Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has reached across the globe, nearly all sports leagues have either been put on hold or cancelled outright for the rest of the season. For the NHL and the Anaheim Ducks, the season is a thing of the past for now with very few games remaining for every team.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the team owners all put their minds together yesterday and got the announcement out on all the major social media platforms by 11:00 o’clock in the afternoon that the rest of the season is on hold. Seeing as the NBA halted their season immediately after a player tested positive for COVID-19 right before a game the previous night, it was already on the wall that the NHL would take similar precautions considering that many NBA and NHL teams share arenas and facilities.
Only eleven games stood between the 29-33-9 Anaheim Ducks before their early off-season would begin, but now, that is sadly the reality for all teams playoff bound or lottery hopefuls. In what has been a rough season that saw the Ducks finish with their third worst point total in franchise history through the seventy-one games played, most Ducks fans are somewhat relieved that their nightmare season is at the very least on hold. For some, such as myself, the lack of hockey is just as bad as any loss in the books. As for now, however, there is no timetable for the return of the 2019-2020 NHL season.
As reported by TSN senior reporter Frank Seravalli on Twitter, teams have been asked to seek availability in their arenas through late July, so there is a very real possibility that there could be a late completion of the NHL season. As also reported by Seravalli, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told fans that the hiatus of the season will last thirty days at the very least, so it could be a similar picture for the NHL. As for whether the playoffs will be shortened with less teams is yet to be seen, but most sports leagues will be shut down until at least April 11th.
In theory, if the Ducks won out their last eleven games if the season is salvaged, they would finish 40-33-9, but that it mostly wishful thinking for those not wanting a tank for a higher draft pick. With Boston, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton all coming to face the Ducks, eleven wins is a lot to ask for. In reality, the last eleven games would be perfect for the Ducks to fall down from twenty-seventh in the league to at least twenty-ninth. The LA Kings have won seven in a row and they have at least a few more winnable games to finish out their season, but the San Jose Sharks pose a threat to the Ducks tanking due to their four-game losing streak and imminent divisional struggles coming up ahead. All three teams have mostly the same competition, but it will be interesting to see who finishes lower.
More importantly than the NHL standings are the health and safety of all those involved in the sports industry. It is entirely possible that NHL teams sharing spaces with NBA teams have already contracted the disease in some way, so to be worried for them and their families is plausible. Arena workers that are out of their jobs also have their families to support and need to scramble to find alternatives. Luckily for Southern California, our teams have shown plenty of support for keeping people going during this time. According to Eric Stephens on Twitter, Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli are paying workers full-time and part-time through March 31st. The Los Angeles Kings are also teaming up with the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center to pay all their workers as reported by Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. There are owners and players around the country pledging money to take care of their workers and staff members, so the one good factor to this dire situation is that it has brought the humanity out of a lot of people.
In closing, the Anaheim Ducks have been paused at seventy-one games for now as the NHL season is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every major sports league has been suspended, and the sports industry is on a stand still. For the time being, it is important to take care of your loved ones and make sure that this virus does not spread more than it already will. We here at Pucks of a Feather wish everyone good health and safety in this time.