It’s an even year, which means Los Angeles should be hosting playoff hockey. Staples Center is now one step closer to that goal, as the list of potential hub cities has been whittled down to six.
Two of Las Vegas, Chicago, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Los Angeles will be selected as the NHL hub cities for Return to Play, as first reported by The Athletic. The Canadian cities are gaining momentum, understandably so considering the country’s handling of the coronavirus and the relatively low cost of playing there compared to the United States, so L.A. is still a long shot. It’s not like fans would be allowed to attend games anyway, but it feels oddly nice to have something local to root for somewhat related to the postseason.
We have already outlined the case for Los Angeles to be a hub city; however, the Staples Center/L.A. Live bid appears to be running fifth or sixth in the current polling. Fitting to be in lock step with Chicago once more after all these years.
The far more pressing matter for the Los Angeles Kings this week isn’t whether their facilities will be otherwise occupied during the month of July, but rather what will happen in the 2020 NHL Draft lottery. While the rest of the 2019-20 NHL calendar is yet to be approved (and still in a precarious position, given the health risks it pose to players), the lottery is fixed and phase one will take place on Friday. Here’s hoping we don’t need a phase two.
On to the links...
- Lisa Dillman profiled some candidates for the Ontario Reign head coaching job.
- The Athletic NHL mascot survey! Not a lot of love for Bailey’s dancing, but the Kings mascot’s social media presence is highly regarded.
- How draft preparation has changed in 2020 without in-person contact.
- For playoff teams, on-ice practice sessions have been expanded to 12 players at a time.
- Chaotic scenarios to root for in the 2020 postseason.
- Oskar Lindblom is back on the ice after being diagnosed with cancer. All the best for his continued good health.
- The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class will be announced today. I’d love to see Marion Hossa get in — anyone else have any personal favorites?