Hockey could be back in July and, if the NHL gets their way, then we could be in for a Vegas Golden Knights feast all at once.
We delved into the latest proposal on Wednesday, which you can read below, with the National Hockey League adamant that the Vegas Golden Knights and the other 30 teams finish the regular season.
According to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN and Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has ruled out the possibility of playing games in neutral sites such as North Dakota and Manchester, New Hampshire.
Instead, the league’s desire is to finish the regular season in July and then jump into the Stanley Cup Playoffs while playing in two to four NHL arenas in cities that haven’t been as badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
How would this work?
It is a good question and, as is the case with many of these proposals, it appears that there are a lot of wrinkles to be ironed out before they even become close to morphing into reality.
However, there seems to be a clear route for this latest proposal to work and, if it does happen, then it could be hockey heaven for NHL fans.
Because, speaking during an interview with Sportsnet, Bettman revealed that each arena would host three games each per day.
So, if the league goes with four arenas that is 12 games per day.
After more than a month without hockey, my mouth is starting to water already at the prospect of so many games each day.
Just imagine this; the July sun is shining, grab a beer, collapse on the couch and sit back and relax while watching a feast of NHL hockey.
Nothing sounds better.
This particular proposal also makes the most sense out of all the ones floated out there so far as well.
For starters, finishing the regular season would allow the Golden Knights to wrap up the Pacific Division and it would also give bubble teams the opportunity to finish what they started.
It would ensure that the Stanley Cup Playoffs remain a 16-team field, thus protecting the integrity of the Cup which is the most important thing.
And, whether the season is played in two cities or four cities, playing at buildings that already host NHL games should ensure that fans get the best possible TV product, while it is hoped that fans could actually attend games deep into the summer.
As for the Golden Knights, and we have covered this already, but they are in very good shape if the regular season does return.
After 71 games they sit atop the Pacific Division with 86 points and are three points clear of the Edmonton Oilers.
Granted, it remains to be seen how the Golden Knights would adjust to having no fans in the building, especially given the vibrant atmosphere they are used to at T-Mobile Arena, but then every team will be in the same boat.
More importantly, though, is the fact that the players would get the chance to shake off any rust and regain some sharpness in the remaining 11 regular season games before delving into the playoffs.
Plus, Bettman also alluded to the fact that a mini Training Camp would be held before games started so all players would have the chance to get back into the groove of things.
Overall, I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest proposal picks up steam because it does seem to tick a lot of boxes.
Two to four arenas hosting three games each a day would get the remainder of the regular season over quickly, and if the Stanley Cup Playoffs are conducted in the same fashion then the 2020-21 season shouldn’t be impacted.
Of course, there is a wrinkle in that the NHL still plans to host the 2020 NHL Draft in June which could throw up a few problems, and we’ll explore those potential headaches next week.
But, the tantalizing possibility of hockey returning in July and having a bevy of games each day to look forward to without the NHL making massive changes to its schedule is an exciting prospect for everyone concerned.
If it means the return of Vegas Golden Knights hockey, then bring it on!