Finally, we have some good news out of the NHL. After many long, frustrating months filled with delays, the league and the players association have comes to terms on what the 2021 season will look like.
There is still some pending red tape to deal with. The NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA will make the plan officially official with a “Yes” vote. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, who is basically the Adam Schefter of hockey, The NHLBG will cast their ballots on Sunday or Monday. However, a final stamp appears all but inevitable. Here are the big takeaways to the proposed season:
2021, not 2020-2021
This comes as no surprise, but the NHL will not play any more games in 2020. The players will not be completing a crash-course camp to pack in contests before the year (Finally!) comes to a close. Logistically speaking, duh. The league starting up camps on Christmas Eve would not curry any favors with the organizations.
Commissioner Gary Bettman’s stance has been that games would preferably begin in January. In this rendition of the 2021 plan, the puck will drop on January 13th. While that is not the most ideal time for the NHL, as their start is sandwiched in between the week of NFL Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs, it is the best the sport can muster.
56 is the new 82
What was also a no brainer from the start is that the league could not get in 82 games this season. Without a full training camp, and the league’s desire to get back to their regular October through June schedule ASAP, a full slate was impossible.
This plan packs in 56 regular season contests. This was a battle between the owners and players. The owners wanted as many matchups as possible, as they will certainly take a hit from lost ticket sales. On the other hand, the players, especially veterans, wanted a reasonable balance of games and rest. 56 games appear to be a good compromise.
There are still questions that will, hopefully, be answered next week. When will the regular season end? How does the league envision the playoffs occurring? When fans be allowed in the arenas? I am sure you have your questions as well.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones