May 1, 2020 | 10:59am | Updated May 1, 2020 | 11:57am
The NHL seems to be pivoting from its plan to reopen the season in four centralized locations and is now investigating the possibility of playing games in its teams’ home cities, multiple sources have told The Post.
The league is dealing with a myriad of hypotheticals, but it is believed that the players have pushed back on the prospect of spending months in a hotel apart from their families. Hence, the league is studying this alternative that is believed to have surfaced in the aftermath of Wednesday’s virtual meeting of the NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee that includes five players.
The players have raised numerous questions about the protocols under which they in essence would be segregated from society, but have not as a group rejected the possibility. Thus, the centralized-location plan has not been eliminated as an option.
The Post has been told that as the league and the union conduct their meetings, less is clear than ever. For example, there is no consensus regarding the format under which the league would reopen.
While teams have been pressing to complete the regular season in order to satisfy their local television contracts, we’re told that the league continues to study the possibility of going straight to an expanded playoff tournament.
If the NHL moves to play in home cities, this would create an entire new set of issues for the league and union to confront and solve, most notable of which would be travel considerations and the means with which to test players and attendant personnel who live in disparate locations under divergent coronavirus-related government policies.
Testing, though, remains a major stumbling block to a reopening in any form as the league grapples with matters including availability of test kits, cost, reliability and speed of results.