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What you need to know about COVID-19 today
A plethora of pandemic ponderings:
• Heading into the final month of 2020, we have a new leader. It was the year in the world of sports that many might have remembered for Edmonton setting the record for most NHL Stanley Cup playoff games played in one location and without fans in the stands, plus most international (world junior) hockey games played in the same circumstances.
But the NFL Denver Broncos topped that Sunday. Most quarterbacks (all four) scratched because of positive tests for COVID-19 and replaced by a wide receiver off the practice roster as starting quarterback. Can’t top that.
• With the required 14-day quarantines for players coming from other countries and a two-week training camp to follow, to have a 60-game season starting Jan. 1, the NHL-NHLP deadline is … Wednesday.
• While I personally prefer the concept of road trips involving back-to-back two-game visits to about three cities, that’s not the way to go with the current COVID-19 numbers.
Starting with divisional hub bubbles would be the safest. And if the start-up date ends up being after Jan. 5 — following the gold-medal game of the world junior championships — it would make the most sense for the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, Jets, Flames, Oilers and Canucks to first follow the juniors and move into a bubble here for a round of games against each other, and then go to Toronto and rebuild the Stanley Cup playoff bubble there.
Then go to the traveling schedule when the vaccine starts to kick in.
• My Canadian division predictions: 1. Toronto, 2. Edmonton, 3. Calgary, 4. Montreal, 5. Winnipeg, 6. Vancouver, 7. Ottawa. That’s right. First-round playoff series Toronto-Montreal and Edmonton-Calgary.
• If I’m running a Canadian division team in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, with the border shutdown and the Canucks, Flames, Oilers and Jets playing in a Canadian Division, I’d want my minor-league teams playing each other in mini-bubble situations somewhere in Western Canada this year.
• I can’t see how Curling Canada could possibly afford to fly all 14 teams for the Scotties and all 14 teams for the Brier, each complete with five players and a coach, to one location to play in a bubble.
I can’t see Curling Canada being able to pay all the expenses with next to no income and hold a bubble combining both events with the current formats. Bringing in Nunavut to lose six straight games at the Brier and go home still looking for a win can’t be looking like such a great idea right now.
• The arrival of a vaccine should save the Tokyo Olympics. If the coronavirus numbers remain higher than they were when Canada decided not to send a team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, our nation would have no choice but to make that decision again.
• I don’t really care if Toronto builds a new ballpark. Sure would be great news, though, if Montreal built one.
• What a raw deal for Devon Levi, Alex Newhook and Dylan Holloway. They’re Team Canada’s NCAA players who have all just completed their 14-day quarantines. During those 14 days, they were permitted to skate with each other for an hour or so.
Not now. They were all informed they will now remain in quarantine with the group and the same no-skating edict as the other players, so as not to increase the risk to the entire group once quarantine is over.
So far, while Holloway has been in quarantine in his Red Deer hotel room, the University of Wisconsin Badgers he led to two wins in Notre Dame have played six games. Holloway has yet to have one practice. He might not play his first pre-tournament game until Dec. 21 versus Sweden in Rogers Place.
• So, Hockey Canada is trying to figure out things for their players to do while they are in quarantine. I’ve got an idea. How about making them available for one-on-one telephone interviews? Hometown and junior hockey team markets would really appreciate that.
• Things have been so quiet with Randy Gregg’s new West Coast college summer league baseball team since they revealed their team name that I’ve already forgotten their team name.
• Can’t wait to find out how many NFL players test positive during Super Bowl Week.
• Good move by Edmonton Ex-imos to have another 50-50 on the heels of the first annual Joey Moss Memorial Fund one that produced an EE record payout of $495,900.
Hope Edmonton fans can do the same again for the Huskies, Wildcats and Golden Bears, normal benefactors (and ticket sellers) from 50-50 games during the season.
• I’d think this winter would definitely be the occasion to build your kid a backyard hockey rink.
E-mail: [email protected]
On Twitter: @byterryjones
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