On Monday the NHL provided a brief update for fans regarding the league’s plans moving forward during the coronavirus pause. Some items of note from the league’s comments:
The league confirmed that two Ottawa Senators players have tested positive. Those are the only cases of NHL players reported to date.
The league indicated that the CDC recommended a 60-day shutdown, beginning on March 15. Right now the best-case scenario is for the league to offer guidance regarding the potential of opening a training camp period roughly 45 days into the period. However, take this with an enormous grain of salt; we’re only eight days into the 60-day window.
No decision has been made regarding whether the remainder of the regular season will be played or if fans will be allowed into arenas if/when the regular season and/or playoffs begin.
The final three comments in the league note are of the most interest to Blackhawks fans (since the playoffs weren’t happening this year). First, the league has not made any permanent decisions regarding the 2020 NHL Draft or the combine. The league indicates at the current time there is no reason to believe an 82-game 2020-21 season will be impacted by this work stoppage. And, finally, how/when player contract expirations are impacted by the layoff will be determined by the league and the NHLPA at a time when a new calendar can be agreed upon by both sides. If the postseason were to run beyond July 1, there would obviously need to be changes made to the league calendar.