Commissioner Raises Chance Of NHL Not Completing Regular Season

Apr 7, 2020, 4:24 PM
Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche tries to get around the stick of Dylan Larkin #71 o...
Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche tries to get around the stick of Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at Little Caesars Arena on March 02, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Colorado won the game 2-1. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

AP – For the first time since halting play four weeks ago, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman raised the possibility Tuesday of not completing the regular season in order to squeeze in time to award the Stanley Cup.

Bettman also acknowledged during an interview with NBCSN the league is considering having games played at neutral sites in the event not all teams will be allowed into their home rinks.

Bettman, however, stressed these are among myriad options being considered with nothing determined because it will take at least two more weeks to gain a clearer picture on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the league’s 31 markets.

“We’re looking at all options. Nothing’s been ruled in. Nothing’s been ruled out,” Bettman said during the interview broadcast on the league’s U.S. broadcast partner.

“The best thing and the easiest thing would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do,” he said. “We understand that may not be possible. And that’s why we’re considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is.”

Bettman had not previously raised the possibility of shortening the regular season, which was halted on March 12 with 189 games remaining.

The 16-team playoffs were scheduled to open Wednesday, though they likely won’t begin until late June – at the earliest – and could stretch into August and potentially September.

NHL players have been asked to self-quarantine through April 15, a date that has been pushed back twice already and is expected to be moved once again. The number of NHL players testing positive for COVID-19 rose to eight Tuesday as the league announced a third Colorado Avalanche player tested positive, joining five members of the Ottawa Senators.

The season was put on hold with teams having played an uneven amount of games and with tightly contested races taking place in each of the two conferences.

The NHL has not placed a firm deadline on the latest when the playoffs could start. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, however, acknowledged in an email to The Associated Press the league will eventually have to establish “some last possible day” so not to cut into the start of the following season.

“It’s nothing that we are even close to setting at this point in time,” he wrote.

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky said it would be unfair for the NHL to dump what remains of the regular season.

“There’s a lot of games (left) and we’re right in the mix, and we have the opportunity to be in there,” Bobrovsky said. “The season is 82 games and then the playoffs. So you can’t just cut of where we are and jump right into the playoffs.”

The possibility of playing at neutral sites is being considered because the pandemic is affecting regions at different times. North Dakota, among a handful of states without stay-at-home orders, was mentioned as a potential site because the state isn’t densely populated and the University of North Dakota features an NHL-caliber facility.

Buffalo has also been discussed because the Sabres, who are out of contention, have a two-rink practice facility connected to their downtown arena and a 200-plus room hotel.

Boston defenseman Torey Krug urged the NHL to take a patient approach.

“Look, we all want to get back to playing,” Krug said.

“If we do have the opportunity to get back to playing, let’s be safe about it and be smart,” he added. “No one wants to jump back into a situation where we put a bunch of people in one area, and all of a sudden this thing takes off again.”

Bettman sees the potential of games being played into the summer and doesn’t expect the ability to maintain NHL-caliber ice sheets to be an issue because of the league’s modern and air-conditioned facilities.


Jay Cohen, AP

Hockey Hall Of Famer Bobby Hull, The Golden Jet, Dies At 84

Bobby Hull, a Hall of Fame winger and two-time NHL MVP who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961, has died. He was 84.
3 days ago
The Associated Press

Vegas Golden Knights Goalie Lehner Files For Bankruptcy, Cites $50M Debt

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner and his wife have filed for bankruptcy in Nevada, citing up to $50 million in debts.
17 days ago
TIM BOOTH AP Sports Writer

NHL Winter Classic To Feature Seattle Hosting Vegas In 2024

Selling the NHL on bringing the 2024 Winter Classic to the Pacific Northwest required the purchase of a protection plan — a retractable roof.
29 days ago
NHL and MLB logos side by side...
Madisan Hinkhouse

Jazz Owner Ryan Smith Believes Utah Could Support Another Pro Sports Team

Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake owner Ryan Smith spoke candidly about the potential of another pro sports franchise in Utah.
4 months ago
Kyle Ireland

Salt Lake City Shows Out For Frozen Fury NHL Game

Hockey fans in the Beehive State showed out for the Frozen Fury preseason NHL game Vivint Arena between the Golden Knights and Kings.
4 months ago
Kyle Ireland

NHL Announces 2022-23 Regular Season Schedule For Golden Knights

The National Hockey League announced the 2022-23 regular season for its teams, including the Vegas Golden Knights.
7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Commissioner Raises Chance Of NHL Not Completing Regular Season