The NHL released a new advisory today for their players that, if you read between the lines, is a sign for the future:
Update from the NHL regarding player activity and movement during season pause: pic.twitter.com/yeFjII7W49— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 16, 2020
It shouldn’t shock anyone to see this in the NHL’s writing - the CDC’s guidance for large community gatherings is basically “don’t have them” for the next two months.
Piggybacking off of the CDC’s guidance, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced that the City of St. Louis and surrounding counties will be prohibiting gatherings of more than fifty people for the next eight weeks.
Effective immediately and for the next eight weeks, all scheduled events and social gatherings with more than 50 people in attendance are prohibited in @STLCityGov, @SaintLouCo, @sccmo, @madisoncountyil & @stclairhealth, as recommended by the @CDCgov. #COVID19— Mayor Lyda Krewson (@LydaKrewson) March 15, 2020
The writing is officially on the wall. We probably won’t have a training camp for 45 days so the guys can blow off some dust. The season then won’t be able to begin until May 15th, if there even is a season. The league hasn’t advised if they would be open to heading directly into the playoffs, but even then it’s a two-month ordeal to get to the Cup Final.
The longer this goes on, the more risk there is that the off-season won’t exist. The Draft, prospect camps, free agency - all of that would more than likely be either a mess or pushed back, shortening the 2020-2021 season.
At this point, it’s probably best if 2020 joins 1919 as the two years that the Cup isn’t awarded due to pandemic. I know that the league doesn’t want to lose more money than it already will, and I appreciate that. The employees need to (and should) get paid. There’s a lot to consider and think of, and I’m sure that the NHL is doing so moving forward.
The most important thing here is the health and safety of fans and players, and postponing play is the best thing for it. MLB will more than likely have to play a shortened season with the schedule being pushed back to an unknown start date. It looks like the NHL’s season will have to be shortened in a different direction.