As we all sit in our homes live-tweeting the antics of our children or pets in lieu of National Hockey League games, The Athletic has stumbled upon a big bit of news in a chat they had with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Regardless of what happens with the remainder of the 2019-20 calendar, the NHL is aiming for an 82-game schedule in 2020-21.
Whatever options are being considered for salvaging this current NHL playoff season it won't be at the expense of a full 2020-21 season NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly tells us. https://t.co/3rKOh0MbtO
— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) March 18, 2020
All sorts of options for finishing off the 2019-20 season have been kicked around, contingent on COVID-19 no longer being an active threat to human lives:
- Pushing the whole schedule back and completing 82 games and a full playoffs
- Completing a shortened season and a full playoffs
- Axing the remainder of the season and completing a full playoffs
- Axing the remainder of the season and completing an expanded playoffs
Depending on world health conditions, we could see hockey return anywhere from late May to September. But one comment from Daly provides an insight into the NHL’s mindset right now:
So while the NHL will do all it can to have a Stanley Cup tournament, even if it means summer hockey, it also will make it a priority to have a full 82-game season next year
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 18, 2020
In other words? 2019-20 is already a mess and will be a mess no matter what happens. But the NHL’s seeming priority is to make sure that 2020-21 is a full, complete season.
We’ll continue to have updates on the world of hockey (and coronavirus’ impact on that world) as they become available.