There’s no question: the NHL really wants – and needs – to resume its 2019-20 season, despite the coronavirus situation. We’ve been over some of this ground before, but to reiterate: while players have already all been paid (or soon will be) for the 2019-20 season – and even got 3% back in escrow refunds – the loss of four-round playoff would hurt them financially come next season.
NHL owners and players split “hockey-related revenues” 50-50, and playoffs are where a lot of the owners make their profits for the year. If that goes away, that money is going to come out of the players’ pockets eventually in increased escrow and maybe a smaller salary cap. That’s why it’s the one sport, of the four majors, that really wants to resume probably more than the others.
While there have been reports of increased pessimism about the NBA resuming its season because of the coronavirus outbreak, you’re not hearing that much about the NHL. In fact, some top leaders in the game are publicly expressing optimism a season will resume this spring/summer. Lou Lamoriello is one.
My take: I think the season will resume, but the games won’t have any fans in the stands. Yeah, it’ll be weird, really weird, and it won’t be as fun to watch. But, hey, TV ratings would be through the roof and it’ll be just a one-time deal and, if nothing else, it would be a new experience.
- Gary Bettman was part of that conference call the other day with President Trump, but he hasn’t said anything publicly about it. The league has maintained, though, that its goal is to continue the season, if possible (USA Today).
- Some columnists, though, think it’s time for the NHL to just pull the plug on the season (Ottawa Sun)
- Some pundits don’t think fans will come back to arenas for a good long time, even if the virus subsides (USA Today).
- My take: No, they’ll be back, and soon. Fans always come back.
- Cale Makar did a Zoom session with Sportsnet the other day. He’s back home in Calgary, waiting this thing out and doing well (YouTube)
FIVE THINGS I THINK
- I wish I’d learned to sew. How the hell am I supposed to make a mask? Would an old Gene Simmons Halloween mask that I have suffice, or would I scare off half the store the next time I walk in for my groceries?
- One thing I’m counting the days to when this is over: no more Brady Bunch Zoom sessions among idled talking head sports media. Hey, we gotta make content somehow, I get it. Not judging here. But, yeah, counting the days…
- My chess game has improved during this thing. I played a lot of chess at a very young age, probably starting at around age 7 or so. Then I never played for about 35 years. Then I got into it again. I still have problems with the endgame, though, especially when it’s down to just a couple of pawns each.
- That Tiger show, whatever it’s called? I gave it a try, but got bored after the first 25 minutes and turned it off.
- Wash those hands, keep your safe distances and listen to the medical experts, kids, not the Twitter MDs.