We’re inching closer to a return to hockey. The NHL has narrowed down their list of hub cities to return to play in, the Penguins may have a goalie controversy come playoff time, and the Hockey Hall of Fame will have some new members today. Here are some of the top NHL news stories of the day.
Hub City List Down to Six
The next step in the NHL returning to action is finding the two hub cities in which the 24 remaining teams will play. With close to 20 possibilities at the start, we’re down to the final six cities.
Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, along with Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto, are the finalists to host the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The plan is for the conferences to be divided up, where the Eastern Conference plays in one city and the Western Conference in another. Each city is making its case based on how well they can keep players and staff accommodated and how sufficiently they can keep them contained within the bubble.
There is no official timeline on when the two hub cities will be announced, as both the league and the players association will have to come to the agreement. Training camp is expected to open up on July 10, with the teams relocating to the hub cities on July 23 or 24.
After one exhibition game, the postseason will begin on July 30. However, all dates are still contingent on the NHL and NHLPA formally agreeing to restart the season.
Murray Confident He’ll Start
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray has spent the 2019-20 season in a timeshare with rookie Tristan Jarry, with Jarry taking on more starts before the season came to a halt. But the two-time Stanley Cup champion feels like he will get the starting nod when the playoffs begin.
“I can only control what’s in my control,” Murray said to reporters on Tuesday. “That’s putting my best effort on the ice every time. The rest will take care of itself. I know if I can compete and work really hard, the rest will fall into place. So that’s where my focus is at.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has said that Murray will likely start when Pittsburgh begins their best-of-5 series against the Montreal Canadiens. Murray finished the regular season at 20-11-5 with a career-low .899 save percentage and 2.87 GAA.
Hockey HOF Announcement on Wednesday
The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class will be announced on Wednesday afternoon. The 18-person selection committee will debate virtually before announcing the class in the afternoon.
Among the notable names up for induction is Jarome Iginla. Perhaps the biggest lock in this class to make the Hall of Fame, Iginla was a dynamic scorer for the Calgary Flames, scoring 625 goals and recording 1,300 points. “Iggy” has two Rocket Richard trophies, as well as an Art Ross, Ted Lindsay, and King Clancy trophy.
Potentially joining Iginla include Daniel Alfredsson, Marian Hossa, and Alexander Mogilny.
Alfredsson has been on the ballot for three years prior, but the longtime Ottawa Senator has a Hall-worthy resume with 444 goals and over 1,100 points.
This is Hossa’s first year on the ballot, and while he doesn’t have the individual accolades, the former Chicago Blackhawk played a huge role in three Stanley Cup victories while still scoring over 500 career goals.
As for Mogilny, the first Soviet player to defect to the NHL scored 76 goals in 1992-93 and was named the captain of the Buffalo Sabres the next year, the first European captain in league history. Mogilny has 473 goals and over 1,000 points, as well as victories in the Stanley Cup, Olympics, and World Championship.
Rod Brind’Amour, Curtis Joseph, Jeremy Roenick, and Doug Wilson are all players who still find themselves on the ballot, while Shane Doan is another player who is on the ballot for the first time. The committee can elect a maximum of four male players, two female players, and either two “builders” or one builder and a referee/linesman.