When the NHL announced on March 12 that the 2019-20 season would be put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioner Gary Bettman said the goal is to resume play and award the Stanley Cup at some point. And that remains true as we approach the one-month mark of the hiatus.
But in an interview on Tuesday with NBC Sports Network's Mike Tirico on "Lunch Talk Live,” Bettman acknowledged that completing an 82-game season might not be in the cards.
"Everything we do needs to be fair," Bettman said. "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. 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. It doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions."
Bettman said the NHL is discussing every possible option, and nothing appears to be off limits. That includes playing well into the summer, which Bettman said would be feasible as far as ice conditions go.
But it's still too early to tell what's going to happen, and Bettman is hoping there will be more clarity by the end of April.
"From an NHL standpoint, we're viewing all of our options," Bettman said. "We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light. And the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places in the [U.S. and Canada] where we can't play and other places where you can.
"We're looking at all options. Nothing's been ruled in, nothing's been ruled out. And it's largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is because we have next season to focus on, as well, and the health of the countries."
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