It’s been almost a week without any action from the National Hockey League and its players as the pause caused by the COVID-19 outbreak took over, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Postmedia in a telephone interview Tuesday that the league will be back anytime soon.
While Daly maintains that all options for trying to finish this season and award the Stanley Cup are on the table, he is aware that the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule could leak into the entire summer.
“It all depends in how we decide to come back and what form that would take,” Daly told Postmedia. “I don’t think there’s any hard outs in mid-June or the end of June. It has a lot to do with what else transpires, and there’s a lot of variables involved.
“The only deadline would be whatever we decide to do to complete this season … if anything. We don’t want it to interfere with our ability to have a full season next year.”
“I’ve gotten questions today asking if August is a possibility,” he added. “I’m not sure it’s a preference and there may be a number of things that would make it an impossibility, but I wouldn’t rule out August as a possibility depending on how the other variables fall.”
The main thing for Daly and commissioner Gary Bettman is that the players, fans and every employees involved remains safe and healthy.
“When we paused last Thursday, we certainly did it with the hope that we’d be able to finish our season,” Daly said. “When we paused originally, we hoped that we’d be able to resume a little more quickly, maybe with a month’s time period on the outside. The CDC’s new policy Sunday night made it clear that time period was clearly going to be extended and that we were going to be waiting for a while.”
The NHL won’t come back until the CDC gives clearance that it’s safe to do so.
And for now, we have no clue when that will be…