After the NHL/NHLPA Return to Play committee held separate meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving believes the NHL could announce its return-to-play plan as soon as next week as well as a plan for the 2020 NHL Draft.
“I think there’s momentum,” Treliving told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis on Thursday. “No state secrets here, but I do sense some momentum that next week there could be at least a preliminary plan put in place for where we go.”
The NHL’s 2019-20 season has been suspended since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Treliving’s optimism came with a caveat though.
“Everything is going to be subject to whether we can execute the plan,” Treliving said. “We can say we’re going camping next weekend, but if it rains we probably won’t. But I do suspect we’re going to hear some news next week on two big issues right now relative to a plan of what a potential restart would look like, and the draft.”
The news comes on the heels of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman telling business leaders during a San Jose Sharks virtual town hall meeting that canceling the season is “not something I’m even contemplating.”
“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said according to The Mercury News. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.
“States are re-opening, cities are re-opening,” Bettman said. “And if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.”
According to reports, the NHL is considering a 24-team playoff with minimal to no regular-season games upon its return. The league is willing to push the completion of the season late into the fall.
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