Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley made an interesting comment this week when it comes to what he believes is happening with the NHL schedule for next season and how the league is going to be organizing a return to play. Whether he said so with direct knowledge of the structure the NHL was putting in place or made an assumption, his comments have people talking.
During an interview with Brian Blessing on Vegas Hockey Hotline, Foley talked about the optics of the team trading defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks (a division rival) after landing Alex Pietrangelo in NHL free agency. Vegas dumped Schmidt for a 2022 third-round pick and that seemed like an incredibly crazy thing to do considering the team would be forced to play him repeatedly over the course of a normal NHL season.
Only, Foley didn’t think that was going to happen.
He said the Golden Knights were willing to make the deal because the two teams won’t be facing off much, if at all next season. He said, “Yeah, but they’re going to be in the Canadian Division.”
There have been rumors the NHL is thinking about an all Canadian division thanks to travel issues associated to the pandemic and crossing the border, assuming the league would like to get things started by January 1, 2021. But, that news had not been confirmed by anyone in the NHL, specifically league commissioner Gary Bettman.
Foley’s indirect announcement of what he believes to be the situation for the 2020/21 campaign has led to all sorts of speculation that NHL owners have been told something the public has not.
Might the NHL Not Even Play?
“I think they are going to be playing a Canadian division. I don’t think they are going to be crossing the border,” Foley said on Sportsbook Radio. He added, “Who knows if we are even going to play.”
The last comment has scared a few people into the realization that the NHL might know a lot more than they’ve led on about the viability of a number of franchises if teams can’t open up their arenas. Foley noted, “If we aren’t playing in front of fans a lot of teams can’t make it.”
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