Duthie: NHL needs to set a date to give fans something to look forward to
The National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association continue to work towards finalizing the start of next season, with the NHL's Board of Governors and the PA's 31-member Executive Board holding a conference call to provide the latest updates and state of affairs for each side.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported on Thursday that while no hard decisions have been made on the upcoming 2020-21 campaign, there are now 16 players on the Return to Play committee, including Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Claude Giroux and Ron Hainsey. By comparison, the Return to Play committee last spring was made up of five players.
LeBrun adds that it appears the committee is working in a different fashion compared to the one from last spring, working more internally with the NHL Players' Association as the PA and NHL engage in higher level communication.
"There was a call last Sunday, for example, where Ian Cole and Zach Hyman joined NHLPA and NHL big dogs on a call," LeBrun tweeted on Thursday. "But so far, we haven't seen the full 16-player RTP joint committee all meet on a call.
"Although that may come as things heat up."
With the continued U.S.-Canada border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LeBrun adds that it is looking more like the 2020-21 season will begin with an all-Canadian Division, "at least until they can figure out how to cross the border later in the season," He does, however, add that nothing has been decided just yet.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported this week that the NHL and NHLPA continue to work with a target start date of Jan. 1.
Despite the lack of concrete details, NHL.com reported on Tuesday the league is considering many possibilities for 2020-21, including short-term hubs, temporary realignment and a reduced schedule.