Around the League

A look at how this suspended NHL season might play out when the year resumes

This is not the ideal situation for any sports fan. The NHL, like the NBA, was just entering its playoff push when the 2019-2020 seasons were suspended until further notice. Teams played an uneven number of games, and leagues are now looking at seasons extending into August with shortened offseasons and going right into the 2020-2021 seasons. Again, not ideal.

There are many complications with this model, the first and foremost is the unknown of the COVID-19 virus and if/when there will be a return to normalcy in this country. It is going to get much, much worse before it gets better. The sooner the entire country is shut down, the faster we can eradicate the threat. But on the current path –especially outside of NY– this could stretch out for months.

Given the lack of federal guidelines and an irresponsible population that doesn’t seem to care, we are likely dealing with the latter situation. This is going to be months, not weeks, of life without sports, pushing us into June if/when the seasons can finally get underway.

For hockey, this poses many difficult challenges. People will point to arena availability, but very few of these arenas are packed in the summers. Concerts maybe. This is a concern, but not THE concern.

The concern is player contracts. Pending UFAs and RFAs have contracts that expire on June 30, which will be long before the season’s activities would be completed. I’m sure the NHL and NHLPA are discussing the logistics of how that might work. Given that players are not getting paid right now (I don’t think), it probably shouldn’t be too hard to work out.

But let’s play out this situation, using June 1 as a date the sports world resumes. The league needs at least 2 weeks of camp/”preseason” to get the ball rolling. Maybe they jump right into the playoffs by say, June 17. The playoffs usually take two months, so let’s go with that. Playoffs end August 17ish.

The means the 2020 offseason probably takes 6 weeks. That brings the offseason to the end of September. Camp and preseason through October, with season openers in November. The league is used to playing truncated seasons, so getting 82 games in by the end of April 2021 shouldn’t be too difficult. Then the 2021 offseason is as we normally see it.

Perhaps this is overly optimistic, as the lack of united plan as a country is going to delay everything going forward. The moral of the story here is that this is a very fluid situation, but hopefully things can get started in June. Just my speculation, of course.

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  • I don’t think a short season is off the table for 2020-2021. I would bet a lot of players take issue playing an 82 game season with one less month. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see a 70ish game season next year.

    • The league has been pretty clear that shortening the 20/21 season is off the table unless things really go to hell.

  • The contracts end when the league year ends. The NHL & PA can agree to extend the league year in order to complete the season.

    New York has multiple problems dealing with coronavirus, the biggest one being on a quarantine schedule that will be quite different than the rest of the continent. With MSG’s tax breaks, they can’t play home games away from MSG, but may be the last place to be able to play games in front of crowds.

    • And now a bigger problem is that two players from the last team the Rangers played have tested positive for coronavirus.

  • It does look bleak as I believe sports events with large gatherings will be the last thing that comes back. With testing to ensure that the players are not covid 19 positive, the NHL should consider playing without the crowds. The games would be televised and provide some revenue to the league and some entertainment for hockey fans.

  • “Given the lack of federal guidelines and an irresponsible population that doesn’t seem to care, we are likely dealing with the latter situation”.

    There are too many air heads that don’t seem to give a hoot about anyone other than themselves, and that’s just a reflection of our society. The young seem to be owed everything, so why should they give a crap. You know they named a street after these fools, “One Way”, with an attitude of ha ray for me, and screw you. It’s just sick, but I can see them coming around when they realize that some of their friends are getting sick as well, let’s just hope.

    As to the subject at hand, nothing will get done unless both the owners, and the union can get their act in order. Let’s hope level headed people can do that, and whatever we do, keep Jeremy Jacobs out of the negotiations, he’s a cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Today on the news I heard that some people had a corona party in New Jersey, proving my point that these kids are a bunch of inconsiderate air heads that are entitled to party, at all costs.

      Also in the news Jim Dolan tested positive for the virus, good luck to the man!!

      • Pretty rough generalization there, Walt. I am a younger reader on this site (in my 20s) and certainly am taking this all seriously and not acting selfishly.

        There are plenty of air heads from every age group…

        • Randy

          Just look at the kids down at the beaches during the spring break, those are the jerks I’m talking about!!!!!!!

        • Randy

          Yesterday, March 30th, the Governor of Virginia closed the state down for two weeks, reason people aren’t responsible enough to be at home on their own. Apparently last week end the weather was beautiful, so a bunch of young people went to the beach. Now do you see where I’m coming from, what idiots. Not you, but too many are just so damn inconsiderate………….

  • As much as I love hockey and the Rangers, we are dealing with much bigger issues at this time.

    Some people will never recover from this, physically, emotionally, financially.

    A shout out to our heroic medical and emergency people, who are doing unbelievable work under the most horrific of conditions and circumstances. Literally putting themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of the rest of us.

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