Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Hockey Hopes* : January 13th Start Date for short 52/56 Game Season

Multiple news sources are today reporting that the NHL and NHL Players Association have by and large cleared up their financial issues and are now planning for a January 13th start to the season. This will be a short season that only has a 52 or 56 game schedule.

ESPN: Sources: NHL, union clear hurdle, eye Jan. 13 for start of 2020-21 season

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Hockey Hopes

The NHL says, come hell, high water, or corona virus the season will still start on January 1st. 

Lake Louise, Canada
Lake Louise, Canada, elevation 5,600 feet

MSG Marquee
MSG Hopes


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Game Over

Henrik Lundqvist at the last game of 2019-2020 season

This still rings true.
Hank and Morty: Henrik Lundqvist is the Morton Andersen of the NHL

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Drop the Puck: Rangers Stanley Cup Qualifier Schedule

(#6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (#11) New York Rangers

Saturday, noon, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes (home team)
Monday, noon, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes (home team)
Tuesday, 8pm, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers (home team)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers (if necessary)
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes (if necessary)


All Eastern Conference games will begin at noon, 4pm and 8pm and will be played at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Games out West will start at 2pm, 6pm and 10pm EST.

On Friday, July 10th, the NHL owners and players ratified the “Return-To-Play” package and a six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The players voted 502-135 (78.8%) in favor of the agreement, which is good until 2025-26

Key dates for the rest of the year:

Tuesday, August 11 — First Round Stanley Cup Playoffs begin
Tuesday, August 25 — Second Round Stanley Cup Playoffs begin*
Tuesday, September 8 — Stanley Cup Conference Finals begin*
Tuesday, September 22 — Stanley Cup Finals begin*
Sunday, October 4 — Last possible date of the Stanley Cup Finals*
Friday-Saturday, October 9-10 — NHL Entry Draft*
After October 11 — Free Agency begins*
Tuesday, December 1 — 2020-21 Season begins*
* — tentative

Exhibition game vs. Islanders on July 29 at 8 p.m. at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto


NBC Sports: Full Schedule

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

NHL Playoff Notes

24 Teams Will Resume Play

Top 12 in each Conference (includes Rangers, 11th place, 0.564%, and Islanders, 7th place, 0.588% )

Remaining 7 Teams to Draft Lottery (Friday, June 26):
  1. Detroit Red Wings - 18.5%
  2. Ottawa Senators - 13.5%
  3. Ottawa Senators (from the San Jose Sharks) - 11.5%
  4. Los Angeles Kings - 9.5%
  5. Anaheim Ducks - 8.5%
  6. New Jersey Devils - 7.5%
  7. Buffalo Sabres - 6.5%
  8.  8-15 teams - remaining 24.5%

2019-20 Regular Season is complete for awards and record-keeping purposes

Top 4 Teams in each conference to play round robin for seeding (3 games) - *Regular Season OT/Shootout Rules*

Remaining 8 teams in each conference to play best of 5 qualifying series - *Playoff OT Rules* - Eastern Conference pairings:

  • (5) Penguins vs. (12) Canadiens
  • (6) Hurricanes vs. (11) Rangers
  • (7) Islanders vs. (10) Panthers
  • (8) Maple Leafs vs. (9) Blue Jackets

1st Rd & 2nd Rd: Best-of-5 or Best-of-7
Conference Finals & Stanley Cup Final: Best-of-7

1st Round Matchups via Seeding or Fixed Bracket is to be determined


  • Phase 1 (current lockdown situation)
  • Phase 2 (a return to club facilities for training in small groups — will begin June 8th)
  • Phase 3 (training camps - will start on July 10th)
  • Phase 4 (playoffs start - to be announced)
NHL Update on June 4th:

All Series, Except Qualifying Round, Will Be Best-of-Seven; Matchups in Each Round Will Be Determined by Seeding; Round Robin Ties Will Be Broken by Regular Season Points Percentage and Phase 2 will start June 8th

NHL Update on June 11th:

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that formal training camps (Phase 3) for the 24 teams resuming play will open on Friday, July 10, provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.

NHL Announces Transition to Phase 2 of Return to Play Plan
NHL Announces More Details of Playoff Format for Return to Play Plan
NHL, NHLPA Agree on Opening Date for Formal Training Camps

NBC Sports:
Plenty to figure out before NHL decides on hub cities
NHL announces return-to-play plans
A Look at the Eastern Conference Matchups

NHL tells players Phase 3 of return-to-play plan won’t start before July 10

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Restart Offerings

Every week brings new rumors and rumblings about when and if the NHL will restart their season. Time is not on the side of the NHL. Time marches on and various new restart scenarios bubble up every day. Trying to figure out what is really going to happen is like practicing haruspicy, inspecting the entrails of a sacrificed animal in order to devine the future. New ideas are offered up every day for sacrifice.

Here are some recent restart offerings to the hockey gods that caught our eye:

NY Post/Brooks:
NHL restart plans intensify with player health concerns at forefront

Reopening the league will be a massive task. Every “i” must be dotted, every “t” must be crossed. For if the NHL reopens, this will be one time when hockey will be a life and death proposition.
NHL will reportedly open training camps on June 1st
According to former NHL forward and All-Star Game MVP John Scott, teams will start having training sessions starting on June 1.
The Athletic:
LeBrun: Inside NHL’s centralized sites process and the latest on a June draft
...the NHL is currently in the process of vetting 12 NHL cities for the purpose of using four of them as centralized sites. (for a season resumption)
NBC Sports:
Cam Neely: No discussion with the NHL about shortening playoff rounds
The sense from the NHL and NHLPA is that there are plenty of possibilities still there to finish the regular season, complete a two-month Stanley Cup playoff and begin an 82-game regular season for 2020-21 sometime starting in November.

Finally, there is Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, making an ominous forecast:
Large sporting and entertainment events probably will not make the cut (for opening up) for a long time; the economic benefit of the live audience doesn’t measure up to the risk of spreading the infection. Other activities fall into a gray area, such as church services or a high school soccer game with a few dozen people on the sidelines.

Whatever plan emerges will have to balance the hammer (suppression) and the dance (containment) with the virus.
ICINGS: Podcast List

Monday, March 16, 2020

To Be Continued? Playoffs start in May?

The NHL is saying May looks like the earliest possible restart date. The AHL also released an official statement saying their suspension of "play will not be lifted before May." Major League Baseball wants to start their season in May. So we wait and hope that something will happen in May.

One rumor floated via TSN analyst Darren Dreger is that the NHL is looking at a 24 team playoff format. This means the Rangers are in the playoffs! Sounds good to us.

The proposal allegedly on the table would be a format that has the top 12 teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. The top four teams in each league would get a bye to the second round. East bye teams would be Boston, Tampa, Washington, and Philly. West would be St Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Edmonton. Then you'd have a 5 vs 12, 6 vs 11, 7 vs 10, and 8 vs 9 in each conference. How real is this idea? According to Dreger it is a "strong" option.
ICINGS: Podcast List

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Playoffs: Hunt or Hoax?

Mika Zibanejad's 5 goal game against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, March 5th, was a bolt of lightning that reanimated the corpse of the 2019-20 season. Two days latter the walking-dead Rangers took a full stride back towards the grave with a lackluster 6-4 loss to the Jersey Devils on Saturday, March 7th. The Russian rookie goalie, Shesterkin, had his first bad game. This is certainly understandably after a 6 game layoff, following his broken rib in that Brooklyn auto accident. But, all the bouquets tossed at the Rangers after Mika's extraordinary performance, might now need to be rearranged into funeral wreaths if Shesterkin can't find his game.

So which way will the Rangers season go now: over achieving young Frankensteins, or hopeless hunchbacks?

The Rangers have made it interesting. We're paying attention again. Just like when the Mets made their playoff run last year, with Pete Alonso hammering home runs. We know how that turned out. But, it was fun for awhile. So more fun please, less heartbreak is our hope for these our beloved Rangers this season.
ICINGS: Current podcast list:

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NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) | Twitter

Stephen Valiquette (@VallysView) | Twitter