About a week ago, I felt as doom-and-gloom as you could get about the NHL returning this season. It just seemed like all the news was bad, that there was no hope. Today? The sun is shining, birds are chirping, reports of a vaccine available by the end of the year are promising and an NHL return seems highly likely.
Obviously, there is still much uncertainty about all this. This is not going to be an easy thing to pull off. But a 24-team playoff field, with two “pod” cities hosting 12 teams each, is the latest buzz around an NHL return.
I think two cities, 12 teams each, makes the most sense and it’s something I advocated for not too long ago. Four cities, at six teams each, seems too complicated. Too many moving parts.
The Return to Play Committee – the league and players, in tandem – has to agree on all this, of course. Some kind of big new spike in COVID-19 numbers could nuke all this hope and planning. Still a lot of uncertainty. But for now?
There seems to be a lot of legitimate hope again.
- NHL players may give their final paychecks back to owners, to offset potentially bigger escrow deductions for next season. It’s complicated, but this story explains it well (Hockey News)
- Is Las Vegas the preferred destination for the Western “pod” city in an NHL return? It would seem to make a lot of sense (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
- A lot of hockey purists are mad that the league may allow 24 teams in the playoffs. One columnist thinks the purists are hypocritical (NY Post)
- The league is still considering “eight or nine” potential sites for a return. I continue to hear nothing about Denver being in the mix (NHL.com)
- Bid on Avalanche game-worn jerseys, to benefit COVID relief efforts (Coloradoavalanche.com)
- Listen to an hour-long podcast, “Mile High Memories”, that features me, Sandy Clough and Raj Sharan telling stories about the famed Avs-Red Wings rivalry (104.3 The Fan)