In case you missed the news yesterday, the NHL and NHLPA released a joint statement in which they confirmed that they’re hoping to return to action in the “mid to later portion of May.”
From the NHL and NHLPA:
*The precise date of transition to Phase 2, during which Players might return to small group activities in NHL Club training facilities, remains undetermined. However, provided that conditions continue to trend favorably – and, subject to potential competitive concerns as between disparately situated markets – we believe we may be able to move to Phase 2 at some point in the mid-to-later portion of May. Specific guidelines governing Player and Hockey Staff activity would be provided at that time. In the meantime, we expect Players and Hockey Staff to continue to adhere to the recommended guidelines put in place when the season was paused on March 12.*
This presumably means that the Stanley Cup Playoffs will run deeeeeeeeeep into the summer, so what happens with the 2020-21 season? Take a couple weeks off and fire things back up again in September? Unlikely.
One idea that has been floated around is that the league will begin the 2020-21 season in December, 2020. Seems nearly impossible, but apparently with a condensed schedule it’s possible. Now, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is confirming reports that a December start is possible.
Check it out:
“We have a great deal of flexibility in terms of when we can start,” Commissioner Bettman said to NHL.com. “There’s no magic for next season of starting in October as we traditionally do. If we have to start in November or December, that’s something that will be under consideration.”
“We’re going to try and make good, prudent, careful judgments. This isn’t a race to be first back. When we come back, we want it to be at the right time, for the right reasons, under the right circumstances.”
As much as I’m excited at the prospect of Stanley Cup Playoff games in the summer… it’s going to be WEIRD having no hockey come October, 2020. Then again, everything is WEIRD these days. Weird is the new normal in 2020.