NHL Extends League-Wide Self-Quarantine Period For Players, Staff

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In an unsurprising move, the NHL is extending its league-wide self-quarantine.

When the season paused last month, the league recommended its players and staff self-quarantine amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The date of the self-quarantine being lifted already had been moved to April 15, and now it’s being pushed at least another two weeks.

Again, this delay is not surprising since the peak of cases is just now arriving in many places.

So what does this mean? Well, it means the absolute best-case scenario is games won’t resume until about mid-May at the absolute earliest — and even that likely is far too conservative an estimation.

Players are going to need a few weeks of training camp to get back into game shape, so even if players are allowed to return at the beginning of May, games reasonably couldn’t begin until well into the month. Furthermore, this doesn’t account for the fact that some players have gone back overseas, so getting back into North America could be challenging logistically.

The bottom line is that the league wants to play this season out; Gary Bettman has made that clear while both players and execs alike have expressed optimism. But this pandemic is unpredictable, and very little actually is in the league’s control. So expect the holding pattern to continue for the easily foreseeable future.

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