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The NBA Suspends Its Season, Is The NHL next?

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With the news the NBA has suspended the rest of it’s season following tonight’s games, can the NHL be far behind?

NHL: New York Islanders at Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat and Tyler Toffoli practicing proper social distancing.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The news came swiftly, and seemingly without warning tonight, while the major and minor sports leagues were starting to plan to play games without fans in attendance, the NBA shut it all down. And I have to say, it’s a little mind-blowing to see the chain of events that contributed to this decision.

Let’s go back two days ago, shall we? This is Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert. Here he is making fun of whole situation.

Earlier today the NBA’s Board Of Governors met to decide what they should do in terms of suspending the season, or playing the games in empty arenas. They seemed to come to a conclusion, stating that they would play on without fans in the seats. And then, before the game between Oklahoma City Thunder and the Jazz, we got this news, which was quickly followed by the suspension of the season.

That’s right. The guy poking fun of people’s fears of the virus, had it, and spread it to them. I am blown away by the idiocy here.

Now, let’s look at what this could mean for the NHL. Today it was announced that the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets would play the remainder of their home games closed off to the fans. To our knowledge there aren’t any other teams currently planning to shut the doors to the general public yet.

As for the NHL, they’re taking a business as usual approach, it would seem.

This could mean that they play on, and it would likely be in empty arenas. But should they have a situation like the NBA, where a player tests positive, that would likely change everything. This follows the cancellations of hockey seasons in Austria, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Slovakia, and the postponement of playoffs in the Swiss League over the last 48 hours.

Here’s the thing: We love sports. They’re a welcome distraction from the tedium of day to day life. They appeal to our tribal nature, our need to bond with others like ourselves. They’re fun. But they’re just games. And in the big picture, something like this outweighs the desire to be entertained. And it’s not like we as hockey fans haven’t dealt with this before:

So, even though you’ve heard it a million times, we’re gonna say it again:

- Wash your hands often. Don’t touch your face. Cough into your elbow, not your hand.

- If you’re sick, stay home.

- If you think you’ve been exposed. self quarantine and let public health officials know. And if you haven’t, be prepared to. That doesn’t mean going to Costco and buying all the damn toilet paper. It means making sure you have enough of the things you will need to stay in your home for 2 weeks. Food, water, medicine and yes, toilet paper.

Yeah, of course we’d be disappointed if this means a cancellation of the season, at a time when it looked like we would see the Canucks would get to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, but we’d really rather know that every last one of you was safe and healthy. We’ll take that trade in a heartbeat. Take care of yourselves. We’ll still be here for you, no matter what happens.