NHL expects 98% of players to be vaccinated before season
The NHL plans to punish unvaccinated players more harshly if they test positive for the coronavirus as part of protocols for the upcoming season. Teams will be able to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) (Nathan Denette)Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday the NHL expects 98% of players to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the season. Fully vaccinated players will have any COVID-19 positives treated as hockey injuries and still be paid. And there will still be regular coronavirus testing for vaccinated players.wftv.com
Virus positives play role in first round of NHL playoffs
The St. Louis Blues were swept in the first round by Colorado after three players who said they were vaccinated against COVID-19 tested positive, landed on the league’s protocol list and were unavailable. “The rules (say) if you tested positive for COVID, then they retest the test and if it (came back) positive you have to quarantine for 10 days,” Kuznetsov said Tuesday. The NHL last week investigated testing irregularities that led to multiple false positives for the Blues and Vegas Golden Knights and found it to be a laboratory error. After 51 regular-season games were postponed, none have had to be pushed back so far in the playoffs. ___Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportswftv.com
US-Canada border decision looms in playoffs for NHL
AP Photo/Chris Seward)A year after the pandemic temporarily shut down the NHL, a handful of roadblocks remain to handing out the Stanley Cup again this season — including the U.S.-Canada border. The border remains closed to nonessential travel, an issue the NHL addressed before the 2021 season began in January by realigning its divisions. But the league has a decision looming on what to do when a Canadian team faces a U.S. opponent in the third round of the playoffs. Talks are ongoing with Canadian government officials, though nothing needs to be settled yet since cross-border play won't happen until mid-June. “We’ve got a little bit of time to deal with this,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said during a video interview Thursday.
NHL revises virus protocols; Colorado is 5th team shut down
New York Rangers coach David Quinn of the New York Rangers stands behind the bench during the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in New York. (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP)The NHL revised its virus protocols in a bid to keep the shortened season on track, but not before a fifth team was idled by COVID-19 problems. Hours after the league announced changes visible in arenas and important behind the scenes, Colorado joined the growing list of U.S.-based teams shut down for virus concerns. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog joined teammate Tyson Jost on the league's COVID-19 unavailable list Thursday. Bettman said fewer than half the players in protocol have been because of a confirmed positive test and many of those were asymptomatic.
The Latest: NHL postpones Avalanche games due to COVID-19
The Avalanche currently have two players on the league’s COVID-19 list: captain Gabriel Landeskog and forward Tyson Jost. AdThe Wolverines’ 13th-ranked women’s basketball team and highly competitive hockey squad also were cleared to enter their facilities. Michigan’s men’s basketball team is scheduled to play Feb. 11 at home against No. ___Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe and Minnesota forward Nico Sturm were added to NHL COVID-19 protocol list. ___West Virginia is boosting home attendance to 2,800, or 20% of capacity, for the men’s basketball game Feb. 13 between the 17th-ranked Mountaineers and No.
NHL pulls microchipped 'tracking' pucks 6 days into season
(AP Photo/John Locher)The NHL is temporarily ditching microchipped pucks six days into the season after concerns were raised about their performance. The first 44 games this season were played with the “tracking” pucks that players and coaches could tell were a little off. The NHL expects new tracking pucks to be available soon and put back into play after undergoing testing. It's unclear exactly when puck tracking will return or when stats like players' skating speed will be available to the public. But sitting here right now, I couldn’t I couldn’t give you exact timelines.”___Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
NHL: Canadian teams able to start season in home arenas
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, goals used by the NHL hockey club Nashville Predators are stored in a hallway in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The National Hockey League and players reached a tentative deal Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, to hold a 56-game season in 2021, pending the approval of each side's executive board and Canadian health officials. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)TORONTO, ONT – The NHL believes all seven Canadian teams will be able to start the season playing in their home arenas. The league has been involved in discussions with the five provincial governments that have NHL teams to try to gain approval to start play Jan. 13. The NHL realigned its divisions for the season so that the North Division — which features all seven Canadian teams — would not have to cross the U.S.-Canada border, which remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Jan. 21.
NHL teams begin to unveil advertisements on helmets
In this image provided by the Washington Capitals, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson wears a helmet bearing a Capital One logo during NHL hockey practice, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Arlington, Va. (Zach Guerette/Washington Capitals via AP)There will be advertisements on NHL players' helmets this season as teams try to recoup revenue lost to the pandemic. The New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators became the first teams to unveil helmet ads Tuesday. “Of course, the teams are in a big hole,” Nashville chief revenue officer Chris Junghans said after the team announced its deal with Bridgestone. “So, they're looking for valuable, real valuable, tangible assets that will help us, guys like me, make partners whole. Each of the first three teams got a deal done with the company that sponsors the naming rights for its arena.
AP source: NHL eyes division play only; Sharks to Arizona
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, goals used by the NHL hockey club Nashville Predators are stored in a hallway in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)The NHL is preparing for a pandemic-altered regular season limited to divisional play while trying to determine if the league’s seven Canadian teams will be allowed to play in their country. The deal has already received support from the NHL Players’ Association, and features a 56-game regular season beginning Jan. 13. In an email to the AP, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly deferred questions to the Sharks regarding their status. As for the issues affecting the Canadian teams — Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver — Daly said they remain unresolved.
NHL, players reach tentative deal for 56-game season
The National Hockey League and players reached a tentative deal Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, to hold a 56-game season in 2021, pending the approval of each side's executive board and Canadian health officials. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)The National Hockey League and players reached a tentative deal Friday to hold a 56-game season in 2021 beginning Jan. 13, pending the approval of each side’s executive board and Canadian health officials. The NHL Players’ Association’s board is meeting Friday night to discuss it, while the league’s Board of Governors could vote on the plan as soon as this weekend. Approval from health officials in the five Canadian provinces that have teams is still needed before the NHL can go ahead with the season. The NHL, like the NBA, finished its previous season in a quarantined bubble — two of them, one each in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.
AP source: NHL players balk at changing CBA, league moves on
NHL players have balked at changing the collective bargaining agreement and the league is preparing to open the season Jan. 13 after starting training camp on New Year's Day, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “We are certainly continuing to work through all the issues we would need to resolve to start a season,” Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly said. The league and union agreed to a CBA over the summer that included a 10% salary deferral for the 2021 season and a cap on money left in escrow. Players, however, did not want to renegotiate a deal that’s only a few months old. The league is planning to play between 50 and 60 games in the regular season before beginning the playoffs.
AP Source: NHL now focusing on mid-January season start date
Time is running short for the NHL to start its season on Jan. 1. Without going into detail, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The AP “various similar concepts are being discussed” when asked about the 52- or 56-game schedule and mid-January start. Under a mid-January start date, players would have to begin reporting after Christmas, followed by a shortened training camp and preseason. The league initially considered having the season start in late November or early December, before pushing it back to Jan. 1. ___For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Bettman: NHL players have to decide to pay now or later
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman warned players Wednesday they are likely going to have to pay one way or another to make up for the league’s projected lost revenue whenever the 2020-21 season gets underway. Speaking on a Sports Business Journal panel, Bettman stressed the NHL is not attempting to reopen the collective bargaining agreement some five months after it was extended. And that means players will have to bear the brunt of any shortfall to owners. “If we have to pay out lots of cash, two-thirds of which is going to come back to us, that may cause some stress,” Bettman said. The National Hockey League Players’ Association did not respond to a message seeking comment.
In coronavirus era, bubbles provide game-changing lessons learned
Perhaps more importantly, they could also provide some common-sense solutions to virus issues in the real world. There was no magic bullet in the NBA or NHL bubbles: Masks were worn, hand sanitizing was stressed constantly and social distancing was required at all times. “We’re at the mercy — and we respect it — of governments: state governments, federal governments, provincial governments,” NHL senior executive vice president Steve Mayer said. The NHL learned it doesn’t necessarily need to physically fence in players and staff for any quarantine situations next season. “That adds up to a lot of protection.”___Reynolds, based in Miami, covers the NBA for AP.
NHL clears ex-Panthers GM of wrongdoing after investigation
The NHL on Thursday cleared Dale Tallon of any wrongdoing after an independent investigation found it could not substantiate claims he made inappropriate racial, religious and ethnic comments as general manager of the Florida Panthers. The NHL found Tallon did not violate any of those. The team hired longtime agent-turned Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM as Tallon's replacement. Tallon has been linked to a possible job in the Pittsburgh Penguins front office after they fired assistant GM Jason Karmanos this week. Tallon did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the NHL's investigation.
NHL investigating ex-Panthers GM for alleged racial comments
The NHL is investigating whether former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon made racially insensitive comments during the team's two-week stay in the playoff hub city of Toronto. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Friday. The publication cited a unidentified person in reporting Tallon used racially charged language during the Panthers' time in the Eastern Conference's playoff hub. After 10 years with the Panthers, Tallon was let go Aug. 10 after Florida was eliminated by the New York Islanders. The investigation comes as the NHL postponed two days of playoff games to focus awareness on racial injustice issues.
NHL officials acknowledge long road to successful resumption
NHL officials acknowledged Friday there is a long way to go before celebrating hockey's return during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams must submit rosters and full 52-person traveling parties Friday and travel to the hub cities of Toronto or Edmonton, Alberta, on Sunday. The quicker turnaround time and the availability on testing is not subtracting from the publicly available testing, Meeuwisse said. Mayer believes individual player demonstrations may happen organically; members of the Maple Leafs have worn Black Lives Matter shirts at their practice facility. More to come on that, but it is something that of course were talking about incorporating.___AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed.
NHL, players take collaborative approach in bid to resume
It was a recognition by both sides that we were being confronted with an incredibly difficult, a novel, unprecedented situation. Less than three weeks before NFL training camps are set to open, the league is experiencing push-back from its players on whether to play preseason games next month. Major League Soccer has had two teams already withdrawing from competition because of the number of players testing positive for the coronavirus. I think Don and I both recognize labor peace was something we couldnt even quantify how important it was, Bettman said. The new labor agreement also addressed players demands to gain a post-career subsidy for health care.
NHL, players approve plan to resume season, extend CBA
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, crews cover the ice at American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Dallas Stars hockey team, after the NHL season was put on hold due to the coronavirus.Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Sunday, July 5, that the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed on protocols to resume the season. In separate votes announced Friday, the NHL board of governors and members of the NHL Players Association ratified a return-to-play plan slated to have games begin in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, on Aug. 1. The agreements were tentatively agreed to on Monday, and approved nearly four months to the day since the NHL halted its season with 189 games remaining. If all proceeds as planned, the Stanley Cup Final would begin in late September, and the 2020-21 season opening in December. The teams are then scheduled to travel to their respective hub cities on July 26.
IIHF encouraged by NHL's potential return to Olympics in '22
FILE - This Aug. 23, 2019, file photo shows International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel watching the opening ceremony of the 2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup ice hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia. Fasel is encouraged upon learning the NHLs tentatively agreed to labor deal opens the possibility of the league allowing its players to return to Olympic competition. The Olympics are a special event in itself, but having NHL players there, even as actual players, we love to see the best on best. Fasel, whose term as IIHF president was extended a year to September 2021, praised the NHL and players for addressing the Olympics in the CBA. Im happy that in the end they understand this is important for the development of ice hockey in the future.___AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard contributed from Raleigh, North Carolina.
NHL, NHLPA agree on protocols to resume season
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Sunday that the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed on protocols to resume the season. Daly said the sides are still negotiating a collective bargaining agreement extension. A CBA extension is still crucial to the process, and the leagues board of governors and players executive committee and full membership must approve that and the return to play protocols to bring hockey back this summer. If ratified, it will end a pandemic-forced shutdown for 31 teams across North America that began in mid-March. Games would resume in late July or early August with 24 teams taking part in an expanded playoffs, finishing with the Stanley Cup being awarded in October.
NHL, union announce plan to resume play on Aug. 1
FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2020, file photo, Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith warms up for the team's NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Edmonton, Alberta. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Sunday, July 5, that the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed on protocols to resume the season. Daly said the sides are still negotiating a collective bargaining agreement extension. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)The National Hockey League and NHL Players Association have reached a tentative agreement to return to play this season and extend their collective bargaining agreement. Training camps would open July 13 and games would resume Aug. 1 if approved by the leagues board of governors and players executive committee and full membership.
NHL monitoring situation before choosing where to play games
Staple Center is one of the possible locations the NHL has zeroed in on to host playoff games if it can return amid the coronavirus pandemic. Seven of the 10 locations the NHL has zeroed in on to hold playoff games if it resumes are American cities not restricted by Canadas 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Before the NHL commits to where games could be held, officials are planning for multiple scenarios. But that isnt stopping NHL executives from pitching the ability to host playoff games. None of us would agree to a situation where we are taking away testing from people that need it, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said.
'A step toward normalcy' - NHL shapes a return to play plan
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2015, file photo, NHL Player's Association executive director Donald Fehr, left, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman are shown during a news conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. You have to prepare for what we hope is going to be a consensus that we can and should play, NHL Players Association executive director Don Fehr told The Associated Press. The NHL projects players might be allowed to begin returning for voluntary workouts next week. Bettman announced the NHL has narrowed the list to 10: Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis/St. The committee not only proposed the 24-team format, but also devised a list of protocols for teams to follow once players return to their facilities.
NHLPA approves going forward with 24-team playoff talks
In giving the format the green light, the NHLPA stressed several details still need to be negotiated before games can begin. The proposal will now go to the NHL board of governors, which is expected to approve the plan in the next few days. Though the approval is considered significant, the task of establishing a path to getting players back on the ice remains challenging. Its unclear how the league will address players concerns over spending potentially lengthy stretches of time in self-isolation away from their families. Overall, I think players will be fine during the summer months, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the return to play format has not been approved.
NHL's plan to return face possible border restriction hurdle
The person spoke after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced border restrictions will stay in effect through June 21. In a separate development, the NHLPAs executive board voted to defer the final payment of players regular season salaries through the end of May. Daly declined to comment on the latest deferment, saying its a decision left entirely to players. The decision on when and how to resume the season is being left with a committee made up of representatives of the NHL and NHL Players Association. There is no set deadline as to when play must resume before the NHL considers canceling the season.