I recently had the pleasure of talking with Terry Koshan. Terry is a sports reporter for the Toronto Sun newspaper. We discussed the NHL shutdown, the current Maple Leafs as well as the future of the Maple Leafs. For this article I will refer to myself as JR and Terry TK.
JR: Hello Terry, thanks for taking some time to talk hockey with me today.
TK: No problem Jeremy.
JR: Ok, let’s get right to it.
JR: Do you think teams will start practicing before June?
TK: It’s unlikely, considering the NHL, at this point, is hoping to move into Phase 2 in the mid-to-later portion of May. In that case, we’re looking at small group activities at team facilities, but that’s not a guarantee either. No hard dates have been set, so I don’t see teams practising before June.
JR: How do you like the idea of the NHL having just four or six neutral sites?
TK: The idea of having four or six neutral sites to get the NHL back playing is fine, but so many logistics have to be worked out before that can happen. Going to a handful of sites could get the game back quicker than waiting for all 31 cities to be deemed safe to play.
JR: This is very true as each Province and State has different lockdown procedures in place.
JR: What would the time frame be for ending the season?
TK: It’s hard to say what the time frame would be for ending the season without knowing yet when it would start. We’re still not sure what hockey will be played once it resumes, the rest of the regular season and playoffs, or straight to the postseason.
JR: That’s true. The latest rumour going around is to finish the regular season in July. That would then be followed by Playoffs in August and September. We’ll have to wait and see
JR: How do like the Maple Leafs chances with only Andreas Johnsson on IR?
TK: The Maple Leafs should be in good shape with only Andreas Johnsson on IR. If that’s the case once the NHL is back. Several players have said the younger, more talented teams could have an advantage, and the Leafs would fall into that category.
JR: They most certainly do.
JR: What was that first week like after the NHL shutdown?
TK: The first week after the shutdown was as strange as it would have been for anyone else around the game. When it started, there might have been some hope that the NHL’s pause would not last long, but once much of North America went on lockdown, we knew it was going to be a while before the NHL returned.
JR: Do you think we’ll have fans back in arenas when next season starts?
TK: It’s hard to say. The NHL needs its fans in seats in arenas, but the health of the general public is more important than anything else.
JR: If the NHL does finish this season and playoffs into September, then next season wouldn’t start until November or December. I would hope by then that things have mostly returned to normal.
JR: How long will it take for the NHL to make up for the lost revenue?
TK: It depends on how much revenue has been lost once the game returns. At this point, we don’t know.
JR: Do you think that Nick Robertson will be in the starting lineup next season?
TK: Nick Robertson will get a long look once training camp for the 2020-21 season starts. Everything he did with the Peterborough Petes this past season suggests he’s not far off from being a Leafs regular.
JR: Absolutely. Robertson had 55 goals and 31 assists for 86 points in 46 games this season. He looks more and more like a steal for the Maple Leafs.
JR: If Jack Campbell continues to play well and prospects Joseph Woll or Ian Scott look ready would you make Campbell the starter when Frederik Andersen’s contract is up?
TK: It’s too early to say whether Jack Campbell could take over as the starter once Frederik Andersen’s contract is up after the 2020-21 season. For now, it’s a positive that the Leafs have a capable backup goalie.
JR: Something all Maple Leafs fans are happy about. I just find it hard seeing the Maple Leafs having enough salary cap space to bring Andersen back.
JR: Do you think Jason Spezza would sign another league minimum contract to stay in Toronto?
TK: It’s possible Jason Spezza would sign another league minimum contract to stay in Toronto. He has enjoyed being a Leaf and would love to try to win a Stanley Cup in Toronto.
JR: If he were to help the Maple Leafs do that, he would be remembered forever.
Once again I would like to thank Terry for taking the time to talk hockey with me. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks we get a clearer picture as to the future of this NHL season and playoffs. Will this season resume? Can Nick Robertson make the Maple Leafs lineup next season? Will Jason Spezza return? Will Frederik Andersen be a Maple Leaf after next season? We will all have to wait and see.
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