Colorado Avalanche Closer to Returning to Play

Colorado Avalanche fans may get to see the season resume as the NHL and NHLPA have taken a step in the right direction for the 2020 NHL playoffs.

The Colorado Avalanche may hopefully be ending their hockey hiatus in the next few weeks as they return to informal practices. They, along with 23 other teams, will need to start getting game-ready.

The NHL made a proposal yesterday to the NHLPA. Said proposal was for a 24-team playoff format that saw 16 teams competing in buy-in rounds for the playoffs while the top four teams in each conference played each other for seeding.

Read more here:

Related Story: 24-Team Format

The proposal isn’t a full plan yet because it rests a lot on what local health officials declare as safe. However, I work with people, and I’ve been back to work for two weeks. Whether we think it’s wise or not, the world is opening back up.

In other words, I think health officials aren’t too far off from declaring fan-less sports acceptable. Indeed, they’ve already done so in Arizona and Florida.

In any case, the NHL made the proposal, and the NHLPA has officially accepted the 24-team format as acceptable for further plans:

Now, as you can see, a big caveat at the bottom is that the NHL still needs to work out details on how the return to play would work, which the NHLPA will then weigh in on and negotiate.

One of the big issues coming up is the idea that players and staff have to be fully quarantined during play. Probably a single COVID-19 player would set the whole playoffs back — all the way to cancelled. The problems the players are expressing is the possibility of being away from their families for potentially weeks to months.

I’m going to poke a couple holes in that. First, why would they have to be separated? If their wives agreed, they could be quarantined with the players. If their wives didn’t agree, why couldn’t they have visits after first taking the test for COVID?

And why is it ok for soldiers, oil rig workers, sailors, and various sorts working abroad to be away from their families for months at a time and not NHLers competing for a trophy they’ve worked for their entire lives? I’m guessing the galley of a ship isn’t as posh as the hotels the players will be put up in.

That said, my understanding is that arena staff would also have to be quarantined. I would hope they’d get hazard pay. I’m talking a big, life-changing bonus that could help them pay off mortgages kind of thing.

Anyway, the NHL is looking to shrink from the original four to two hub cities to accommodate this proposal.

Right now, the Albertan city of Edmonton is making a big bid to be one of those two cities. According to the Alberta premier, the city has the lowest level of COVID-19 infections of any major city in North America, adding, “certainly lower than any other NHL city.” According to his statistics, the city has only 50 active cases.

Side note: my neighborhood Kings Soopers has at least 14, including one death. (May he rest in peace.) I don’t think Denver is in consideration.

Anyway, there are several hurdles, not least of which is players having to fly back in from Europe and be quarantined for at least two weeks. However, I’m feeling more and more confident that we’ll see Colorado Avalanche hockey again this year.

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