The National Hockey league is taking steps toward a 2020-2021 season, but those are baby steps.
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the sports landscape, the NHL is doing its best to put together a plan to play from 48-60 games this upcoming season.
It is doubtful that any travel will be allowed across the Canadien border. That means that you will see a Canadian division comprised of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.
There will also be a geographical re-alignment for this season to limit the amount of travel for each team.
The other plan is to have teams play a two -three-game series in one city to also cut down the amount of travel.
For example, the Lightning would go to Miami to play the Panthers for a two or three-game series. Then, the Lightning may go to Raleigh to play the Carolina Hurricanes for a two-three game series before returning home.
Nothing is etched in stone, and nothing has been decided.
There is a plan to start training camp in mid-December, with the regular season starting on January 1.
With the governors locking states down again, it remains unlikely that fans would be in attendance in all areas.
You may have a situation similar to the NFL where some teams will play at around 25 percent capacity, and some teams may play in front of no fans.
The goal of commissioner Gary Bettman has been to have fans in the stands at some point this season.
One NHL source according to ESPN was quoted as saying “I think the ultimate goal is to end up with fans in the arenas. I don’t think we’ll get to capacity, but I think we’ll have enough socially distanced fans.”
Keep in kind that arenas are already booking concerts for spring and summer. Why not hockey?
It has been a slow off-season as it relates to the start of the upcoming season. With COVID-19, things are always in a state of change. These plans are just temporary. Nothing permanent has been decided.
The good news is that there will be a 20-21 season.