In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper yesterday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that players will need at least two-to-three weeks of on-ice activity to return to game shape and the league hasn’t ruled out any options when it comes to returning to play, including playing games in empty neutral-site arenas.
From the mouth of Bettman:
“We’ve had discussions with our players and the players’ association and as much as you may try to stay in shape with a home gym, our guys haven’t been on the ice for a month and they’re going to need two-to-three weeks to get back into playing shape. So as much as we may worry about keeping everybody safe from the coronavirus, we also want to make sure that our players don’t jeopardize their health by coming back too soon and not being in game shape. All the leagues are basically focused on the same thing. There’s been a lot of speculation that we’re going to play in neutral sites like North Dakota and a variety of other places. The fact is when you’re in the position that all of us are in, you have to be prepared to relaunch when the opportunity presents itself, which means you have to not rule out any conceivable alternative and be prepared on every one, even if some of them ultimately turn out to be not very realistic.”
ESPN has its weekly article answering all the burning questions on the various angles of the NHL’s relation to the pandemic up. Check it out here.
The Florida Panthers haven’t added anyone to the organizational fold since they signed forward Cole Schwindt last week. But, their divisional rivals in Ottawa did a little bit of business yesterday, signing two players.
The Senators signed Jonathan Aspirot to a three-year, entry-level contract. Aspirot is an undrafted 20-year-old defenseman who played 44 games on an AHL deal with the Belleville Senators this season. (Silver Seven Sens)
Ottawa’s sixth round pick (157th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Kevin Mandolese, also inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the club. Mandolese posted a 2.33 GAA and .925 save percentage in 37 games for the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles this season. (SIlver Seven Sens)