You can add 15 more players to the list of players that have tested positive for COVID-19. The NHL released a statement to update the number of total players to 26 since Phase 2 started on June 8th. At this time, the July 10th start date for training camps has yet to be moved.
NHL announces 15 more players test positive for COVID-19
According to the NHL’s Public Relations Department, over 250 players have been tested over 1400 times for COVID-19 during Phase 2 protocols. The testing found 15 coronavirus positive players to add to the 11 they had on June 8th, outside of the Phase 2 protocols. We know that those 11 players included Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and three members of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
At this time, no changes have been made to the schedule but it is precarious. The NHL is hoping to open camps in two weeks on July 10th. While that may still happen, the July 30th start date for actual games is in jeopardy for a number of reasons.
Voting on the NHL CBA
Coronavirus issues aside, the NHL has to work out a CBA extension. This has already been a little contentious with New York Rangers superstar, Artemi Panarin asking players to not return unless the escrow is fixed. Not all players feel that way, but they still need to settle on a flat cap of $81.5M for the next two seasons. That means top teams that rely on that cap raising annually to sign or retain players will be in a bind.
The goal is to work all the details out and vote for it by the end of the week. Should this drag on, the dates for Phases 3 and 4 will need to be amended. Or worse yet, the NHL season could still be cancelled.
No NHL hub city announcement yet
Finally, we were expecting an announcement on NHL Hub Cities last week. Unfortunately, Vancouver broke down and the league doesn’t expect to make an announcement until maybe tomorrow or Wednesday. The lead cities, stop me if you heard me say this before…Vegas and Toronto. We will see, so stay tuned.