The statement last night from the National Hockey League was classic NHL: We’re gonna wait and see, basically. And while leagues around the world are either suspending or outright cancelling their seasons, you have to think that this is the only possible choice that the league will make today.
The league did issue a mandate this morning that all morning skates, practices and media access was cancelled.
Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, Clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
There’s also a couple signs that the shutdown is coming that we can look to, the first one being the Canucks recalling their entire scouting staff.
And then there’s word out of the AHL that the Belleville Senators, who were to travel from Laval to Utica today to take on the Comets tonight have headed back to Belleville, suggesting at least a postponement of tonight’s games.
The shoes.... they are dropping pic.twitter.com/flfmVAmawC— Comets Cory (@CoryHergott) March 12, 2020
The MLS and NLL have now joined the NBA, suspending league play until further notice. And while we await the NHL announcement, news is trickling out that there will at the very least be a postponement of games:
Major League Soccer Suspends Season for 30 Days pic.twitter.com/FLUqzttwrK— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 12, 2020
Sources say some NHL road teams are planning on heading to the airport and will await word on whether to stay or go.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 12, 2020
Hearing that on-ice officials who are on the road now to work NHL games have been told to book flights home ....— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 12, 2020
Hearing as part of the #NHL's due diligence process, teams have been asked to provide arena building availability through the end of July.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 12, 2020
Some things to think about as we wait for word on a cancellation: How is this going to impact the league financially? With HRR revenues taking a massive hit if there’s no playoffs, that affects not just owners, but players as well. That will also mean that the previously report expectations for what the salary cap could be next year should also be revised, and for a team like the Vancouver Canucks who were counting on a raise of the cap to aid in re-signing players like Jacob Markstrom and potentially Tyler Toffoli, this is not good news. Obviously the health of everyone is the first priority, but these are the ripple effects that we need to keep in mind heading forward.
I suppose if there’s something that could be considered a bright spot, this could mean that Chris Tanev’s dream of playing an entire season without missing a game could still be realized.
We’ll continue to bring you news as it develops.