Give it to us straight, commissioner. We can handle it.
Regarding the approval of the plans for Phases Three and Four of the NHL return-to-play plan, a new collective bargaining agreement as well as just whether this season will continue or not, we could know "within the next week, if not sooner", according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.
Since the NHL season pause in early March, we have not heard any certain decisions on a return-to-play date, or just an absolute confirmation of the season returning at all, which is understandable with the current pandemic. As new data continues to be released and more players are tested positive for COVID-19, it brings doubt as to if the 2019-2020 campaign will ever resume.
McKenzie continued that "time is of the essence" for both sides of the negotiation for a season resumption, meaning the NHL and NHLPA and that for the first time in this process, he has heard people from both sides say "we are running out of time"".
There are a lot of decisions to still be made, and a lot of folks that need to have a say in the process, which has delayed a fair amount of announcements, including which cities will host the return games. At this moment, McKenzie believes that it is a real possibility that it could all Canadian hubs (being Toronto and Edmonton), but this is also a situation that changes hour-to-hour.
"The NHL and the NHL Players' Association do not look as though they are going to announce the identity of the hub cavities until they've got the entire return to play protocol and a new CBA all agreed to, at least pending player approval - so Phase Three, training camp, Phase Four, return-to-play protocols for the hub, as well as a new CBA", said McKenzie.
McKenzie also mentioned that there is a potential upcoming membership vote this week that could be a very telling of all details of the current season suspension, ranging from decisions of all return dates to just plainly if the season will happen or not, and as mentioned, he believes this answer will come within the next week, if not sooner.
At this point, most fans, players and organizations are all wanting the same thing: an answer. Well, it looks like we may have this soon (hopefully).
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