Oilers’ Green opts out of restart plan

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mike Green has opted out of the NHL's restart plan, the team announced Saturday.

"Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and after much consideration, I've decided for deeply personal family health reasons not to participate in the return to play," Green said in a statement.

"This has been a hard decision knowing I'm going to miss the opportunity to compete in the playoffs with a Stanley Cup contender. I wish the best of luck to the guys and I appreciate the Edmonton Oilers' support," he continued.

Green joins Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic and Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi on the list of players who've chosen not to play. Any player wishing to opt out can do so without facing any punishment so long as they inform their respective teams by Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

The Oilers acquired Green from the Detroit Red Wings before February's trade deadline. Due to his decision, Edmonton will give the Red Wings its 2020 fourth-round selection, according to The Athletic's Jonathan Willis. The pick could've been upgraded to a 2021 third-rounder based on Green's playoff performance.

Green, 34, is an impending unrestricted free agent. He notched 11 points in 50 games in 2019-20 but only appeared in two contests with the Oilers before suffering a knee injury.

The Oilers will battle the 12th-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in their play-in series.

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Teams not permitted to disclose injuries, illness during playoffs

All 24 teams participating in the NHL's return-to-play plan will not be permitted to disclose information regarding player injuries or illnesses, the league announced Saturday.

"Given the unique circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, effective with the start of Phase 3 (Monday, July 13) and, including the entirety of the Phase 4 Return to Play, the NHL and NHL Players' Association have mutually agreed that clubs are not permitted to disclose player injury and/or illness information. This policy was adopted out of respect for an individual player's right to medical privacy. The league will continue to announce, on a regular basis throughout Phase 3 and Phase 4, positive player test results for COVID-19 while not releasing individual player or team identities," reads the statement.

The NHL and NHLPA officially ratified a CBA extension and all necessary return-to play-safety protocols for the hub locations in Toronto and Edmonton on Friday. Coaches, players, and any other team members will be tested daily during Phase 4 (playoffs), according to the NHL.

During Phase 2, which permitted limited groups of skaters to participate in voluntary on- and off-ice workouts, 35 NHLers returned positive tests.

Teams are scheduled to report to their respective hub destinations July 26, with qualifying-round games slated to begin Aug. 1.

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Canucks’ Baertschi opts out of return-to-play

Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi has told the club he won't be participating in the NHL's return-to-play plan, the team announced Saturday.

"Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL return-to-play program," Benning said. "It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand."

The Canucks added 21-year-old winger Kole Lind to their return-to-play roster in place of Baertschi.

Baertschi is the second player to opt out of the restart after Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic withdrew late Friday night. Those who wish to opt out are permitted to do so without punishment if they inform their team by Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

The 27-year-old winger spent the majority of the campaign with the AHL's Utica Comets, tallying 13 goals and 46 points in 43 games. In six games with Vancouver, Baerstchi contributed two assists.

The Canucks will take on the Minnesota Wild in their best-of-five qualifying series. NHL training camps are set to open July 13 with games scheduled to get underway Aug. 1.

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Stamkos dealing with lower-body injury, won’t be full participant to start camp

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos won't be a full participant when the club's training camp opens Monday after he sustained a lower-body injury during Phase 2 of the league's return-to-play protocol, general manager Julien Brisbois said Saturday, according to team writer Bryan Burns.

There is no specific timeline for Stamkos' full return to training camp, but he's expected to be ready when the team takes the ice against the Washington Capitals on Aug. 3, Brisbois said.

Stamkos underwent core-muscle surgery in February and was expected to miss the remainder of the regular season before the league suspended play on March 12. The 30-year-old forward tallied 29 goals and 66 points through 57 games this season.

The Lightning are slated to compete in a round-robin tournament with the Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Philadelphia Flyers to establish the Eastern Conference's top four seeds for the 16-team playoff bracket.

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Flames’ Hamonic opts out of NHL’s restart plan due to family reasons

Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic informed the team that he's opting out of the NHL's play-in tournament due to family concerns, the club announced Friday.

Hamonic is the first player to opt out of the restart. Anyone wishing to opt out can do so without punishment if they inform their team by Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

"Earlier this evening, Travis called me to inform us that he has decided to opt out of the NHL return-to-play program. Travis explained that due to family considerations, he has made the difficult decision not to participate in the Stanley Cup Qualifier and playoffs," general manager Brad Treliving said.

"While we will miss Travis in our lineup, we understand and respect his decision. Our focus remains on preparation for training camp and our upcoming series in the NHL qualifying round," he added.

Hamonic appeared in 50 games for the Flames this past campaign, registering 12 points while averaging over 21 minutes per night. He is an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

The Flames are slated to take on the Winnipeg Jets in their best-of-five play-in series. Training camps open July 13, and each club will report to their respective hub city by July 26 with games beginning Aug. 1.

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NHL releases schedule for qualifying round

The NHL released its schedule for the qualifying-round matchups in the 24-team playoff following the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play protocols.

The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers will kick things off in Toronto on Aug. 1, while the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers will open play in Edmonton.

The times of each game haven't been officially set, but the league is reportedly planning to begin contests in each hub city at noon, 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. local time.

The winners of each best-of-five series will fill out seeds Nos. 5-8 in each conference to set up the traditional 16-team playoff bracket. The East's Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, and Washington Capitals, as well as the West's Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Dallas Stars, will compete in separate round-robin tournaments to determine the top four seeds in each conference.

The qualifying round is scheduled to be completed in 10 days, with the 16-team postseason slated to begin Aug. 11. The second phase of the draft lottery is scheduled one day prior on Aug. 10. One of the losing clubs in the qualifying round will earn the draft's top selection after a placeholder team won the first phase of the lottery in June.

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NHL, NHLPA ratify CBA, return-to-play protocols

The NHL and NHLPA ratified an extension of the collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play protocols Friday.

"Today, the NHL and the NHLPA announced a significant agreement that addresses the uncertainty everyone is dealing with, the framework for the completion of the 2019-20 season, and the foundation for the continued long-term growth of our league," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The CBA extension runs through September 2026, and the agreement officially paves the way for the league to proceed with the 24-team playoff tournament hosted in Toronto and Edmonton this summer. Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, and the Western Conference will congregate in Edmonton.

Here's a look at the key dates of the plan:

Date Event
July 13 Training camps open
July 26 Teams arrive in hub cities
July 28-30 Exhibitions
Aug. 1 Qualifiers begin
Aug. 10* Phase 2 of draft lottery
Aug. 11 1st round of playoffs
Aug. 25* 2nd round of playoffs
Sept. 8* Conference finals
Sept. 22* Stanley Cup Final begins
Oct. 4* Last possible date for playoffs
Oct. 9-10* NHL draft

* Tentative date

Under revamped terms of the CBA, players will defer 10% of next year's salary, and the salary cap will remain stagnant at $81.5 million, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Monday to opt out of the return to play, Johnston reports. They don't have to provide a reason, and those who opt out won't be penalized as long as they inform their teams by the deadline.

Despite the safety protocols and the guarantee of labor peace, COVID-19 outbreaks could still jeopardize the league's playoff plans. Between June 8 and July 6, 35 NHLers tested positive.

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Hockey Hall of Fame reopening to public Wednesday

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced it will be reopening its doors to the public next Wednesday.

The historic attraction in downtown Toronto has been closed since March 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 70% reduction in capacity will be implemented and all guests will be required to wear a mask while inside.

Visitors will be permitted to have their picture taken with the Stanley Cup, but will not be allowed to touch the trophy.

The Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class in June. Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, and Doug Wilson were inducted as players, and longtime NHL executive Ken Holland was enshrined in the builder category.

The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto.

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