Quick Hits: October 23, 2020
1) The National Hockey League on Thursday announced the cancellations of the 2021 Winter Classic and 2011 All-Star weekend (skills competition and the All-Star Game itself). Both events were axed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The League and the NHLPA both maintain that the targeted Jan. 1, 2021 start date for the regular season remains intact.
However, from a practical standpoint, the format of the 2020-21 season remains fluid as does the viable timing: In-conference games only? Temporary divisional realignments to address border crossing issues? Regional mini-bubbles? Establishing the viability and then setting a plan to progressively allow fans to attend games again at the arenas? Will there be a place to send farm-team bound prospects until there's an AHL season, and what's the plan in lieu of one?
Until there are directives from the NHL about all of these issues (and more), the Jan. 1 plan is more abstraction than reality.
The 2021 Winter Classic, featuring the host Minnesota Wild vs. the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis was originally scheduled for New Year's Day 2021. The Florida Panthers were set to host the 2021 NHL All-Star Weekend at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Jan. 29-30. The NHL pledged to have both events at those two venues in the near future; perhaps as soon as the 2021-22 season. Additionally, no date or site (assuming it can held live rather than by teleconference format) for the 2021 NHL Draft has been set as of yet. The 2020 Draft was to be held in Montreal before the pandemic delayed the event until October and forced a format change from a live Draft to a virtual one.
2) ICYMI: On the Flyers official website we took a look at what the five players the Flyers selected in the 2020 Draft have been doing since the Draft
, including the three prospects whose delayed 2020-21 seasons have not yet begun. Coming up later today or tomorrow is a new edition of Therien's Take, in which Chris Therien shares his viewpoints on the underwhelming free agency season this year, the omnipresent Patrik Laine trade rumors, the need for teams to build from within due to the likely cumulative effects of the flat salary cap ceiling and why middle-tier free agents find themselves taking one-year deals in many cases.
3) Flyers forward prospect Olle Lycksell scored a circus goal on Thursday in Färjestad BK's 7-3 win over Örebro HK. The tally was Lycksell's second of the season.
4) Flyers 2020 second round pick, Emil Andrae, was selected (as expected) for the Swedish Under-20 national team roster for a three-game set against the Finnish Under-20 national team from Nov. 5 to 7 in Malmö, Sweden. In SHL action on Thursday, Andrae and Linus Sandin's HV71 club defeated Samuel Ersson and Brynäs in a high-scoring 6-4 game at Husqvarna Garden. Andrae skated 12:57 of ice time and was on the ice for two BIF goals. Sandin missed the game due to an undisclosed injury.Ersson had his first rough outing of the season, giving up six goals on 23 shots.
5) Today in Flyers History: October 23
* 1967: Flyers general manager Bud Poile purchased the contract of rugged defenseman Larry "the Rock" Zeidel from the Cleveland Barons (AHL). Zeidel had been a favorite of Poile's when the latter coached the Montreal native with the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League in the early 1950s. By now, Zeidel was 39 years old. He sent a resume to Poile and a letter asking for consideration either for a playing opportunity or an off-ice job, enclosing photos of himself both in a hockey uniform and a business suit.
Poile gave Zeidel, who last played in the NHL for Chicago in 1953-54, a chance to make the fledgling NHL team and he appeared in 57 regular season games plus all seven games of the Flyers quarterfinal series against St. Louis. Zeidel played nine additional games for coach Keith Allen in 1968-69 and then retired.
Zeidel later spent one season (1971-72) as a color commentator on Flyers broadcasts (which had a limited number of telecasts in those days, with the rest being on the radio). The late Gene Hart once told a funny story about Zeidel's short-lived broadcasting career. Three times in a single period, which saw Philly fall behind 3-1, Hart threw inquiries about plays/penalty calls over to his partner for comment.
Each time, Zeidel replied, "The fans seen it, Gene. They don't like it."
At intermission Hart gently reminded Zeidel, "Rock, the fans can't see what's happening. We're on the radio."
* 1982: Bobby Clarke appeared in his 1,000th NHL game. He is the only player in Flyers history to have played at least 1,000 regular season games as a Flyer (1,144 in all). Flyers captain Claude Giroux, with 889 regular season games played to date, is 111 games away from becoming the second to accomplish the feat.
* 2001: The Flyers named Keith Primeau as the 13th captain in team history.