Report: NHL Hoping To Make Recommendation For 2020-21 Season To Governors On Thursday

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

On Tuesday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent a memo to each team stating that negotiations with the players’ association are continuing and that the NHL is hopeful that they will make a recommendation regarding the 2020-21 season to the owners and governors as soon as Thursday.

Daly stated that the goal remains to start the season on Friday, January 1, just 52 days away from Tuesday. The NHL is looking at short-term hubs, standings realignment for just this season, and a reduced schedule.

There have been rumors swirling that the 2020-21 season could be around 48-68 games long but the NHL is currently pushing for a full 82-game slate, though they know that might not be possible.

Word around the hockey community has been that the NHL could realign the divisions for next season only due to the closure of the border between the United States and Canada. That could mean the seven Canadian teams (Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadians) making up one division this season. The league would have to split the 24 teams in the United States into three divisions.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who has previously said this season may not end the way it starts, stated that he would never ask his players to participate in a bubble format like what they did in August and September in Toronto and Edmonton for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, he said the NHL is looking at three possibilities: each team playing at their home arena (and maybe hosting fans depending on local COVID-19 status and restrictions), in hubs, or in a hybrid system. If they play in hubs, teams will rotate in for 10-12 days and go home for a week to spend time with friends and family. The NHL would figure out COVID-19 testing before the season begins.

In any plan proposed, the NHLPA would have to sign off on it for it to come to fruition.

The Toronto Star’s Steve Simmons tweeted last week that he heard the 2020-21 season will not begin until February, but the NHL appears determined to start it on New Year’s Day.

The seven NHL teams (Senators, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils) that did not participate in the return-t0-play plan this past summer have not played since before the 2019-20 regular season paused on March 12. Those teams could get an extended training camp.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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