If you didn’t think the NHL had sufficient time to really dig into the finer details while ironing out the framework on the collective bargaining agreement, think again.
For instance, included in the new policy is the apparent eradication of fully-operational team facilities during the summer months.
Why? Evidently, it’s because the Toronto Maple Leafs were having success developing their players with it.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, a collection of teams had raised the issue with the league, claiming that it was an unfair practice. The NHL insider said in an interview with the FAN590 on Friday morning: "Toronto was a team that, a lot of their prospects, or a number of them, would come to Toronto in the summer and they'd work out at the practice facility and they really improved as players. And teams were like we don't like that."
This is the section relevant to #LeafsForever off-season camps, it's worth noting the language "even where Players may want to utilize such services".— Earl Schwartz (@EarlSchwartz27) July 17, 2020
It makes sense from the perspective of the PA, this way players will not feel pressured to do additional summer training. pic.twitter.com/jgn8K5arWT
First of all, what a concept — that players and prospects could benefit from training in a professional environment. And if that wasn’t obvious already, the appropriate response to these findings should have been to simply cut a cheque in order to keep their training facilities open as well.
Instead, it seems the Leafs, who have always played a major role in propping up the rest of the league from a financial perspective, will have to forfeit another competitive advantage, and another one borne simply out of the willingness to spend.
This means that moving forward, prospects will have to train on their own and established veterans can’t live in the team facilities to rehabilitate major injuries.
That begs the question: would Zach Hyman have had the same season without it?
The NHL will always work to even the playing field, something that will always come to the detriment of the Maple Leafs.
But actively trying to lower the bar? There’s no reason for the league to ever agree to that.
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