Though there are a few different ways that the NHL could eventually return, pending many factors outside of our control, the question that must be answered first is the will-they-or-won’t-they question: will there be enough time for the NHL to put together some remainder of the season, or is it going to be better to scrap the 2019-20 season entirely?
Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, but I have a hard time seeing a scenario where the NHL decides to finish the season in any meaningful way, because it seems to me that the focus is on not disrupting next season (a line of thinking I actually agree with). By the time these quarantine procedures are over, there simply will not be enough time to safely squeeze in both the end of a season, playoffs and an off-season, including the now postponed scouting combine, NHL Awards and 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
When it comes to the actual practice of cancelling the season, however, there are plenty of logistics to work out. How do you determine draft order in a satisfactory way? How will stats be recorded for the season if the season is ultimately cancelled? How will cancelling a season affect the cap for the next year? There will be a lot of planning going into a decision like that.
The other day, I wrote about how a cancelled season could mark a disappointing end should Ryan Miller choose to retire this off-season, but he’s far from the only player who could be affected in similar ways. There’s also plenty of other narratives this season that won’t play out the way they could have or “should have” thanks to this season pause.
The Colorado Avalanche were a young, fast and exciting team that overcame a lot of injuries to get back into the postseason. Quinn Hughes’ rookie season has been one of my favorites in recent years. The Toronto Maples Leafs could’ve gotten swept in the first round by the Boston Bruins yet again! The world before coronavirus was so full of possibilities, like the Ottawa Senators picking first and second overall in the Entry Draft. Now, it feels like sports are but a distant memory.
Let’s take a second and maybe mourn some of these potential stories we’re losing out on because of this pandemic. This season could’ve played out one way and it’s okay if you’re kind of mad that it didn’t.
For me (and yes, I am aware this will not help my case when I get accused of being a Canucks fan online), I really did want to see how this season would’ve ended for the Vancouver Canucks. It started with a lot of baffling roster choices, has been propped up by some serious luck and maybe most importantly, has been insanely fun to watch. From the Roberto Luongo cap recapture penalty to the Quinn Hughes for Calder campaign, it’s been a season to remember in Vancouver — and it just happens to be the season the league will probably ultimately forget.
I’m sure Canucks Twitter feels totally fine and normal about this.
What about you? What event or storyline do you/will you feel robbed of by the time things get back to some sort of normalcy?