Seventy days have come and gone since the Nashville Predators played their most recent game of the 2019-20 season. The National Hockey League and Commissioner Gary Bettman are contemplating a few scenarios regarding a return to play after they suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic — should the league decide to finish the rest of the season sometime over the summer.
While the NHL is advocating to finish the entirety of the regular season with league revenue and television contract obligations on the line, the players are approaching a possible restart from a different lens. Predators center Matt Duchene is one of those players, and he voiced his strong opinions on the matter during a radio interview on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central on Tuesday.
“First of all, it needs to be safe for the players, for the coaches, for the training staff … everybody,” Duchene said. “We can’t have a risk of anybody getting this thing and I think that’s going to be our ultimate biggest hurdle.
“You don’t want to have a ‘COVID Cup,’ and I’m worried that if we come back and try and force this thing and it’s a little gimmicky and it’s not quite right, whoever wins the Cup is going to have people try and take it away from them their whole lives. And they don’t deserve that … Our game is one of the games that has the most integrity in the world and I know our guys are going to want this to mean something if we do come back.”