Quickie blog for Thursday afternoon:
The NHL is investigating selling ads on players’ helmets. It was brought up on Wednesday’s Board of Governors call; there won’t be any formal comment until team presidents are briefed on Monday.
It’s an interesting move.
Across the league, there’s an understanding of the need for more creativity in revenue development. Ads on jerseys will come eventually, but there is a desire to be careful with it. The other reason the league may “test drive” with helmets is to get an idea of where the market stands during COVID. You don’t want to rush into a below-market deal.
The league and NHLPA continue grinding away on things like playoffs, critical dates, transition rules and protocols. It’s important stuff, and it’s time-consuming. The Board of Governors were told the hope is for a vote some time next week. The players would vote beforehand.
COVID controls everything, but target dates are Dec. 31 for 2020 non-playoff teams to report; Jan. 3 for those who did make it. There is also a contingency plan for “hubs” if necessary. Potential sites include Columbus, Newark and Vegas in the US; Edmonton and Toronto in Canada.
The expectation is that the top four teams in each division will make the playoffs. Personal thought: would it make sense, for this year only, to choose the Stanley Cup semifinal matchups based on travel distance? There’s some precedent. When the NHL re-aligned to the current divisions, it considered re-seeding the final four. That didn’t happen, partially because of an East Coast/West Coast semifinal. Teams didn’t want that travel until the last round.
We might get it anyway if three eastern time zone teams win, but it adds another level of flexibility to prevent it.