Our colleague Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now was told in the middle of last week that Las Vegas would be one of the NHL hub cities. That same source dropped another story to Adrian on Saturday, which would directly affect the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Instead of Vegas hosting the Western Conference teams as most assume, the NHL is leaning toward Las Vegas as the EASTERN Conference hub. There are growing concerns that a team such as Columbus, Pittsburgh, or Toronto could have home-ice advantage.
So, the NHL might flip the script. Read Adrian’s story here.
Adrian’s story came on the heels of former Sportsnet Hockey Night in Canada host John Shannon telling 93-7 the Fan he heard the NHL would put the Penguins in Vegas to avoid the home ice, should Pittsburgh be an NHL hub city.
So, clearly, there is something here.
Las Vegas has every amenity and meets every criterion to be a hub. It may be interesting if Las Vegas is still pumped for the idea if the casinos are open and people who have been cooped up for months come rushing to the city, also known as Lost Wages.
But aside from the extremely remote possibility that Las Vegas would pull out, the time zone factor could be something to consider.
If the Eastern Conference teams play in the west, there will be e three-hour difference, which means the 7 p.m. game in Las Vegas would be on TV here at 10 p.m. It would get worse for an 8 p.m. game.
What if the NHL would like an Eastern Conference team to play a Saturday or Sunday afternoon game for U.S. TV? With the Las Vegas setup, the game would begin at 10 a.m.
This is a unique situation, and the differences are part of the excitement, but that would be a bridge too far and could negatively impact the competition.
Count me out.
Conversely, Western teams stationed in the East would play in the afternoon, but the games would air at 9:30 or 10 a.m. in local TV markets.
All so a team doesn’t have home-ice advantage in an already empty arena?
Count me as skeptical this gets done, or count me against it.
As for the Eastern Conference Hub City, PHN reported the NHL strongly desired Toronto as the other hub city and were pushing the Canadian government to relax the rules.
Other News and Notes:
Keep an eye on the Boston Bruins. I think this is THE team in the East, but also the Penguins biggest hurdle for another Stanley Cup. Chara has been on the ice every day with other Bruins stars (Boston Hockey Now)
Elliotte Friedman reported the Washington Capitals are trying to add top prospect Connor McMichael to their Black Aces (Sportsnet)
PHN was the first outlet in Pittsburgh to translate a French story and report the Penguins have added first-round pick, Sam Poulin, to their expanded roster (PHN)
We’re in the groove!
And, if you’d like to look ahead to a potential playoff matchup between the Penguins and the Washington Capitals, here you go (PHN+)
An Arizona Coyotes employee tested positive for COVID-19 (TSN)
The employee was asymptomatic and feeling well (these account for as many as 35% of all cases, and many are unreported. Increased testing will find more of these). For those who may panic, there is a ton of good news about the coronavirus in the world, but I’ll admit the good news is not getting front-page treatment. Whether it’s our behavior or the natural decline of the pathogen, death rates are plummeting. I’ll let scientists figure that out, but don’t panic when the next player or team employee tests positive for it. The odds of something terrible happening are shrinking to infinitesimal levels. That’s a good thing, right?