The NHL GM meetings are a bustling time for the league. Normally.
What is usually a three-day summit of all NHL general managers and major media members, turned into a short afternoon virtually meeting that took less time to get through than the Snyder Cut.
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun:
Wednesday’s meeting lasted two hours and 22 minutes, a far cry from the three-day meeting GMs are used to in a pre-pandemic world.
And there wasn’t a whole lot of dialogue from GMs in terms of questions for the league. I think you just get this feeling around the league that it’s just about trying to get through this season and turning the page as soon as possible.
The biggest and most concrete detail to come from the NHL GM meeting was the proposed start date for the 2021-22 season. The league posed the October 12th, 2021 date to NHL GMs but the date must still be passed by the NHLPA before it is official. Other topics covered in the meeting included the plans for international competition and NHL player involvement in them, the NHL Draft format, and possible rule changes.
As far as the NHL is still concerned, the plans for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remain the same. NHL players are expected to participate in the Olympic Games in February of 2022, as was part of the four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement last year, but all of that is still pending that a deal can be reached between the IOC and IIHF.
As for the Men’s World Championships this summer in Latvia, everything is status quo, according to LeBrun.
On a day when the women’s IIHF world championships was canceled in Nova Scotia — just brutal news, although the IIHF and Hockey Canada hope to still hold the event somewhere this summer — the NHL informed GMs that the men’s worlds appear to be moving forward in Latvia.
There was a question in some quarters as to whether the NHL would allow players to participate this year given the pandemic, sources say NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told GMs on the call that the players are entitled to go on the same basis they’ve gone in prior years.
The NHL Draft is still on schedule for July 23rd and 24th and will be held virtually just like last draft. The meeting did address ways to speed up the draft process for day two, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
There was no debate over any proposed rule changes, according to reports, but the league did bring up coach’s challenges, puck over glass penalties, and cross-checks. While there were no formal moves made for changes to any rules, the presentation made by NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell on cross-checks was received as a possible crack-down by the league on stick penalties as whole.
The short meeting and little extra discussion between the league and the general managers gives little wiggle room for interpretation on what the 2021-22 season may look like from a rules and regulations stand-point. Like LeBrun said, it seems that the league is trying its best to close the book on 2021 as smoothly and quickly as possible and move on to a hopefully brighter future in the 2021-22 season and beyond.