SIMMONS: Almost fully paid NHL players still want to be shot at the Stanley Cup

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When the NHL players return this summer – if they return at all – they will not be paid for their participation in the playoffs. And they can’t wait to play for nothing but the Stanley Cup.

That says a lot about the athlete and the sport, although in all fairness they have already received all but one of their season’s pay checks. The world may be fighting everywhere, with so many questions, but hockey players still want this trophy.

In baseball, which may be ready to start its season in early July, no one has yet been paid. And all they do is fight for dollars. There will be no ticket revenue in any sport for a period of time. There will be no fans in the stands or money from the parking lot or concessions.

Major League Baseball has developed a complex 67-page plan to bring the sport back, but none of this will mean anything if players cannot accept some kind of pay cut, more than just halving wages at during the season. will be cut in half.

Each sport, each league, has its own individual challenges and challenges in terms of testing and social distancing and the ability to travel. But it’s good to know, in terrible times, how much players still want the Stanley Cup.

THIS AND THAT

When Pat Quinn coached the Los Angeles Kings in the 1980s, he prepared his team for a playoff with the Edmonton Grand Oilers by showing a video of the highlights. Wayne Gretzky’s goals. Jari Kurri’s goals. Paul Coffey’s goals. Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson lead people and make a mark. Just amazing stuff to watch. But not for Tiger Williams. Williams let Quinn and his teammates know what he thought of the highlight tape when after he took the VCR and threw it on TV, breaking the two to pieces … Weird possibility if hockey is back this summer: a Toronto-Montreal playoff can happen for the first time in 41 years. Maybe just one of the top three, depending on the format the NHL ends up in. But it can happen. Overall, the Leafs and the Canadiens have played 15 times in a playoff series, with Montreal having won eight. They last played in the playoffs in 1979. The Leafs have won no playoff games against the Habs since Toronto won the Stanley Cup in 1967. When the NHL season was interrupted, Montreal had 71 points, 10 less than the Leafs… Imagine that: a Montreal-Toronto series and no fan in the stands… Mike Futa, whose contract was not renewed by the Kings, has interviewed for many GM jobs around the NHL in recent years, including with the Maple Leafs… Nice Guy Art Howe, who was terribly and inaccurately distorted in the film Moneyball, is in the hospital with COVID-19. Thinking of him and all those who struggle. Thinking also of Alex Delvecchio, the sleek center of the Red Wings, living alone in a nursing home in Detroit at the age of 88.

HEAR AND THERE

The defenders are better than PK Subban at the time: Roman Josi, John Carlson, Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Suter, Brent Burns, Mark Giordano, Miro Heiskanen, Kris Letang, Seth Jones, Dougie Hamilton, Shea Weber, Morgan Rielly, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Erik Karlsson, Thomas Chabot, Zach Werenski, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy and the children Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar. And I’m probably missing a few. If Subban wants to return to the Norris Trophy conversation, and he should want to, it’s a great group to cross … The only three defensemen with worse numbers than Jake Gardiner this season have all played for the rather terrible Red Detroit Wings… For some reason, and we don’t know why, Commissioner Gary Bettman wants former Oilers and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to return to the NHL. He would like to place him with the historically dysfunctional Arizona Coyotes. The league would also like Shane Doan to end up with the Coyotes, but there are apparently bad feelings about how it all ended for him in 2017. Doan is currently working for the league… Pierre McGuire denies it but the word is that he was recently interviewed for the GM position that may or may not be open in New Jersey. “They have a general manager,” said McGuire … It’s no wonder people are turning away from WWE. The lack of stars and interesting characters and storylines is easy to get around. When Wrestlemania 6 took place in Toronto in 1990, the formation included Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Macho Man Savage, Andre The Giant, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, Dusty Rhodes, Jake (The Snake) Roberts, Jimmy Snuka – all of whom were bigger stars than anyone working in WWE today.

SCENE AND HEARD

My best investment this year: Argos subscriptions. The money I paid for them will be refunded if they don’t play dollar for dollar. During the same period, my BMO stock went from $ 100 per share to $ 62 … For the record, it will be the second consecutive Queen’s Day that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will not be in the starting lineup of Blue Jays… WWE gets started: it makes biological history. Man is pregnant … I checked my milk container. He was not there. Anyone who knows where NHLPA chief Donald Fehr is, please contact the authorities… It still bothers me that the Leafs and Raptors have raised ticket prices for next season, assuming there is a next season . Who can afford more today than yesterday? … For late flowering like Cavan Biggio, losing half a season or even a whole season right now, it has to be personal. Especially when his career seems about to take off … Among the many rules that baseball contemplates for a reopening, there are no post-game buffets at the clubhouse. And I can’t help but think of the late Tony Fernandez, hunched over a post-game plate full of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and all kinds of Boston sauce that night sits complaining of stomach pain. Roger Clemens happened to pitch for the Red Sox that night. It could give stomach pain to anyone.

AND SOMETHING ELSE

This is done for the movies: the production company of LeBron James plans to make a docu-drama on the scandal of the cheating of the Houston Astros… I admit it. Being at home for more than 60 days touches me. I have no interest in the UFC and watched it six hours last Saturday night – and I didn’t hate it. The lasting impression: the power of the heavyweight Francis Ngannou. There’s a young George Foreman like that … The UFC had around $ 50 million in à la carte sales last weekend, which is impressive when you consider how many people have figured out how to stream this content for free … My Netflix all of the week: Waco … It’s been 13 months since Dion Phaneuf last played in an NHL game, and has yet to announce his retirement. Weird … Someone else thought it funny that London MP Peter Fragiskatos was not happy that the CFL was asking for government support because too many of its players are American. In fact, most of the highest paid players in the CFL are American and guess where they pay their taxes? Here… By the way, Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau and Brock Boeser are Americans playing in Canadian cities in the NHL. They also pay the majority of their taxes in Canada. Does Fragiskatos know this? … I understand that the CFL is meeting with the government and asking for help. I understand the CFHA meeting with the government and the request for assistance. I don’t understand them doing it separately… Happy birthday to Sugar Ray Leonard (64), Tessa Virtue (31), Jack Morris (65), Thurman Thomas (54), Terence Davis (23), Floyd Smith (85), Simon Whitfield (45), John Salley (54), Kyle Wellwood (37) and Jeff Skinner (28)… And hey, what happened to Colby Rasmus?

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There is never a bad time to tell a story about Rickey Henderson. Here’s one of my favorites.

Henderson was 39 years old in his 20th league season and still played regularly with a young Oakland A team that had a 24-year rookie wide receiver in AJ Hinch and a 24-year-old shortstop star at Miguel Tejada . The team was on a bus one day in the 1998 season and the young players, seated near the front of the bus, began to play anecdotes about the team.

Where were you when Kirk Gibson hit the home run?

Do you remember the circuit of Carlton Fisk?

The questions were asked, the answers shouted.

Then came the big question: where were you when Joe Carter hit the home run? Jason Giambi had just finished a balloon season at Modesto. Hinch was still at university at Stanford. The Canadian, Matt Stairs, was at home after a triple-A season in Ottawa and a few days with the Montreal Expos.

The A’s responses were loud and everywhere, I am told, and then a voice in the back of the bus was heard?

Where were you when Joe Carter hit the home run?

“I was at second base,” said Henderson.

The great Henderson, by the way, played five more years for five other teams. His all-time war was 111.2, just behind a few guys named Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

The settlement looked huge. The lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League and its Canadian operators finally ended on Friday when it was announced that $ 30 million will be paid out by junior hockey to those involved in the class action.

At first glance, it seemed that the players had won big with their combination. But first glances are often misleading.

The lawyers have won a lot – they will get somewhere in the $ 10 million range. But the goal of the lawsuit launched by the players, who believe they were injured in junior hockey and did not pay an adequate salary, including Sam, the son of former Leaf Bill Berg, essentially lost their fight. The rules of operation in junior hockey have not changed here. They will continue to operate without paying a reasonable salary to the players.

The remaining approximately $ 20 million will be divided among more than 4,000 players involved in the class action. This money will mainly be paid by insurance companies. This is a fairly small overview for each player, especially given the grief that many of them have taken for being involved in the attempt to change the system. They will likely receive a few thousand dollars each. In the end, it was a lot of noise and a lot of fighting and a lot of goals and a lot of money moving – and basically nothing changed.

The hope now is that the junior operators will finally learn to be so rude and mean to their players. It is a hope, it may not be a reality.

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The question I asked Rob Ray, who has fought more than 270 times in his NHL career, was pretty basic: if you came back this summer to play, knowing that the world almost stopped for COVID- 19, knowing how you played your game will you fight?

“I wouldn’t have to,” said the former Buffalo Sabers goalkeeper. “There are no longer really any fights in the NHL. And when it comes to the playoffs, there aren’t really any fights there either. ”

The NHL has never formally established rules to prevent fighting in hockey. But as science and the game have evolved, along with certain legalities, the fighting has practically disappeared. But I can’t help but wonder: if you’re playing this summer, what’s going on with the contact, the scrums, the pushes and the stamping, the face washes, which are still part of the game the NHL?

“You might think about COVID before the game and you might think about it afterwards, but I think when the game starts, you will be so connected to the game that you won’t know what’s going to happen,” said Ray. “If you’re programmed like I was, you might not think about it for a fraction of a second. You will do what comes naturally. The playoffs are the most intense hockey of the year. You are going to have some sort of argument. It’s natural. ”

But how will it be natural in an arena without fans or noise?

“Do you hear the crowd when you play? Said Ray. ” I do not. I have never done. You are so connected that you have no idea what the crowd is doing, you are so focused on your stuff. Most of the time, I never heard the crowd. I don’t think it’s a big deal to play without fans. ”



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