After comments were made recently by NBC analyst Pierre McGuire that the NHL and AHL might have to settle for a 35-game season for the 2020-21 season with the pandemic running rampant recently in both the United States and Canada, AHL President and CEO Scott Howson stated that he agreed that both leagues should be grateful if they can even get in a 35-game schedule, according to BostonHockeyNow’s Jimmy Murphy.
“Well, I think a 35-game season is better than no season in any league,” Howson said. “So no I don’t think it’s too low. I think we’re in such a different time right now and whatever we do, whatever any league does, is not going to look good or look perfect. I think it’s going to be a challenge and we’re just gathering as much information as we can and we’re gonna make the best decision we can at the time.”
The AHL announced recently that they were shooting for return date of Feb. 5 with the hopes that the NHL might start shortly before that. However, with the increase in COVID-19 cases recently in both countries, there will be challenges for both leagues to put together a significant season.
“I’ve said this all along; we gotta be flexible, we gotta be nimble,” added Howson. “We don’t know what next week is going to look like, let alone February 5, and we’ll just try and plan as best we can and be ready to be flexible to change plans whenever we have to.”
- The Athletic’s Corey Pronman reports that the DEL in Germany, which is one of the few leagues that hasn’t started in Europe, is expected to announce their start date early next week, which should be in early December with no fans. That should benefit teams that sent players to Germany to play.
- The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers writes that the Colorado Avalanche could get a late season addition this upcoming season as top forward prospect Alex Newhook could join the team once his sophomore season at Boston College is completed. Newhook, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, was the NCAA Rookie of the Year after posting 19 goals and 42 points in 32 games. He is expected to leave his BC team shortly to join Team Canada for the World Juniors, a potential two-month experience if he makes the team, before returning to Boston College to finish their season. He is expected to take online classes while he’s in Red Deer, Alberta to remain eligible. However, he adds that he will then have to decide if he wants to join the Avalanche at that point. ” … at the end of the season (I’ll) reassess and see where we’re at in terms of what the NHL is doing, what the Avs think, and where I’m at development-wise as well,” said Newhook.
Hokey Smokes, Pierre! Man is that a bucket of cold water in the face! Since he’s not a guy who minces words, this comes as a bit of a shock of realism. And here I thought that a 48-56 game season might be fairly ambitious based on a temporary realignment of divisions and restricted travel. Can’t wait to hear it discussed on HC tomorrow…
I really thought 60 was doable. This is definitely rough news.
And everyone is talking about a all Canadian division this coming year… I truly think Bettman better rethink that and put all NHL teams in Canada the way things are going on in the United States with covid cases everyday… What I mean by that is put teams in small locations that don’t have high covid cases…. I can’t even see a season taken place..
That isn’t going to happen. The players have already told Bettman that they won’t agree to a season long bubble away from their families.
Things can change. They’ve gotta ask themselves if they think it’s worth it to forfeit their lively hood’s for a couple of months of admittedly extreme inconvenience. When push comes to shove they need their money just as anyone else. They have certain lifestyles to maintain and prior financial obligations. My bet is that they’ll cave if it means that they would miss out on the season otherwise. Everybody’s gotta earn a living right? Where are they gonna go work if they refuse? Subway?
Bettman has said that he won’t ask the players to do it. There might be short term bubbles where a team plays there for two weeks & then shuffles. There is no way the players agree to a full season bubble & I don’t blame them. Nobody wants to be away from the families that long.
NHL is not MLB or NFL. Who, how and from what will pay players their money if NHL plays in a bubble with no income from fans?
I understand being away from their families in a bubble is drastically out of this world but I would take that then travelling from city to city and catching the virus then maybe being away longer from your family or maybe not even here at all. Word to the so called wise men of NHL if it doesn’t clear up in the USA then don’t have a season… PERIOD.