HSJ discusses the likelihood of a post-January 1st NHL start

The Free Press’s Helene St. James discusses the current fluidity of a January 1 start to the 2020-2021 NHL season:

The Detroit Pistons have an exhibition game scheduled for next week at Little Caesars Arena, as the NBA is forging ahead amid surging COVID-19 numbers.

Which beckons the question: When are we going to see the Detroit Red Wings in action again?

When the NHL staged a delayed, virtual draft in early October, commissioner Gary Bettman announced Jan. 1 was the target date for the 2020-21 season. Now, that’s less than a month away and there are no games scheduled. Starting in early January means training camps would have to begin in mid-December. That’s looking less likely with each day that passes.

The NHL and NHL Players Association are fighting over money. The PA’s position is that a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement was ratified in July, and the terms are set forth in a Memorandum of Understanding. That seemed to signal there’d be labor peace at least through 2025-26.

But that was five months ago, and now the league is looking at a compressed schedule. The 2021 playoffs need to be finished before July 23, when the Summer Olympics are scheduled to commence. NBC holds the broadcasting rights to both events.

When the NHL season does start up, it’s expected to feature geographical realignments instead of the usual format. Travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada would mean all seven Canadian teams would be in one division. Detroit is expected to be in a division that would include Chicago, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.


Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.