Missing Stan Mikita, NHL Salary Cap Increase? Dog Days of Summer Content, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Missing Stan Mikita, NHL Salary Cap Increase? Dog Days of Summer Content, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

“The dog days are over
The dog days are done

The horses are coming
So you better run” – Florence + The Machine 

Only they are in full force in the hockey world.

The NHL offseason is now in the long march to training camp and the Chicago Blackhawks have just one more order of business to take care of before camp opens in September. With Alexander Nylander’s contract that last piece of the offseason puzzle in Chicago, for what we know, the Blackhawks will likely only be in the news cycle for things happening away from the ice within the organization. That is unless they pull-off another major trade this summer, but I don’t see it in the cards.

•   With the organization in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, it makes a day like today sting even a bit more as three years ago today, the hockey world lost the legendary Stan Mikita. One of the greatest Blackhawks players of all time, Mikita was a role model on and off the ice for Chicago fans, and a player that the club could use at a time like this.

•   Mikita holds the Blackhawks records for games played (1,396), assists (926), points (1,467), playoff games played (155), and playoff points (150).

•   His records on the ice are only matched by his memory off it from the hockey world and Blackhawks fans alike. Three years ago upon his passing, one of the best to ever do it, Bob Verdi remembered Mikita’s legacy within the Blackhawks organization as “the Soul of the Blackhawks.”

•   There will may never be another player like Mikita for the franchise.

•   Also in remembrance of Mikita, a look back at what hockey looked like on the ice when he played in Chicago, thanks to this photo from “The Hockey Samurai.”

•   I don’t know if it’s the picture or the lighting of the old Chicago Stadium, but why is it so dark?! A much different game than today.

•   Speaking of today’s NHL, well more like next year’s NHL, it appears that the flat-cap era of modern hockey will likely come to an end in the 2022-23 season. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli is reporting that the league is looking at a potential $1M increase in the salary cap from $81.5M to $82.5M next season.

•   From Seravalli’s report:

A rise to $82.5 million in 2022-23 would likely trigger the start of a “lag formula,” as agreed upon in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association in 2020, that could see the salary cap climb $1 million each offseason until the escrow balance owed to owners is paid off.

According to sources, the NHL is projecting hockey-related revenue in the $4.8 billion range for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Given that figure includes the increased revenue generated from the two new U.S. national television rights deals with the Walt Disney Company (ESPN) and Warner Media (Turner Sports), plus the juice from a new Kraken club that will almost surely be in the top quartile in revenue, that the NHL’s projection is still south of the pre-pandemic pace of $4.9 billion in 2019-20 would suggest that league bean counters believe some buildings will not be back to full capacity for at least a chunk of this upcoming season.

•   With the direction that we are seeing COVID-19 cases going right now, with the Delta variant on the rise, it is not out of the realm of possibility that some NHL clubs may have to go to proof of vaccination and strict mask policies, as well as possibly reducing the amount of fans in the stands after seeing some arenas head back to full capacity by the end of last season.

•   A quick reminder to get the vaccine if you are able to and have not yet, so that EVERYONE can have our normal lives back.

•   The league’s operation at a flat $81.5M salary cap since the beginning of the 2019-2o season has provided challenges to many NHL clubs and forced some to make harsh roster decisions. But with the money that was thrown around this offseason, so far, the league has seemed to adapt to the flat number, including the Blackhawks, who have improved their team on paper this summer and are still going to come into the 2021-22 season with some cap room to spare. We’ll see what they do with that space and if they can use it effectively with the team, seemingly, headed back in the right direction on the ice.

•   In the spirit of the dog days of summer, here is some more NHL-related dog content from Bruins forward Charlie Coyle…

•   On an afternoon like today in Chicago (temperatures reaching 90 degrees and humid) that pools looks absolutely refreshing!

•   On a final note today, yesterday we gave a tip of the hockey helmet to the Men’s Team USA Basketball squad with Bulls star Zach LaVine winning the Gold Medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Today, the Team USA Women’s squad also took home the Gold Medal and two long-time WNBA stars, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, became the first basketball players in Olympics history to win FIVE Gold Medals!

•   An incredible accomplishment for the Team USA Women’s squad and for Bird and Taurasi.

•   That will do it for today. I hope you all enjoy your Sunday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.