By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Sports fans have not had much to celebrate over the past four months. As in, they’ve had nothing to celebrate.
Yet if the NHL is able to pull off its return to play, then hockey fans will be given a magnificent reward.
That will come in the form of wall-to-wall hockey, basically providing entertainment all day and night in North America.
That’s according to Emily Kaplan of ESPN, who reported that the “most likely plan” is for both host cities — Toronto and Edmonton — to have games that begin at 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. local time.
I’m told the most likely plan for the NHL is to have three games a day in each of the hub cities: 12 pm, 4pm & 8pm.
Given the two hour difference between Toronto & Edmonton, should be a viewer’s dream.
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) July 8, 2020
TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted that not every single day will be scheduled that way, and that the league is planning on having teams play two games every three days to start — that is, during the play-in rounds and the round-robin tournaments atop each conference.
Teams likely to be playing two games every three days to start — no travel days obviously — but that may not always hold true. Preliminary (best of five) round likely to be done in 9 or 10 days. Regular playoffs (best of seven) still closer to two weeks.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 7, 2020
As Kaplan noted, Edmonton is in the Mountain Time Zone, while Toronto is in the Eastern Time Zone, thus leading to a nonstop array of Stanley Cup Playoff action. For East Coasters, that will mean games at 12 p.m., 2 p.m, 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
That’s a whole lot of hockey. For fans who have been legitimately starved of live games, that does provide a nice light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course — of course, of course, of course, OF COURSE — the NHL has to actually get to the host cities later this month and provide and maintain a safe, coronavirus-free environment for the players, coaches and staff involved in these games. That’s not going to be easy, but the NHL will surely try.
And if they do, the most intense, grueling, exhausting and exhilarating sporting competition on the planet will grace everybody’s televisions for some 14 or 15 hours every day, until the playoff field gets whittled down. That’s something that sports fans deserve.
And hopefully every late game goes to triple-overtime. We’re trying to make up for some lost time here, you know?