NHL News and Notes: December Start For 2020-21 Season

While we are set to begin the re-started NHL season with a qualifying round in Toronto and Edmonton, the league has reportedly set its sights on when it is opening next season. In addition, the playoff-bound Coyotes have a healthy captain, and the Blackhawks address questions regarding their name.

Here is the latest in NHL news.

NHL Targeting Dec. 1 Start For 2020-21

In the plan set to be voted on by NHL players in regards to the league’s return-to-play protocols as well as the new CBA, they will also give their vote on starting next season on Dec. 1. If approved, the board of governors will vote for final approval.

On this bill, the Stanley Cup Final for this season would begin on Sept. 20 and end no later than Oct. 2. Following that, the NHL draft would be on Oct. 6.

Training camps would begin on Nov. 17 with the new season starting up on Dec. 1. It should be noted, however, that these dates are still all tentative and could still be pushed back.

As for this season, training camps for the 24 teams returning to action will open on Monday. Teams will then travel to Edmonton and Toronto, the two hub cities for the postseason, on July 26, before games officially beginning on Aug. 1.

Ekman-Larsson Healthy And Ready

If the league shutting down came with any positives, it was allowing injured players time to recover. One of those players is Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who, after dealing with lingering pain all year following last offseason’s knee surgery, is now back to full strength.

“These 2 1/2 months have been really good for me,” Ekman-Larsson said. “My knee is feeling 100 percent, and I’ve been able to get stronger and faster.”

Arizona’s captain was able to spend his time off in Sweden, his home country, which was never on lockdown due to the coronavirus, taking time to heal physically.

Ekman-Larsson, a five-time All-Star, had just nine goals and 21 assists in 66 games for Arizona. But now feeling healthy, he’ll aim to get the No. 11 Coyotes last the No. 6 Predators in the best-of-five qualifying round. It is Arizona’s first postseason appearance since 2012 when they made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Blackhawks To Keep Nickname

Across sports, we are seeing a call to action in regards to changing nicknames that are deemed offensive to Native Americans. While the Washington football team and the Cleveland baseball team discuss new names, the Blackhawks have been pressured by some to at least address their name as well as their logo. They did so with a statement earlier this week.

“The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historical person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans, and the public.”
The team continued, “We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups.

“Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people.”

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