With talks between the NHL and NHLPA on how to play the 2020-21 season stalled, a dark, ominous, lockout-like cloud is starting to cast a shadow over a potential return.
Former Boston Bruins defenseman and 2011 Stanley Cup winner Johnny Boychuk called it a career Wednesday after suffering a devastating eye injury last season.
A Boston Bruins nemesis locks up potentially their defenseman of the future and the first Treaty Indigenous player in NHL history has passed away.
All that and more in your Turkey Day edition of the Boston Hockey Now Puck Links!
One of the key cogs in the machine that became the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions has hung up his skates. Johnny Boychuk – who has played the last six games with the New York Islanders – announced his retirement at 36-years-old. Boychuk simply couldn’t chance it with his permanently damaged eye and held an emotional Zoom call with the media Wednesday. Joe Haggerty, who along with yours truly, covered Boychuk for six seasons with the Bruins, has Boychuk reminiscing about the days in Boston. (Boston Hockey Now)
As agents and NHL management sources warned and indicated to me in the ‘Off The Record’, the NHLPA was not happy with the league and the owners after they asked for more of the 2020-21 players’ salaries to be deferred and an increased escrow. Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA had stalled over the weekend and as Larry Brooks reported, as of Wednesday morning, they hadn’t picked up again. This is starting to get that lockout feel and we could be looking at a 48-game season at best. A January 1 start is impossible, no matter what the NHL maintains! (New York Post)
One thing that may salvage the 2020-21 NHL season is that the league’s TV partnership with NBC in the United States expires after the season. As friend of BHN Kevin McGran pointed out, it would behoove both the league and the players, who split the TV revenue, to play and increase their value on a new deal. Not only can they get a new deal with NBC but potentially other major US networks and streaming services. (Toronto Star)
It’s been one year since former NHLer Akim Aliu lit up Twitter with claims that he and others were victims of racial and physical abuse from former Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters. Despite NHL players supporting the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer and advocating for social justice, Aliu still believes the NHL community has many rivers to cross. (TSN)
The NWHL is set to play what has to be the shortest season in pro and amateur hockey history! Thanks to COVID restrictions they will play a six-game season and playoffs from Jan. 23 to Feb. 5 in a bubble at Lake Placid. (TSN)
Some media and fans had some fun fantasizing about the Boston Bruins or other teams whacking the Tampa Bay Lightning with an offer sheet for restricted free agent defenseman Mikhail Sergachev this past week. Well, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois end those dreams on Wednesday as he locked Sergachev up to a team-friendly deal for the cap-strapped Bolts. (NHL.com)
On a somber but still inspiring note, we remember and celebrate the life of Fred Sasakamoose, the first Treaty Indigenous player in NHL history. Sasakamoose passed away Tuesday from COVID complications at the age of 86. Godspeed. (The Hockey News/Sports Illustrated)
Finally, I know there’s no Macy’s Day Parade, no packed high school, college, and pro football stadiums today. Like I am, some of you may be taking the safe route and not traveling to celebrate with family and friends. I know I’ll miss my family today but hey! We still got Adam Sandler to cheer us up!