Nothing has been set in stone - on either a format or start date for the upcoming season of the National Hockey League, however, one thing is clear: the clock is ticking. And we might already be running out of time, especially with training camps tentatively scheduled to begin in one month’s time for a New Year’s Day start.
So much so that some teams have revealed to reporter Chris Johnston of Sportsnet that they believe that a January 1st start date is now impossible for the NHL. As Johnston points out on Friday morning, “some NHL teams are starting to wonder if a Jan. 1 start date is still possible for the 2021 season, but the league believes there is enough time to make it happen. The NHL and NHLPA continue to grind away on the financial arrangement needed to proceed.”
While a 16-player Return to Play committee has gotten together and is talking with the NHL, there are still a lot of important things they need to agree on, format, schedule, hub cities and number of games on the calendar. And you know the latter has a huge impact of the players’ salaries, and we know they will fight for it as they might not get past the pro-rated salaries issue. Earlier this week, Larry Brooks of the New York Post came out with a shocking report that “the NHL is seeking financial concessions in the form of a 13 percent deferral on 2020-21 pay from players as an opening gambit in Return to Play negotiations for the 2020-21 season”, according to multiples sources.
This could cause negotiations to come to a halt, which would be fatal for that expected Jan. 1st start date.
A lot still on the table, which will need to get ironed out if we want the season to kick off on January, 1st.
These teams might be right after all…