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NHL hopeful teams can resume training by end of 60-day quarantine by CDC

The Capital One Arena, home of the Capitals,

The Capital One Arena, home of the Capitals, sits empty on March 12 in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

The NHL is still hopeful its teams can resume training by the end of the 60-day period the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on March 15 limiting gatherings to 50 people or fewer.

But no decisions have been made regarding the regular season’s status, a playoff format or whether there will be fans in the stands if games do resume.

The league on Monday released a question-and-answer update in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that paused the season on March 12.

"The form and format of resumption of play scenarios will depend entirely on what transpires between now and when we are permitted and able to resume and, ultimately, on timing and taking into account logistical constraints,” the NHL said. “We are going to have to be flexible and react to events as they unfold as well as the best medical advice available.”

The NHL repeated that regardless of what happens to the rest of this season, even if playoffs are put on hold until July or August, it will not impact the 2020-21 season.

“We do not anticipate a scenario in our resumption of play format that would endanger or interfere with the League’s ability to stage and execute the 2020-21 NHL season in its entirety.”

The NHL added no decisions have been made regarding “the timing or format” of the NHL Draft or scouting combine, both scheduled in June.

Also, any rescheduling of the free agency period – which typically opens on July 1 – will be made in conjunction with the NHL Players’ Association.

The players’ self-quarantine period runs through Friday and two Ottawa Senators have tested positive. The NHL said mass testing of its players is not recommended, in part because of insufficient resources.

But once the self-quarantine period ends, “consideration will be given to allowing the opening of Club facilities to Players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and Club care.”

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