ARIZONA COYOTES

Report: NHL players eye resumption of season this summer

Mar 18, 2020, 11:14 AM
Goaltender David Rittich #33 of the Calgary Flames and teammates celebrate after the game between A...
Goaltender David Rittich #33 of the Calgary Flames and teammates celebrate after the game between Atlantic Division v Pacific Division during the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

National Hockey League players have reportedly come together to formulate a plan for resuming the NHL schedule this calendar year, completing the regular season before going to the playoffs.

“Some of the best players in the NHL — think Hart Trophy and Conn Smythe caliber players — have been kicking around some ideas in some group chats,” TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported Tuesday on an Insider Trading TV segment. “They’re following along with the rest of the health experts knowing that this may take until July or August for the coronavirus to really have enough people recover and build up immunity.”

The idea, Seravalli said, is to have a training camp period in late July, play regular season games, start the playoffs in early August and award the Stanley Cup by late September. There would then be a 3-4 week offseason period that includes the draft and free agency in October, and then the start of a new season in November.

Seravalli didn’t specify whether the intention would be to play all of the games that have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. He just said that teams could all get to the same number of games, an issue that would solve what’s currently an uneven playing field if the league just jumped straight into the playoffs with the current standings.

If the NHL did start next season in November, that would be later than what is normal. The NHL typically begins preseason games in mid-September and starts the regular season about a week into October. Seravalli said a condensed schedule, but one that includes a full 82-game slate, would be necessary for 2020-21 under this proposal.

Seravalli said the idea is already making its way to the NHLPA and that the league is ready and willing to consider all the options at this point.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, who also works with Seravalli at TSN, said one NHL governor endorsed a similar version of the August and September playoffs idea and already talked to commissioner Gary Bettman about it.

As it stands now, the Coyotes are in fifth place in the Western Conference Wild Card. They’re four points behind the nearest playoff spot and had 12 games remaining in their regular season. Three teams ahead of Arizona — Minnesota, Vancouver and Nashville — had 13 games remaining.

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