NHL: When will the season resume, how does this depend on the NBA?

The sports world has never experienced anything like this. COVID-19 has done something that nobody has thought was possible – and that is shut down the world – including our beloved sports.

The National Hockey League is just one of many professional sports leagues in the United States that was forced to suspend its season for due to the pandemic.

With fans growing anxious, the NHL, as well as the NBA, must figure out how to move forward.

At this point, the NHL playoffs would normally be getting ready to start, but the season being suspended has left 12-14 games remaining for every team. Resuming the regular season when the NHL decides they can play again does not seem feasible, but neither does jumping into the playoffs.

Currently, the league has extended the players’ self-quarantine period to April 14. Realistically, resuming play likely wouldn’t happen until the middle of May – 60 days after the season had officially been paused.

The CDC originally said to limit/avoid large gatherings for 60 days, so May appears to be a good target for the league to resume.

By then, it would be too late to resume the regular season; however, the problem with this is that teams haven’t played the same amount of games. The most popular idea floated out to resolve this would be to calculate each team’s point per game percentage and pick the top 10 teams from each conference. This would create opportunities for teams that had a late post season run taken away from them.

Another issue brought up, though, is the lack of playing. Can players go from their two-month hiatus to playing playoff games after just practicing? 

It is a legitimate concern, especially because of how much the level of play from teams improves as the season goes on. This break will be similar to a restart for a lot of teams. This could benefit many teams who are banged up and fatigued from the grueling regular season. But ultimately, players will not likely be in game shape without playing games.

Lastly, the NHL has to monitor what the NBA does. Whether the two leagues like it or not, they are linked. There are 31 NHL and 30 NBA franchises. Of them, 11 share arenas, meaning that one likely will not be able to justify starting before the other.

It is not a coincidence that the NHL paused its season less than 24 hours after the NBA had pulled the plug on its own season.

The hard truth of the situation is that nothing is really clear. We are unsure how the leagues will move forward because there isn’t a situation to base this on. Everything is strange and many questions are still unanswered. 

Unfortunately, the answers may be coming later, rather than sooner.