Updates from the NHL on their plans for the rest of the season and any potential playoffs have stayed fairly consistent ever since they finally admitted that the season would need to be put on hold for the truly foreseeable future: we might be down but we’re not out.
A reminder that the NHL is willing to delay the start of next season until November in order to finish off this season if possible with summer hockey. NHL believes they can play a full season next year starting in November, cancel ASG/bye week, play playoffs into late June '21— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 13, 2020
Suggestions from the NHL have included the possibility of a truncated playoff schedule and holding games at neutral sites without fans, but as with many other sports (and the world in general), the NHL is currently stuck in a “wait and see” holding pattern, with no way of knowing when it might be feasible for teams to reconvene to practice together, much less play games together. The variability of health ordinances from city to city and country to country, along with the closing of the US-Canada border, add extra complications and levels of uncertainty.
Still, despite all this Bettman is sticking to his assertion that, if at all (and he does mean at all) possible, there will still be more hockey played this year.
That being said, if restrictions do end up making it impossible for any more hockey to be played in the 2019-20 season, I don’t think that that needs to mean that the Stanley Cup isn’t awarded at all. With this in mind, I’ve developed a couple of other alternatives to determine who should win the Cup...
Rock-Paper-Scissors Zoom Tournament
Teams select one representative per round to play best-of-three against their opponent. Refs will of course be on hand to make sure no one is cheating, though there will inevitably be several controversial calls due to video lags. These will somehow still manage to disproportionately go against the Leafs, arguably costing the team the first round.
Self-explanatory, though maybe redundant. We all know Gritty is winning this one, giving the Philadelphia Flyers their first cup since 1975.
Words With Friends Tournament
Teams nominate a representative to play the entire tournament for them. Standard rules apply, except that players are awarded negative points for any terms related to hockey. Zach Hyman would definitely be a good pick for this for the Leafs. Pros: has a university degree, is an award-winning children's author. Cons: once spelt sieve wrong on camera, with confidence.
On to the links!
Join us in taking a look at the Leafs prospect pipeline:
The National Post argues for just ending the season now:
The Athletic is continuing their playoff simulation:
And Canadian tennis player Félix Auger-Aliassime shows off his hockey skills: