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TGIFTB: No one knows what they’re doing

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Least of all us.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The Draft

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly both really wanted the draft in early June. They figured out all the details for it, leaked them in carefully phased increments so that their vision would get out there, and then they hit the wall of a group of teams who don’t want to do it.

I understand why the NHL wants it now. I also don’t think it’s a big deal, takes anything meaningful away from anyone else, and the only reason teams are opposed is because they just don’t like the idea of all this disruption. A pause is fine. A pause means you stop and then go back to normal. This loopy draft and then playoffs scheme means there won’t be a normal. There won’t be a normal. Any return to play will be very, very abnormal.

If the draft is put off to some amorphous future date after the season is over if there’s a season, then there is a very real possibility European draft prospects will be playing again before they’re drafted. The NHL will be competing with baseball and football for attention and the sports channels will offer them TSN 7 and Sportsnet Extra Online for the broadcast.

Playoff Formats

For some reason fans and some media have linked the idea of an early draft with an expanded playoff format, as if one determines the other, and... I don’t get the connection.

Which isn’t to say that an expanded playoff format isn’t back in vogue as the thing to talk about.

They all said the 24-team plan seems to be the one everyone is talking about. My take on this is that the NHL and the NHLPA have got to the point in working out their return to play details where they’re discussing the scenario where they don’t have time for any regular season or they decide to skip it. In that case, a 24-team playoff or some kind of play-in scenario is almost inescapable.

There are a lot of details to work out here, and no certain future to plan for, and yet, the NHL has only a few short weeks to decide what to do about June deadlines like the qualifying offer date and buyout windows. Not only that, they really haven’t figured out how to handle teams having a draft... waves hands... someday, when their scouting staff might be working for someone else by then.

The AHL

Everyone expects the AHL to formally cancel the season. Only the AHL itself expects that to stay under wraps until Monday.

The AHL’s bigger problem is trying to find a way to stay in business without ticket sales.

Other Things I Found Online

T25U25

With a draft in June, we don’t have time to do it now. With a return to play in the summer, we may not have time to do it later. We’re stuck in this not knowing bubble too. So if the early draft is a definite no, and the return to play looks to be delayed into July, then we might do this soon.

My take on this has been for some time that while plans are being considered now and outrage over the idea of playing sports “in these conditions” flows freely, the actual earliest plausible date to hit the ice is six weeks from now, if and only if conditions have changed. There can’t even be a return to home cities now for all teams. So whatever happens, it’s not happening in the next couple of weeks, and it will take until the autumn to get to the handing out of the Cup part of the deal, maybe the late autumn.

(And that’s why they want to do the draft now.)

That’s absolutely all that’s going on, so have a good Friday, yell about the Sabres in the playoffs, and we’ll see you tomorrow.