings would be to give each team the opportunity to gain some revenues from regional sports networks and local sponsorship. As it stands now, the paybacks to regional sports networks and local corporate sponsors have the potential to be crippling for some teams.
* The league might still start with the short-term bubble concept, or pivot to using that at some point in the season. But the preference is to have each team play out of its own arena.
* The seven Canadian teams would make up one division, with the other three divisions being formed along regional lines to minimize travel.
* The NHL and NHLPA are still working out the economics and the return-to-play protocols. The players have maintained that they should receive 72 percent of their salaries for the 2020-21 season, but with revenues greatly reduced and an ultimate 50-50 split, the players are essentially faced with the prospect of covering the losses now or in years to come. Regardless of what the players are paid next season, the league will ultimately have to be made whole.
* The league is hoping to have fans and is still holding out hope for a format which would see it play the first one-third of the season with no spectators, the second with socially distanced crowds and the final third with larger crowds. But the reality is that it has no control over that.
So why don’t Bettman and the NHL press ahead and be more proactive with the start of the season? Well, all you have to do is look at how the league handled return-to-play during the summer. The NHL was slow to announce its intentions last spring as well, choosing to gather as much information and wait as long as possible before going ahead with any concrete plans. And we all know how that turned out. The NHL’s return-to-play plan was by far the best of any of the professional sports. The bubbles the league created turned out to be safest places in the world for its athletes to be. There were over 30,000 COVID tests conducted and there was not a single positive. Even Bettman’s many detractors would have to grudgingly admit that the commissioner did the best work of his career last summer.
And that’s precisely why there have been no bold proclamations this time around. Had Bettman jumped the gun last time, the league might have ended up going to Las Vegas for its western bubble instead of Edmonton. Even though Bettman is a lawyer and understands the concept of a caveat, he doesn’t want the league to paint itself into a corner by overpromising and under delivering. Given the success the league had over the summer, it’s a wise course of action.
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Toronto FC’s season ends with stunning loss to Nashville SC in extra time – Sportsnet.ca
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Toronto FC saw its Major League Soccer season end Tuesday, dropping a 1-0 extra time decision to Nashville SC in playoff action.
Toronto was heavily favoured heading into the game, having finished the regular season with a 13-5-5 record, the second-best in the league.
Nashville’s Daniel Rios scored in the 108th minute to secure the expansion club’s victory at TFC’s temporary home in East Hartford, Conn.
Toronto defenders tied up Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar in deep, but couldn’t stop the German designated player from getting a shot off. Goalkeeper Quentin Westberg made a stop but couldn’t control the rebound, which Rios tapped in to the net.
Westberg had held fast through a Nashville blitz to close out regulation, making a stunning stop on Alex Muyl in the final minute to force extra time. The `keeper had five saves for Toronto.
Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis stopped five on-target shots.
Tuesday marked the first-ever meeting for the two sides, coming after Nashville advanced through the play-in round with a 3-0 win over Inter Miami CF on Friday.
The upstart club posted an 8-7-8 record in regular-season play, finishing in seventh spot in the East.
Toronto nearly found the back of the net early in extra time when Richie Lareya sent a beautiful ball across the six-yard box to Ayo Akinola, who couldn’t quite catch up to the pass to tap it in.
Mukhtar did ripple the netting for Nashville in the 100th minute, sending a shot high over Westberg and in.
But on the sideline, the offside flag was raised. It was the third time a Nashville goal had been called off in Tuesday’s game.
The visiting squad also appeared to take a lead early in the second half after Auro Jr,. was called for taking down Mukhtar in TFC territory.
Daniel Lovitz took the ensuing free kick, landing a ball on the head of Jhonder Cadiz at the back post. Cadiz headed it in and reveled in the play with his teammates before the goal was called off.
Toronto started the game slowly, controlling possession but content to stay outside Nashville’s 18-yard box to begin the game.
Nashville briefly appeared to open the scoring in the 13th minute after Lovitz sent a cross in to Cadiz, who sent a header deep in to the Toronto net. His celebration was quickly cut short by a raised offside flag.
Back at the other end of the field, TFC began to open up the game midway through the half, systematically breaking down the Nashville defence.
A strong back end has been key for Nashville all year and the club conceded just 22 goals in regular-season play.
Nick DeLeon got a prime chance to put Toronto on the board in the 26th minute, putting a hefty shot on net from the top of the six-yard box, but Willis made the save.
TFC controlled possession through the first 45 minutes of the game and had the only shot on target heading into the half.
There were some tense moments for Toronto fans watching from home in the 32nd minute, however, when Jonathan Osorio got tangled up with Muyl in the middle of the field. A bit of a skirmish followed and a replay appeared to show Osorio kicking out at the Nashville midfielder. Instead of showing Osorio a red card, referee Robert Sibiga allowed play to continue.
NOTES: Tuesday’s game was the fourth of the MLS playoffs to go to extra time… Pablo Piatti and Laryea returned to Toronto’s lineup after missing time with injuries… Nashville midfielder Anibal Godoy was unavailable for Tuesday’s game after suffering a hamstring injury on Friday.
Back in Black and Gold… Again, Raptors Unveil 2021 City Uniform – SportsLogos.Net News
The Toronto Raptors today used the occasion of announcing the re-signing of player Fred VanVleet to announce their brand new “City Edition” uniform for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Carrying on the black and gold theme that the team has used as an alternate colour scheme over the last several seasons, this new jersey is a continuation of the “Welcome Toronto” initiative which is being done in collaboration with recording artist and proud Toronto resident Drake.
Across the front of the jersey, we see “Toronto” scrawled in a style very similar to what the team wore across their expansion season jerseys (above that infamous giant red raptor logo) back in 1995. Of course, back then the jerseys read “Raptors” instead of Toronto and they certainly weren’t black and gold. Under the Toronto logo is a single raptor claw mark acting as an underscore to the design, several more raptor claw marks can be found scratching across the shorts of the uniform; moving from one leg across to the other.
Overall this uniform design is quite similar to what they wore last year for their city edition uniform but there are some changes. The underscore below the wordmark is certainly new, as is the lack of the expansion season-inspired player name presentation on the back. We also did not see the raptor claw marks going across the shorts last year.
This makes it four new uniforms unveiled by the Toronto Raptors thus far this off-season. Earlier we saw three chevron-heavy designs which were accompanied with teasers for two more, one suggesting a black and gold jersey (which we clearly have now seen today) and the other black and purple, which we believe to be the club’s new “Earned Edition” uniform, release date to be determined.
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