NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has raised the possibility of not being able to complete the regular season, while stressing all options remain on the table, during an interview on NBCSN.
In saying, “nothing has been ruled in and nothing ruled out,” Bettman noted the league requires a clearer picture on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which he hopes will happen in the next few weeks.
Bettman said the ideal scenario would be to complete the season to determine playoff seedings in fairness to teams involved in tightly contested races in both conferences. However, he adds: “We understand that may not be possible.”
The live interview broadcast Tuesday marked the first time Bettman has mentioned the possibility of the league not being able to complete the regular season. There were 189 games remaining when play was postponed on March 12.
With the coronavirus pandemic affecting regions of the continent at different times, Bettman acknowledged the league’s options include the potential of playing games at neutral sites.
Bettman can foresee games being played into the summer. He doesn’t expect the ability to maintain NHL-caliber ice to be an issue because of the league’s modern and air-conditioned facilities.