Raise your hand if you knew the NHL was going to have trouble sticking to January 1 as a hard date to return to play.
According to multiple reports, January 15 is now the date on the presumptive calendar. The NHL and the NHLPA have been talking about mid-January in recent days, with training camps potentially opening a couple weeks prior. Given how negotiations have gone as of late, that seems a more reasonable target than January 1.
The NBA, for those scoring at home, is set to commence on December 22. The NBA’s Board of Governors ratified its Collective Bargaining Agreement on November 10 and subsequently set up the season. Pre-season ball will begin on December 11. They’ll play 72 games, with the Toronto Raptors to commence their season in Tampa. Fan attendance details will be set by each team.
It stands to reason to ask what’s holding the NHL up if the NBA can get their ducks in a row and get rolling, but things are complex in the world of hockey.
Right now, it looks like they’ll get to play 50-something games in the National Hockey League this season. There will have to be a complete divisional realignment to push this forward. That much-reported all-Canadian division seems a good way to start the action.
Reports suggest that the NHL may be backing down on its request pertaining to escrow, which is wise at this point because arguing about money during a global pandemic is a bad look.
There are protocols for the league to hammer out, including divisional realignments and how safety measures will be adhered to within whatever scenario arises. As far as the NHL (and common sense) goes, safety and health issues are not up for “debate” and there will be rules and regulations to follow in order to play.
Overall, this is good news. The NHL and the NHLPA don’t want egg on their faces as far as starting a new season goes and they definitely don’t want to be the sports league that can’t get their stuff together. It’s a safe bet to expect more momentum in the coming days as more details emerge. Thank goodness.
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