This remains a fluid situation as the NHL and the Nashville Predators work to get back on the ice to eventually crown a 2019-20 Stanley Cup winner.
Another step forward has likely been taken by the NHL and the NHLPA as they work to reach an agreement on the next phases of returning to play. The season has been on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly four months.
Per NHL.com, the new agreement largely has to do with a new CBA that will extend through 2025-26, but it also has more immediate ramifications with key dates to get back to playing games.
Both sides still need to officially agree on the new plans for Phases 3 and 4, which includes a quickly approaching training camp to get ready for a 24-team postseason. TSN’s Bob McKenzie has been a fantastic source of information through all of this:
Dates for training camp, actual games
For the Nashville Predators, they’re right in the mix of 24 teams who can compete for the Stanley Cup if everything goes according to plan, and the timeline is starting to get more clarity after today’s announcement.
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According to the most recent reports, now training camps are set to begin on July 13, instead of the original date of July 10. Ratification is still needed, but it looks likely that things will continue to move forward.
The biggest date from all of this is when actual games will start taking place, and that date looks to be August 1. That has been the common belief for a while now.
The Nashville Predators have already been prepping to return to action by getting workouts in, most notably team captain Roman Josi. Others have had trickier ways to getting back to Nashville, including Pekka Rinne.
This training camp to essentially prepare for playoff hockey is going to be strange and new territory to say the least. It’s been easy to worry that this would ever come to fruition, but as of now it looks to still be moving forward.
However, time is obviously of the essence. Not just to complete this season with a Stanley Cup winner, but also by not dramatically affecting a complete 82-game season following this one.
The NHL is also taking every precaution they can for player safety by conducting testing and protecting the players who do test positive. Per a statement from NHL Public Relations, nearly 400 players have reported to training facilities, and nearly 3,000 tests conducted:
There will be no shortage of storylines to follow as the Predators get to training camp as Head Coach John Hynes gets the unique opportunity to put his stamp on his team, something he wouldn’t be able to do under normal circumstances until an actual offseason occurred.
The Predators are a team full of veteran playoff experience, and locking in and focusing in such a chaotic and uncertain situation is something they’ll need to do. Teams like the Predators might have better chances at that than younger, inexperienced teams.
Virtually every major sports league is going through similar circumstances of resuming play as the NHL is going through. As we learn more about the NHL and the Nashville Predators getting back to action, we will be sure to keep you informed.