The Big Moose, Mikko Rantanen, is back in town and on the ice at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche posted a couple pics of No. 96 today:
Obviously, that’s nice to see on this, the 29th of June in the year of our Lord, 2020. Mikko Rantanen’s presence brings a smile to all Avs fans. It would be a real nice thing to see Rantanen be healthy for the playoffs. Don’t forget – he played some with a cracked bone in a leg in last year’s postseason.
We’re now a little less than two weeks away from Phase 3 – training camp – resuming. But will they resume on time?
That question leads us into some links:
- The league announced that a total of 26 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 15 since they reported to team facilities for Phase 2. The league “said that more than 250 players reported to club facilities as of Monday and had been tested more than 1,450 times for COVID-19. The league said 11 other players “outside of the Phase 2 protocol” also tested positive. All Players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols.” (Reuters)
- My view on this: I think that teams are going to have to put a bubble around their players for training camp too – not just for Phase 4, which would be playing a makeshift playoff in two still-to-be-named hub cities. If the league wants to avoid any more headlines such as that one, they’ll need to be able to better “contain” their players before heading off to those cities to play for as much as two months. Because, if the league keeps allowing players to leave rinks and be out and about in public or with their families – who also presumably are out and about in the public and could potentially bring the virus home – then it is likely to see more of those headlines become real. We’ll see what happens, but 26 players is a pretty big number.
- NBA commissioner Adam Silver said recently that, despite players in his league testing positive as well, that plans are still in place to play in Orlando next month. He said, basically, that we’re just going to have to accept a little bit of risk in our lives. I think that will be huge for the NHL and Gary Bettman also having the same motto. The NHL isn’t going to want to be out on an island by itself on this thing. The fact is, there has yet to be any player from any sport become thoroughly debilitated by the virus. No deaths, no gravely ill hospitalizations. That’s not me trying to downplay the virus or anything. It’s just a fact.
- It appears as if the Avs would play in Vegas (assuming that is the Western hub city) and eastern teams would play in the Eastern hub city (assuming it’s an eastern one as well – which I hear will be Toronto). Bettman said on a conference call earlier this month that he didn’t want any team to have a real or perceived home-ice advantage for a playoff, but maybe travel costs and other considerations intruded too much on that wish (ESPN)
- Cases have been going up again in Nevada – just like they have been in Orlando. But I don’t think that matters much to the leagues, because I think they feel confident they’ll have such a hermetically sealed bubble that it wouldn’t matter where they played, really. In other words, once the league gets to Vegas, the rest of the world will be shut out and won’t be able to bring the virus in. That’s the hope, anyway.
- Did you know that Rantanen is an investor in a Finnish hot tub company? It’s true. I know that Rantanen is a big believer in the Finnish spa/sauna way of life. And, shouldn’t we all (Drop Design Pool)