While the idea of resuming the hockey season in the summer seems like a pipe dream at this point, the NHL has reportedly asked all 31 teams to provide August home dates just in case they are able to get going.
On Tuesday’s episode of the TSN Insiders, the crew ran through a couple of scenarios that the league is batting around right now, including the need for possible home dates in August. After watching the segment, it really seems like the NHL is trying to figure out any possible angle that would allow them to somehow finish this current season, award the Stanley Cup, and have the wrap on 2019-20 not in any way affect playing 82 games next season. According to Bob McKenzie:
“The National Hockey League did request from each of its 31 member clubs to provide available home dates for the month of August. What we can start to figure out here, is if we’re going to have a playoffs that have 2020 in front of them, there’s a real good chance it could be as late as August.”
As a result of this latest plan, the NHL has also apparently asked the players and staff to self-quarantine through April 6th, which is a 10-day extension on the original plan for staying inside. Even with August still being four months away, it’s hard to imagine that everything will be back to normal by then, and that’s not even considering the fact that player contracts are supposed to expire on June 30th which would obviously affect areas like the draft, player movement, work visas, and free agency just to name a few. Needless to say, if the NHL is able to continue on in the summer months — there is a big, hairy, audacious ‘IF’ there — then there will undoubtedly have to be all kinds of compromises from all sides if the league and players have any chance of making it work.
So why is the NHL working so hard to finish off the season even if that means pushing things up to the start of the 2020-21 season? It can’t just be for the love of the game, can it? Frank Seravalli likely had the answer:
“You can bet the NHL will do whatever it takes, no matter how hot it is, to get back on the ice. Because what’s at stake is a potential revenue loss of north of $1 billion if this 2019-20 season does not resume. And so everyone’s wondering if there could be some sort of bailout coming in the form of an insurance recovery. Well the NHL does not believe there’s going to be any meaningful insurance payout that’s on the way. And that affects both the owners and players. Because when you look at it, players are on the hook 50/50 of the revenue split.”
At this point, there are still 189 total games left on the 2019-20 schedule + playoffs and it certainly appears that the NHL is doing what it can to figure out a way to get as many of those played as possible even if the plan certainly seems far fetched as I write this on March 25th. Will it happen? Do they have a snowball’s hope in hell? Dare to dream, friends. Dare to dream.