NHL News: 2020-21 NHL Season, Provincial Restrictions, and Opening Night
The NHL and NHLPA continue to hammer away at the protocols and logistics for the 2020-21 NHL season. Opening night matchups are being drawn up.
© Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

NHL and NHLPA still working out details

Nicholas Cotsonika of NHL.com: The NHL and NHLPA continue to work on the details for the 2020-21 NHL season. They are still trying to come to terms with a variety of issues.

“We are focused on starting at some point hopefully in mid-January,” Commissioner Bettman said. “… It is clear that we will not be playing an 82-game schedule for the regular season, which we normally do, but we’re going to try and play as many games as possible.”

Each city/state/province could have different restrictions, so they are working with all forms of government to get things in place.

“Right now, we’re focused on whether or not we’re going to play in our buildings and do some limited traveling or play in a bubble, and that’s something we’re working on and getting medical advice on,” Commissioner Bettman said.

They may be forced into several hubs if more teams don’t have access to facilities to host games.

The biggest challenges for the NHL and NHLPA are:

“The biggest challenge is making sure that our players and supporting personnel are safe and healthy and making sure that we’re not doing anything that puts the communities in which we’re playing at risk either in terms of spreading COVID or taking medical resources, whether it’s testing or vaccinations.”

Frank Seravalli: The NHL and NHLPA are working on the protocols and logistics.

Have heard that the NHL is planning for a U.S. triple header on Opening Night. It would be centered around the Tampa Bay Lightning raising their Stanley Cup banner (maybe against the the Chicago Blackhawks), a big Eastern matchup (maybe the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins), and a later West matchup (maybe the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues).

Will they be able to get things underway on January 13th or will they need to push the date back a bit? Those questions should be answered soon.

CP on Sportsnet: Quebec Premier Francois Legault said yesterday that their provincial guidlines shouldn’t impract the Montreal Canadiens activities.

“I think the stakes are more on the side of what concessions the players will make on their salaries,” Legault said. “As far as health standards are concerned, we managed to do it this summer (with all teams in secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto), so I think it will be possible to do it from mid-January.”

Manitoba’s chief public health officier, Dr. Brent Roussin, doesn’t see a big public health risk if the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL start up. Manitoba acting deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal adds that there are still things to be worked out.

“It’s not just done locally, it’s done nationally as well,” Atwal said. “We are determining is it a reasonable, safe return-to-play program. There is still discussions on that right across the five provinces that have teams that are specifically involved.

“I don’t have a yes/no answer in relation to if it’s going to happen but again work is being done on that as well.”