The season may be on pause, but the NHL Rumours aren’t! Last Word On Hockey is dedicated to keeping you up to date with the latest chatter around the rink. Come take a break from the outside world and dive headfirst into some rumours. Today we’re talking about the Chicago Blackhawks, the growing anticipation surrounding Seattle’s team name announcement, and the start of the 2020-21 season.
All NHL Rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Scott Powers and Mark Lazarus of The Athletic write that the Blackhawks are more than ready to clean house to reboot the franchise after they shockingly fired team president John McDonough.
Analysis: Chicago has been in a tailspin for quite some time now. The club shockingly terminated Joel Quenneville in November of 2018, and more recently they separated from team president John McDonough. Basically, the Blackhawks are not trying to sit at the bottom of the standings for any longer.
This is especially shocking for any Hawks fans, especially since franchise owner Rocky Wirtz has been singing the “no front office changes” tune for the past few months. This seems a bit odd considering most of the more prominent changes they’ve made lately have actually been to the front office.
McDonough was an integral part of the Blackhawks organization. Let’s face it- the team has to do SOMETHING at this point. Moving superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are likely not on the table. The Hawks were out of reach of a playoff spot before the season paused. However, they’re also not terrible enough to scoop up a pick for the next big name in hockey during a draft.
Cleaning out the front office is one of the few options Chicago has to revamp the team. Quenneville was let go after 11 seasons with the club. Now, after being with the Blackhawks since 2007, McDonough finds himself in the same boat. With all these old-time staples of the Chicago organization being canned, it’s starting to look like the team is giving itself an internal facelift.
Rumour: Seattle’s vice president of communications, Katie Townsend, told ESPN reporter Greg Wyshynski that the leagues’ 32nd team is getting closer to announcing it’s team name and logo.
Analysis: Does anyone else feel like we’ve been here before? Okay, good. Of course, there’s trademark paperwork and who-knows-what other legal hoops they have to jump through before anything is finalized. However, Seattle won’t be able to dangle this carrot for much longer.
Everyone will be checking for the team’s official name and colours, of course. The anticipation will start to wear off to some degree. Finalize what you need to finalize, and release it to the fans. This is prime time, after all. It would give the league a little boost during this pandemic. Give the people something to talk about!
Townsend did make it clear that the franchise is trying to be socially sensitive during this difficult time. Pairing that with the expected halt of most things going on within the league, it’s understandable that the announcement hasn’t been made yet. But here’s hoping that things in the office wrap up soon, and the newly minted 32nd team will give us all a hot topic to discuss!
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported that the league is looking into a possible December start for the 2020-21 season. The NHL hopes to keep the 82 game schedule intact.
Analysis: Oh, does it feel like we’ve been here before also? Groundhogs Day anyone? Another week is passing by and another report is being made that hockey could possibly be starting up on -insert new month here-. Because of the possibility of the current season finishing up during the summer, it looks like December is the target start date for next season.
Listen, it’s a very weird time. No one knows what’s going on. Everything is paused. The NHL is trying to keep fans updated on all of their scenarios to hit play on the season, which is greatly appreciated, but again with the carrot. At this point, most people have made peace with the fact that no one really has any idea when this will be a reality.
Hockey is paused. It’s going to be for a while. Accept it. Now, starting next season in December and cramming in all 82 games is not going to be an easy feat. There’s talk of getting rid of All-Star weekend, bye weeks, and shortening the holiday break.
No Clear Answer
Finishing up this season comes with a lot of unknowns. There has been talks about keeping the players quarantined in hotels to create a “bubble”. Does anyone want to be away from their family during this unsettling time? Most likely not. The players want to be paid, as do the owners. So naturally, everyone has an interest in finishing out the 2019-20 season. But at what cost? The hotels wouldn’t be cheap. The COVID-19 tests surely won’t be cheap.
Then again, should the league attempt to run games in empty arenas? They’d fulfill their television contracts. But how much gate revenue and concessions profits would they stand to lose? No one has any answers. And we probably won’t for a while. So for now, let’s just focus on the fact that hockey WILL be back, at some point.
Until then, Last Word On Hockey is here to keep you entertained with all of the NHL Rumours we can find.