The NHL is hoping to avoid the MLB’s fate by using the bubble
The NHL and the NBA are looking to restart their season this week in their assigned bubbles. A tactic that looks to be the right idea considering the MLB’s recent issues.
Tomorrow. That is when the first real life NHL games since March 11th. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Flyers will kick it all off at 4pm to begin a whirlwind of hockey that, as of right now, only has two days of break scheduled. Those two days are this Friday and August 10th when the league will announce the winner of that first round pick.
This sort of nonstop hockey played out on two sheets of ice has never been seen before. Not since the league has had more than two teams. It was a speculation of a concept when it was first brought up months ago and no-one really thought it was going to work. Now it seems like the only reasonable concept that will work.
The sports world is looking at the MLB with concern as about a third of the roster and staff of the Miami Marlins test positive for COVID. Their next game was suspended. The Philadelphia Phillies, who last played the Marlins also had their next game, scheduled today against the Yankees, postponed. Suddenly the MLB is at risk of losing a season they worked hard to create.
It all comes down to a the ability to create a bubble in a safe environment.
Now granted, there isn’t a true safe place away from the pandemic, but playing in Toronto and Edmonton in a controlled environment is completely different than playing in Miami, in the middle of one of the worst places for the virus. It honestly isn’t that much of a surprise that this happened.
In comparison the NHL is now beginning its controlled plan with teams practicing in multiple facilities in Toronto ahead of tomorrow’s exhibition game start:
Another thing to credit the NHL with is the fact that their plan was fluid. At one point it looked like Las Vegas was destined to become a hub with a Canadian city being the second option. Once the pandemic hit the city hard and it simply wasn’t a smart idea to play there any more, the NHL quickly abandoned its plans for Vegas.
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For a league that is known for its stubbornness, that was a surprising move, one that has so far allowed the players to be somewhere safer and allow them to focus more on their game. The league also decreased the number of hubs from the range of 4-8 originally reported all the way down to two, cutting down on necessary travel that may expose the players to the virus.
So far the hub bubble plan seems to work. But it is only day two of them being in it. The good news is that after testing everyone yesterday prior to travel, not a single player tested came back positive for COVID. How well they will be able to keep that going depends on how well they can keep the bubble airtight.
At least the NHL didn’t make the same mistakes of the MLB.