The NHL has extended its self-quarantine recommendation for players and staff to April 30.
This is the third time the NHL has extended the deadline, though deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last month that the league was "biting this off in chunks." The previous deadline was April 15.
The NHL paused its season on March 12, with 3 weeks and 189 regular-season games to go, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league has been modeling different options to finish the season -- if that's possible -- and teams have been told to look into arena availability through August. The NHL is also considering a neutral-site playoff format, thinking that could be easier to stage this summer.
Cities and venues across North America have reached out to the NHL to pitch themselves as hosts (Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Manchester, New Hampshire, have been two reported potential locations). The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 also opens up broadcasting windows for the NHL and its U.S. TV partner, NBC.
Asked on Friday whether the NHL had a date in mind to decide whether it was feasible to resume play and try to salvage the 2019-20 season, Daly was noncommittal.
"We're just starting to get our minds around that," Daly said. "It's kind of a combination of things, like when we can start a regular season [in 2020-21] and how much time we need for an offseason, and then what does the playoff format look like, in terms of knowing what you need to have a regular season. We're starting to get our heads around that a little bit. I don't think I'm prepared to share any dates yet."
NHL players were told last month that they were able to travel anywhere as long as they self-quarantined upon arriving. Many European-born players returned to their home countries. The only players allowed at NHL facilities are those who are injured and need to go as part of their rehabilitation process. For example, Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, who underwent ankle surgery on Feb. 11, has resumed skating at Columbus' facility.
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