In a television interview with Fox Business Network on Wednesday morning, the NHL commissioner said that a resumption of the NHL this summer is an option.
“We strive to be as flexible and as agile as possible and when we have the opportunity from a health point of view to bring our players together, let our teams rebuild for operations to be operational, we will be able to do this, whenever it makes sense, ”said Bettman.
“And we think we can be pretty flexible in terms of timing, and I guess at this point we will probably be playing in the summer, which we can certainly do. “
With the contribution of 31 league teams and in talks with the NHL Players’ Association, the NHL has explored not only the logistical problems of getting back on the ice, but also how to properly finish the 2019 regular season. 2020.
When the NHL took a break on March 12 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, five teams – the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference and Vancouver Canucks and the Minnesota Wild in Western Conference – were less than three points or less from a wildcard spot. The Arizona Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks were not far west.
“There are at least seven teams on the verge of qualifying for the playoffs, and not all teams have played the same number of games,” said Bettman. “Whatever we do to come back, and that’s where I’m talking about being agile and flexible, we’re going to have to do something, whether it’s to end the regular season in whole or in part.
“Whether or not it’s an extended playoff, we’re going to have to do something that is fair and honest. This is going to be very important no matter what we do, and we are considering all the alternatives. Nothing was excluded and nothing was excluded. “
A major hurdle that the NHL and other professional sports leagues will have to overcome is that where games could be played if there was any green light to return to action. The best way, of course, for the NHL to get back on the ice would be to get players back from the clubs in each of their respective cities for training camp, but it could be months, if not more than one year away.
Neutral sites? A site, for example Grand Forks, N.D., was discussed.
Keep in mind that players have not had access to their usual training facilities, let alone the ice. The NHL extended its quarantine this week until April 30. It has been hypothesized that a final call for the 2019-2020 season, whether completed, will not come until the end of May or mid-June.
“We have considered all the alternatives, not only in terms of the game structure, but also where we do it because we are all over North America – Canada and the United States – in many different places and not all of them can be in the same state with regard to the coronavirus, “said Bettman. “We have explored the possibility of some neutral sites.
“We had discussions with the players and the Palestinian Authority, it was very cooperative. One of the things we know we’re going to need is two to three weeks for players to get in shape. Our health and safety concerns are therefore above all. We don’t want our players to risk injury, and that’s part of the mix. “
The bottom line for Bettman, when it comes to players and staff associated with NHL teams, is health and safety when it comes to coronavirus.
“Before we can start from a business perspective, we need to be sure that we have the proper medical protocols in place, as we are going to have to travel our players from almost all over the world,” said Bettman.
“When we decide it’s time to play, we need to be able to bring everyone back and be comfortable that not only are we not infecting the population of players, but that we are not bringing coronavirus from other places in jurisdictions where players and other staff go. “
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading infectious disease experts in the United States, said in an interview on Snapchat Good luck america that the games could be played in empty stadiums, and possibly in arenas, at some point. “No one comes to the stadium,” said Fauci, referring to the supporters. “Put (the players) in the big hotels, wherever you want to play, and keep them very well watched. Have them tested weekly and make sure they don’t end up infecting each other or their families, and just let them play the season. Our perspective: we’ll see… Bill Peters, who stepped down as coach of the Calgary Flames last November following allegations of racial and physical violence from former players, including Akim Aliu and Michal Jordan, signed a two-year contract to coach KHL motorist Yekaterinburg.