Kukla's Korner

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Start The Season Earlier

from Justin Bourne of Sportsnet,

What needs to change? The slot the NHL season takes up on the calendar. This current season and its potential endpoints aside, the NHL season generally pushes far too deep into summer for the liking of just about everyone.

Last season the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup on June 12. Given the majority of NHL cities are located in colder climates, we’re talking about one of the three or four months where it’s really nice and hot — proper summer — and where it sure as heck isn’t hockey season. At that time, you’re also going head-to-head with the NBA finals, which means the NHL never truly has the sporting spotlight to itself for the culmination of its season....

This isn’t some drastic change I’m proposing – really the whole season just needs to be pulled back about three weeks, moving puck drop to early- or mid-September (around the 10th or so) and ending in mid-to-late May. With training camps starting a couple weeks prior to the season, we’d be looking at teams getting going within a handful of days of Sept. 1.

In most years it would be hard to drop a shortened summer on players, particularly those who’ve played into June, but this isn’t most years. A big part of what we’re talking about here hinges on the worst-case scenario (at least financially) of the league not being able to resume the 2019-20 season in any fashion. This is the doomsday scenario, but also not an unrealistic outcome at this point.

An earlier start to the 2020-21 season would offer at least a tiny bit of consolation for fans who’ve had their seasons cut short by a month or more. It would allow players to fully let go of 2019-20 and focus on their families in a time where their families deserve to have their sole focus. It would avoid a scenario where you rush players back into situations that still feel riskier than they will in late summer/early fall, when we hopefully have the worst of all this in check.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Steeb's avatar

I am fully on board with this idea. No way they’re getting any more games in any sort of timely fashion. This thing is more likely to threaten training camps than it is to go away before June. Let the players focus on being home and look forward to next year. And they should have started the season earlier (and/or trimmed the schedule) YEARS ago. Casual fans who might be interested in dipping in for the playoffs are more likely to want to go outside in June than watch a winter sport. And it’s the worst time of the year to play on crappy ice.

Posted by Steeb on 03/26/20 at 04:29 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Start sooner, and cut some of the Pre Season (exhibition games).

Posted by bigfrog on 03/26/20 at 06:36 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Unfortunately games earlier in the season don’t make as much money (competition with NFL and college football I’d suppose) to the point that some owners request days off earlier in the schedule so they can back-load when they’re only competing with the NBA and NCAA hoops.  :/

As a fan, I’d be really happy if the Cup was awarded in May.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 03/26/20 at 07:59 PM ET


Earlier & slightly shorter are exactly what I would do (but god forbid the owners leave a single cent on the table)

Posted by EthrDemon on 03/26/20 at 08:12 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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