A rather surprising new report has the city of Los Angeles emerging as a potential "hub" city for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in spite of the fact that on the surface this seems to make very little sense. According to a report from Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period, Los Angeles has just recently emerged as a potential candidate to be one of the cities that will host the NHL's newly proposed 24 team playoff format in spite of the overwhelming logistical issues that this would appear to present.
While cities like Edmonton, Columbus, Las Vegas, Toronto and Vancouver have been prominent in media reports, TFP has learned Los Angeles is among the contending markets to host NHL action.
Confirmed by a source directly involved in the resumption-of-play discussions between the NHL and NHLPA, the bid by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owner of the Los Angeles Kings and owner/operator of Staples Center, is being considered by the NHL as a site for the continuation of play.
The reason I find myself so surprised by this news is due to the fact that Los Angeles has quickly become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in California, hardly the kind of place you would want to bring hundreds of people too to finish out the regular season. I also have a great deal of doubt that players in the National Hockey League would be willing to go to a city that at the time of this writing is still churning out over 1000 new cases per day, again a big time danger to the players who will be in close proximity to one another while playing out these games.
Additionally governor Gavin Newsom has instituted very strict guidelines for social distancing, although he appeared to back off of those a little bit last week when he opened the door for an exception to be made for professional athletes. Newsom indicated that sporting events without fans could once again take place around “the first week or so of June.”
There are some positives here. Los Angeles would be a neutral site given that the Kings are out of contention and it is in relatively close proximity to Las Vegas, Nevada, which has been the city most rumored to become a "hub" for the NHL playoffs. Whether or not that will be enough to overlook the issues Los Angeles is having with COVID-19 at the moment however is doubtful in my estimation.