It’s been only five days since the NHL announced the suspension of the 2019-20 regular season due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the players are already planning their return.
TSN’s Frank Seravelli detailed on Tuesday’s Insider Trading that multiple top NHL players have “kicked around some ideas” for what the rest of the season and playoffs can look like, should it return.
The potential plan — that has not yet been officially proposed to the league’s executives — would see teams return for a short training camp in early July. After all 31 teams have warmed up, they would all play the equal amount of games later that month, before starting the usual eight-week long postseason.
we cannot wait to stay inside all summer pic.twitter.com/4PvjYkK2V6— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) March 17, 2020
After the Stanley Cup has been awarded at the end of September, a three-to-four week offseason, that would include the NHL Entry Draft and the start of free agency, would be held in October.
Due to the remaining season stretching into the fall, a condensed schedule would have to take place for the 2020-21 regular season.
NHL willing to do whatever it takes
The league is “ready and willing to consider all options,” according to Seravelli. One situation that can be ruled out is gearing up for a return in a couple months, only to have a player test positive for COVID-19 and have the entire season shut down indefinitely for the second time.
With the unofficial proposal to restart in the summer, the players — and the one member of the Board of Governors that mentioned a similar idea — have assumed some progress has been made when it comes to returning to normal, according to Pierre LeBrun.
Other options have been rumoured
Another possibility that has been floated around, is a 24-team postseason, with the top teams getting byes and the playoff bubble teams having to play short playoff round, to qualify for the full series.
Hearing the NHL considers 24 teams to get to the playoffs with a playout round to be played. If the season is going to be resumed, of course— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) March 16, 2020
While this seemed like an option, one NHL general manager doesn’t think so.
According to LeBrun, one GM stated that it doesn’t make sense to go through a full training camp to then lose a couple of games and get knocked out of the delayed postseason.
NHL stays negative
As of Sunday, there has been no NHL player to test positive for COVID-19 and it remains one of the few sports untouched so far.
In the NBA, Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donavan Mitchell were some of the first major athletes to be diagnosed with coronavirus.
Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant also reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.
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