Bettman on status of ’19-20 NHL season: ‘We’re viewing all of our options’

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman appeared on Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico Tuesday afternoon to discuss the status of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think right now there’s too much uncertainty,” Bettman said when asked if the weekend call featuring major sports commissioners with President Trump changed a potential target date if things improved. “Hopefully we’ll all know more by the end of April.

“From an NHL standpoint, we’re viewing all of our options. We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light — and the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places in the [U.S. and Canada] where we can’t play and others places where you can. We’re looking at all options. Nothing’s been ruled in, nothing’s been ruled out. And it’s largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is because we have next season to focus on as well.”

There’s been recent reports that the NHL has been exploring the idea of holding games at neutral sites, but that’s all part of the planning process at the moment, according to Bettman.

“Our clubs, if nothing, are extraordinarily competitive, and whatever we do has to be fair, which is why there’s been some public speculation in the media about neutral site game in remote parts of the country,” he said. “That’s just part of considering all the potential options, depending on how we find the circumstances. But when you talk about fairness, we also have issues about if we get to play a playoffs, who gets in if we can’t complete the regular season. We had seven teams on the bubble and all they think they would have had a chance. We have to deal with the lottery and order of selection in the draft.

“The best thing, and the easiest thing, would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do. We understand that that may not be possible and that’s why we’re considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is. Again, it doesn’t even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions.”

You can catch the full interview with Bettman in the video above.

Here’s the Lunch Talk Live schedule for the rest of this week:

Wednesday 4/8
12:15 p.m. ET – Al Michaels and Doc Emrick
12:30 – PGA Golfer Justin Thomas
12:50 – Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett

Thursday 4/9
12:50 p.m. ET – Keith Jones and Eddie Olczyk

Friday 4/10
12:15 p.m. ET – Michele Tafoya
12:40 – Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger
12:50 – Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle

Follow the show on Twitter at: @LunchTalkNBCSN

Lunch Talk Live will air weekdays at noon ET on NBCSN and stream on NBCSports.com here and the NBC Sports app. Select content and interviews will additionally be hosted on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel and social media platforms.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.