NHL news: Payment deferrals, fans in the stands, RTP committee and more about next season

If the spikes in COVID-19 cases wasn’t a big enough hurdle to jump, the NHL is asking its players to defer another 13% of their salary. This is on top of what they already agreed to and would bring the total to 62% of pay for next season.

The latest on the NHL 2020-2021 season

The players have formed a much larger Return-To-Play (RTP) Committee this time around. According to Pierre Lebrun those players are believed to be:

David Backes, Darren Helm, David Savard, Justin Faulk, Lars Eller, Sam Gagner, Justin Abdelkader, Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Ron Hainsey, Claude Giroux, Ryan Dzingel, Andrew Copp, Alex Biega, Chris Kreider, and Mark Scheifele.

The challenge for these players will be to work out the financial aspect and sell the NHLPA on them. That’s will be difficult because most of the players gave up a lot when the CBA was extended. However, the real alternative this season could be not playing at all and getting none of their salaries.

That may not impact players who have earned millions over the last few years, but it does everyone else. The pressure to return will be immense. If the NHL wants to get in a January 1 start, this all needs to be settled at the end of the month.

NHL needs fans in the stands

NHL 2020-2021 season
NHL (AP Photo – Craig Lassig)

Reporter Chris Johnston was on Sportsnet 590 Radio recently to talk about the current situation. One very important note is that he believes that there will be fans in the stands in some places.

“I think there might be in a couple places just because we’ve seen you know a few States right now where fans are allowed in, in various capacities in the NFL in some of those States like Texas. Remember, when Dallas was playing in the Cup Final against Tampa, they were selling tickets to their own watch parties at the arena.”

Chris Johnston via NHLTradeTalk

This news is buoyed by another COVID-19 vaccine that claims to be almost 95% effective against the virus. Hopefully large quantities can get out in time for the benefit of everyone, not just hockey.