- Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.
The NHL has extended its self-quarantine period for players and staff to April 15.
The league’s original directive was to self-quarantine until March 27, though it has twice been extended. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained last week that the league is “biting this off in chunks.”
“That’s a meaningless date really at this point in time,” Daly said. “As we get closer to the date, we’re going to have to make decisions as to what to do then.”
NHL players were told earlier this month that they could leave their playing cities; many players have returned to their offseason homes, including dozens of European-born players who went back to their home countries.
The NHL paused its season on March 12, with 3½ weeks and 189 regular-season games remaining, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league has been considering different options to finish the season if possible, and teams have been told to look into arena availability through August. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics also opens up broadcasting windows for the NHL and its United States television partner, NBC.
The NHL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, has advised caution in returning too soon. He said the NHL would need a good grasp of how far along North America is in flattening the curve of the virus outbreak before making any decisions.
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