Colorado Avalanche: Musings on the NHLPA Season Resumption Proposal

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: The Stanley Cup appears at Los Angeles City Hall on February 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: The Stanley Cup appears at Los Angeles City Hall on February 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche could still play for the Stanley Cup in a player-proposed schedule. Does the schedule make sense, though?

The Colorado Avalanche have entered Day 6 of the hockey hiatus. All sports are put on hold. Gambling, too — the casinos in Vegas are shutting down for 30 days.

Meanwhile, we’re all left wondering what’s coming up. As hockey fans, we’re specifically wondering what’s going to happen to the remainder of the NHL season. When the league put the season on pause, there were still three weeks of the regular season and the entire playoffs ahead of us.

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The NHL has maintains they want some sort of resumption of the season when the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. We’ve been covering this topic as it develops:

As of right now, players are allowed to return to their home cities. There will be no practices at team facilities for the next 45 days. The situation will be reevaluated on March 27.

Well, as the situation keeps developing, so do the scenarios. Today, the players proposed a potential schedule for the remainder of the season:

So, with this proposal, we’d be having hockey all summer with the draft and free agency — and the break — happening in October. Oh the irony of all our “Is it October yet” pleas in the heat of summer.

The proposal also pushes the 2020-21 season back by a month. You wonder if it would be condensed, say with no bye-week, or if the finish of that season would be pushed back, too.

My first reaction — many fans’ first reactions — is why the NHL has to finish out the regular season. Yes, I get there are at least a couple teams in both conferences who were challenging for a playoff spot when the season went on pause.

You have a shorter option besides playing the game as scheduled. One is to let the relevant teams play for the four wild card spots in a miniature round robin. The Western Conference teams would be Winnipeg, Nashville, Vancouver, and Minnesota. Arenas permitting, the round robin could last 10 days.

That bumps the timetable up by at least a week-and-a-half. The next change would come to the playoff format. Commissioner Gary Bettman wants the awarding of the Stanley Cup to have meaning, and I appreciate that. However, the playoff format has been somewhat fluid through the years to accommodate the number of teams in the NHL.

To me it makes sense to see a modified format in the first three rounds. So, as soon as the round robin finished, the teams would have about 10 days of a best-of-three format.

The second round of the playoffs would start at the beginning of August. We’d see that round and the third played out as a best-of-five. The actual Finals would be the traditional best-of-seven.

You could reasonably expect the Stanley Cup to be awarded at the end of August. That leaves September for the draft, free agency, and truncated offseason. You could push the training camp back to mid-October to give players a little more time.

The main inequity there is to the fans of teams who wouldn’t even play for wild card spots. That means 11 teams would have to wait until training camp to lace up the skates in any meaningful way.

Would it be better to just cancel the rest of the season, though? As a Colorado Avalanche fan, I’m too selfish to advocate for that. I want to see the Cup awarded this year because I think the Avs have a good chance to contend for it.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators have confirmed the first NHL player who’s tested positive for COVID-19:

Yikes. I hate these times.

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What do you think, Colorado Avalanche fans? How is the player proposal to your liking?