Yesterday, John Shannon tweeted out a rumour:

This is the first whisper we’ve heard that these meetings have been going on, but as mentioned here:

NHL Playoff and Offseason Schedule - Pension Plan Puppets
How fast is the run to the cup? And then what happens?

The two sides have to discuss the entire protocol of a new season, and that season is set to start in less than three months in mid-November.

I don’t believe that the players or the NHLPA will agree to a plan that involves hundreds of them moving house with their families to a strange city for a year. Nor do I think they’d agree to be isolated from their families for long periods of time, so I think this concept has to be something like this:

  • 2 weeks of quarantine at the hub location
  • play 8 games
  • travel on a single plane, not breaking bubble quarantine to the next hub
  • play 8 games
  • go home for a bye week(s)
  • repeat/

You have to do that four times to get 64 games, and unless you can compress the games into a very short window, banking on the bye weeks and quarantine to offset that, then even 64 games would be tough, but a 48 game schedule is possible in a reasonable time.

Of course, the NHL has to allow for both good news and bad. Good news being a vaccine and a loosening of the need for the hub concept in the first place. Bad news being the Canadian Government not letting all that international travel continue because things got worse. They can’t assume they can finish what they’ve started.

I hope we’ve moved beyond the days when the demand is made to just cancel the season until it can be normal again. The first time that was an understandable feeling, but the time frame for when normal was going to arrive was right about now, and it hasn’t. So some non-normal way of carrying on some form of pro hockey has to be found to keep all the people it employs employed.

I like this idea, or something like it, and I do think we all know this would have to be in Canada entirely. It allows the TV and arena production crews to live normal-ish lives, and they wouldn’t need to be in a bubble in some hotel because they’d all have minimal contact with the players. It doesn’t demand players take long permanent breaks from their families, which isn’t reasonable, and it might actually create a hockey season not fraught with injuries if the downtime is cleverly scheduled.

We’ll see where this goes, and if any other insiders get some details.

Other News and Things to Read

Stars Score Four in Second Period, Defeat Avalanche 5-2 - Defending Big D
Dallas now leads Colorado 2-0 in the series after outscoring the Avalanche 10-5 through the first two games.

Varlamov’s second consecutive shutout sends Islanders past Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 - Lighthouse Hockey
Philadelphia becomes the latest team whom the Islanders made feel all terrible ‘n stuff.

What's Next For The AHL In Their Process For Returning To Play In 2020-21?
A member of the American Hockey League's (AHL) recently assembled Return To Play (RTP) Task Force, Lehigh Valley Phantoms co-owner Jim Brooks is heavily involved in helping guide the league to a successful return to the ice in the 2020-21 season after the coronavirus pandemic paused - and eventually canceled last season in March.

It’s interesting that the AHL return to play committee has only met once, as discussed in the story linked above. They have a tentative date and nothing else planned. Discussed in that article is some sort of regional playing schedule and also covered is the places that’s going to be hard to make work.

The entire concept of the AHL playing games sounds to me like as good an idea as what Major League Baseball came up with. Just do it, cross your fingers, and hope.

I haven’t read this yet, so now I’m going to:

Today’s games are Boston at Tampa at 7 p.m. and Vancouver at Vegas at 9:45 p.m.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.