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GARRIOCH: The all-Canadian division could be a thing of the past if all seven teams are moved south

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The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are in negotiations for a 56-game schedule that’s tentatively scheduled to start on Jan. 13. Given this news, it looks like that date is going to be a long shot and it may be more realistic for the NHL to try to have a 48-game schedule that begins on Feb. 1.

Provincial health authorities are concerned with the rising cases of COVID-19 throughout the country and unless they’re on board the NHL’s seven teams won’t be allowed to play here.

Lisa MacLeod, an Ottawa area MPP who’s the Ontario minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture, told reporters Thursday she’s held talks with the officials from the Senators and Leafs.

“In terms of (the NHL’s) direct proposal, I believe I’m going to be briefed on that in the next day or so,” said MacLeod, who added she’d also be speaking with Steven Guilbault, the minister of heritage in the federal government, in the next day or so.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters Wednesday he believes the issues can be worked out.

“I think the stakes are more on the side of what concessions the players will make on their salaries,” Legault said in his daily briefing. “As far as health standards are concerned, we managed to do it this summer (with all teams in secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto), so I think it will be possible to do it from mid-January.”

If the Leafs, Senators, Habs, Flames, Oilers, Jets and Canucks aren’t able to get clearance then the idea of an all-Canadian division will likely have to be scrapped

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