If you carefully parsed the words of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman from an interview he granted Sports Business Journal the other day, there was a lot to be alarmed about when it comes to the prospects of a 2020-21 season. There were some encouraging words too, such as these: “We are hopeful and optimistic based on everything we are hearing that we can get back to normalcy.”
Only, that is for the 2021-22 season. That, in fact, was how he finished the rest of that sentence – “for 2021-22.”
Otherwise, there’s a lot to be worried about for Avs and NHL fans. Starting, of course, with the pandemic, which continues to set new mortality records daily. With absolutely no one certain of anything as far as how effective we will be in our fight against the virus – though, obviously, there is hope with the advent of new vaccines – the once-hoped-for scenario by Bettman for a full, 82-game season is now off the table.
The hope of a season starting Jan. 1 – which the league is still publicly clinging to – looks completely unrealistic now. What is becoming clearer as days tick off the December calendar is this: the NHL is in a big-time financial pinch, and the possibility – though I believe it’s still a small one – is there that this entire season could be scrubbed because of it.