Cities contacting NHL about hosting neutral-site playoffs

A.J. Messier / National Hockey League / Getty

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Cities and venues across North America have started pitching themselves as potential hosts for neutral-site NHL playoff games, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan on Friday.

"We do have people putting together the comprehensive laundry list of what we would need from facilities and evaluating some facilities on some level," Daly said. "But I can't tell you we've even finished creating a list (of potential sites), much less narrowed it down."

Locations that have been reported so far include Grand Forks, North Dakota; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

It's unclear what a potential return of hockey would look like for 2019-20. Among the options being discussed are playing out the regular season, jumping into the playoffs immediately, or even modifying the playoff format to include more teams or make series shorter.

"I've always had the caveat that everything is on the table and nothing is out of the question," Daly said. "I would say there would be a strong opposition to ever creating a playoff where it was a single elimination. I think best-of-three is more possible, not preferred, but more possible than a best-of-one scenario."

Daly added that he's aware of several concerns that could arise if the league does resume its season during the coronavirus pandemic.

"My sense of the players is that they're very anxious to return. Obviously, they want to be healthy and safe," Daly said. "If a particular player had a particular concern, we've had similar situations in the past and we as a league have been sensitive and receptive to that situation. Obviously, if it becomes too widespread, then it becomes more problematic in terms of our ability to get back. But that will be handled up front."

While a return to the ice is the goal, Daly also indicated that the top priority for the league is "what is safe and is going to protect the health and well-being of our players and obviously the general public."

Cities contacting NHL about hosting neutral-site playoffs
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