It seems these days that no news is the news, at least on the NHL front. Luckily, the league produced an updated Q&A Monday and addressed a range of topics related to their “pause” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the top of nearly everyone’s list as far as the NHL goes is when the league will return to play. There have been estimates and guesstimates, but no real word from the brass. That didn’t change with Monday’s notes.
“The form and format of resumption of play scenarios will depend entirely on what transpires between now and when we are permitted and able to resume – and, ultimately, on timing and taking into account logistical constraints,” the release read. “We are going to have to be flexible and react to events as they unfold as well as the best medical advice available.”
Now, the league was clearly impacted by the March 15 edict from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This recommended against gatherings of 50 or more people in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The NHL refers to that as a 60-day window – eight weeks – and suggested a return to training camp for players at about 45 days in.
The NHL also referenced the two players who tested positive for coronavirus. Both are Ottawa Senators and both are currently in isolation with mild symptoms. Medical staff in Ottawa has identified others who may have been in close contact with the two players and are acting accordingly. Players and staff have been isolated and will self-monitor.
As with the general population, there are no plans to mass test for COVID-19 among NHLers.
Players have been under orders to self-quarantine until March 27, however, and have been doing so. Some players may be influenced by local mandates, the league noted, but for the most part, the self-quarantine period concludes at the end of this week.
At the conclusion of this period, the option may be on the table for some players to return to practice facilities and training. This would have to take place in small groups and be in accordance with CDC guidance, but it is possible we could see the reopening of some club facilities as soon as this weekend.
There is no intention of holding a shortened season in 2020-2021, the NHL noted. They did entertain the possibility of this current regular season not concluding as planned, however. The league will anticipate CDC and health authority guidance going forward and defer to it in all cases.
So, there is hope on the horizon and some pieces of hockey life may be returning to some semblance of normal by the end of this week. That’s something to hold on to and that’s something we all could use right about now.
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images