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BHN Puck Links: Could A ‘Force Majeure’ Cancel 2020-21 NHL Season?



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Will the NHL use ‘force majeure’ to cancel the 2020-21 NHL season if the NHLPA won’t concede and allow more deferrals on their already drastically reduced salaries for the upcoming two seasons?

Is Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney a Top 5 NHL GM? 

December 2 has not been a great day for the Montreal Canadiens over the years. Fans and media recall the day the Habs traded arguably the best goalie ever and the day six years ago when a pillar of not just their team but the Montreal community passed away. 

That and more in the latest Boston Hockey Now Puck Links!

As reported in ‘Off The Record’ two weeks ago, a group of NHL owners was already telling the league that they would not only be OK with there being no 2020-21 NHL season but that some would even prefer the rinks stay dark until October 2021. It will cost an estimated $150 million for owners if there is a season and with no fans in the stands, playing this season will see the owners lose more money than they’re already losing. Well as Eric Macramalla has pointed out, despite the new CBA stating that the owners can’t issue a lockout and that the players can’t hold a strike, the owners can use a ‘force majeure’. Macramalla explains what that is and why he still believes we won’t see such grave measures being taken to cancel the season. (Forbes)

When the idea of a ‘force majeure’ was floated on ‘TSN NHL Insider Trading’ Tuesday night, outspoken NHL player agent Allan Walsh took to Twitter and went on a five-tweet rant suggesting the owners were using the TSN panel to float the idea and make a soft threat to the NHL players that they better accept the additional deferrals and escrow increase the owners are proposing or else they will essentially lock them out via ‘force majeure’. As Walsh, and Macramalla in the linked piece above, both suggested though, the NHL would likely be facing a losing legal battle should they try and hide behind the pandemic to force what would essentially be a lockout. Colleague Dan Kingerski examines Walsh’s ‘fiery’ tweets. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

OK enough of your daily labor doom and gloom, let’s talk some hockey!

In their most recent rankings of all 31 NHL General Managers, NBC Sports ranked Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney as the fifth-best GM in the league citing his salary cap mastery. As we explained here two days ago, that cap maneuvering by Sweeney on the Craig Smith, Matt Grzelcyk, and Jake DeBrusk contracts this offseason and in deals like David Pastrnak’s current contract, is why Sweeney is not on the hot seat. In fact, he may be the safest of any GM out there when it comes to job security. Is he the fifth-best GM in the NHL though? (NHL On NBC)

If and when the NHL and NHLPA can find common ground and salvage this season, the NHL Trade and NHL Free Agency markets will heat up again. Here’s a look at what options Sweeney and other NHL GM’s will have as well as unresolved NHL storylines (Sportsnet)

Regardless of how or if the latest NHL-NHLPA labor strife is resolved, there hopefully will be some hockey to watch later this month when the World Junior Championships take place in Edmonton. Boston Bruins prospect John Beecher will be the lone Bruins prospect playing for Team USA. (Boston Hockey Now)

Congrats on a great career to a now-former colleague, Mike Loftus, who spent the last 40 years chronicling the Boston Bruins. Enjoy your coffees and darts, Mike! I’ll miss you having them at the rink! (Patriot Ledger)

Could there be another Bobby Orr playing in the NHL over the next few years?



Former Boston Bruins winger and future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr isn’t letting a pandemic force him into retirement. Jagr is ready to play another season at the young age of 48. (Koho)

Colleague and friend Eric Engels recalls how 25 years ago today, Mario Tremblay leaving Patrick Roy in for nine goals and to be humiliated at the Montreal Forum altered the course of the Montreal Canadiens franchise and devastated their fans. (Sportsnet)

Six years ago today, the Canadiens, their fans, and the Montreal community lost a legend and arguably the classiest player to ever play in the NHL when Jean Béliveau passed away. I was living in Montreal and hosting a show on Sirius/XM NHL Network Radio then and I remember learning of his passing just before I went on air. During my time living there, I learned what a God Mr. Béliveau was in Montreal and also had the pleasure of talking to him twice. I hardly knew him but I could feel the sorrow of an entire city around me. 

On Wednesday morning, Hall of Fame puck scribe Michael Farber reminded Habs and hockey fans to remember and celebrate ‘Le Gros Bill’ today instead of dwelling on the Roy trade. What better way to do so than with this amazing montage from friend of BHN, Tim Thompson!


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