Please, Gary. Just Cancel the NHL Season Already...
In the past few days, sources have emerged stating that the NHL is getting close to finalizing a plan to resume the 19-20 season with a quick play-in followed by a full Stanley Cup playoffs. While it is exciting to think about sports resuming, I can't say I want the NHL to award the Cup.
Now, if you had asked me a month ago, I would've said the exact opposite. I wanted them to resume the season at any point if it meant giving the Wild a chance to continue their success. I was as pissed as anyone that the Wild's playoff push was halted and the season wouldn't have a conclusion. I now think that was a really narrow-minded view. More than two months later, I've calmed down and am thinking more rationally. I'm not going to provide any reasoning based on COVID, I'm no doctor; just a hockey fan.
The main reason I want the NHL to just cancel this season is because the playoffs won't be the same. The hub cities and lack of fans completely destroy the idea of home-ice advantage . Imagine a game 7 overtime with no fans. In a normal game the energy in the building transfers to you on your couch and the players on the ice and provides that playoff game atmosphere that causes the hyperventilation we all know & love. Not only is the atmosphere not the same, but neither are the players. They're in full offseason mode right now and the brand of hockey we'd see in August would be incredibly sloppy. If there were season ticket holders in the building I could see the players getting more amped and pressured to play well, but without fans I think the quality of play would really be reminiscent of preseason hockey (aka shitty passes, slow play, and gaffes galore), even given what they're playing for.
The plan to push the start of next season back makes it so much more complicated, too. The process of shortening next season creates a ton of problems for next year that would disappear if this season was scrapped and next season started as usual. Don't forget the Wild are supposed to have a Winter Classic next year. That might fall by the wayside along with the All-Star Week and bye week in order to play as many games as possible in a short time period. At what end?
On top of all that, as a Wild fan, I couldn't bear to see the Wild win this year's Cup. It would break my heart. We as fans would never be able to say we won the Cup without a smart ass Blackhawks fan making snide comments about how that playoffs was a joke and providing a virtual asterisk on our Cup banner. As a Minnesota fan, I want to see our 'major 4' playoff championship drought end in the most dramatic and emotional way possible, not through some joke of a Cup playoffs put on only to appease TV networks.
Bring on 2020-2021 season and Kirill Kaprizov baby.