Status Of Possible NHL Restart Still Murky As League Looks At Options
The NHL’s BOG had a phone call with Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly yesterday, and the picture on what the league does with its season "remains cloudy at best," according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. At some point, the NHL will have to "walk away from its hope of finishing the final 10 percent of the season and if the teams do come back they’d go straight to a playoff-type tournament after a short training camp to get back into shape." There has been "speculation" there "could be as many as 24 teams with those just outside the wild-card spots remaining in the picture." The talk among league insiders is that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is "on the radar screen if they decide to go this route." However, this is "all a long way from reality" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 4/7). Canucks COO Trent Carroll said, "They’re exploring everything. And they haven’t got down to any specific one yet. It’s still in the exploration stage. You just plug along and hope to figure something out when things open up again" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/7).
WHEN TO PLAY: ESPN.com's Emily Kaplan noted the NHL has "not wavered in its stance that it wants to resume play, even if it means playing for the Stanley Cup in August." But as the days go on, that "seems less and less likely." ESPN.com's Greg Wyshynski noted the NHL is "adamant that the time to make a decision on that is much further down the road." The Tokyo Games postponement "opened a window for the NHL to play this summer." Not only does that "clear scheduling conflicts for many television partners, but it also removes the almost insurmountable competition for fans' attention if the season were to relaunch in late July" (ESPN.com, 4/6).