NHL's Daly Wants To Finish This Season, But Not Impact Next Year
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly remains hopeful the league can finish its season, but he stressed any decision would not be made "until the league receives a green light" from the CDC, according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. All options remain open for completing the season, but the NHL "doesn't want to do anything that would negative affect the start of next season." Games likely will not return until mid-May at the earliest, if at all, and "nobody knows if that will leave enough time to finish the season and hold the playoffs." Daly said, "I don't think there's an artificial deadline per se. The only deadline would be whether we decide to ... complete this season ... if anything. We don't want it to interfere with our ability to have a full season next year" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/18). Daly added of the current situation, "Half the battle is making sure that you know what the questions are and what all the possibilities are. And then you're doing your best to make decisions based on all the available facts" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 3/18).
WIRTZ KEEPING THINGS POSITIVE: Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz said the "best case scenario" for the NHL's return would be having a "training camp of some kind" after a 45-day break. Speaking on an NBC Sports Chicago podcast, Wirtz said, "Sixty days, guess what? We can start the season again. Like the second week of May. We can finish the season off, and who knows what the playoff format will be, but I’m very optimistic." He added, "We have to overcome these short term shocks, and we're going to be fine. We're going to finish the season, and we're going to have the playoffs, and we're going to award the Stanley Cup." Wirtz said people have to "think positive things." Wirtz: "The NHL has (been around for) 100 years. They have been in business in World Wars. We had a year-long lock out. ... I don't know how we're going to do this, but we'll figure it out." Meanwhile, he said that the commissioners from the various major North American pro leagues are in constant communication. Wirtz: "It's like a life boat. When you're in a life boat and it tips over, we all get wet" ("Blackhawks Talk Podcast," NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 3/17).
THINK TANK: TSN.ca's Frank Seravalli reported some NHLers are brainstorming ways for the league "to achieve some degree of certainty as to when the game will return." Resuming play in late May or early June "seems overly optimistic," so the players are unofficially proposing to "take a step back and chart out a return to the ice in late July." The idea has "gained traction and support" among a small subset of players. Training camps would open in early July, followed by a "truncated conclusion to the regular season that wraps up by the end of July." A two-month postseason would begin in August with the Finals held at the end of September. A "three- to four-week transition period would follow in October with the draft, free agency and training camps." The '20-21 season would begin in November and contain all 82 games "with the Stanley Cup awarded again in late June." The proposal is making its way to the NHLPA and "then potentially to the NHL" (TSN.ca, 3/17).