April 7, 2020

Bettman says NHL can play well into the summer as another player tests positive for COVID-19

Bettman (credit: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Gary Bettman was interviewed by Mike Tirico of NBCSN. They discussed a myriad of topics but here are some of the top quotes and takeaways from the commissioner of the NHL.

Bettman’s Summer Plan

Gary Bettman believes that the Tokyo Olympics being cancelled gives the NHL more viability to play late into the summer. That means less conflicts with their playoff broadcast partners NBC. The concerns many have would be ice quality but Bettman believes that won’t be an issue. He alluded to the new state of the art arenas in areas like Florida and Vegas being the main reason why.

“I do believe we can play into the summer, well into the summer,” Bettman said. “And on the NBC platform, the fact the Olympics have been postponed gives us a broader window to focus on when and how we can play.”

TSN
Bettman (NHL)

2 Weeks Training Prep

While Bettman would like to restart with the completion of the regular season that may not be an option. He also noted that the league and the players would need at least 2 weeks of a “training camp” before they jump into action.

“We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light, and the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places in the country you can’t play and other places where you can. We’re looking at all options. Nothing has been ruled in, nothing has been ruled out. It’s largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is, because we have next season to focus on as well, and the health of the country, and by the country, I mean both Canada and the U.S., obviously.”

Bettman via NHL.com

Safety First

Bettman’s interview took place before another Avalanche player tested positive for COVID-19. Still, he addressed the issue of safety and health.

“That’s something we’re consulting and will be continuing to consult with the [NHL] Players’ Association on,” Commissioner Bettman said. “As important as health and well-being is now, and that’s paramount over everything and when and how we play sports, but when we come back, we have to make sure we don’t do anything to jeopardize the players in terms of their ability to play and making sure they’re in game-ready shape. That all goes into the equation.”

NHL.com

Whether or not the NHL can come back remains to be seen, but the optimism shown by Bettman and the players provides hope. Here’s to the first Stanley Cup Champion in August.

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