Good News and Bad News for the New York Rangers and Their Fans

Jim Bay
New York Rangers
Feb 14, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Some recent news stories came out that could have an impact on the New York Rangers on whether or not they will continue playing in 2020 and whether or not they will play in front of fans. Within the last few days, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, gave interviews that shed some light on what could possibly lay ahead for teams like the New York Rangers.

NHL commissioner gives some promising news for the New York Rangers

Bettman appeared on the Fox Business show “Mornings with Maria” and told Maria Bartiromo and said the league is capable of playing into the summer months but is focused on putting healthy safety first. Almost as important, Bettman stated that the league has taken into account the players’ competitiveness in regards to how the season is going to be restructured when play begins again. Several teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences, including the New York Rangers, were in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot. This speaks to the suggestion that if the NHL would jump right into the playoffs, that the number of teams could be increased to 20 or even 24 teams to accommodate those who would be denied a shot at a playoff if the regular season could not be finished. This was a sentiment expressed by many including the Ranger’s Artemi Panarin who was quoted in a New York Post article as saying that “if we play, it would be unfair if the Rangers don’t have the chance to be in the playoffs. If [the NHL] goes straight to the playoffs, the Rangers deserve to be there.”

Dr. Fauci feels that pro sports could resume this summer, but without fans

Dr. Fauci appeared on the Snapchat show “Good Luck America” and told the hosts that it was possible to see sports return in the summer months. Fauci then explained how he would like to see it happen. ”Nobody comes to the stadiums. Put the athletes in big hotels, wherever you want to play. Keep them very well-surveilled, but have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their families and just let them play the season out.” This would also lend credence to the rumored plan that the NHL was considering neutral sites, such as North Dakota to finish the season. When asked how he thinks Americans would react to not being able to go to games, Fauci replied: “I think you’ll probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a (baseball) game.”