We can tell you that while it is true that the NHL has explored the possibility of completing the 2019-20 season in a remote location such as Manchester, N.H., Sixth Avenue has determined that the infrastructure in such a locale would be insufficient to support such a massive endeavor.
Rather, Slap Shots has learned that the league is now focused on playing in an NHL city (perhaps more than one) that has been spared the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, whose curve tracks positively, and is located within a state whose social distancing regulations would be relaxed by the time the first puck is ready to be dropped.
The effort faces the same massive obstacles that have been catalogued repeatedly over the past few weeks that apply to every sport, not just hockey. The athletes and team support staffs, etc., would essentially have to be segregated from society for the duration of their respective seasons while tested regularly for COVID-19. Of course, the games would be played without fans.
We have been told from sources on both sides of the aisle that NHL teams continue to press for resumption and completion of the regular season that would precede a traditional Stanley Cup playoff tournament. That, though, is not going to happen. I understand that teams completely out of contention don’t want to owe their local television partners give-backs or credits, but sorry about that.
The Red Wings, Senators, Kings, Devils, et al, are not reconvening — an arduous enough task in itself given the myriad travel restrictions across the world — in order to be isolated for a three-week training camp and up to 13 completely meaningless games apiece. That is ridiculous. We are living in a surreal environment, but let’s be somewhat realistic here, too.
Yes, guys want to play, and not only because of escrow implications. But we can authoritatively tell you there isn’t anything close to unanimity within the Players’ Association on the matter of players leaving their families behind for what would be up to a couple of months for those on teams advancing deep into the playoffs.