- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2020

The economics involved are still unresolved, but the NHL appears to have moved a step closer to mapping out the upcoming season.

According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the league has proposed multiple potential schedules to the NHL Players’ Association, including scenarios in which the regular season would last 52 or 56 games.

While the original target starting date was Jan. 1, that is looking increasingly unrealistic. The latest proposals offer a start date in mid-January, with training camps opening up around two weeks before the scheduled beginning of the season, per TSN.

That schedule would allow the Stanley Cup to be awarded by early July, setting the 2021-22 campaign up to begin in October as usual.

This is all contingent on the NHL and NHLPA resolving economic issues, though. The two parties approved a four-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement this summer and accepted a Return to Play plan, which created two bubble cities for the playoffs and resulted in the Tampa Bay Lightning securing the Stanley Cup.

Owners have sought to revise the Collective Bargaining Agreement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, seeking an increase in salary deferment and raising escrow, for instance.

Coronavirus cases are still rising, and local and national health restrictions may make a season more complicated — two additional hurdles to the economic differences that need to be resolved between the NHL and NHLPA.

But the proposed outline of a schedule beginning in mid-January gives a glimmer of hope that a season is possible.

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