NHL faces big week with talks on early draft, potential game ‘hubs’

Brian Burke joins Tim & Sid & Arash Madani to shed some light on the economic implications of the NHL season missing out on games and fans, and how it might impact the players moving forward.

Finally, Toronto’s weather is improving, nice to do some work out on the back deck.

Big week coming up for the NHL. On Monday, there is a conference call with the board of governors to discuss the possibility of an early June draft (likely June 5 and 6). While the hockey people hate the idea, the governors may be more inclined to accept commissioner Gary Bettman’s stance that this is a necessary move for business reasons. We’ll see where it goes.

Then on Tuesday, several sources indicate Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer, and his events team will meet with Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly to review the bids for potential “hubs” should the league resume its season sometime this summer.

It’s believed that Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vegas have expressed interest, but one team official said he heard there were “more than 10 of us submitting bids.”

No one is expecting any final decisions, but it is possible the list is narrowed down. Ideally, the NHL wants one destination per division, but “the safest spots” will be prioritized.

Of particular concern to the players is spending so much time away from their families — a perfectly legitimate worry.

During an appearance with the King of Edmonton, Bob Stauffer, on 630 CHED last Friday, Daly said the league understood the issue.

“We don’t expect them to be isolated and away from their families for a four-month period of time or a three-month period of time, or even a two-month period of time. We understand the importance of … family interaction, and we’ll find a way to accommodate that.”

One of ESPN’s top basketball reporters, Brian Windhorst, said Saturday “the NBA is not interested right now in a bubble where they could not bring in their families.”

If one league is investigating a certain scenario, you can bet all of them are.


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