As the world continues to struggle with COVID-19, we get an update on the status of NHL and potentially when we can expect to see hockey played again.
The first update we saw was in the form of a FAQ document from the league. Some of the highlights are below…
We will continue to monitor developments during the 60-day window prescribed by the CDC. Assuming events are tracking positively, we would hope to be able to begin providing high-level guidance on the potential of opening a Club training camp period roughly 45 days into the period covered by the CDC’s recommendation.
So at best, there’s that. Don’t plan on seeing hockey in April, and May remains at best a pipe dream.
Has any decision been made regarding whether the remainder of the regular season will be played? Has any decision been made regarding what form the Stanley Cup Playoffs would take?
No. The form and format of resumption of play scenarios will depend entirely on what transpires between now and when we are permitted and able to resume — and, ultimately, on timing and taking into account logistical constraints. We are going to have to be flexible and react to events as they unfold as well as the best medical advice available.
It might be an unpopular opinion, but perhaps it’s best to acknowledge this season is lost. The league would be best with regrouping for next season and doing it right. Start off with players ready to play and fans ready to watch, and no one is rushed back into a bad situation and while watching hockey would be fun, I wouldn’t want the asterisk cup.
The league summed up that a bit further…
We do not anticipate a scenario in our resumption of play format that would endanger or interfere with the League’s ability to stage and execute the 2020-21 NHL season in its entirety.
So let’s assume a full training camp and at least one month of off-season to get contracts, free agency, the draft out of the way, the Cup would need to be awarded by probably no later than mid August.
There’s a lot more to check out over at NHL.com, but for now we’ll shift gears to what has trickled out of the Board of Governors meeting.
The league continues to work on all kind of different format/scheduling scenarios to prepare for all the possibilities but for now can’t commit to anything because of the uncertainty…
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 23, 2020
Given that the playoffs take two months to complete, given that everything probably needs to be wrapped up by August in order for 2020-21 to be a normal one, so that gives us a likely deadline of playoffs starting by June 1st.
Considering that players would need to return from other nations and may not be allowed to by the time the league is wanting to start up again, that could be an interesting extra layer of complexity to this. As would the logistical process of booking arenas, selling tickets, getting the TV schedule figured out, etc. My guess is the inevitable will come to pass soon enough and the season is over, but for now we wait and cling to hope.