While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman indicated this week the league is exploring the idea of temporary realignment in 2020-21, a lot of questions were raised about what the eventual shape of the coming 2020-21 NHL season would look like and what it would mean for players, staff and fans out there.
Justin Bourne of Sportsnet has tried to make the most sense of all of the questions in a recent article and related all of the information we now know about what might be coming to the NHL in 2021.
However, he ended his brilliant article with one important point that cannot go unnoticed. As he talked about the different scenarios and the possibility of having to deal with temporary hubs, he mentioned how this could effect the broadcast schedule for fans waiting to see some action.
“[The hubs] won’t be permanent, and they’ll see teams come for 10 to 12 days and play a half-dozen games or so, then head back to be with their families. One of the issues right now that the players and league seem to be talking about is that hubs take a little while to get set up (so Jan. 1 would be a hard date to hit), but the NHLPA wants to get going as soon as possible.”
Then, he leaked somewhat of a preview of what to expect when it comes to games presented on television and how some would have to take place during the day - remember the noon start during the postseason? Check it out:
“One of the reasons the league doesn’t love the idea of hubs, which I didn’t mention above, is that it limits ice sheets. That means only a few teams can play in prime time, which means puck drops have to be staggered throughout the days (remember noon puck drops in the playoffs?). That isn’t great for viewing if you keep regular business hours, or if you’re a television network that would like decent ratings. Little insider tip here, too: most of them would.
As a biased observer (I should say “super biased,” as I work from home and want day games), a return in any form would be amazing, even if it’s less than ideal. To get where we want to get – back to those wonderful end-of-season playoff pushes and beyond, with the season’s integrity still intact - we’ve got to start the journey in some fashion.”
Are you working from home and could watch all games even if many of them occurred during the day? What do you make of this possibility?