Completing the NHL regular season "may not be possible," league commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.
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"The best thing, and the easiest thing, would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do," Bettman told Mike Tirico in an interview on NBC Sports Network. "We understand that that may not be possible, and that's why we're considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is. Again, it doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions."
Teams had between 11 and 14 games remaining in their regular seasons when the NHL suspended play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bruins, at 44-14-12 and a league-leading 100 points, had 12 games remaining.
"Our clubs if nothing else are extraordinarily competitive," Bettman said, "and whatever we do, has to be fair...but when you talk about fairness, we also have issues about if we get to play a playoff, who gets in if we can't complete the regular season. We had, I think, seven teams on the bubble and they all think they would have had a chance. We have to deal with the [draft] lottery and order of selection in the draft."
It was reported Monday that neutral-site locations, including Manchester, N.H., are being considered as possibilities to host the resumption of the NHL.
"We're looking at all options. Nothing's been ruled in, nothing's been ruled out," Bettman said. "It's largely going to be determined ... by how much time there is, because we have next season to focus on as well and the health of the countries."
Bettman said playing into the summer is being considered "and on the NBC platforms, the fact that the Olympics have been postponed gives us a broader window to focus on when and if we can play."