If you haven’t seen it, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada posted his first 32 Thoughts of a new NHL season this week. He had been on a bit of an NHL media tour, so had gotten to speak to a number of people, including Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner.
And it was Daly who said something that really jumped off my computer screen. Here’s how Friedman wrote it:
“On the 32 Thoughts podcast, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was recently asked, “Putting COVID aside, what is your biggest challenge?”
“You can’t put COVID aside,” he responded. “COVID defines everything we do and everything we’re going to do, unfortunately.”
Words that all sporting leagues are having to live by. Unfortunately.
The first 32 Thoughts of the season is right here.
Some COVID-related NHL notes . . .
While about 78 per cent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, the NHL is saying that it expects at least 98 per cent of its players will be there come opening night, which is scheduled for Oct. 12. . . . If you do the math, that would leave about 15 players on the 32 rosters who won’t be fully vaccinated when the regular season begins. . . . Of course, you know that we are going to be hearing about those 15. . . .
On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets revealed that F Zac Rinaldo, who isn’t vaccinated, won’t be in their training camp; instead, he will go to camp with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. . . .
At this point, F Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings is the only player on their roster not to have been vaccinated. That could result in him not playing in any of their nine games in Canada, something that would cost him about US$450,000. . . . “It’s his decision,” Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said, “and it’s the world we live in today. I’m not in a position to force anyone.” . . . You’re wondering if Yzerman is disappointed in Bertuzzi? “I personally am vaccinated,” he said. “My family is vaccinated. I will leave it at that.” . . .
G Tyler Parsons won’t be taking part in the Calgary Flames’ training camp. Brad Treliving, the Flames’ GM, said Parsons was “unable to satisfy quarantine rules” so he’s out. The Flames say that every player on the camp roster is fully vaccinated. . . .
General manager Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils has said his club has one unvaccinated player whom “we are trying to help (get) through this.” . . .
The Edmonton Oilers aren’t expecting to have G Alex Stalock in uniform at any point this season. He ended up with COVID-19 last season and was found to have myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle that is associated with the virus. . . .
Edmonton general manager Ken Holland also said Wednesday that the Oilers have one player who isn’t vaccinated. Holland said that he and head coach Dave Tippett have met with the unidentified player and are trying to persuade him to get vaccinated. . . . Reports later Wednesday indicated that the player in question is F Josh Archibald.
The Stettler Lightning of Alberta’s Heritage Junior B Hockey League announced Wednesday that they won’t play in 2021-22. “The new COVID restrictions put us in a very depleted player situation,” the team said via Twitter, “so the decision was made so players could join other teams for the remainder of this season.” The Lightning has been in the league since 1994.
Mike Benton, the Everett Silvertips’ director of broadcasting/public relations, is leaving the team. Benton was preparing for his seventh season as the Silvertips’ radio voice. . . . He is joining Seattle radio station 950 KJR where he will be the host of pregame, intermission and postgame shows on broadcasts involving the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.
WR Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Tampa Bay placed LB Kevin Minter, a special teams captain, on the list. Both players are fully vaccinated, so would need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart prior to Sunday in order to play against the host Los Angeles Rams. . . . LB Keanu Neal of the Dallas Cowboys is on the COVID list and his status for Monday’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles is up in the air. . . . The Minnesota Vikings have placed CB Harrison Hand on the COVID list. They are at home to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The 2022 Memorial Cup has been awarded to Saint John, N.B., so the QMJHL’s Sea Dogs will be the host team. The CHL made the announcement on Wednesday, with the tournament to run from June 3-12. One other team — the Quebec Remparts — had been in the running. . . . The Sea Dogs are in their 16th season in the QMJHL; this is the first time they will play host to the tournament. . . . Because of the pandemic, the four-team tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. It was to have been held in Kelowna in 2020 and in an OHL city — either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie — in 2021. Because of the uncertainty, the OHL never got around to selecting a host city for 2021.
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