Bruins

NHL Rumors: League eyeing all-Canada restart in these two hub cities

NHL Rumors: League eyeing all-Canada restart in these two hub cities

Call it the International Hockey League.

The NHL has landed on Edmonton and Toronto as its two hub cities to host the restart of the 2019-20 NHL season, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Tuesday.

Nothing is finalized yet: Players still have to vote on the NHL's return-to-play proposal later this week, and McKenzie warned of "last-minute complications" that derailed Vancouver and Las Vegas as potential hub cities.

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If Edmonton and Toronto are the hub cities, though, it means the rest of the season will be played in Canada. It also means a Stanley Cup champion will be crowned in Canada for the first time since 2011, when the Boston Bruins took down the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver.

The Bruins have a legitimate shot to win the 2020 Stanley Cup, as they enter the restarted season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with the NHL's best record. Boston is set to play a round-robin tournament against the other top three seeds in the East -- the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers -- to determine playoff seeding.

The B's likely would play these games in Toronto -- home of the rival Maple Leafs -- which is expected to be the East's hub city while Edmonton hosts the West. Toronto (and Canada in general) has fared better than many U.S. cities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with just over 14,320 total confirmed COVID-19 cases since early March (as of June 29).

The Bruins and other NHL teams are set to begin training camp July 10 as they ramp up for the target return date of July 30.

Rangers win 2020 NHL Draft lottery, chance to select Alexis Lafreniere

Rangers win 2020 NHL Draft lottery, chance to select Alexis Lafreniere

The New York Rangers will have the No. 1 overall selection in this year's NHL Draft.

They were the winners of Monday night's draft lottery, which means they'll have the chance to select highly touted prospect Alexis Lafreniere.


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The Rangers finished the regular season with 79 points and were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes -- the Boston Bruins' first-round playoff opponent -- in their qualifying round series.

Lafrenière, 18, is almost unanimously considered the obvious pick at No. 1. While the Rangers are already in pretty good shape at left wing, it'll be hard to pass up the opportunity to draft a generational talent.

The NHL Draft is scheduled to take place Oct. 9.

Bruins-Hurricans Preview: Which team has the edge in NHL playoff series?

Bruins-Hurricans Preview: Which team has the edge in NHL playoff series?

The Bruins certainly didn’t take the path of least resistance in losing all four games of the round robin.

Instead, they plopped themselves into the path of the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round after they trounced the New York Rangers in the qualifying round. The Canes are young, skilled, fast and have pretty good depth up front and on defense and are almost as adept at the special teams game as the Bruins at this point in their development.

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Interestingly, both teams are loading up on top lines of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak against Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, and both teams have considerable talent on the back end. Carolina might be a little lighter when it comes to their shutdown defensemen than the Black and Gold, but they are also younger and faster as a group headed into the seven-game series. Plus, the addition of Dougie Hamilton would be significant if he’s healthy enough to play.

Either way, though, Bruce Cassidy expects the same coaching staffs and similar personnel to play out in the same type of hockey as it during last spring’s Eastern Conference Final. That would seem to bode well for Boston.  

“Same coaching staffs on both sides and a lot of the same players, so you can see the tendencies from last year will probably play into this year’s series. For us, we felt when we were able to counter Carolina’s puck pressure with good support and execution and good decision-making, that’s when we were at our best in that series. So that will be our game plan going in,” said Cassidy. “It comes down to making the right plays at the right times against that pressure. Who wins the battles against the walls? Who wins the foot races to loose pucks in the neutral zone after those board battles?

“Last year our power play was good against Carolina and it helped us out a lot. It helped us win games, so that’s something that will be a big X-Factor in this series. Can we replicate that success?”

So who has the edge in the head-to-head matchups in a Tale of the Tape? We’re so glad you asked.

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