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Commissioner Bettman discusses season restart, Draft scenarios


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As many as four NHL arenas would host three games each per day without fans in one of the scenarios the League is considering to finish the season, Commissioner Gary Bettman told Sportsnet on Wednesday.

The NHL, which paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, also floated the idea to the general managers of holding the 2020 NHL Draft in June before the season ends.


The NHL has decided against playing in non-NHL arenas at neutral sites because League arenas are best equipped to handle its needs if it decides to centralize games.

"We can't play in a small college rink in the middle of a smaller community, because if we're going to be centralized, we need the back of the house that NHL arenas provide, whether it's multiple locker rooms, whether it's the technology, the procedures, the boards and glass, the video replay, the broadcasting facilities," Commissioner Bettman said.

The NHL would need four NHL-caliber locker rooms in each arena, because if it plays three games per day in one arena, it would need to use appropriate sanitizing procedures as teams move in and out, the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Bettman stressed the number of cities and the locations have not been decided. The NHL is modeling to make sure it is prepared for any eventuality.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of the pro lacrosse leagues in the States is restarting at the end of July. (Yes, there are actually several pro lacrosse leagues) The PLL is having a two week tournament with the whole league of seven teams. They are basically quarantining together before and during the event.

If you're the PLL - you take this shot. What better way to get people to watch?

The NHL should come back with a camp/exhibition games for a month then just do an entire league tournament/playoffs. 

  • Have the first tournament for the Division championship. 8 team tournament - all best of 5 series. Blues would get a first round bye as there are only 7 in that division.
  • Then the Conference championship would be the two division winners in best of 7.
  • Then the cup is best of 7.

It would be amazing for fans. Almost a March Madness style event for the NHL.

Division tournament would take a month to complete. Have each division tournament in one arena. Then another month for both the conference series and the Stanley Cup series.

We'd all be glued to the TV for this. They'd need 4 networks to cover all the division series games. NHL, NBC, NBC Sports and maybe USA Network.

Wouldn't even need to open up the stadiums. Could use four facilities with several rinks and at least 8 locker rooms (Lake Placid, etc.) to use.

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Seems to be changing every few days but this seems to be getting the most traction.


The dynamic changes by the day, if not by the hour, but sources on both sides of the aisle have told The Post that the NHL’s reopening plan has shifted from completing the 2019-20 regular season to instead staging a 24-team tournament that would include a best-of-three play-in round.


NHL players remain under a stay-at-home advisory that is expected to be updated within the week. No official timeline for opening club training facilities to individual or small group workouts has been established by the league, which would have to operate under guidelines established by local health boards and governing bodies.

There are also international travel and US-Canada border-crossing restrictions in place that would appear to be obstacles to a quick reopening.

Local television commitments had been the driving force behind a number of teams’ insistence that the 189 games remaining on the schedule be played, for there is up to $150 million at stake if the remainder of the regular season is wiped out.


But we are told that the league’s focus has shifted to the tournament plan for three basic reasons: 1) Condensing the duration of play to better guard against the potential of a second wave of the coronavirus striking and necessitating a second shutdown; 2) Avoiding having to reassemble teams with no realistic chance of making the playoffs and having them play up to a month’s worth of meaningless games; 3) Avoiding the prospect of a quarantine within a hub city/hotel for up to four months, including a three-week training camp, for teams going deep into the playoffs following a regular-season completion.

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