Hextall on Hockey: Don’t bet against a playoff bubble

Half the active roster of the Vancouver Canucks currently resides on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

The NHL requires individuals with positive tests to self-isolate for 10 days and for close contacts to self-isolate for two weeks — which would suggest a multi-week layoff looms for the Canucks.

Story continues below advertisement

The situation in Vancouver is much bigger than hockey. We know this – the health and safety of all those involved is priority number one.

But it’s also a reminder that the virus is still in control and part of our reality.

If the post-season is played outside a bubble format and a playoff team sees the virus run through a team as it has the Canucks – what happens?

A multi-week pause for a team to recoup is not realistic as it would diminish the integrity of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In addition, there’s still a strong possibility the 2020 roadblock of the Canada-U.S. border being closed to non-essential travel will still exist come May.

The NHL addressed this by realigning the divisions and the playoff format. The North Division will play against only each other through the first two rounds of the post-season.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Hextall on Hockey — Fan experience may never be the same

But the league has a decision looming on what to do when a Canadian team faces a U.S. opponent in the third round of the playoffs, which will not occur until June.

The fact is, a playoff bubble solves all these issues – which are not small or inconsequential to anyone involved.

The league and its players have preached that health and safety is priority one.

The league and its players also agree that no one wants to head back to the bubble for various reasons, from mental health to economics.

But I wouldn’t bet against the bubble if the league and its players want to see the Stanley Cup handed out this season.

Click to play video: '‘It was a strange environment for sure’: NHL’s top doctor talks COVID-19 bubble' ‘It was a strange environment for sure’: NHL’s top doctor talks COVID-19 bubble

‘It was a strange environment for sure’: NHL’s top doctor talks COVID-19 bubble – Oct 2, 2020

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source