We are waiting for the official announcement from the National Hockey League, however it is expected that the league will extend the recommended period of self-isolation for players and staff beyond Thursday.
That will of course have an impact on what action can resume in order to end the 2019-20 season and crown a Stanley Cup champion, but will undoubtedly effect the following campaign.
As Pierre LeBrun explained on the latest edition of Insider Trading and his column on The Athletic, the start of the 2020-21 campaign could now be pushed to December.
“The idea of delaying next season’s start until December has indeed been discussed by the NHL with its teams as a possibility, multiple sources around the league confirmed.
The kicker is that the league still hopes to cram in a full 82-game season, even with a December start.
Which would mean – as with the November start scenario – wiping out All-Star weekend, the bye weeks, shortening the Christmas holiday break and basically tightening the entire schedule matrix wherever possible. The result would push the regular season into May and playoffs into July.”
LeBrun reminds us that since we have no clue how long it will take to complete the 2019-20 season (if resumed at all), the NHL is looking at the possibility of kicking off the 2020-21 regular as fas as December.
On top of that, a lot of teams feel they need fans back in their arenas next season before opening the doors and the health of people and potentially a vaccine needs to be secured before that can happen.
The NHL season has been paused since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it is clear that this season and the next will face some tough changes because of it.