Back On the Ice: NHL Edition

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Players head back out on the ice.

Rachel Dearing, Staff Writer

Fans are very excited for the return of the NHL (National Hockey League)  and NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) 2020-2021 season. However, as they saw in the summer,  there will be adjustments to keep players, coaches, and others safe from COVID-19. During the summer the NHL held the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup finals without fans, but have decided  for the 2020-2021 season to have a limited number of fans. The teams will decide how many fans will be allowed in the arena at each game.  The NHL has been discussing whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for players. The season will still wrap up on May 8. and four teams from separate divisions will qualify for the 2020-2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

 

The 2021 divisions will look different this year. The NHL has shifted the divisions and all of the 31 teams will be placed into a new division. As fans anticipate the new season here is what they should aspect for new divisions: 

North: Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks. 

East: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils,  New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals.  

Central: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lighting. 

West: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, and St.Louis Blues. 

 

The kick off games were held on Jan.13 with results of: Vancouver Canucks beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-3, Philadelphia flyers beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3, St.Louis blues beating Colorado Avalanche 4-1, Toronto Maple Leafs beating the Canadiens 5-4, and the 2020-2019 Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lighting, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. The teams will continue to play in their own arenas for most of the season due to COVID-19. However,  health authorities do not want teams flying in and out of Canada for games. The NHL is still deciding whether or not to create a bubble for teams in the north division to play only each other, or possibly relocating them to the United States. 

 

Current Standings: (they will change as the season progresses) 

Central Division:

  1. Tampa Bay Lighting 
  2. Carolina Hurricanes
  3.  Nashville Predators
  4. Florida Panthers
  5. Detroit Red Wings
  6.  Blue Jackets
  7. Chicago Blackhawks
  8.  Dallas Stars

East Division: 

  1. Philadelphia Flyers
  2. Washington Capitals 
  3. New Jersey Devil
  4. New York Islanders
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Boston Bruins
  7. New York Rangers
  8. Buffalo Sabres  

West Division: 

  1. Vegas Golden Knights 
  2. Minnesota Wild
  3. St.Louis Blues
  4. Colorado Avalanche 
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Anaheim Ducks
  7. Arizona Coyotes
  8. Los Angeles Kings

North Division: 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs 
  2. Montreal Canadiens
  3. Calgary Flames
  4. Edmonton Oilers
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Winnipeg Jets
  7. Ottawa Senators

The NHL has not only announced new COVID-19, protocols but they have also changed rules for the 2020-2021 season. The one major rule that was changed affects how offsides are enforced. “Players will no longer have to have to have their skate in contact with the blue line to remain inside, thus meaning the blue line becomes a parallel line.” NBCsports said, “ This has been a talking point for years in the league, especially with offside reviews highlighting just how many goals get overturned because a player’s skate was a quarter of an inch off the ice when the puck enters the zone. This rule change will allow for more goals, and that is good for everybody.”  Hopefully the teams stay safe throughout the season and go Blues!