You can add 15 more players to the list of players that have tested positive for COVID-19 in the NHL. The league released a statement to update the number of total players to 26 since Phase 2 started on June 8th. At this time, the July 10th start date for training camps has yet to be moved.
According to the NHL’s Public Relations Department, over 250 players have been tested over 1400 times for COVID-19 during Phase 2 protocols. The testing found 15 coronavirus positive players to add to the 11 they had on June 8th, outside of the Phase 2 protocols. We know that those 11 players included Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and three members of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/HalBsLro77— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 29, 2020
At this time, no changes have been made to the schedule but it is precarious. The NHL is hoping to open camps in two weeks on July 10th. While that may still happen, the July 30th start date for actual games is in jeopardy for a number of reasons.
Coronavirus issues aside, the NHL has to work out a CBA extension. This has already been a little contentious with New York Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin asking players to not return unless the escrow is fixed. Not all players feel that way, but they still need to settle on a flat cap of $81.5M for the next two seasons. That means top teams that rely on that cap raising annually to sign or retain players will be in a bind.
As has been widely reported, current salary cap of $81.5M likely to remain “flat” for each of next two seasons (20-21 and 21-22). Marginal bumps up possible for each of ensuing 3 or 4 seasons depending on revenues, but it could be awhile before real “linkage” returns.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2020
The goal is to work all the details out and vote for it by the end of the week. Should this drag on, the dates for Phases 3 and 4 will need to be amended. Or worse yet, the NHL season could still be canceled.
Finally, we were expecting an announcement on NHL Hub Cities last week. Unfortunately, Vancouver broke down and the league doesn’t expect to make an announcement until maybe tomorrow or Wednesday. The lead cities appear to be Las Vegas and Toronto.
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