We are now entering our second month of social distancing and self-quarantine and there is no hockey game on the horizon.
Maybe the NHL will restart in June or July if things go extremely well. Maybe they will bring together all the players, officials and staff who are healthy and tested in one place for a controlled elimination tournament which would be quite amazing?
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At this point, there is no way of knowing what the NHL is going to do and when we see hockey, but the Hagg Bag is always there to entertain and answer any questions.
As always, these are real questions from real readers on Twitter using the hashtag #HaggBag, real messages to my NBCS Facebook fan page and real emails to my email address @ JHaggerty @ nbcuni.com. Now let’s go to the bag:
Bruins opens night training for next season? Stay safe Haggs!
–Edmarshall723 (@ edmarshall723)
JH: We’re already moving on to next season, huh? I am joking. I am joking. I guess it won’t be all that different from what we saw when the season was suspended. I’m going to run assuming Torey Krug won’t be back based on the salary caps that are likely to come down instead of going up next season with part of that regular season canceled. This is by no means a done deal, but I just don’t think the Bruins will have a lot of room to cope. And they still have to sign their own restricted free agent at Jake DeBrusk. So here’s my stab at scheduling next year’s opening night:
I don’t think Joakim Nordstrom will be back, and Kevan Miller, in the last year of his contract, may never return to play after being away for about a year. I suspect the Bruins will want a younger option for 22-year-old Vladar by supporting Tuukka Rask to assess if he could be the future No. 1 guy for the Bs if Rask decides to leave at sunset after the 2020 season- 21.
Just curious, but if they don’t finish the season, how would they determine the draft ranking? Would they still have a lottery? Will they just follow the ranking of the last days? Will they even have a draft? What will happen to the teams that abandon the draft picks for rentals that are RFA?
–Al Volante (Message via the NBCS Facebook fan page)
JH: They should have a project. I imagine they would go on to win a percentage in the standings on the last day before the season break, so the Bruins would have the final choice in the first round.
It’s not really perfect at all, but it’s probably the fairest way to do it while holding a lottery for the last 10 teams. All the little details should be worked out with the project and the free agency most likely postponed to summer, but everything is in a fluid situation right now.
The most optimistic plan for the NHL would be to hold playoffs in July and August, postpone the offseason to September and October, and then start the 2020-21 regular season in November with a fairly normal regular season thereafter. . It would be the best possible scenario if everything was in place across the country. I’m not even sure if it’s possible at this point.
Here is my point of view – we are in an unprecedented period and in an effort to mainly avoid having a one season offseason, then a full 2020-2021 calendar, I think there should be a format of 12 teams (eliminate jokers).
We have to get past this “fairness” shit, because again having two month playoffs in August and September is just too long. No one can do anything about the times we live in, but it is too much to have the last 5 teams having a month out of season. In addition, you can also realistically reschedule the project, AF, awards, etc. without the season starting a month later. How it would work is all series are 7 games. You would have the 4 division winners on a bye, the other 2 teams from each division compete for the right to go to the conference finals.
That would mean Boston, Washington and St. Louis (more on that in a bit) and Vegas would have the byes. The first series would be (again, more on this) TB-TOR, PHI-PIT, COL-DAL, EDM-CAL. These winners compete in the conference final and then in the Stanley Cup. Having 3 rounds could be done in 6 weeks. If you started a camp on July 1, the playoffs start on July 15 and end in late August. The rewards and the draft take place the first week of September. The AF begins on September 15. The 2020-21 season begins on November 15. Next season’s playoffs begin on April 30. Now, in terms of games, Boston and Vegas have a big enough lead that 1 game would not change the winner.
However, Washington and St. Louis are only 1-2 points ahead of Philly and Colorado, respectively. In addition, Winnipeg is only 1 point from Dallas. PIT, TOR and CAL are locked in 3rd place in their divisions. So for playoff seeding, you have ONE game before the playoffs start for WASH-PHI, STL-COL and WPG-DAL. If PHI, COL and / or WPG win, they get the division head and bye or in the case of WPG, 3rd place on DAL. I leave aside the other teams because, for example, if a match was to be played, the CAR could not catch the PIT, because the PIT is 5 pts and the CAR has played only one game less .
I understand that would go backwards, but let’s face it, any potential playoff scenario would be subject to fan criticism because an equal number of games were not played. And as mentioned, the likelihood of playing regular season games becomes less likely every day. You have to draw the line somewhere.
–Anders Johnson (Message via the NBCS Facebook fan page)
JH: I respect the thought you put into it, Anders. But there’s no way you can have teams waiting at the start of the playoffs. Do you realize how much a team like the Bruins could have made their way to a second round playoff series when they faced a team that had just finished a five or seven game playoff series?
It would take them two or three games just to reach that level after sitting down and it would almost certainly end up losing the playoff while being punished as a seed. There would be no benefit to a bye of any kind for the teams in this playoff format.
The best thing they could do was two five-game playoff series, then seven games for the conference final and the Stanley Cup final. They could do so in about six weeks after starting in mid-July and ending around September 1. They could then take all of September and October, then ramp up for a start from November 15 to 2020-2021. regular season.
Remember that in the 2013 Stanley Cup final, the last day of the Bruins-Blackhawks Cup final was June 24. The league only took two months off in July and August, then returned to work in September the following season. And it would only be two teams that would miss a little rest between seasons.
It may not even be possible, but it’s the best scenario to get into the rest of this season and then consider a “normal season” next year.
Strikes [me] that the Bruins’ two new additions didn’t really gel with the team. If hockey comes back, do you think it will be a problem for them in the playoffs? (and lets hope that Ritchie uses free time to do Chara’s training program)
–David Sheedy (@ Devilish21ca)
JH: Ondrej Kase hadn’t played in almost a month due to a concussion before being traded to the Bruins, so he was returning in mid-season when things were put on hold. Nick Ritchie seemed to just find his legs and his style of play while moving in line with the B.
They certainly hadn’t gelled, but now everyone is going to be in the same boat when hockey resumes. So I don’t think it will be a problem specific to new guys like Kase and Ritchie as much as it will be a problem for each player.
Right now, most NHLers have a stationary bike, dumbbells, and maybe a pool to train in quarantine. Almost no one is skating, so you’ll have a mass of hockey players who haven’t skated for months before things start again.
It will turn into very rusty and shoddy hockey when things start again … every time it happens. It will be as challenging as it is regardless of the ice conditions if the NHL tries to hold the Stanley Cup Playoffs in July and August.
Reflections on Clone Wars season 7 on Disney + so far? #HaggBag
–Alissa (@ CurvyMermaid617)
JH: I haven’t seen it yet because I haven’t really watched all of the clone wars in the past. But I now have a ton of free time. So I will look after purchasing “The Rise of Skywalker” the first day it was available on request. We are desperate for entertainment in the Haggerty house. Stay safe everyone and we will talk again soon!