Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NHL. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Blues fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The NHL has released a statement saying that on-ice workouts have been cleared to return on Monday on a team-by-team basis. They’re not mandatory as of right now, but the announcement is a welcome sight for fans who have been without hockey since mid-March.
Hockey fans are not only excited the NHL appears headed for a return, but are confident the plan will work. As of right now, the league has not released any concrete dates for return to full play, but with a plan in place it makes that return significantly easier.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, 73 percent of responding fans listed their excitement level as at least an eight on a scale of 1-10, with 47 percent selecting 10. The doldrums of self-imposed lockdowns are beginning to be shaken off. Folks miss live sports.
Similarly, 71 percent of fans said they think the NHL needs to make sure to find a way to conclude this season’s playoffs in their entirety. The current plan would give a select number of teams a chance to still compete for this year’s Stanley Cup. Roughly two-thirds of fans say they like the planned playoff format. I am assuming that two thirds of fans are also still annoyed that the Blackhawks made the cut.
While details surrounding the plan are still unannounced, projections appear to have play begin again sometime in late July or early August. Much of that depends on continued progression against COVID-19. 68 percent of responding fans said they think the league will start before August 1.
Any start later than August 1st may take a massive slice out of the 2020-2021 season, a la the last lockout.
The only place that saw anything resembling a shake in fan confidence came when looking at the bigger picture. In order to conclude this season, next year’s NHL schedule will need to be dramatically adjusted, and potentially the following year as well.
When asked if it’s worth dramatic changes to next year’s season just to finish this season, only 57 percent said yes. The league losing time in two seasons, back to back, when the time loss in one is avoidable, seems to be giving fans some pause. Still, a majority want a return to hockey.
Based on comments on GT and on Twitter, more Blues fans are ready for their favorite team to defend the Stanley Cup.
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