Just yesterday, the NHL made the announcement that they would be cancelling all games through December 27th. As I had tickets to the Rangers vs. Canadiens game tomorrow night, I was properly bummed to find out that my Christmas week plans had taken a hit, and then even more disappointed that the whole league itself is shutting down.
But with 19 of 32 teams inactive and 43 games postponed, it only made sense to pack up shop for a week and just hope it gets better. But the outlook isn’t so bright. If by major miracle, we can get the season started by the new year, the NHL still has two MAJOR hurdles to overcome before playoff time (which in and of itself is a third major hurdle).
First, I don’t know who’s brilliant decision it was to put the All Star Game in the Covid capital of America, Las Vegas, but there’s that. Imagine McDavid getting put into NHL’s COVID protocol because some desert-trash mouth breathed COVID all over him while the poor kid’s just trying to hit the tables at the Venetian. Seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but if there’s a city to take risks, Vegas is it baby.
Then, after that, they’ve got the Winter Olympics coming up in Beijing, which has been hotly contested for numerous reasons. First, half the players want to go citing how much of an honor it is to represent their countries in the Olympic Games. On the other hand, half the players don’t want to go citing factors like the stringent and bureaucratic Olympic COVID quarantine protocol (puts the return of players back to the NHL sometime in mid-March), as well as teams sending their best players to play for weeks straight while other teams essentially get a three week break to rest their players and prep for a second-half playoff push. A decision on whether or not the NHL will let its players go to Beijing is still yet to be made.
I personally believe the Olympics should consist of the best of the best athletes in the world competing, and if the best hockey players are NHLers, then by all means they should be the one’s representing their countries on the world stage.
And I’m in no position to be suggesting solutions to this problem. I mean, what do I know about coordinating the logistics of international sporting tournaments under a pandemic? But, all I can say is, in the end… for the NHL, the players want the fans at their games, the fans want to be there, so we gotta do whatever we can to be able to pack the stands and not have a fanless bubble come playoff time.