Alright, someone needs to let NHL commissioner Gary Bettman know that he’s ruining out of time.
Last week, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic was adamant about the tight deadline the National Hockey League was facing to get the 2021 season underway on the projected date of January 1st.
“If there’s early January puck drop, that means getting this done by the end of the month. As we saw in the spring/summer, these things can drag out, but the hope is that if there’s an agreement it’s within the next 7-10 days.”
The clock is ticking and now, Louis Jean of TVA Sports is not holding back: he tells Bettman that he cannot kick off the season on January 1st, there is just not enough time. Here is how Jean explained it on the air of TVA Sports, translated from French:
“Bettman is unequivocal: he wants the season to start on January 1. But I have a hard time believing that this is a realistic date.
"There is no way it will get resolved by Thanksgiving. From discussions I have had with players and agents, no one seem to be in a hurry, added Jean. The players have given up a lot, they made a lot of concessions. You can't ask them to go much further, in my opinion. The NHL doesn't have much to convince the players.”
While a 16-player Return to Play committee has gotten together and talking with the NHL, there are still a lot of important things they need to agree on, format, schedule, hub cities and number of games on the calendar. And you know the latter has a huge impact of the players’ salaries, and we know they will fight for it as they might not get past the pro-rated salaries issue.
We think Jean is right: we have run out of time…