The opening round of the playoffs was reportedly underway this week, but like all other North American sports, the NHL has been forced to hibernate since March 12 by the new coronavirus.
In the absence of live hockey to digest, fans turned to social media where various scenarios, some wacky and wacky and others detailed and discussed, were presented and debated.
Bettman conceded in an interview with CNN that many were unrealistic, but all would be taken into consideration.
“You have to be ready to raise”
“All leagues are essentially focused on the same things,” said Bettman. “There has been a lot of speculation that we are going to play in neutral venues like North Dakota and a variety of other places.
“The point is that when you are in the position where we are all, you have to be ready to raise when the opportunity arises, which means that you should not rule out any imaginable alternative and be prepared even if some of them turn out to be unrealistic. ”
With nearly 600,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 23,000 deaths reported in the United States by Monday, the idea of crowding nearly 20,000 spectators in the arena does not seem realistic at the moment.
When the game resumes, it is likely to be in neutral locations or centers in empty arenas where teams and staff can be isolated, limiting exposure to the coronavirus for players and the public.
Grand Forks, North Dakota and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan were suggested as possible sites. But as discussions intensify over the reopening of the US economy, Bettman noted that the NHL continues to consider its options.
One of these options would be considered the end of the 2019-2020 season with the 2020-21 season starting in November.
“We are exploring and want to be ready for all options regardless of the circumstances,” said Bettman. “So we have excluded nothing and we have excluded nothing and we will be ready to go in the right direction at the time.
“We are exploring all the options, but when we have the opportunity to come back depends on things over which we have absolutely no control,” said Bettman.
“It all starts with everyone’s health and well-being. Until there is a feeling that people can come together … we don’t know when we can come back. “