BSB Round Table: What would you do if you ran the NHL?

As sports continue to be on pause, fans are getting restless. With each passing day, we get news of another new plan the NHL is planning to reopen the season. Isolated locations, no fans, 24 team playoffs, altered regular season, a June draft. Everything you can think of, well almost everything, has been thought of.  With the AHL season now cancelled, there is a large contingent of fans, myself included, who wants to just scrap this year and gear up for next season.

I polled the BSB writers on what they would do if they were in charge. As Supreme Overlord of the NHL, where you answer to no one, what would you do to restart the season? Would you even do it? I’ll also comment on their ideas to keep things fresh.


Cancel the season. Anything done with playoffs would be a gigantic asterisk. Hold the draft in June still but do the order of the standings based on points percentage. Draft lottery system still the same so teams still have a chance to move up.

As for conditional picks, if GM’s want to call the teams involved and try and work other deals to make those solidified picks as opposed to conditional, they should be allowed to. Like the Rangers should be allowed to call Carolina and get a definitive pick of the two. Or Ottawa should be allowed to talk to the Islanders in regards to JG Pageau.

As for free agency, still hold it July 1 and delay the start of next season until a vaccine is available for the safety of all the players.

Dave: This is where I stand on this, so I’m just going to assume that Tyler stole my thoughts here. Just cancel the whole thing and start fresh next year. Yea there are revenue concerns, but as we saw with all the lockouts, hockey fans are gluttons for punishment and come back in droves when things like this happen. Just do more for us than the usual “THANK YOU FANS” on the ice. Ugh.


If the season has to be finished, I think I’d do the 24 team playoff format in as limited cities as possible. Do a variation of the divisional format. No 7 game series until final four either. Then the draft whenever that’s over. Conditional picks I think have to be looked for on a case by case basis. Maybe each team has to discuss that more and if an agreement isn’t reach then it’s just pushed off until next years draft.

If I can cancel the season that it should be canceled. It’s a wash and there is just no point in risking everyone’s health. Tyler’s spot on with the draft. Go points percentage to sort it out and the bottom 14 teams from that will be in the lottery. That way draft can be in late June still and free agency July 1. As far as the cap goes have it stay flat and each team should get at least 1 amnesty buyout. I also love the idea of a contract being salary cap exempt, but don’t think enough GMs would go for that.

Dave: Oh that’s interesting – instead of an amnesty buyout, make one contract salary cap exempt. To prevent teams from using it on a long-term contract, it should be for expiring deals only. The Rangers would almost assuredly use that option on Henrik Lundqvist – the best of both worlds! I honestly like the idea of a franchise tag on a player, where the player makes x% of the cap ceiling and doesn’t count against the cap. Must have been with the team for at least the prior three full seasons. No way small market teams go for that though.


I think they should do all 31 teams, March Madness style. Give the Blues a bye since they are the defending champs. You can break it into E/W if you want, use current standings for seeding/home ice advantage and do a best of 3 final.

Dave: Considering March Madness was actually cancelled, this fulfills my need for random chance and to fill out a bracket. There would have to be more than just one bye since an even bracket is either 16 or 32 teams. So blame Seattle. If health and safety can be guaranteed, then isolate them in one city for a week to make it happen. Run games at noon, 5pm, and 10pm EST. Try to pick a location with multiple rinks.


Of course I provide my own opinion. Just cancel the whole thing, then do the entire offseason at the original dates. Televise a virtual draft lottery based on points percentage for the bottom 15 teams. The conditions of draft picks should all be worked out because we have draft positions. At least that gives us something to look forward to. This limbo stuff is maddening.

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  • Unfortunately, continuing the season at this juncture makes no sense. Trying to do so would risk major impacts upon the following season.

    Cancel it and hopefully the health crisis will be controlled by the time training camps are set to open for the 2020-2021 season.

  • I want the season to continue with all series a best of 5, except the finals. Draft 5 days after the finals. All played at neutral sites.

    Daily testing would eliminate the possibility of the virus spreading.

    • Daily testing MIGHT eliminate the possibility of the virus spreading. What it definitely would do is show which teams have to be locked out of play every time a positive test occurs.

      • Gmmmmmm, 60% of this country counties doesn’t have a single registered case!!!!!!! Georgia already succesfully went through the phase 1 of opening…… you are watching to much of NYC leftists TV, who is trying to scare shit of you…. because of the elections

        • Couldn’t have said it better Eugene. Although CV *is* bad, it’s nowhere near as bad as people are being led to believe. Co-morbidity deaths (heart attacks, cancer, strokes, COPD etc) are all being counted as CV deaths. And asymtomatic cases (60-70%) are not being counted so the “death rates” are ridiculously higher than what they actually are. And yes, this is probably due to an election in about 6 months.

          • Utter nonsense. Let’s also knock off the political BS. Go somewhere else for that please.

  • Anyone noticed how the Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky classify as a bromance in the league’s eyes? JD got lucky that Florida was foolish enough to not make room for the Bread man or else he would be there there. NYR would have been hanging around Buff-NJ level without him.

    As for the season/playoffs to resume? Who cares because it’s pretty clear that this topic is falling on deaf ears. People claiming a hard “no” for society sake will be the same one’s using TiVo to re-watch the playoffs. Stop lying to yourselves, big corps are aware of this and that’s why they’ll continue to find an alternative way to present us fans the 2020 Stanley Cup champs.

    The 24-31 team format seems impossible to do. In theory it sounds pretty cool try out. However if any of the bad teams-bubble teams make it to the cup finals than it would taint the overall achievement. If Boston, Tampa, Toronto, Philly, Wash and Pitts win it than at least it would feel more normal. The league should try and make the playoffs best of the best this time around. No need for some bad team to go on a miracle run and get destory in the conference finals. I rather see two power houses clash for Eastern and Western titles and so on.

    Use the old format with no more WC2 slot to bring in extra losers. Arizona doesn’t deserve to get in while a team like Van sits out. Isle getting snub is always a funny time to watch. The CBJ mini regular season run has fairly leapfrog both NY teams to get in the dance. When healthy, they have proven that their the better team.

  • Agree with Conall….. Pandemy going in some moment of time to be contained, and it seems me more earlier then later if u look at graphs, at least shouldn’t be much problem with running it empty, people anyway have nothing to do, they’ll be watching, and timing should be rather earlier then later, to give some breath before new season.

  • If I was in charge I would know what a daunting task it would be to deal with the NHLPA on this one — and I can’t blame them at all.

    If the season were to reopen the only way possible would be to test everyone, then quarantine everyone involved … and then have the NHLPA acknowledge the possibility that someone might test positive later on and that the playoffs would have to continue while quarantining said individual(s). The point is that there’s no guarantee here that the virus might not spread and that basically everyone is voluntarily agreeing to this risk. I could see where some might not be willing to agree to this, although if STRICT protocols were observed I personally might see this as an acceptable risk.

  • Cancel season. Give compensatory first round picks to teams that traded their first rounders for rentals. Since cap isn’t likely to go up, give each team an amnesty buyout.

  • Tyler is right, and this is a tough call to make.

    If the city of New York is shut down, as well as other cities, why would they want to play this at all if not for the money???????

    If the safety of people is the reason people can’t work, why should we put the players in such a spot?????

    If they let the games go on, then open up the city, and let people work!!!!!!

    Just declare the season as a draw, and start all over again with the draft. I would love to see the games played, but if there is danger involved to the people on the ice, just call it a day.

    This post will go over like a lead balloon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Last point, there has to be a buy out not going against the cap, because the revenues won’t be there for an increase of the cap. This gives every team an opportunity to rid themselves of a bad deal that may be on their books……………………..

  • The NHL is a business and without the playoffs they are losing a ton of money. The problem is they are trying to salvage whatever they can to turn a profit. If you are hammer than every problem is a nail.

  • Shut it down. The way things are going it’ll be a miracle if next season is fully played.

    Anyone suggesting that the season be resumed isn’t dealing with reality. And what would happen to teams in a playoff tourney when one of their players gets the virus?

    • Those poor millionaire owners, they’ve suffered so much! Someone please risk their health and lives for them!

      • Those poor millionaire owners employ blue collar and low level workers who would like to feed their families and pay their mortgages.

        • Right, that’s their motivation behind owning sports teams. Do you mix shoe leather into your food, or just lick the boots of your bosses directly?

          • There are millionaire owners who pay about 25 talented people very sell. They also support 100’s of less-paying middle class people. Ever hear of trickle down?

          • Jeremy Jacobs/Bruins, Mark Chipman/Jets, Eugene Melnyk/Senators, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Calgary Flames all trickled their employees into the poorhouse as soon as the pandemic hit. Only online shaming by journalists and fans made them do a semblance of the right thing in terms of paying their employees. players like Bobrovsky and Crosby and Panarin donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to coronavirus relief while these cheapskate miser owners locked up their wallets.

            Don’t you bootlickers have any pride? Brainwashed and beaten in the class war, that’s a helluva combination.

            Trickle down economics. What a joke. The last 40 years have seen more wealth concentrated in the hands of the 1% since the mid-19th century.

          • Well big boy instead of just flapping your lips like a punk, how about you tell us what should be done in your unhumble opinion. What do you like? Socialism? Facism? Communism? That’s pretty much what everyone who doesn’t want to work for a living cries for, except they are so exceedingly stupid, they don’t realize it is no good until they are waiting on breadlines.

          • What I am is what you are: an American. And what I want is the end of this pandemic, peace in our time, and prosperity for all of our people. Yep, even you, JoeS. And what I’m most tired of in our land is hearing the opinions of billionaires coming out of the mouths of regular folks. Billionaires don’t care about this country or its people, they just care about duping enough people into giving up their share of the economic pie. Labor > capital, baby.

    • More times than not I would have agreed with you, but not on this one my friend. This would be a double standard where the wealthy get theirs, but the little guy is shut out in the game of life. Call it a season already…………………………………

  • Georgia went through phase 1 of opening beginning aprile 24, so far number of cases is dropping, Arizona opened for the buz, Texas last couple of weeks is on phase 1, a little bit early to say, but number of cases is dropping. 60% of country counties doesn’t have a single case registered….. I understand it’s not the case for such a crazy locations like our northeast or their southwest, because of the known reasons, but for us watching on TV, doesn’t mater much it’s Arizona or MSG.

    Just think about it

    • Think about this: according to doctors consulted by the NHL, the players won’t even be allowed to spit on the ice or the bench. Fighting will not be allowed, nor scrums after play stoppages. Players will get sickened by the virus even if these restrictions are adopted. Then what happens?

      Imagine a Cup Final where AHL callups make up half the roster to take the place of sick and quarantining players. What sense does that make? The NHL cancelled the Finals 100 years ago, it’d be the worst kind of history repeating itself if they try to bleed a few extra bucks out of their fans and advertisers.

      • Media is full of bull, purticularly about spitting…. most likely somebody`s joke, the only what is objective is numbers, and numbers say, the situation is getting better, most of the new cases are old antibody cases, and expired…. we see active cases numbers, but the problem, is patients get diagnosed and got never checked conditions again, many case is acounted as active, are from march…..

        • There’s articles on Sportsnet, Yahoo, and NBC Sports about the latest NHL medical guideline discussions. Doctors are recommending no fighting, no scrums, full face shields, and no spitting at all…you do understand that saliva is rife with germs, right? And seriously—in a contact sport like hockey how do you keep the players from breathing hard and sweating?

          This league has already had several players sickened by the virus on a number of different teams, the players aren’t fools.

    • Eugene, Georgia’s cases are not dropping. I check on my county and the state every day. They are not spiking, but they are rising steadily.

        • The news on number of cases changes every day. If you’re working with info from three days ago you’re already working with out-of-date numbers.

          • I am collectiong data every day, and have graphics for largest states and country overall, you can see case dropping, it’s growinfg on tue wed and thur and droping sat, sun, mo, this is the 1st week fri was also on clean drop. sounds fri, sat and sun data is not filled out in many places and corrected on tue and wed. Yes we have clear decline, considering, many of the tests are actually antibody and many of them are not active anymore

          • Right, that’s why at least 81,000 people are dead in the US from this disease. You should tell the families of all 81,000+ dead that their suffering is anecdotal, and that they were a real drag on the concept of finishing a sport’s season. Your entertainment has more importance than people’s lives, right?

          • My county in Georgia had a 15% increase in cases last week, a 20% increase the week before and a 25% increase the week before that. Georgia has reported new cases every day for weeks. The numbers may be relatively low, but they are not “dropping”.

          • Peter

            I’m just going to make a point, read the interview in the Washington Post with Dr Deborah Birx, dated May 10th, where she stated that she doesn’t believe anything coming out of the CDC, and that the numbers of cases may be inflated by as much as 25%.

            I will not comment on anything else, but shes an insider, and on the task force, so she may have a point.

            I still side with the people who advise caution.

          • To the idiots who automatically go thumbs down when there view is disputed, did you read the article?
            Probably not,but consider the possibly. I’m not saying the Doctor is right, or wrong, but she made this remark for a reason, it’s a fact, but go ahead and put your collective heads in the ground, and be lead around like sheet, and be ill informed. I try to read both sides, and form an opinion based on what I’ve read, and usually keep these opinions to myself, rather than be a blowhard and post all day long just to be heard…………

  • End the season and focus on what next season will look like. Hold the draft and let the free agent season begin. Highly unlikely the salary cap will be raised. Teams that don’t live within their cap means will have to pay the piper and dump salary.

  • I agree with Tyler. There needs to be one player contract that is exempt from the cap. Also think the NHL and union need to figure out a salary adjustment for the services not rendered due to a shortened season. Start over in Sept. Hope by that time we can go to games

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