Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman: cancelling NHL season is 'not something I'm even contemplating'

Gary Bettman: cancelling NHL season is 'not something I'm even contemplating'

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman provided some encouraging news to hockey fans desperate to see the completion of the season on Tuesday.

According to the Mercury News, when Bettman appeared as a guest for the San Jose Sharks' virtual town hall for members of its business alliance Tuesday afternoon, the commissioner said ending the season without awarding the Stanley Cup is “not something I’m even contemplating.”

He added during the virtual town hall:

“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. I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but cancelling 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.”

The NHL was paused on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bettman making the declaration that he's still not considering cancelling the season two months in is a positive sign towards play resuming at some point this season.

“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.”

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Completing regular season 'may not be possible'

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Completing regular season 'may not be possible'

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."

RELATED: How Blackhawks could be affected by COVID-19 crisis

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NHL, NHLPA sign off on quarantine guidelines amid COVID-19 outbreak

NHL, NHLPA sign off on quarantine guidelines amid COVID-19 outbreak

One day after shutting down, the NHL sent a memo on Friday advising players to self-quarantine in their own homes, reported TSN's Pierre LeBrun. That means no skating or working out in a public gym.

The NHL and NHLPA signed off on the memo around 4 p.m. Here's a recap of the additional guidelines:

— Players have been asked to self-quarantine in their NHL home cities. Players who want to self-quarantine away from their NHL home city because their immediate family lives elsewhere are allowed to do so, as long as the teams are aware (This particularly includes players who were traded ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline, such as former Blackhawks Erik Gustafsson and Robin Lehner, whose families still live in Chicago).

— Despite rinks and practice facilities being closed, players on injured reserve can still receive treatment at team facilities.

— Any player who develops COVID-19 symptoms should contact his team’s head trainer, "who will consult with the Club's infectious disease specialist to determine next steps." The memo also says to inform the team's medical staff if they've come in contact with an infected person.

— The hope is for players to have small group skates at some point, perhaps in the next 7 to 10 days, followed by a mini "training camp period" to prepare for the remainder of the season. Optimistically speaking.

Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports that NHL players will continue being paid during the hiatus. Their final three paychecks will be received on March 14, March 30 and April 15.

It is unclear if and when the NHL will resume play, but Commissioner Gary Bettman is on record saying: "Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup."

RELATED: Scott Darling leaves Europe as COVID-19 spreads

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