Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan held a conference call with media this morning to speak about how things have been since the NHL season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. MacLellan is currently at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to be closer to his two daughters and grandchildren. “We’re spending time with them and trying to get through it together,” MacLellan said.
“It’s amazing how your life just comes to a halt,” he said. “All the things you do day-to-day doesn’t matter anymore and there’s a big picture, there’s a reality going on and all the little things you’re concerned about on a daily basis don’t really matter much anymore. All of a sudden you have time, you’re doing stuff around the house. You’re [talking] to family more. You’re doing more family things. It’s a change in lifestyle and it’s a change in priorities.”
If the NHL does return to play in the next few months, MacLellan wasn’t sure what will be possible, but he did have a strong opinion on how to fairly and legitimately complete to the regular season.
“Fair to me would be all teams play the same number of games both home and away,” MacLellan said. “Depending on the time you have, when or if we come back, you could set the schedule at 72, 74 games as close to possible home and away, if you could even those out, and go from there.”
Last week, the NHL asked teams to secure home dates in the month of August. With the Summer Olympics postponed to 2021, the NHL is prepared to play deep into the summer to complete the season.
“We’re trying to be prepared for anything that might come down to hopper if we get a chance to continue to play, whether it’s June, July, or August. We try to be as best prepared as we can for that,” he added.
“I think it’s a possible scenario depending on how the virus plays out. I think depending on how the country and world handles the virus, there is a possibility of playing end of June, July, August. I think the league is prepared. They’ve asked for building dates in August. I’m assuming it’s a serious consideration on their part.”
As for what the playoffs would look like, MacLellan had no opinion because it depends on how much time the league has left to play.
“There’s no set answer to it because I don’t know how much time we’ll have,” he said. “If we have eight weeks, ten weeks, do we have more than 10 weeks? Depending on that time frame and if that’s even legitimate at the time, you would have to set your schedule there. So could you shorten the series? Could you shorten the schedule? I think all those options are on the table. I think it’s just how the virus plays out and how we handle and how much time we’d have to get a season in – if we can get a season in at the end.”
If the season continues, MacLellan believes the NHL and NHLPA would work together to universally extend contracts, that usually end on June 30, through the end of August. But the Capitals have stopped talking to its own players about contracts.
“It is difficult,” MacLellan said. “We talk over all the possible scenarios and you try to prepare mentally for what happens to the cap. Does the cap go down because revenues are going to decrease? Do they artificially keep it where it’s at? The answer to those questions puts us on pause in UFA negotiations. How do we proceed given both those scenarios? Those are just open-ended questions. We’ve discussed them but we don’t come up with any answers.
“As far as the draft, we talk on how we’re going to have the possibility of meetings to put the list together,” MacLellan added. “How do we keep our guys engaged with the combine being canceled? With interviews, what can we do on the video side of it? We’re looking at ways we can stay engaged and still improving what we’re doing.”
Overall, MacLellan admitted things were up in the air due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“There’s so many questions,” he said.
Headline photo courtesy of the @Capitals
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