This is a developing story. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
The 2019-20 NHL season will be placed on indefinite hold as the spread of the COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” has spread to North American sports leagues. This follows last night’s incident involving NBA player Rudy Gobert testing positive for the virus and the league suspending the season indefinitely. The NHL did not commit to making the same decision last night, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman issued a statement Thursday afternoon that the NHL season will be suspended indefinitely:
The @NHL pauses 2019-20 season. https://t.co/WMePei4clH pic.twitter.com/W5Hqmk3kX7— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
Darren Dreger announced further details:
More details on the NHL suspending play. No travel allowed. No meeting. No paractices. However, it’s a rapidly changing environment. For now it’s go home, go home and stay home until further notice.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 12, 2020
As part of the their due dilligence, the NHL is asking about team’s home arena availability through the end of July, indicating a possible extension of the regular and/or post season.
Hearing as part of the #NHL's due diligence process, teams have been asked to provide arena building availability through the end of July.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 12, 2020
Playoff Implications (If Regular Season Is Cancelled)
As of now, there is no indication that the regular season will be cancelled, but this is for your reference.
It is unclear as to how the NHL will handle the playoffs if and when they are played. With teams all having a different number of games played, they will likely default to points percentage (as this is the first tiebreaker). Nashville and Vancouver’s 78 points in 69 games played gives them a 56.6% points percentage. Calgary, with 79 points in 70 games played has a 56.4% points percentage, and Winnipeg, while having the most points of the group with 80 points in 71 games played, have a points percentage of 56.3%.
The playoff matchups, if this format is used and the regular season is cancelled would be:
- St Louis vs Calgary
- Vegas vs Nashville
- Edmonton vs Vancouver
- Colorado vs Dallas
- Boston vs New York Islanders
- Washington vs Carolina
- Tampa Bay vs Toronto
- Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh
However, if the NHL decides to go by points alone (which would be against their published tiebreakers), Nashville will be in the 2nd wild card spot, Calgary will be 3rd in the Pacific, and Winnipeg will be 1st wild card, with Vancouver on the outside.
It’s important to remember, as you consider both the NBA’s and NHL’s very wise and safe decision, that they share a large number of spaces—many NHL arenas are also the homes of NBA teams.
All 30 NBA teams can be connected in just the last 5 days.— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 12, 2020
The NBA made the right decision to suspend this season. pic.twitter.com/jUy3X5zwTj
As this is currently a worldwide public health issue and officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we are glad to see that the NHL will made the right decision for the safety of its players, its staff, and its fans.
This is a developing story. We’ll continue to provide updates as more news comes out. In the meantime, in case you’ve somehow missed it, you can read about preventing spread of COVID-19 here.
It has been recommended that people do their shopping trips to prepare for the possibility of catching COVID-19 as if for any other severe respiratory illness, like bronchitis—so no need to stock up massively on toilet paper, but do make sure you have over-the-counter medications (acetaminophen, cough suppressants and expectorants, etc.), tissues, a humidifier, and clear liquids (soup, sports drinks, etc). If you have a prescription inhaler, make sure you have that on hand; if you have any respiratory conditions, make a plan with your doctor if you have one. The CDC has further information about what to do if you get sick here.
One other very good resource regarding the need for precautionary measures and strategies can be found here: Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now - Politicians, Community Leaders and Business Leaders: What Should You Do and When?