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WordsOfWisdom

There Won't Be a 2020-21 NHL Season

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Is everyone comfortable with the fact that there won't be a 2020-21 NHL season?  Thoughts?  :( 

 

I understand the NHL was able to get a playoffs in by playing in a "bubble" in two host cities and it worked. Good timing to do it over the end of summer when cases of covid were low and I'm glad they did. However, playing an entire season (or even HALF a season) in a bubble is logistically impossible. Covid cases are spiking again, things are being shut down again, and it appears that this will be a crippling/stiffling problem through winter. Where/how does the NHL get a season in with the current sports landscape at the moment?  I just don't see it happening. 

 

 

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A horrifying thought, but it does seem possible. The teams need the fans to help pay the bills and the fans cannot come until the pandemic is over. 

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3 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

Is everyone comfortable with the fact that there won't be a 2020-21 NHL season?  Thoughts?  :( 

 

I understand the NHL was able to get a playoffs in by playing in a "bubble" in two host cities and it worked. Good timing to do it over the end of summer when cases of covid were low and I'm glad they did. However, playing an entire season (or even HALF a season) in a bubble is logistically impossible. Covid cases are spiking again, things are being shut down again, and it appears that this will be a crippling/stiffling problem through winter. Where/how does the NHL get a season in with the current sports landscape at the moment?  I just don't see it happening. 

 

 

 

 

Possible...but at least you can put Matthews down for another 50! 

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4 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

Is everyone comfortable with the fact that there won't be a 2020-21 NHL season?  Thoughts?  :( 

 

I understand the NHL was able to get a playoffs in by playing in a "bubble" in two host cities and it worked. Good timing to do it over the end of summer when cases of covid were low and I'm glad they did. However, playing an entire season (or even HALF a season) in a bubble is logistically impossible. Covid cases are spiking again, things are being shut down again, and it appears that this will be a crippling/stiffling problem through winter. Where/how does the NHL get a season in with the current sports landscape at the moment?  I just don't see it happening. 

 

 

 

There will be a season.

 

End of discussion.

 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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I'm on the cautiously optimistic side:

 

Let's see the current situation, the second wave is hitting everyone at different levels but positivity rates (a better indicator because it takes into account both population and test performed using statistical survey analysis tools) still remain at lower levels and we are better prepared for that. No government can afford another strict and integral lockdown for more than two months. We are seeing partial shutdowns and curfews but only in a limited time-range, one month at max. 

 

Switzerland is currently one of the most severely hit country in the world with positivity rates of 20%, which is huge and approx. 4 times higher than in the US. They restrict the number of people in the arenas but the professional leagues in hockey and soccer are still operating. For how long? Officially until Nov. 2nd but the idea is to proceed case by case and quarantine teams with positive cases. The key point is to find the equilibrium between limiting as much as possible restrictions while keeping healthcare systems and resources in their respective capacities by controlling transmission chains (and not stopping them).

 

The NHL and its related businesses cannot sustain a season cancellation and everything will be made to have a season. I'm convinced that efficient tracing and targeted measures can help to draw a plan for the 2020-2021 season. It will be surely a shortened season starting on January, even February in the worst case. There's several options on the table: play in 10 games blitz in 8 or 10 bubble cities, redesign divisions based on geography. Letting people that just had a negative test in attendance is maybe another avenue to explore. 

 

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1 hour ago, Villette/Lavaux said:

The NHL and its related businesses cannot sustain a season cancellation and everything will be made to have a season. I'm convinced that efficient tracing and targeted measures can help to draw a plan for the 2020-2021 season. It will be surely a shortened season starting on January, even February in the worst case. There's several options on the table: play in 10 games blitz in 8 or 10 bubble cities, redesign divisions based on geography. Letting people that just had a negative test in attendance is maybe another avenue to explore. 

 

When I look at the options, nothing seems to be workable. Consider:

 

  • Letting fans into arenas with strict social distancing rules means stadiums/arenas at 10% or less capacity. Teams wouldn't make any money under that scenario. IF they went that route it would mean players would have to accept a salary 1/10th their current salary or it's a total bust.
  • Make all games a televised event only with no live audience and charge PPV rates for games. That might work in the short term, but would fans sour on the experience of never being able to see games live? Would fans pay ~$80 to watch a game on TV (per game)? Would fans pay ~$150/game to watch a playoff game on PPV TV?  I suspect not but this may be the NHL's only option.
  • Trying to play in bubble cities is problematic because how long do you keep the players in the bubble? They're human beings too. 

I just don't see it.  :( 

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43 minutes ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

Teams wouldn't make any money under that scenario.

 

10% is better than 0%. And it isn't all about the gate sales at this moment if i remember correctly in the contract which they signed with the network if for whatever reason they can't/don't play a season they will owe the networks a free season at no cost.

 

So i can't see that happening.

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4 hours ago, OccamsRazor said:

 

10% is better than 0%. And it isn't all about the gate sales at this moment if i remember correctly in the contract which they signed with the network if for whatever reason they can't/don't play a season they will owe the networks a free season at no cost.

 

So i can't see that happening.

 

True but if they're not playing the games at all then they don't have to pay the players salaries. The contracts would be considered "frustrated" (the actual legal term for it) and would be dissolved. (I'll try to avoid getting into contract law because law is so boring lol.)  :) 

 

If the players are on the ice playing games then the teams are contractually obligated to pay them the indicated salary. The teams can't say: "well we have less fans so take less money". That's not how contracts work, and certainly not how any current pre-covid NHL contract was ever written. That would require a new contract to be drafted for each player to include a provision for pandemics.

 

As for owing the networks another free season, that'll get taken to arbitration and that provision will get thrown out for the same reason mentioned above. The NHL will deem its TV contract to be "frustrated" (meaning they had no ability to honor it due to circumstances beyond their control) and the contract will be dissolved. The TV networks won't get a free year of anything. That provision was to guard against lockouts (self-inflicted pain) but not pandemics. 

 

I may be completely wrong, but that's how I see things unfolding.  :) 

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The latest from the NHL:

 

The NHL could start this season using one schedule model and transition to another, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on the NHL @TheRink podcast Friday.

 

Daly said the NHL and NHL Players' Association are considering a schedule model with all teams hosting games in their home arenas and another that requires all teams to play in hub cities that would be determined based on where there are the fewest COVID-19 cases.

 

"We have to build in flexibility for the hiccups that we expect will come along and have to expect will come along with potential COVID positives and contact tracing requirements," Daly said. "Some of the difficulties that [Major League] Baseball went through and some of the difficulties that the NFL is currently dealing with, how do we address those situations in the context of our own schedule? Those are all the things we're working on and those are all the things that keep us all up at night as we try to figure this out."

 

Daly said the NHL remains intent on starting next season as early as Jan. 1, preceded by two-week mandatory training camps, including an extra week for the seven teams that were not part of the NHL Return to Play plan last season. He said there has been discussion about allowing teams to hold optional conditioning camps prior to the mandatory training camps.

 

Daly said some NHL teams would prefer to host games in their home arena with or without fans in attendance at some point this season rather than playing in hub cities. But he said it's unclear if that will be possible for all teams because of government restrictions resulting from the spike in COVID-19 cases across North America.

 

"If possible to do so, I think our clubs would much prefer to play in their home buildings even if that means not before fans," Daly said. "Having said that, in some markets, if we dropped the puck tomorrow night, I'm not sure all markets could accommodate a game just by local regulation and health restrictions. That changes on a daily basis; the restrictions that come into effect, the restrictions that go out of effect. That presents its own challenge on just staying on top of what all the conditions are." 

 

Daly said a schedule model with multiple hub cities would allow for a safer and more controlled environment. He said the security and safety couldn't be as extreme as it was in Edmonton and Toronto for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, but hub cities would allow for limited interactions with the outside world when teams are in market.

 

"You'd obviously want to put those hub cities in places that are experiencing positive experiences on the COVID side," Daly said. "You'd set up some dedicated space and restaurants for the players without the secure perimeters that we had in the bubble cities. That would be the benefit of hub cities. You would be in a situation where teams would travel in, play a bunch of games over a two-week time period and then be able to go home and spend time with their families and their own local practices facilities for a week, and cycle through a season that way." 

 

Daly said the NHL and NHLPA remain in constant dialogue about how many games each team will play and what the divisional alignments will look like, and acknowledged some time constraints.

 

"Look, we know there is some urgency here, there is some urgency for making decisions, and while we want to drop the puck on Jan. 1 we also recognize that we're not going to rush into a bad decision just to make it," Daly said. "Whether that Jan. 1 can be a little later, we certainly have flexibility to move it later. We are in regular communication with the clubs. I think the players and the clubs have a fairly good understanding of what a Jan. 1 opening would require.

 

"Realistically, if we're going to start in the first part of January, mandatory training camps are going to have to start in the middle part of December. In some of our markets there continue to be quarantine requirements associated with players coming into town, so you factor those in and you back it up from there. I would ultimately concur with the conclusion that time is getting short."

 

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      There will be a season.   End of discussion.   $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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