As the NHL discusses scenarios for a potential resumption of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, there was an initial report on Friday that the league seemed to be "pivoting" away from a plan that would've had teams play in four centralized locations.
But now, Larry Brooks of the New York Post (who also authored that initial story) is reporting that the league is now focused "squarely" on that four-arena hub idea.
The latest New York Post report states that teams raised concern about being able to play in their home arenas because of what that would mean for players, coaches and staff who would have to stay isolated in hotels and sepearated from their families for months.
Now, the NHL is considering up to 12 cities to make up a four-arena hub in hopes of returning to play, per The Post.
Like the NHL, MLB has reportedly discussed scenarios where teams would play in "hubs" of sorts, with players going from ballparks to hotels each day and travel outside of those hubs severely limited or prohibited. MLB is now reportedly also discussing the scenario of teams playing in their own ballparks without fans present, though it sounds like the NHL is moving on from that idea.
If/when the NHL returns this season, the league is continuing to "study the possibility" of resuming with an expanded playoff tournament instead of completing the regular season first, according to The Post.
What that would mean for the Rangers remains to be seen.
New York, with 79 points, was two points back of the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
If the NHL expands the playoff format from 16 teams to 20 or more, the Rangers appear to have a good case for inclusion.
The Rangers' 79 points are good for 10th in the Eastern Conference and tied for 16th overall in the NHL.