The NHL is officially in off-season mode and it is weird. It is October first (say what), the draft allegedly takes place October 6 and 7 virtually. Which is good and safe and we all support this. I would support it even more if we got Patrik Laine lying on the floor giving an interview, but not all dreams come true.
So what is this offseason. Well, things are supposed to start up again in December, but the second start up will be much more difficult than the first. The NHL has to figure out the best way to have the teams play each other while not getting sick. The issue is we now have kids in school including some in person, cross-border travel with a closed border, and a whole other slew of issues that will crop up.
So what will the NHL and NHLPA do? It is hard to say. While the bubble is effective, it is also expensive and lonely. It would be near impossible to get anyone to agree to the regular season being played under those conditions. The NHL could propose a bare-bones season (no All Star Game etc) and make it far shorter so they still end on time. This might be ideal for all parties involved. As we have seen with the MLB and the NFL, it can work.
The biggest issue facing the league this off-season is the border. Canada did not let the MLB have teams come in and out so the Toronto Blue Jays had to move to Buffalo for the year. Could that happen with the NHL as well? Could we end up having the Fargo Jets and the Portland, Maine Canadiens? Quite possibly. If this is the case, things could get even more fun.
The NHL is into it’s weirdest off-season yet and it is about to get weirder.