The National Hockey League announced on Thursday that it is suspending play indefinitely in an attempt to combat the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
Coming on the heels of the NBA suspending play after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was confirmed to have been infected, and with leagues in many sports across the globe either taking a hiatus or outright ending their seasons, the move is a necessary precaution.
The league made sure to note that this is intended to be a temporary suspension. That said, with so much uncertainty surrounding the situation, it’s hard not to see a possible cancellation of the remainder of the season.
The last time an NHL season was interrupted in such a manner was in 1992, when a player strike on the eve of the playoffs caused a ten-day gap in games before play was resumed, with the final thirty games of the season rescheduled. Owner lockouts caused shortened seasons in 1995 and 2013 and cancelled the entirety of the 2004-05 campaign.
In 1919 the Stanley Cup was not awarded due to an outbreak of Spanish Flu. With the NHL champion Montreal Canadiens visiting the PCHA’s Seattle Metropolitans, the series was called at 2-2-1.
The Red Wings have 11 games remaining on their schedule, including a visit to the Washington Capitals originally slated for tonight. While Detroit has already clinched last-place overall, making all of them meaningless to the Wings in the standings, many of their scheduled opponents are fighting for playoff position, making cancelling the games outright problematic, unless the playoffs were also cancelled.