St. Louis Blues: NHL Hoping For July Return To The Ice

The St. Louis Blues continue to await word from the NHL on a possible restart of the season. The latest report hints a possible July restart.

The St. Louis Blues are just one of 31 NHL teams holding their breath while various ideas are bandied about in the NHL offices regarding possibly restarting the season. With every new report, much of the talk is about what has already been discussed with one extra nugget of news.

That is pretty much the case with the latest word.

Read any of the articles about this latest report and they all say the same thing. It rehashes the recent news about the league abandoning the single, neutral site idea.

They continue to go forward with the idea of making a four-city plan work. That is all old news.

The one nugget of news comes from Florida. The president of the Florida Panthers, Matt Caldwell, told the media in a conference call that the NHL is looking at a possible July restart.

Caldwell said the current quarantine, which was extended through April, might be pushed into May. While that is not the greatest of news, if the league is looking at July, that still gives them all of June to have whatever practice and mini-camp they need to prepare.

The one thing Caldwell did not know, or at least did not reveal, is whether the league has decided or is even leaning one way or the other on finishing the regular season.

“The goal,” Caldwell said, “is to finish this season in some way, shape or form.” – Miami Herald

Saying the goal is to finish the season in some way can mean anything. They may still jump right into a playoff or they may formulate some number of games that would even things out for teams, but perhaps not reach a full 82.

The problem with that is that teams have played anywhere from 71 to 68. With the disparity in games played, getting a schedule together that evens things out and also alters team’s schedules from what they originally were still has to be ironed out.

According to multiple websites, including St. Louis Gametime and the previously linked CBS Sports article, Darren Dreger of TSN conducted a poll of 24 NHL GMs and 20 of them would be willing to have best-of-five through the conference finals with the other four still wanting a full playoff.

Other than that, it’s all still up in the air.

Right now, though there are still plenty that don’t see a way it happens, all this talk makes it seem as though the NHL will find a way to conclude their season one way or another. Unless they are flat out told by medical authorities or the government, they are going to crown a champion through games played.

What that looks like is anyone’s guess.

Personally, I still prefer the single neutral site. Having broadcasted several prospects tournaments that have games for 12-plus hours a day, I find it hard to believe they could not figure a way to house 16 teams or even 31.

If things are going to be as condensed as they say, how much practice time would the teams need anyway? During the playoffs, morning skates are often optional and there is rarely a full-fledged practice on off days.

You can put on a broadcast with a skeleton crew as well. It will definitely be different, but you don’t NEED dozens of camera angles.

That is apparently off the table, however. Hopefully this four or five city plan will work.

It just seems more dangerous to be going into more heavily populated areas, even if you’re still trying to quarantine between games. We shall see.

At this point, the constant discussion of it is a little old. The NHL has time to make these decisions, so you have to wonder if the trickle out of news is to keep the league in the news cycle.

Next: The NHL should bring back the home whites

Hopefully that is simply a cynical way of looking at things. We all want the situation to get to a point where we can feel it is alright to have sports again.

Keep your fingers crossed that July will be that time.

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