Like other leagues, teams, the Blackhawks and NHL prepare for a long wait

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CHICAGO, IL – MARCH 03: Kirby Dach #77 of the Chicago Blackhawks walks out to the ice prior to the game against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on March 3, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Leave to the youngest member of the roster to put things into the proper perspective in this unprecedented time.

On Monday, as the pause continues in the National Hockey League’s season, Kirby Dach took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the current COVID-19 crisis.

The 19-year old managed to strike the right tone on social media.

“My whole life I have always been apart of a team or been a teammate,” said Dach on Twitter. “Now we are all teammates as we play for team world. Listen to the experts and stay inside and be safe.”

That’s a message being relayed around the world and especially in the NHL as the league stops play in the wake of the pandemic. The Blackhawks’ victory over the Sharks at the United Center last Wednesday seems like another lifetime ago, as the situation continues to change every minute.

For the NHL, the chance of returning to normalcy won’t happen for a little while, as the league plans to adhere to the CDC’s recommendation that no events over 50 people should be held for the next eight weeks.

But the league has opened up the chance for their players to get some time at home for the next few weeks at the least.

Earlier this week, the NHL allowed them to leave the cities where their teams play and return to wherever they call home. This included international trips as well, with the caveat that each player will voluntarily self-quarantine in their homes until Friday, March 27th.

As far as when the players can return to their team’s training facilities remains up in the air. The league said they will consider opening the facilities for small groups for voluntary training, but that time will be based on “world developments” with the pandemic.

One thing the league did reveal is that a training camp period is likely for the players once a time is set for a return to play. In their guidelines to the players, the league said a best-case scenario would be to open a “training camp” period around 45 days into the CDC’s 60-day request for no major events.

If the delay is longer, the league could have to get creative in finding a way to award the Stanley Cup if it stretches into July or August. Only twice has the Stanley Cup not been awarded, and one was for the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1919 that canceled the final after five games.

A player lockout in 2005 also left the league without a champion to give the trophy to that summer.

That, like everything else, is still up in the air. Following Dach’s advice might be the best course of action for hockey players and fans in the coming weeks.

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