By Lauren Gudknecht
Assistant Sports Editor
A conference call with Florida Panthers’s President Matt Caldwell on Wednesday, April 22 stated that the NHL is looking to restart the season in July. The goal is “to finish this season in some way, shape or form,” said Caldwell. There has been talk about having limited fans with a limited arena format or no fans in attendance.
The NHL has been looking at options to go straight into the playoffs during the summer. According to CBS News, Caldwell also said, “Once we feel it’s a safe time to start bringing [teams] back to practice facilities and bring them back to the ice, we’re going to constantly monitor them and work on getting them back.”
Since March 12, the NHL has been on pause and initially thought that the league could return in May. The players are being quarantined at their homes until the end of April, but there is a possibility of the quarantine being extended. NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, said the league is considering all options but safety of the fans, faculty and the players.
There was talk about using neutral sites, but the NHL is no longer considering playing in those areas. The new option for teams to finish out their season is regional NHL arenas.
There are still many playoff races that are close. The Boston Bruins hold an eight-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. In the other divisions there are three points or fewer separating the top two teams. Eleven teams are within the distance of a wild card spot. Typically 16 wins over four rounds are required to obtain the Stanley Cup, but with these circumstances, the league might be forced to change the rules.
The league is working towards making sure that there is a Stanley Cup champion for 2020.