Around the League

A January 1 start date for the NHL seems impossible now

For most of the offseason, a January 1 start date for the 2021 NHL season was the target. It seemed logical, even with the cancellation of the Winter Classic. The NHL would have been able to nationally televise a slew of games on NBC and NBCSN, competing only with a few NCAA Bowl games.

There seemed to be hope. Temporary realignment was, for all intents and purposes, a foregone conclusion. But then the owners wanted more concessions from the players in the CBA. Now with a month left until New Year’s Day, a January 1 NHL season start date just isn’t going to happen.

The Delays

The big problem is the owners wanting more concessions from the players. They are saying that there will be more revenue lost, but they knew this going into the CBA negotiations over the summer. There were provisions put into the CBA to account for this. The owners signed off on it. It’s a signed contract – there should be no further negotiations here. I’m not going to cry for millionaire players, but this is negotiating on bad faith by the owners.

Aside from that, there are too many questions that need answering, and both sides have stopped talking. The NHL had hoped for a 60 game schedule with games starting on January 1. With that off the table, and a February date more and more likely, then we are looking at a 40-50 game schedule. Remember though, the NHL needs to finish their season by late July because of the Olympics.

Working Backwards

Using a July 28 date for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, we work backwards. The full playoffs took about eight weeks, not including the play-in round. That means we would need to start the playoffs around June 1 to hit that date. That is four months of regular season play, or 17 weeks.

Assuming the league would have teams playing at most 12 games a month, that’s a 48 game regular season. That’s 2-3 games a week for teams. Complicating matters would be the temporary bubbles, in which teams would play 7-8 games over two weeks and then get a week break. Breaking that into the 17 week schedule, teams would wind up with five full bubbles (the math came out to fractions, and that’s anyone’s guess). That’s about a 40-45 game schedule.

There are rumors the owners would simply aim to cancel the season if the players don’t make additional concessions, but I don’t see that as a realistic possibility. The league can’t afford to do that with TV deals being negotiated this year. We will probably get some sort of update by the middle of December. I can’t see both sides letting this go into the holiday season and beyond.

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  • Not going to watch any if starts later then Jan 15, I didn’t watch most of PO because of political games, I can easily boycott next season

  • No one has ever mentioned what I’m about to state, unless I missed it.

    What if an owner goes bankrupt, the players on that team stand to lose all the money held back by that team. The obvious question is, will the other owners , and or the NHL make good for these players? I suspect that the answer is not no, but hell no.

    If I’m a player, I hold firm and tell management to pound sand!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • gene

      Fist of all, your a scumbag for your remarks. I post for feed back, and if all you can contribute is a hand full of your pecker, go choke it clown.

      FYI I’m far from being a lib you dipshit!!!!!!!!!!

    • That’s basically the issue.

      Cash flow(or lack thereof) is an existential threat for probably a dozen teams right now. As like the last 3 lockouts, this is about poor teams vs rich teams with the players as the chew toy two dogs are fighting over.

      If Bettman really cared about getting this out of the way quickly, he would’ve invoked paragraph 17 of the SPC and gone from there.

  • Just like Mike McCarthy is trying to single handedly ruin the Cowboys’ season (yesterday’s “coaching” was amateur 3 hours), Bettman is trying to ruin this NHL season.

  • Because the owners are actually trying to reneg on a signed deal, one that they signed not 2 months ago, or so.

    Guess they did not know about the pandemic.

  • IDK why everyone in the media keeps mentioning that the NHL has to be done in time for the Olympics in July —- the Olympics may still be postponed/cancelled…

    • I believe it is because the TV contract is with NBC, which is the network that broadcasts the Olympics. Doubt they want the NHL competing with that.

  • I don’t really see a problem with a canceled season. Why does this endanger a future TV contract? There might be some loss of revenue in 2021-2022, but it is minimal compared to what they lose this year by playing.

    The players on the other hand never get their revenue back. It seems to me that the owners hold all the cards.

    • Political pandemic? Pass the Duche on the left hand side…

      I agree, if I was them than I would cancel the season as well. The player’s have every right to be more mad about this… And the owners have every right to say “fine, see ya next year”… All the meme’s flying around with how the NHL’s biggest markets don’t hold a candle light to average clubs around the NBA/NFL….

  • The NHL and other sports need to lobby governments to open all economies. People in charge are making terrible mistakes in judgement. If the population has to choose on whether to eat or pay the mortgage or purchase a ticket to hockey game or a ticket to any other sport, I’m sure personal preservation will be the choice. Then it becomes a “snowball” effect. If people have less disposable income, then they have to make hard, tough, sober, decisions. Certainly, hockey or any other forms of entertainment will not be a priority.

  • FYI folks, I removed comments from ‘gene’. He has been banned.

    I do not tolerate covidiots on this site. Be smart, be diligent. Wear a mask when you go out.

    • Dave …
      I don’t post much, by I just wanted to tell you that you and whomever works with you, for Blueseatblogs, runs a wonderful site here! I really enjoy reading the commentary, with the opportunity to join in on the conversations. This blog seems to me a lot more “mature” (in the comments section) than the other “rival” blog…and that I LIKE.

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