NHL News: Tentative 2021-22 season start date, league made no promises to players about easing COVID restrictions, and Nick Foligno to debut for Leafs

There’s a tentative date set for next season, which is great news for hockey fans. October 12th is when the NHL is planning on starting the 2021-22 season. This means that we should be seeing a return to normal scheduling since this is about a week off from the usual early October start dates.

Other NHL News from the GM Meetings

The Olympics and World Championships were discussed with the plan to still participate in the Beijing Olympics next February. Also discussed was the topic of LTIR but the league’s position stands as it is, and they will continue to monitor for any abuses.

Finally, per Pierre LeBrun an interesting rule change was proposed by Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekkalainen. Pucks over the glass in the defensive zone are not an automatic penalty unless the defender is in full possession of the puck. This is a tremendous idea and one that needs to be implemented immediately.

Deputy Commissioner sets record straight on vaccines

robin lehner vaccine
Mar 27, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) prior to the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Robin Lehner caused a stir with his feeling about getting vaccinated and then told no restrictions would be eased due to “competitive advantage.” Lehner was frustrated and said he felt lied to about the situation.

At some point we got to start looking at the mental health of the people around us, not just the NHL, but everyone in society – how can we start getting back to normalcy,” he explained. “The problem is going to be huge, but being lied to about things changing to kinda force us to take the vaccine – unacceptable.”

Later in the day, Deputy Commissioner sympathized with Lehner but set the record straight on vaccines and restrictions. “With respect to saying there was ever a promise made to the players by the League with respect to relaxed protocols, that is not true,” he said via NHL.com. “I am sympathetic to and understand his concerns and the sacrifices he’s making to play. But that can’t override what our judgment is as to keeping the players healthy and safe.”

Nick Foligno excited for Maple Leafs Debut

Wearing his dad’s Maple Leafs cap, Nick Foligno was all smiles as he’s pumped full of adrenaline to make his Toronto debut. “It was a ’93 edition here. I think it’s got the Starter logo on the back,” he said about his father Mike who played for the Leafs from 1990-94. “Nice to be able to rock it and bring a little bit of the old with the new.”

Foligno will debut on a line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. What a way to start.