Gary Bettman says it might not be possible to complete NHL season normally

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Gary Bettman says it might not be possible to complete NHL season normally

A third player on the Colorado Avalanche has tested positive for COVID-19, the NHL announced Tuesday, not long after Commissioner Gary Bettman first recognized that it may not be possible to end the regular season and playoffs from Stanley Cup perform as it has traditionally done.

Bettman also said in an interview on NBCSN that persistent uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible to project a timetable for a resumption of the season.

The positive test on the unnamed Colorado player brings the number of NHL players known to test positive to eight. The Ottawa Senators have recognized five positive tests among their players and one positive test among their travel companions for games in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles from March 7 through March 11. In addition, Colorado broadcaster John Kelly – who played at Staples Center on March 9 – and Ottawa broadcaster Gord Wilson said they had the new corona virus.

The NHL interrupted play on March 12 with about 85% of the regular season schedule complete. The regular season would end last Saturday and the playoffs would likely have started on Wednesday. The NHL has recommended that players and staffers isolate themselves until April 15 and will likely extend that recommendation.

Speaking to NBCSN’s Mike Tirico, Bettman said the leaders of the league are hoping to better understand the situation by the end of this month. “We are looking at all our options. We want to be ready to go as soon as we get the green light, ”he said. “Nothing is excluded, nothing is excluded.”

He added, “The best and easiest thing would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go to the playoffs as we normally do. We understand that that may not be possible. ‘

Bettman said a potential playoff format should take into account the odd number of games teams had played when the season was interrupted. “Everything we do must be fair,” he said. “We consider every conceivable alternative to cope with whatever the situation.”

Organizing playoff games on neutral sites is an option discussed with sites such as Grand Forks, N.D. and Buffalo as potential candidates to host playoff games. Playing deep in the summer is a viable option. “The days when games had to be postponed because there was no air conditioning in a building are far behind us,” said Bettman. “We can now make ice under all circumstances. … ice will not be a factor. “

Bettman was among a dozen commissioners and league presidents who attended a conference call with President Trump last weekend, and Bettman described it as “a very cordial, constructive conversation.” The consensus was that more information would be needed before decisions could be made about how to resume the season of a league.

“We are all running and basically focused on the same things,” said Bettman. “First of all, people’s health and well-being and safety are the most important thing, and although we all miss sport, whether putting it on or watching it, and we all want to come back as soon as possible, we understand what the No. 1 priority is. “

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