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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Will the NHL play on a tape delay for TV?

Happy Monday, Nation! As we do every week, the mailbag is back with the answers you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL and life in general. Once again, our panel of experts life coaches bloggers dove into the depths of their worldly experience to give you every nugget of wisdom that their brains could muster and all for the low low price of absolutely nothing at all. As always, this feature depends on you guys so I need you to submit your questions. If you have something you’d like to know you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn something. Enjoy.

1) Kelsey asks – Now that it seems like the NHL will be using Edmonton as a hub city, what are everyone’s thoughts about this actually coming together? While excited about the possibility of showcasing our city, I still have concerns for the surrounding community. 

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Jason Gregor:

It makes sense. Edmonton has very few cases so it is one of the safest places for the league to play. Plus Edmonton has tested more people per capita than any city in Canada. I don’t see players being that much of a risk to Edmontonians. They won’t be going to many places, plus they will all be tested numerous times before arriving. I would guess there are at least 600 people (in a month), and likely way more, who come to Edmonton from outside the city who haven’t been tested and those people will interact with more citizens than the players will. At least the NHL people are tested frequently before arriving and while they are here.

Robin Brownlee:

I think the “showcasing our city” aspect is overstated. There is going to be some economic benefit and that’s a plus, but there’s going to be a lot of hockey to play in a relatively short period of time and that’s the focus — not meandering through the river valley. Players already know all about the rink and the attached facilities, so nothing new there. As far as concerns, that’s legit. Edmonton has done a very good job containing the virus, but we’ve seen some breakouts publicly and in the sports world, including the NHL. That makes me nervous. I don’t know if we have this as under control as we’d like to think. Hope I’m wrong. I wonder how many players we might see opting out.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m actually not concerned about this causing a spike in cases in Edmonton. I don’t think that the general public will be at risk because these players will be in a bubble. Having the games here is really nothing but a good thing. It gives Edmonton a chance to show off their ability to host large events and there’s a small economic boost as well. This decision gets a big thumbs up from me!

Baggedmilk:

I think it’s pretty cool that the NHL will be using Edmonton as a hub to finish off what will undoubtedly be one of the strangest seasons off all time. I too am concerned about safety, but that goes for everybody, not just NHL players that will be here for a short time.

2) Marc asks – With a flat salary cap and no compliance buyouts likely on the way, the Oilers are going to have to make some difficult decisions with how they spend their money. Which valuable piece on the roster could you see leaving based strictly on the numbers? Why is that player your choice?

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Jason Gregor:

I don’t see Edmonton having to make a really difficult decision. Ethan Bear likely won’t get a big raise due to flat cap. Kris Russell makes the most sense to move, but it will be difficult to move him as very few teams have an abundance of cap space. The one loss will likely be Matt Benning. The Oilers can’t afford to qualify him at $1.9 million, and if I was Benning I would test free agency. There is a shortage of right shot D-men across the NHL.

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Robin Brownlee:

It makes the most sense to move a player like Kris Russell, given the young depth on the blueline. Russell has a $4M cap hit and he’s a third-pairing guy. Mike Green isn’t as pricey, but he’s a UFA who turns 35 in October, so I’d have to think long and hard about offering him a new deal.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Unfortunately, I think it might be Matt Benning. He’s a good third pairing defenseman, he’s young and he has some offensive upside. However, the Oilers will have to qualify him at a cap hit of more than $2 million, which is a lot for a third pairing defenseman especially when you consider that the Oilers have cheaper options. Benning has value and he might be able to fetch them a good third line centre.

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Baggedmilk:

I think Ken Holland is going to have his work cut out for him to try and get some signings in with limited space. For me, the most likely candidates to get moved (in no particular order) would be Russell, Neal, Chiasson, Benning, and Khaira. Where it gets interesting is when it comes to re-signing a guy like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. For me, I’d love to see the Oilers keep him (obviously) but I don’t know if they’ll have the money to do it. I hope Uncle Ken can find a way.

3) Jesse asks – Adam Silver suggested this week that the NBA will play on a tape delay to prevent any questionable language from coming out on TV. Is this the most likely scenario for the NHL? What drawbacks do you see with this plan? 

Jason Gregor:

With no fans the live mic will have to be delayed somewhat I would think. In our politically correct, and sometimes overly sensitive society, there would be way too much complaining due to some of the language they would hear. I don’t think it will change the game on the ice much, and since we haven’t had many live mic games in the past, or at least games where we are hearing a lot of talking, I don’t think a tape delay will impact much.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t think a tape delay is likely or necessary. I don’t see a need to change the system in place — mics/cameras etc are controlled in the trucks on site.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It makes sense because the league doesn’t want players swearing. A tape delay could be a problem if you have media in the arena tweeting (awkward tweets coming out 10 seconds before an event) and even from a betting perspective, it might cause problems. A lot of websites offer live betting options that change throughout the game. I don’t think those are major problems though so I could definitely see the league use a tape delay.

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Baggedmilk:

I bet there will be a tape delay because the NHL won’t want viewers to hear some of the horrible things players say to each other on the ice. Where that gets tricky, though, is if there are media in the building who could spoil a goal or something if they tweet something out that hasn’t come through on TV yet.

4) Taylor asks – Assuming the Oilers are able to get past Chicago and do not win the draft lottery, what do you see as their biggest area of need at the upcoming NHL Draft?

Jason Gregor:

They need a scoring forward. The depth chart of scoring forwards in the system isn’t very long, so a scoring winger or centre is priority number one in my eyes.

Robin Brownlee:

The need today is probably a skilled forward, but that need could well change in the time it takes any player to develop. As always, take the best player available. If the scouts have two players neck-and-neck, dead even, then it makes sense to lean to a forward right now.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Either an elite goaltender (Askarov) or a high end scoring winger (Jarvis, Mysak).

Baggedmilk:

For me, the team desperately needs more skilled forwards on their depth chart. They need players that will be able to contribute on their ELCs in order to stay competitive and be able to navigate the flat salary cap.

5) OldOilerFan asks – Had a question for the panel – I’m resigned to the fact it won’t happen, but what does the panel think regarding what will happen with the World Juniors that were supposed to come to Edmonton December?

Jason Gregor:

It is difficult to project where we will be in five months. Will they allow 50% capacity at games after Christmas? That would be great, but right now with all the travel required I’m going to guess it is postponed.

Robin Brownlee:

We’re up in the air as to what might happen in the next few weeks. There is no way to make a reasonable projection as to what is going to happen five months from now. Everything is based on if, and when, we get COVID-19 under control — especially when we’re adding such a significant international component to the mix. That hasn’t happened yet.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

If they’re allowed to happen with limited fans, there will be another lottery for tickets. There is a good chance that it’s either cancelled or is forced to happen with no fans.

Baggedmilk:

Man, I don’t even know what to expect from tomorrow let alone the end of December. My gut reaction would be that the tournament gets cancelled but what the hell do I know?

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