Bill Daly

Daly Bettman NHL resumption not at cost of full 2020-21 season
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In trying to resume this season, NHL’s priority is also maintaining full 2020-21 season

As the NHL mulls over ways to resume the 2019-20 season and/or postseason, Bill Daly notes that there’s a key emphasis: not taking away from a full 2020-21 season.

Daly says NHL resumption plans emphasize not taking away from full 2020-21 season

That’s what Daly told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside during their Two-Man Advantage podcast. Here’s the key quote, via the transcript of that interview (sub required):

“The only definite for us is we certainly don’t want to do anything around a resumption of play this season that will impact our ability to have a full season next year,” Daly said. “So that’s kind of the outside parameters and rules we’re following currently. Everything else is kind of up for grabs for lack of a better term. There are lots of possibilities. We do have people working internally on those scenarios and what they look like and what the feasibility is.”

During other parts of that interview, and in other media appearances, Daly emphasizes how “fluid” this situation really is.

It’s an opportunity, honestly, to reflect upon how rapidly things escalate in 2020. It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a full week since the NHL “paused” its 2019-20 season, but it’s true. (That happened last Thursday.)

Finding right balance would be difficult if it means an 82-game 2020-21 season is mandatory

If the NHL is steadfast in maintaining a full 82-game season for 2020-21, then they’re going to face a difficult juggling act. Particularly if they don’t want to jump quickly to a playoff scenario when play does resume, particularly a full four-round postseason, and the substantial allotment of time required by such a tournament.

Daly detailed just how many hurdles different plans would need to clear during that interview with Burnside and LeBrun.

“ … Obviously you have network partner obligations that we have to take into account,” Daly said. “And then we have to work through with the Players’ Association what the critical date calendar looks like. We need to work with our clubs on building availabilities. We have to consider whether a resumption of play is to a building that’s open to the public versus perhaps a resumption of play that doesn’t involve a building that’s open to the public. So these are all relevant considerations and variables none of which you can really align at this point behind a specific plan. So, it, like the situation generally, is very fluid.”

Indeed, when we gripe about a team’s imbalanced, road-heavy schedule, we often forget that arenas aren’t open 365 days a year (or 366 in a leap year, like 2020) to hockey. Getting dates lined up isn’t necessarily automatic, and stands as another obstacle in making plans.

That’s a hurdle that can be cleared, mind you, but that exertion can’t be ignored. And the point is that there are many of them.

How might this affect the draft lottery, and 2020 NHL Draft itself? What about training camps, free agency, and needed rest for players? Squeezing things too tight could substantially increase injury risks.

Many of us would like to see the NHL chop down the number of games in a season, but then there’s box office revenue to consider, not to mention the salary cap.

It’s all a lot to digest, whether you roll with the August to September plan being pitched or some other idea. Demanding an 82-game season in 2020-21 only makes it tougher, but it also might be needed for the league.

Getting it all settled in a week doesn’t seem realistic, especially when the world is still gauging the scale of the coronavirus pandemic. As Daly said, the situation remains very fluid.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

NHL salary cap ceiling projected to increase for 2020-21 season

There was good news for NHL general managers on Wednesday. According to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, the projected salary cap ceiling for next season is between $84 million and $88.2 million.

The current ceiling is $81.5 million.

What’s to be decided is if the NHLPA chooses to use the 5% inflator, which is where the $88.2M figure comes in. The $84 million number is without the inflator.

The final salary cap limits will be finalized in June. The percentage of escrow — currently 14% — going forward could play a role in whether the players use the inflator.

Using that potential range for next season, contenders like the Bruins, Avalanche, and the Stars are sitting good.

As the league and NHLPA continue Collective Bargaining Agreement talks, Daly said the hope is to get the cap information to teams earlier. There are also discussions about trying to come up with a multi-year cap for better planning purposes.

“Typically over the last several years, probably since we initiated the CBA, we haven’t been able to give them a cap number until late June, in and around the time of the draft,” Daly said. “Hopefully at some point in the future we’ll have a mechinism that allows them to have that information sooner.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Coronavirus could hinder NHL plans for China preseason games

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The NHL has not announced plans to hold preseason games in China this fall as they continue to keep an eye on the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re monitoring,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Daly this week, via NHL.com. “It’s hard not to monitor it. It seems to be coming closer to us every time, every day that goes by. Certainly, it impacts what our plans will be in China in the future and in the relatively near future.”

According to NBC News, China’s National Health Commission reported on Thursday 29 new deaths linked to coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths on the mainland to 2,744. The Centers for Disease Control has said the the outbreak has been found in 37 locations around the world, including the U.S.

The NHL last went to China in 2018 when the Flames and Bruins played games in Shenzhen and Beijing. Due to celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding, the NHL did not send teams there this past fall. In August, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals visited Beijing as an ambassador for the league.

Player stick supplies have been affected and a planned PWHPA tour has been canceled due to coronavirus. Two Friday games in Switzerland will be played in front of empty arenas in order to prevent spreading.

As the NHL continues to plan for the 2020-21 season, the longer a lack of an announcement takes, the less of a hope the league returns to China this coming fall for preseason games.

“Obviously we haven’t announced any games there for next year,” Daly sad. “I think there was certainly a hope that we would be able to play preseason games there next year. I would say that hope probably continues to exist, but as time goes on, it becomes far more problematic.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: ‘No easy fix’ for emergency backup goalie situations like Ayres’

David Ayers NHL tries to fix emergency backup goalie situations EBUGS
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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Bill Daly told reporters that there “are no easy fixes” for the NHL regarding emergency backup goalie situations like David Ayres suiting up for the Hurricanes. Ah yes, the league definitely must do something about the scourge that is getting a feel-good story that landed on outlets such as “Today Show” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Why would any league want scores of cheap attention if it comes with even an ounce of embarrassment? Preposterous! (Sportsnet)

• You’d think hockey people didn’t need to hear this, but stories like Ayres’ is why we love sports. (The Portage Citizen)

• Great stuff from William Douglas on memorable former NHL player Mike Grier, who ranks among four black assistant coaches in the NHL. Grier explains that his father Bobby Grier inspires his work ethic, as the elder Grier once was an assistant coach for the New England Patriots. (NHL.com celebrates Black History Month)

• Plenty of big names for the U.S. roster heading into the women’s world championship, including Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne Schofield, and Brianna Decker. If a familiar face isn’t there, it might be due to them having children. (Olympic Talk)

• Great news for the Blues, and really for hockey: Vladimir Tarasenko may return sooner than expected. As in, before the end of the regular season. (NHL.com)

• Blues GM Doug Armstrong explains why the team was quiet at the trade deadline. Frankly, Armstrong’s made enough splashes over the years that it’s understandable to sit one out. Plus, the Blues can make people roll their eyes by saying Tarasenko is their “trade deadline acquisition.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

• If you only look at points, John Carlson ranks as the next Erik Karlsson when it comes to seemingly easy Norris Trophy calls. That said, the Capitals experienced a high-scoring blueliner getting downgraded before when Mike Green was at his fauxhawk’d peak. Could it happen again? Kevin Klein went into deep, fascinating detail on that question. (Japers Rink)

• Speaking of Capitals-related no-brainers, what about Alex Ovechkin playing a game in front of a Russian crowd? Daly says the league is working on it. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Adam Gretz argues that Conor Sheary can score enough to stick with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins’ top line. Pittsburgh showed off its new look in a narrow loss to the Kings on Wednesday. (Pensburgh)

• When Viktor Arvidsson is rolling, the Predators often roll with him. Amid a turbulent season, it seems like Arvidsson is finding his way. That’s extremely promising for Nashville’s chances. (A to Z Sports Nashville)

• Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman lays out his plan, explaining that the draft and young players are “the lifeblood of your team.” (NBC Sports Chicago)

• Senators fans waved goodbye to key players in multiple trades now, from Karlsson to Mark Stone to now Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Could Pageau be the end of that line? (TSN)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Daly says NHL in no rush to discuss Winter Olympic plans

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The NHL isn’t going to get drawn into any discussions about participating in future Winter Olympics until after the Pyeongchang Games are complete.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that’s the answer he provided to International Ice Hockey Federation general secretary Horst Lichtner on Friday. Daly and Lichtner happened to sit together during the first period of the world junior hockey championship outdoor game between the United State and Canada being played at New Era Field.

Daly said the two talked little business, though he noted Lichtner did ask when the NHL might be ready to discuss its plans regarding the 2022 Games at Beijing.

Daly said his response was: ”Certainly not any time before Pyeongchang.”

Citing monetary and logistical concerns, including the time difference between North America and Asia, the NHL elected against having its players compete at the Winter Games in February for the first time since 1994.

Daly said it was premature for him to publicly discuss the league’s plans regarding Beijing.

”The issues with each Olympics are different,” Daly said. ”Obviously, some of the logistical difficulties we have with South Korea will be the same in China. But maybe there are some opportunities in China that aren’t in South Korea.”