An hour ago, Larry Brooks made a rare guest appearance on WFAN in New York with Chris Moore. The Hockey Hall of Fame columnist of the New York Post talked plenty of hockey with Moore, who unlike other hosts, loves and respects the sport. It was a good spot.
On the prospect of starting the new season next January 13, Brooks feels it’s unrealistic. That’s largely based on how quick the training camps would be after the New Year. If they agreed on the much discussed 2021 target date, then you’d have teams starting up practices on Jan. 2. That would only give the players 11 days to prepare. Hardly enough time in my view.
Yes. I actually agree with Brooks here. Even if he can be polarizing and write controversial columns for clicks and viewership, he usually is a good interview. In many aspects, he reminds me of other beat writers that don’t always come across as well in what they write, but are better at expressing their thoughts on the radio. I guess that’s not surprising. You can better understand their views.
I myself believe a later start would be ideal. I know hockey fans don’t want to wait much longer. But between the organization of the 56-game schedule and the proposed NHL realignment with an all Canadian division and the COVID pandemic which will include daily testing as it did in last summer’s successful playoff bubble, it seems that a February 1 startup date makes more sense. That way players can get vaccinated along with NHL personnel. That’s assuming they give the go-ahead on the FDA approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.
Plus if they were allowed to have a longer camp, it could help teams get acclimated better. Players also don’t want to get injured due to rushing back into a condensed schedule that’ll be more regional. Of course, injuries can happen anywhere and anytime. So take that for what it’s worth.
One topic Moore touched on with Brooks is how he’s doing in such a hectic year. I’m happy to report that Larry is doing fine along with his family. He said he’s been very fortunate health wise and has a steady job where he can work from home. He certainly seemed very appreciative of everything, but cognizant of what 2020 has been like for so many affected families.
Brooks also gave a ton of credit to both the players and NHL on how successful they were in the two bubbles at Edmonton and Toronto. They adhered to the strict rules and there wasn’t one positive test. A tremendous accomplishment for the league. They had a wonderful expanded Stanley Cup Tournament complete with eight Play-In Series. There were some upsets. But in the end, the best team prevailed with the Lightning conquering past demons to defeat the Stars in six games and capture the franchise’s second ever Stanley Cup Championship.
Interestingly, he referred to himself as a “pawn“, when the personable Moore mentioned that Brooks hasn’t limited himself to hockey. He has contributed baseball columns over the past decade and has enough knowledge on the four major sports. For however long he sticks around for, Brooks is one of the few remaining links to the exciting era of 90’s hockey. One which saw the Rangers win the Cup in ’94 and the Devils win the first of three Cups in ’95. An exciting era that also featured legendary superstars Mark Messier, Martin Brodeur, Wayne Gretzky, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Leetch and Scott Stevens. Great players who were a huge part of the Hudson Rivalry. Of course with Gretzky having the biggest impact on the sport.
Whenever the new season begins, the questions surrounding Alex Ovechkin will start up on whether the electrifying Russian star can chase down Gretzky. I no longer see it as possible due to all the games lost. Don’t forget he’s unrestricted with the Capitals next summer.
How will Alexis Lafreniere look in that number 13 Blueshirt? There’s so much excitement surrounding the 19-year old top pick from the Province of Quebec. Where will he slot in? There will be plenty of more questions as we draw nearer to 2021.
You can catch the Brooks interview with Moore over on Radio.com.
Yeah I agree a 48-game schedule with a longer camp would be better. I guess there are TV reasons why they seem stuck on 54-56 games. You also have to factor in the NBA’s quick turnaround, people are wondering why the NBA is back (already playing preseason games with a Christmas start) and the NHL isn’t. I thought opening the NHL on New Year’s Day would have been ideal a few weeks back, but we’re likely past that point.
I believe it has a lot to do with the lack of a strong TV deal along with advertisements. Hockey is different than the other major sports. Yet has a huge international following. I also feel they had to delay due to the loss of gate revenue. Some teams can’t handle it. So the players had to give more back. Plus the whole division realignment and creating a unique schedule. It all added up. I knew that they would start later.