There is a board meeting on Thursday, but a recommendation may not be ready by then.
Here’s what else we hear:
• At this point, the NHL hopes to receive the Stanley Cup by July 15th.
• Different sources have heard different potential lengths for the 2020-2021 season. Some have only heard 56 games, others up to 72. (Later we start, those numbers will drop.) The league may decrease the number of games to keep a few “open weeks” at the end of the game. the regular season in case cancellations create a need to balance the schedule. If these prove to be unnecessary, the playoffs would be increased.
• The discussion around hubs is… interesting. During a virtual panel discussion at the Paley International Council summit on Tuesday, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the possibilities include teams playing in their own arenas, in hubs or in a hybrid system. According to several sources, teams are increasingly pushed to play in their own buildings, with or without fans. One of the reasons, for example, is to name rights to these arenas. With fewer events, these sponsorship agreements could be affected.
• As far as I know, the biggest unresolved issue is player salaries. For them, this issue is settled. They signed an ABC extension last summer, accepting 72 percent of their gross pay for the coming season. They feel that number is set whether they are playing one game or 70 games. However, the owners believe these salaries should be prorated, especially if there is no clear path to attendance – creating losses greater than anything a 20% receiver could bear.
At some point, this will need to be addressed to see if common ground can be found. This is not an insignificant problem.
If January 1 is indeed possible, we’ll need to find out soon, so players can travel to their NHL cities. The seven teams that didn’t make the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs are hoping to get a few more days of training camp. The next few weeks will be busy.