Two weeks ago, I said that it was illogical for the National Hockey League to try to present a season in the middle of a health crisis. Now, Prime Minister François Legault is giving his blessing to the NHL plan.
• Read also: Health restrictions will not prevent the return of CH, says Legault
The Canadiens will be able to hold their training camp and play their home games at their facilities, once a return-to-play protocol agreement is reached between the NHL and the Players’ Association.
For those who could interpret Mr. Legault’s decision as favoritism towards the Canadian, remember that his government, with the approval of Public Health, had allowed the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to start its season. , last October.
COVID-19 quickly caught up with teams established in Quebec. The formations of the Maritimes were more fortunate, but with the appearance of the first cases at the end of November, a general pause was declared.
The management of the QMJHL is planning to relaunch its season in January. Simultaneous bubbles will be deployed in Quebec. Nothing has yet been determined for the teams from the Atlantic provinces.
When it comes to the NHL, Gary Bettman says he’s open to all scenarios at this point. It does not rule out the possibility that matches will be presented in protected environments.
Not sure, however, that the players who had this experience in Toronto and Edmonton last summer are infatuated by the prospect.
Some of them said, on condition of anonymity, that the league had not kept its commitments in several respects during the Stanley Cup tournament. They literally felt sequestered.
Still, the NHL has won its bet. No case of COVID has been diagnosed.
The key to success
The players must observe the same rigor when resuming activities. It is through them that the success of the season will pass.
It will be up to them to be disciplined and to avoid contact with people other than their teammates, their spouses and their children, for those who have families.
Nothing says the recipe will be foolproof, but it will significantly reduce the risk of contagion.
A balm for amateurs
Finally, if the ratings were not sky-high last summer, we can think that the interest would be greater this time.
We are at the time of the year when it is a habit to watch hockey. It would help pass the time and, let’s face it bluntly, we’re having our fill broken !
Hockey is not an essential service, we get along, but we need distractions.
Jagr joins Howe
Jaromir Jagr is a phenomenon!
Aged 48, yesterday he undertook a 33e season in the professional ranks, in the Czech Republic.
His longevity places him on a par with the legendary Gordie Howe, whose professional career spanned from 1945 to 1971, then from 1973 to 1980.
I see again Mini mario when he started with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991. He spoke little English, but he was quite friendly. He still had a smile split from ear to ear.
When asked who was the best between him and Mario Lemieux, he answered Mario with an amused look.
Jagr was the fifth draft pick that year, after Owen Nolan (Quebec), Petr Nedved (Vancouver), Keith Primeau (Detroit) and Mike Ricci (Philadelphia).
His 1,921 points put him in second place, behind Wayne Gretzky of course, among all-time scorers in the NHL.
Two other players from the 1991 draft of the draft collected more than 1000 points. Keith Tkachuk (1065), who was chosen at 19e ranked by the Winnipeg Jets, and Doug Weight (1033), selected in 34e place by the New York Rangers.
The generosity of Pierre Lacroix
Claude A. Vincent, a reader, sent me a message testifying to the generosity of Pierre Lacroix, who passed away last Sunday.
Mr. Vincent got to know Lacroix during his short stay behind the bench of the Saints in Laval in the late 1960s. He was, for his part, a player conditioning coach.
Thirty years later, Mr. Vincent asked Lacroix to obtain Avalanche equipment for a ball hockey team bearing that name. Lacroix sent him ten autographed sticks, five goalie equipment, caps, pucks, notebooks and pencils.
Mr. Vincent received as a bonus two VIP tickets for an Avalanche game at the Bell Center. It was his last meeting with Lacroix, an evening he will remember forever, it goes without saying.