By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If one were to assume, one might believe that hockey players — who make their living … playing hockey — would be champing at the bit for hockey to return. One might reasonably assume that the pursuit of the Stanley Cup would outweigh the various uncertainties and hurdles standing in the way.
One, however, might be wrong.
While seemingly every player would love for the NHL to resume as soon as possible in a perfect world, the realities of the current world aren’t exactly perfect. As such, some NHL players are willing to punt on the remainder of the 2019-20 season, while some others doubt it will be possible to find a fitting ending to the season.
The Athletic polled 57 players from 22 different teams and asked them if and how they want the season to resume. Of that group, 63.2 percent wanted to have regular-season games and a postseason. Just under 25 percent of respondents would prefer to begin with the playoffs. But more than 12 percent of players said they’re in favor of just canceling the season.
The story said that players came from teams all over the standings, from Cup contenders to teams in the draft lottery. Strikingly, six percent of players on teams labeled as “bubble” teams for the playoffs voted to cancel the whole season.
One player did not want to live in isolation in a hotel room away from friends and family, while also sharing concerns about the impossibility of social distancing on the ice and in the locker room. Another player believes the cost of starting up the league would lead to financial loss for the league, due to the lack of ticket sales (though perhaps not weighing TV revenue in the equation). Another player said he will not want to play postseason hockey in an arena with no fans, period.
Of course, as with any walk of life, some players took a more positive outlook. But the overall sense from many players indicates that for all the plans the NHL has been kicking around and continues to contemplate, pulling off a return in a way that makes the players feel happy and safe is not going to be easy.