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According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, some of the NHL’s brightest stars are brainstorming a possible scenario that sees the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in August or September. One NHL governor told Seravalli that he has been thinking of something similar.
“They’re saying in these uncertain times how could we find a way to potentially create some certainty here for the players, and one way to do that, the idea they’ve proposed is to open training camps at some point in July, then play regular-season games, potentially enough games to formulate the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and have enough teams play the same number of games, and also warm-up games for teams that are going to be in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, then start those players in early August, have the Stanley Cup awarded by late September and then begin a three to four week transition period in which you conduct the draft and free agency in October, followed by the start of a full 82-game regular season that would, of course, be on a condensed schedule,” Seravalli wrote.
The proposal is getting sent to the NHLPA and Seravalli reported that the NHL could be open to it.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun spoke to a governor who liked the idea of a later start since it would give doctors more time to find a way to treat the coronavirus so the chance of a player getting it would decline.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that players really don’t want to lose all escrow or anything else and not have to return their last three paychecks.
As the CDC recommended no mass gatherings of at least 50 people for eight weeks (until around May 10), the NHL could be on pause for a few months. The league has not been willing to discuss the possible impacts on the 2020-21 season with the media.
By Harrison Brown
Creative idea – wonder what sort of other adjustments they’d also make after a shorter break and a compressed schedule? Higher salary cap to cover added injuries? Different injured reserve rules? Change to AHL waiver rules to allow for more player availability? Here’s hoping we don’t end up like 1919 without a cup winner due to the 1918 flu pandemic!