The NHL and NHLPA have been engaged in discussions recently about a Jan. 15 start date for the 2020-21 season, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
In this scenario, Friedman reports that training camps would open approximately two weeks before Jan. 15 and the number of games played during the season “would be in the 50s.”
“I believe in the last few days the league and the players have engaged in conversations about a start on January 15, with training camps opening approximately two weeks earlier,” Friedman said on the FAN 590’s Lead Off. “The number of games would be in the 50s. I had some people telling me 52, I had some people telling me 56. But they have re-engaged on this.
“What I think they are talking about is the non-playoff teams would report in the last few days of December, they would get two or three extra days. The playoff teams would report around New Year’s Day. I think the end of the regular season would be around the beginning of May, they’d build in that schedule with a buffer zone in case they had to make up games, and I’m hearing the season would be over some time around the end of June, beginning of July.
“Now the financial issues, I don’t have a full picture on that although it sounds like the escrow ask about changing the caps is going away because I think everyone realizes here the players weren’t willing to agree to that, but they are potentially more willing to talk about deferrals.”
Earlier this week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the original target date of Jan. 1 remains a “work in progress.“
As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported on Wednesday, there needs to be a complete realignment for the 2020-21 season to be played. Both sides will need to agree on a modified schedule, more health and safety protocols, and determine if the games will be played in regional hubs or in each team’s arenas.