Assuming NHL training camps open up Monday and groups truly get there in their hub towns July 26, this proposed 24-team Stanley Cup playoffs ought to be a hoot.
If a whole lot of factors really don’t transpire.
There’s absolutely a whole lot of ifs about the NHL’s return to enjoy and completion of the 2019-20 period, and I’ll start off with an case in point just about every Avalanche lover can attract fascination from.
What if Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs’ most effective participant, assessments favourable for coronavirus but he’s asymptomatic or isn’t also unwell to enjoy? The NHL has made it clear: He’s on lockdown and not suitable to return right up until he has 4 consecutive adverse assessments.
But what if tracing qualified prospects to a waiter inside the resort bubble probably spreading COVID-19 to MacKinnon, between hundreds of gamers keeping at that resort, with every single team on unique flooring but anyone consuming the very same food?
If MacKinnon assessments favourable but is asymptomatic or feels excellent enough to enjoy, do you really make him a obligatory scratch although all the many others exposed in the very same bubble resort continue on to enjoy?
The NHL is a league that authorized Boston captain Zdeno Chara to enjoy in Games 5, six and 7 of the last year’s Stanley Cup Ultimate with pins supporting multiple jaw fractures, and it is a league with a history of gamers playing with damaged extremities and other serious injuries.
The NHL has under no circumstances ahead of been so involved with a player’s overall health throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’m not suggesting that is a poor matter, but just acknowledging the massive dangers in pulling this off throughout a pandemic.
I comprehend and respect COVID-19 problems and the hurt it can do to older folks and all those with underlying health care ailments, and that any new scenario is poor information. It’s also unlikely to harm a physically suit 24-calendar year-aged hockey participant like MacKinnon and the vast majority of his friends.
So is scratching MacKinnon carried out to secure anyone else in the bubble that isn’t a participant, these as a coach, trainer, executive or referee? If that is the scenario, and a celebrity like MacKinnon is out of the match simply because of it, this period-preserving design has 1 huge flaw. Possibly we ought to contemplate calling the entire matter off — an item the NHL did incorporate in its extensive return-to-enjoy protocol Tuesday.
Bottom line: If a celebrity will get expelled from the match for a favourable exam, go in advance and incorporate that asterisk to the 2020 playoffs, whether it is accomplished or not.
That explained, let’s swap gears. Let’s enjoy hockey! I’m optimistically enthusiastic for this smorgasbord of day-to-day playoff hockey.
Games are scheduled to begin Aug. one — reportedly in Edmonton (Western Conference) and Toronto (Eastern Conference) — and in the early rounds there will be 3 game titles in every single hub commencing at midday, 4 p.m. and eight p.m., so six groups in every single conference competing day-to-day. Given that Edmonton is mountain time and Toronto eastern time, all game titles are staggered for your comprehensive television enjoyment.
The NHL’s prolonged return-to-enjoy protocol has an item on team apparel that caught my eye. Gamers will not be essential to don satisfies for game titles, but I’m betting that 95 p.c of them will read earlier that and do their matter — which is appear as excellent as achievable ahead of game titles.
These guys universally feel that they appear organized and enjoy as very well as they appear.
In closing, it is searching like the 2020 Stanley Cup Ultimate will be performed when the 2020-21 preseason was originally scheduled — all around Sept. 20 to Oct. two, according to Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedman also expects the draft to be held Oct. six, upcoming season’s training camps to open up Nov. seventeen and 2020-21 to begin Dec. one.
Heaps of ifs and whens with the NHL in today’s COVID-19 environment.