Insider trading: players hit the ice in Sweden
TSN Hockey insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun join remotely with host James Duthie to discuss training research for New Jersey Devils, skating players in Sweden and another international tournament which is about to be canceled.
While we wait and wonder what’s going to happen with the NHL season, the business of the game continues and that includes the search for a coach for the New Jersey Devils, which is well underway.
Pierre LeBrun: The only team to do so at this point in the season break, a little intriguing. Gérard Gallant, according to our sources, interviewed last week virtually, not face-to-face, by Tom Fitzgerald. Now Tom Fitzgerald himself also has an acting label, he is still the acting director general of the Devils, Alain Nasreddine is the acting head coach and he is a legitimate candidate, he will be part of this process. Tom Fitzgerald has spoken to a few candidates, not just Gerard Gallant, lately and why not? Use this time during the break to start watching next season. Other teams with interim coaches, you have Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota and San Jose, none of these teams has started looking for a coach or made a decision to coach. In the case of the Flames, Stars and Wild, fairly obvious, these teams could potentially be in the playoffs, so they will wait until the end of the season. The Sharks? Bob Boughner is one of the best candidates to stay on as head coach, but if and when they decide to interview other candidates, that decision hasn’t been made.
The first step towards returning to the game would be for players to skate, difficult to do when they are supposed to be quarantined until April 30, but there have been players who are skating.
Darren Dreger: They skate in Sweden, lots of them, including Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks. We must clarify that this is a recommendation from the NHL, it is not a directive, it is part of the medical protocol. Local authorities, in this case in Sweden, allow this type of activity, players are allowed to skate. I can tell you that there are NHL players in North America who don’t like the idea, given the competitive edge you might see. What happens when these players are welcomed to North America? No doubt about it, these players will be quarantined and there are guys who believe that players will also have to undergo mandatory NHL testing.
We remind ourselves and everyone that nothing has been canceled in the NHL, but in other places, a ton, including international hockey and another victim, is about to officially become reality.
Bob McKenzie: There has been no official word, but there should be in the next few days, certainly during the week, that the Ivan Hlinka Wayne Gretzky invitation tournament scheduled for August in Edmonton will be canceled. There are simply too many logistical hurdles to overcome. So there is a major tournament for the 2003 birth year that they would normally participate in and for NHL scouts there is the first major event on the 2021 draft scouting calendar. We will also be keeping an eye on Hockey Canada over the next two weeks, they usually have camps for the under-17s, a large camp for the under-17s at the end of August in preparation for the World Under-17 Championship in November, and then there the World Junior Summer Showcase in August which generally prepares for the World Junior Championship at Christmas. Nothing official about it, but Hockey Canada will be deepening these dates over the next few weeks to see what can and cannot be done.