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NHL hits pause on regular season, “hopeful” of resuming; What does it mean for the Avalanche?

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Colorado Avalanche

To no one’s surprise, the NHL has suspended the regular season until further notice. From the league:

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.

“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

To answer a few questions:

Will the Avalanche still be able to practice as a team, and meet regularly as a team? No, not officially. Not until further notice, anyway. Some things, I’m told, are still “fluid” with regard to what teams and players can and can’t do. I mean, the entire team is in Denver right now. Can a few of them skate together if they want? I haven’t heard that they can’t. They can obviously hang out together away from the ice if they want.

Can players leave town if they want? Can they go to their off-season homes and just wait until being told the season is back on? That’s unclear at the moment. I have asked a person who could give a relevant answer on that, and am told that things are still too fluid to answer that.

Will players still be paid during this time off? As of what I am hearing right now, yes. Keep in mind, players were only going to get three more official paychecks on this season: one on March 15, one on April 1 and another pro-rated through the final game of the regular season. Players do not receive paychecks during the playoffs or summer. They get all their money during the regular season.

Will the team issue full refunds to ticket-buyers who have already purchased tickets to remaining regular-season home games? Don’t know officially, but they would have to I believe. You can’t take money for games that never were played.

UPDATE: The team did put out this statement on ticket matters:

A few of my own personal thoughts: This all happened so fast. Everybody is publicly saying the NHL did the right thing, but I can tell you a lot of NHL people are unhappy that such a drastic step was taken so fast. And NHL people are FURIOUS at the NBA for the spectacle of one of their players – Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz – brazenly doing things like touching reporters’ microphones in a mock of the seriousness of the virus, then testing positive himself. Once he tested positive – with another Jazz player testing positive soon after – things changed rapidly with regard to the NBA suspending everything. The NHL had little choice but to follow suit.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t still very unhappy at the NBA for what they see as lax, irresponsible behavior.

I think the regular season, as we know it, is toast. I think what will happen is there will be some sort of mini-series play-in for the teams on the bubble of the playoffs, but the other teams will stay frozen where they are in terms of seeding, then play will resume – IF it resumes, at all – for the playoffs. That’s just my hunch.

I don’t see how this is going to be any less than a month away from resuming. We still barely have any test kits in this country. Nobody has any idea how many people in this country are infected right now. It’s going to take weeks just to get people properly tested. Until that happens, nobody can guarantee that NHL arenas are “safe” for large gatherings of people. Nobody can guarantee anything right now.

We’re all in uncharted territory. And it’s a bad piece of territory to be residing.

 

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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JD16

Man, this sucks. It’ll be interesting what the playoff will be like if they’re started right off the drop, intensity wise.
The most games a team has played is 71. I’m curious if they would make it so that everyone else plays 1-2 more games just to even things out. Playoff teams especially.
I don’t think the NHL would do this but is there any way you think they’d have a truncated playoffs with six teams?
What am I going to do with myself. This teams been the one bright spot for me since January.

Christopher S. Spaulding

Indeed, it does.

JD16

Good edit.

Mike

Well AD w/out any live hockey, I’m going to re-read your book “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know.” If you ever write and updated version, I’m sure this will make for an interesting chapter.

troian

If you haven’t already, get his “Blood Feud” (and maybe watch a YouTube of the ’96 Western Conference Finals highlights) – best sports book I’ve ever read, and not just because it’s Avs-centric.

Christopher S. Spaulding

The NHL did the safe and prudent thing. I fully support the league’s efforts to help contain this pandemic. As a long time nursing professional I will tell you the last two weeks have seemed like we are living in the first 45 minutes of every zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Stay safe out there, friends.

Charles-Edouard Boivin

With all the injuries afflicting the Avs, I’m taking this situation positively. The chances to see Mac, Rantanen and all back in top shape to finish the season isn’t such a bad thing after all. Your thoughts Adrian ?

david

It’s like instant august with crappy weather.

GWood

So bummed and extremely pissed off. I agree NHL did the right thing. NOW is the time to be a hermit in the basement for awhile. Maybe even starting last week. Blows my mind some schools and other organizations are saying ‘beginning next week’, just make the move already.

Matt Briggle

Everything I’ve seen and read says this is the right move. On a positive note, I did see something on TSN that they league has asked teams to report arena availability through July.

avs-kate

Even if this is the end of the season. Even if there’s no playoffs, miss the opportunity to capture the west conference lead..

I am SO freaking impressed with this team, the coaching staff and the fanbase who have shown support to the team and each other via many forms of social media.

I am saddened this has so much collateral damage associated. Journalists, arena staff, hell even people like buskers outside the arenas, people who do the parking, the bars, the ‘forgotten’ environment that’s associated with every home game.

Aaron Hinton

Maybe we can do a “best” and “worst” as far as current and historical Avs players/moments? Something fun, keeps AD busy and all of us Avs junkies interacting without battling over the last roll of toilet paper in Walmart…

troian

Excellent idea – best/worst memory, game, player, coach, personal experience…interactive on AD’s site as an extension of sorts of his “Blood Feud,” which is best sports book I’ve ever read (even better than “Distant Replay”)…

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