Ramblings: Life in the Bubbles; looking ahead to free agency – September 23

Michael Clifford

2020-09-23

A good read from Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan over at ESPN about the NHL bubble. They got nine players to talk about the experience inside the bubble from both Toronto and Edmonton. This means talking about the food, entertainment, amenities, security, safety protocols, and everything else. It's… eye-opening.

The NHL got its security protocols right. It seems like the players agree on that, and from a perspective of finishing games and making people feel safe, this should be priority number one. It's nice to see the NHL got this right basically every step of the way.

But the NHL got almost everything else wrong. From lying about amenities, to over-selling on families joining, and a whole host of other issues. This seems problematic for a league that will need to guide its next regular season during this same pandemic, which will require cooperation and compromise from all sides on all issues. This is undoubtedly going to leave a bad taste in the players' mouths, and it'll be hard to feel that the owners aren't negotiating from a position of bad faith. They promised and failed to deliver on many things, or just outright lied about them. That's probably not going to make for a lot of trust and faith as we head into 2021.

The league got the safety right and deserve a lot of commendation for that. They got a lot else wrong and they have to fix it for next season, whatever next season looks like.

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We are not going to have a lot of turnaround this off-season, at least not initially. This year's draft is scheduled for October 6th and 7th, and though a lot hasn't gone to plan this year, that's only a couple weeks away. Free agency starts two days after that. If this Cup Final goes to Game 7 – and honestly, after the first two games, it looks as if we're on the way – the first official day of the off-season will be October 1st. That's really not a lot of turnaround between the end of the regular season and the start of everything else. It's certainly less than we're used to.