Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is "very optimistic" the NHL will be able to hold its 2020-21 season, even if it does not follow the traditional layout.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on Friday that opening the season on January 1 remains the objective of the league, though LeBrun noted the joint NHL-NHLPA Return to Play committee had yet to meet.

“Ultimately we’re restricted by international governments - the Canada-US border - local, state governments,” Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press. “Right now it looks like we’ll be able to come up with some kind of plan, but I don’t know specifically what that is.

“And then I kind of keep my fingers crossed that things don’t go sideways again and we are not able to play. I’m optimistic we will come up with something that works, and we’re just kind of waiting for any guidance from the league as to what the plan will be.”

The pandemic delayed 2019-20 NHL season ended on Sept. 28 when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings have not played since the season was paused in March, but Yzerman said the longer the break goes, the less of a disadvantage it will be for the seven teams who did not take part in the Return to Play. In the end, he believes it will come down to the individual players to be ready for play.

“The guys who were conscientious and took care of themselves, they didn’t miss a beat,” Yzerman said. “Maybe it took a week or two to get going, but then they didn’t miss a beat. And some of the guys that weren’t conscientious or weren’t focused, they struggled. 

“I’m hopeful that our guys are all conscientious and motivated and self-disciplined. I believe they are.”

The Red Wings, who finished last season with a league-worst 17-49-5 record, added Bobby Ryan, Thomas Greiss, Troy Stecher and Vladislav Namestnikov in free agency.