It has been almost a month since the NHL season was paused. As the calendar has turned from March to April, that has people getting antsy for a possible return. Though NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman cautioned that the league was still weeks away from making any decisions about returning to action, different scenarios are beginning to be discussed. Not everyone, however, believes all of those proposals are realistic.
One proposal, as reported by Elliotte Friedman, is a centralized tournament in North Dakota, similar to the MLB's plan of gathering all the teams in Arizona to play the season. The basic idea is that the teams would gather into one location where they can be isolated. Travel would not be necessary as the teams would be playing in empty arenas.
The idea of a centralized tournament seems to be gaining some traction as the league would not need to wait until the coronavirus pandemic ends. Instead, it would be a way for the league to get back into action earlier by playing in empty arenas and mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus to players and personnel as much as possible.
Not everyone, however, is sold.
“I think it seems like a longshot, but I think that any option is a good option at this point with all the uncertainty going around," John Carlson said Wednesday on a video conference when asked about a centralized tournament. "I think it would be cool. We’ve all been away from each other for a while now and it would be nice to have the abbreviated training camp and maybe play as many games as we need to at something like that. That would kick start everyone back into gear and get ready for the rest of the season and the playoffs.”
Carlson shared he was of the opinion that having at least an abbreviated finish to the regular season would be beneficial, but he understands that may not be possible. In fact, it doesn't sound as if he expects that even to be a realistic scenario.
As various reports of proposals for the NHL MLB and even the NBA potentially playing in Las Vegas, Carlson is trying not to get his hopes up and is keeping both feet planted firmly in the real world.
"I'm just worried about playing at this point," Carlson said. "I don't want to be too optimistic of coming back so quickly and being able to finish the regular season and all that. All I'm thinking about right now is trying to keep myself in the best shape that I can with the circumstances and whatever the rest of the season holds, I'll worry about that when I lace the skates up again."
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