NHL may go straight to the playoffs when the season resumes

The NHL is moving ahead with the notion that they will be able to finish the 2019-20 season.

The new wrinkle is that commissioner Gary Bettman, in talks with the NHLPA has moved on from the idea that the NHL will be able to complete the regular season.

The season would begin with the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That plan is gaining momentum according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

24 teams would participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs. There has been nothing discussed yet on if the first and second round would be single elimination, or if those rounds would be a three, five, or seven-game series.

There were 189 regular-season games scheduled when the NHL put its season on hold on March 11th.

According to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, several new rules are being talked about being implemented to finish the season.

These are only suggestions based on the recommendations of an infectious disease specialist.

Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner has not gone on the record confirming or denying these proposed changes.

Here is what is allegedly on the table.

Full face shields for everyone to reduce sweat droplets from landing on players.

There would be no fighting allowed period. That would be a tough one to enforce. If fighting is outlawed, which some have been advocates for, would it ever return to the game?

No scrums after the whistles for linemen to break up.

Coaches would be required to social distance on their respective benches, and be required to wear masks.

No spitting on the ice or the bench.

Players would need to maintain a two-foot distance on face-offs instead of leaning into one another and battling for possession of the puck.

Bill Daly commenting on these proposed changes said, “We would consider anything our infectious disease experts and advisors might recommend. I’m not sure given the circumstances of our game that any dramatic modifications will be necessary.”

When hockey does return later this summer, there will be some modifications that will have to be made.

Let’s hope that those modifications are just mild tweaks and it doesn’t alter the game dramatically that we know and love.