NHL News: Update for 6/30/20

NHL News: Update for 6/30/20 Photo by Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Daily NHL News for June 30, 2020

NHL News and Updates

Here's your daily roundup of all the current NHL news that’s affecting the 2019-20 Stanley Cup playoffs. Today we’re speculating on Phase 3 of the league’s Return to Play plan and major upcoming decisions. Let’s dive right in with the latest NHL updates. Check back all season long for free NHL picks and NHL predictions at Sports Chat Place. 

NHL Schedule Outlook - We’re coming up on Phase 3 of the NHL’s reopening plan, which is the official start of training camps on July 10. So far we haven’t gotten too many indications of issues that could throw the plan off track. For right now it’s safe to assume we’ll get hockey again within the planned timeline, but we’ll need to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to watching virus infections in players. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning reopened their facilities last week after three players and a handful of staff members tested positive for coronavirus five days prior. That’s good news, and the testing data also looks encouraging. Out of over 200 players being regularly tested since early June, only 11 had tested positive. That’s right in line with the infection rate from NBA player tests, for the record, which was 16 positives out of 302 total. 

There’s also the matter of negotiations between the players and the league. The players still have to vote to approve the Return to Play protocols (and likely will get it worked out), and there’s the looming resolution of the collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires in a little over two years, and by most reports those talks on a new deal are nearing a conclusion. The new CBA will reportedly cover this season and next, as well as the four seasons after that. The sticking points left to work out reportedly concern players' contribution to escrow in the proposed revenue split with the owners. It's pretty dry financial stuff, but will go a long way toward keeping the players content with their income streams. 

NHL Hub City News - It’s been a few days since we’ve speculated on the NHL’s hub city plans, so let’s see what’s happening there. If you haven’t been following the situation, the league plans on playing the remainder of the schedule in two host “hub cities”—one for each conference. The decision was initially expected to have been made by now, but the NHL is taking its time in getting this right. The announcement of hub cities is expected to come before the players vote on the Return to Play protocols, so we should hear something tangible soon. 

So, which cities are still in the running? There are five candidates left: Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Edmonton and Los Angeles. Las Vegas has long been considered as the favorite to land the Western Conference games, and from all indications they still are. As for the East, the frontrunner there is likely still Toronto. That city checks a lot of boxes as far as logistics, time zone, et cetera. 

There’s still no concrete date for an official announcement from the NHL on hub cities, but as of Sunday the league was “almost there” on a decision, according to a source. 

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.