By Rob Wynn
The National Hockey League is not joining the National Football League in proceeding with business as usual in the week of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Last Friday they announced that the draft, previously set for June 26-27 in Montreal, was postponed. The same holds true for the combine, scheduled for Buffalo June 1-6. The league has not announced any proposed new dates for either to be held, though they continue to hold out hope that the current season can be played and the Stanley Cup ultimately awarded.
The NHL also said players were now free to leave their teams’ home cities, but urged them to continue self-isolating during the pandemic. In a statement they added that “the timing and format for the draft and draft lottery will be announced when details are finalized.” There have only been two times in NHL history when a Stanley Cup has not been awarded. One was in 1919, when the Spanish flu pandemic forced cancellation of what would have been the deciding game between Montreal and Seattle. The other was in 2005, due to the NHL lockout.
Predators Presiden/CEO Sean Henry told USA Today he wasn’t going to speculate about the remainder of the season. “I’ve never been big on hypotheticals,” Henry said. “I can answer that (question) in 15 different ways and be wrong 15 ways. The real key is first you have to figure out when we should start playing before we can answer what we should do next. You have to look at what the bigger picture is and make sure the game fits within that.”
The NHL postseason awards ceremony has also been postponed.