Kicking off the next NHL season on January 1 seems like an increasingly utopian idea. This would require starting training camps in mid-December, which would likely involve isolating players from their families during the holiday season. None of them will agree to these conditions.
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Moreover, the more the weeks pass, the more the date of the 1er February becomes the new target. The announcement on Thursday of the cancellation of the Winter Classic is another indication in this direction. To say that at the time of the relaunch of activities, in mid-July, Gary Bettman was hopeful of launching the 2020-2021 campaign on the 1er December.
“It worries me, admitted Claude Julien about the continual postponement of this date. It worries me for everyone. For the players, for the fans, for us the coaches and managers. “
“We want to go back to work. It’s nice to be on vacation, but they’re way too long, ”added the Canadiens coach, saying he was in better shape than ever.
In the event that activities resume on February 1, it would become difficult to play a schedule of 82 games. One can think that a schedule of 48 meetings would be more realistic.
In addition, the idea of reshaping the divisions with a view to avoiding long journeys, but above all to prevent Canadian teams from having to deal with the quarantine rules governing customs crossing, would also be appropriate.
Eight times the Oilers
In fact, last week, Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, hinted that one of these sections would include the seven Canadian teams. Did he escape or did he just express an opinion? Who knows.
Nevertheless, this would bring a whole new dynamic to the schedule of the Canadian. Eight games against each of the other six Canadian teams. No Detroit, no more Edmonton. Difficult to vote against. For the product on the ice, we agree.
Imagine, four times Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the Bell Center. Although if spectators are not admitted …
Nonetheless, should that be the case, Julien expects the competition to be fierce.
“It’s a situation that I have already looked at,” admitted the Habs coach. The Canadian teams are all strong. They say that Ottawa is in a reconstruction phase. That doesn’t mean the Senators won’t be competitive.
“As for the other teams, they all believe in their chances of making the playoffs. Fans would risk seeing very exciting and very competitive hockey, ”he continued.
Equipped for the West?
By acquiring Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli and Joel Edmundson, Marc Bergevin added muscle to the training. When you know that Western Association hockey is more robust and that four of the seven Canadian teams (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg) usually play in this association, it wouldn’t hurt.
In addition, Toffoli has enjoyed success in the west with the Kings and Canucks. Edmundson and Jake Allen, both Stanley Cup champions with the Blues, also have experience with the style of play played in this half of the continent.
Ditto for Shea Weber, Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry who, in addition to having the physique of the job, all started their careers there.
We may all be as excited as Bergevin and Julien, we must not forget that for the moment, all this is just a pipe dream.