New York Rangers Returning to Play This Season is Getting Complicated

Jim Bay
New York Rangers, Igor Shesterkin
Feb 21, 2020; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) gets ready for the start of the period outside the locker room against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Like most other sports, the New York Rangers and the NHL are trying to figure out ways in which their season can resume sometime in 2020. The leagues and teams face many hurdles to this happening, and recently, the NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee met and expressed the concerns of some players regarding proposed plans to resume the season.

Some players are not in favor of quarantining for months at a time

During their podcast on TSN, Ray Ferraro and Darren Dreger reported that numerous NHL players have voiced their concerns about any scenario that sees them being away from their families for an extended period of time. This comes as the latest plan in which any return to play would focus on centralized locations. This would see any return to play happen in just a handful of cities, and require players and staff to be away from people that are not involved in playing or running the games. Some of these scenarios would not involve the New York Rangers, such as a situation in which the NHL would just start their 16 team playoff this summer. The Rangers would not qualify for that scenario.

The latest idea to address the player’s concerns would have teams going back to home arenas. This may mean that the NHL would not open until later in the summer as there are many potential teams who are in cities that are hotspots for the current pandemic. In addition to New York, officials in California and Toronto have expressed concerns about having such events.

Testing and Travel remain major concerns

Testing remains a major issue to reopening in any form as the league grapples with matters including the availability of test kits, cost, reliability, and speed of results. In addition, leagues are wary of taking away resources from the general public, something that would not make the league look good. Also, the league would have to factor in any and all travel considerations and the means with which to test players and attendant personnel who live in locations that have different rules and laws concerning these situations.

Like the NBA, another scenario being floated is to allow immediate families in these “biospheres”, so players would not have to be separated from loved ones. While this is a viable option, it does add to the concerns that have already been listed. These are not easy decisions, but like everything that we have seen so far, nothing is easy.