As December is almost here, there’s still no clear timeline on when the Nashville Predators and the rest of the league will return for training camp.
Whenever NHL hockey eventually returns, one thing is certain about the Nashville Predators. Everything is one the table from last place to making the playoffs again.
In the midst of an offseason like we’ve never seen in the NHL, the Predators head into 2021 with a roster that’s been largely overturned and with a ton of question marks.
According to reports from Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic, talks between the NHL and NHLPA have hit a rough patch with not much communication in recent days:
This adds even more doubt surrounding a January 1 start date to next season, with training camps opening in just a couple weeks. Unless something shifts in the next few days, the 2021 season will likely be pushed back even further.
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To add onto that, the hope that at least 60-plus regular season games can be played next season also looks unlikely unless both sides make serious progress in the coming days.
The NBA is already about to start their new season with preseason games and training camps. So why is the NHL still stuck in neutral?
Even if somehow training camps do open in December, the issue of rising COVID-19 cases makes things all the more complicated for the NHL. It’s one thing for the NFL to be in the middle of their current season, but a whole new set of challenges to start your season in the middle of it.
The current disagreement
You can’t blame either side for being at this impasse. The NHL is trying to keep the league financially viable without fans in the arenas, while the NHLPA is upset about having to give more financial concessions in the form of player salaries.
An article by Forbes dives into the details of the disagreement, and it’s absolutely worth reading up on as a hockey fan.
Eventually I expect both sides to come to an agreement as the ramifications of no season at all would be devastating. However, it’s going to take sacrifices from both sides to get something worked out.
The Predators have been back on the ice for practice sessions:
An abbreviated season could be a good thing for a team like the Predators who have a lot of new players and have a head coach heading into his first full season in John Hynes.
Division realignment will make things very interesting as there will most likely be an all-Canada division. Who will join the Predators in their division remains to be seen.
Pekka Rinne is likely heading into his last season with the Predators. He’s nearing retirement, or may decide to finish his career out on a Stanley Cup contender. That would be hard to see as a Predators fan.
Expect more details on next season’s timeline in the next week or two. The NHL is running out of time, so something has to get figured out soon.