Insider Trading: Daily Return to Play Program Takes Shape

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TSN Hockey insider Bob McKenzie joins host Gino Reda to discuss what the NHL return to play schedule might look like on a daily basis and whether the league has the ability to prevent high-risk players or not to play.


What could NHL daily play look like if play resumes?

There’s still a lot of time left until August 1 – the day the league aims to start the playoff round – but if the NHL is able to resume its season, what would the schedule look like?

McKenzie: The plan is to play three games a day in Edmonton and Toronto, and the local time schedule model is to schedule these games at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Now keep in mind the two hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. This basically means that there will be six games a day spread over a 15 hour window, if not more. And I know you’re going to ask me what’s going on if there are multiple overtime games, because these are the Stanley Cup playoffs and these are unlimited overtime. My answer to that would be hockey. This is how it works. Now, I can also tell you that in the preliminary round, when you have four east and west placement teams – the top four teams from each conference – playing ranking matches, there is no unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they will just use overtime and shootout in the regular season. They would put these games in place of 4:00 am to try to make up time if the first game of the day is very long, or to give you a finished time so that he can make it to the evening game. But that’s basically how it will work. And it could be like the US Open tennis once we get into the playoffs. It is not uncommon to start prime time matches at midnight.

Does the league have a say in who can come back?

We know that NHL players can opt out of returning to the league if they choose without consequence. But can the league also weigh?

McKenzie: The National Hockey League has the ability to judge unfit players if they think they are more at risk and could become extremely sick if they contract the coronavirus. The clause reads as follows: “Players who are determined to be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the new coronavirus will be deemed unfit to play and will not be allowed to participate in either Phase 3 or 4. ”Now the team doctors and infectious disease experts the National Hockey League has hired should call these players. But let’s use Max Domi Montreal Canadiens and Kaapo Kakko New York Rangers as an example. Both of these players are type 1 diabetics. Both of these players have celiac disease. Now, I’m not saying that an NHL team doctor or an infectious disease doctor will say these guys are not good at playing. But they have to go through this process. Now i can tell you Max Domi and Kaapo Kakko, to my knowledge, want to play in Return to Play and they plan to play. But there is this extra step because of their underlying conditions where doctors will have to sign that they are fit to play, or that they are not fit to play and this whole process will take place early next week when training camp begins and players pass their pre-phase 3 medical exams.



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