According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the NHL and NHLPA continue to work on next year with a target start date still set for Jan. 1.
Given the timeline, Dreger notes there is still much work to do on how the league will proceed and decisions need to be made in the very near future if New Year's Day is at all feasible. Dreger adds that the NHL will update its governors on a conference call on Thursday.
The NHL and NHLPA continue to work on next season. The NHL will update its governors on a call tomorrow. Much work to do on how the league will launch 20/21, overall protocols, and how many games. Jan 1 is still the target, so decisions need to be made in the very near future.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 11, 2020
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.
Speaking in a virtual panel discussion during the 2020 Paley International Summit, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is exploring teams playing in their own arenas -- with or without fans -- in hubs or a hybrid system.
"You'll play for 10 to 12 days," Bettman explained during the conference. "You'll play a bunch of games without travelling. You'll go back, go home for a week, be with your family. We'll have our testing protocols and all the other things you need.
Bettman added he would not ask players to return to a similar bubble system that took place during the NHL's Return to Play for the 2020 playoffs.
The current limitation of non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada is one factor when discussing a temporary realignment.
"Obviously, we're not going to move all seven Canadian franchises south of the 49th Parallel, and so we have to look at alternative ways to play" Bettman said. "And while crossing the US-Canadian border is an issue, we're also seeing within the United States limitations in terms of quarantining when you go from certain states to other states. It's again part of having to be flexible.
"It may be that we're better off, particularly if we're playing a reduced schedule, which we are contemplating, keeping it geographically centric, more divisional based, and realigning, again on a temporary basis, to deal with the travel issue.
The NBA revealed plans earlier this week to begin its 2020-21 season beginning on Dec. 22. Every team -- with the possible exception of the Toronto Raptors -- is expected to play games at their home arenas.