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Bettman: Completing NHL regular season ‘may not be possible’

League faces hurtle if it decides to go right into the playoffs. The commissioner provided an update on the status of the NHL during the coronavirus outbreak.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference before game one of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Completing the 2019-20 NHL regular season “may not be possible,” commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday in an interview with NBCSN. There has always been hope for the regular season to resume and the League to go into into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, things aren’t so clear. The NHL could opt to go right into the playoffs, but worries about the fairness of letting some teams in over others without finishing things out.

“I think right now there’s too much uncertainty,” said Bettman. “Hopefully we’ll all know more by the end of April.

”From an NHL standpoint, we’re viewing all of our options. We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light — and the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places where we can’t play and others places where you can. We’re looking at all options. Nothing’s been ruled in, nothing’s been ruled out.

”And it’s largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is because we have next season to focus on as well.”

The NHL went on break on March 12, so it’s almost been one month since the pandemic stopped play. Bettman says above that he believes more clarity will come by the end of April, which would mean May is when we should start to see the ball rolling a bit.

The MLB has already been rumored to be mulling a few changes that could help squeeze in a 162-game season. Could the NHL explore similar options? It may seem radical, but the NHL wants to preserve the sanctity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL has reportedly looked into neutral sites to hold regular-season games as well.