By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The air is filled with both hope and uncertainty these days, and that applies to so many aspects of our lives including the sports world.
The National Hockey League continues to plot for a return to action on the belief the regular season can be somewhat salvaged and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in one form or another, can be conducted once we get to the " other side " of the cornavirus pandemic.
The NHL, the Players Association along with a handful of NHL'ers are part of the committee which reportedly has conducted a pair of conference calls already and will stage regularly scheduled ‘meetings going forward.
What has emerged from these sessions is an alteration to the initial concept of grouping teams in remote locations.
The original concept was designed with the belief that Grand Forks, North Dakota or Manchester, New Hampshire or Saskatoon, Saskatchewan could be suitable sites for the NHL's return primarily based on the fact that those centers have terrific hockey facilities.
However, the current view appears to lean towards have the games played out NHL rinks as a necessity.
The consensus is that any return to activity by the NHL requires NHL facilities, that is; multiple locker rooms, ample accommodation options to house multiple teams plus the latest technology for video replay, broadcasting facilities and more.
Reading between the lines, the biggest factor may be the broadcast facilities or broadcasting rights holders in general, which are tightly linked to NHL finances, which also explains to a large extent why the flame of hope for the league continues to flicker.
It's almost a " no win " situation; have the games played where the population base is less dense, thus limiting the possibility of a further spread of the virus....or play in a more densely populated area that features the amenities the NHL feels it needs.
I'm Fred Wallace