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The NHL may be pivoting away from the possibility of playing the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season in four centralized spots, and is now looking into playing games in each team’s host city, according to The New York Post’s Larry Brooks.
The league is still going through its options, but the report states that players do not like the idea of being away from their families for weeks and even months, leading them to this thought after a meeting between the NHL and NHLPA on Wednesday. Five players were included in the meeting.
The NHLPA has expressed concerns about being away from society but has not shut that notion down, so the thought of having games in four designated cities is still on the table.
The NHL and NHLPA still have their meetings, a source told the Post. There is no consensus about the format to resume the 2019-20 season. Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Thursday that he would be fine starting next season in November or December in order to finish this one.
Teams want to finish the regular season because of their local television contracts but the NHL is still looking at the idea of going straight to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs with more teams.
If the NHL were to execute this plan, travel and testing players and staff would be the most significant issues, Brooks pointed out. However, testing is still a big obstacle as the availability of test kits, cost, reliability, and how quickly the results come back are still unknown.
Each team had between 11-14 games remaining in the regular season before the NHL paused it due to coronavirus pandemic on March 12.
By Harrison Brown