To hear Edmonton Oilers’ CEO Bob Nicholson tell it, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is bound and determined to finish the regular season, stage the playoffs and award the 2020 Stanley Cup. I don’t know if I share Bettman’s optimism, given it hinges on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it would be good news all around if things played out that way.
“We are really determined to finalize this season,” Nicholson said during a video conference call this morning. “It could be July or August, but Gary has a number of different formulas for us to play in that time period.
“Playing next season from November through to June, then getting it back into the course (for the 2020-21 regular season). We just want to make sure we have it safe for our players, and safe for our fans to watch our great game. Time will tell if we’re able to do that, but we certainly are focused on finishing this season.”
If the NHL can complete this regular season – teams have 10-12 games remaining — and playoffs at some point in October, that November start for 2020-21 after a short break is possible. Getting rid of the all-star break and bye-weeks could see the season done by June. The key, obviously, is the date of a return to the ice and we don’t know that yet. I’d love to see the NHL pull it off because it would mean we’re through this pandemic. Fingers crossed.
I’m not around the dressing room anymore so I didn’t know Colby Cave, but it’s obvious by the reaction throughout the hockey world that his was a life well lived cut tragically short. We heard what a fine young man Cave was in an outpouring of grief following his death Saturday and we saw another indication of the esteem he was held in when the hundreds of cars and people lined the road when the family returned home to North Battleford. What a heartfelt and stunning display of support it was. Today we got word of the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, established by his wife, Emily, to provide access to sports for underprivileged children. Young men the ilk of Cave are never forgotten because they touch so many lives just by being who they are, but it’s fitting that his legacy includes a fund that will make a difference for kids down the line. Best wishes in this time of grief to Emily, Cave’s parents Allan and Jennifer and sister Taylor.
THE ROAD BACK
I’m thrilled about word that former Winnipeg Jets’ great Dale Hawerchuk just finished up his last bout of chemotherapy in Barrie after a bout with stomach cancer and a successful gastrectomy (removal of his stomach) because it strikes close to home for a lot of people in this town. As many of you might know, my friend Bryn Griffiths, a long-time Edmonton sports radio personality, is recovering in hospital after having the same procedure. He faces much the same chemotherapy moving forward. I know Bryn listened with great interest to Hawerchuk talking about his experience with Darren Dreger and Ray Ferraro on their podcast before he had his surgery and that Hawerchuk intended to reach out to Bryn.
Bryn has been in hospital more than two weeks already and is facing a long, long road back to health, but Hawerchuk serves as a timely example for him and everybody fighting this awful disease that you can come out the other side.
Previously by Robin Brownlee