Boston Bruins

Mar 10, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (13) and Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) battle for the puck during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

The National Hockey League has a return date in mind, according to Flyers center Kevin Hayes.

Joining Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports on his latest Instagram Live ‘unboxing’ on Sunday night, the 27-year-old Dorchester, Mass. native circled July 15 as the date the league plans to take their first steps towards concluding the 2019-20 season.

I mean, at this point, sure, add it to the list of guesses we’ve heard so far.

Like every other sports league, the NHL has seemingly adopted a wait-and-see timeline that’s currently left them to reassess their situation at the end of April. The NHL has reportedly looked at neutral-site options such as North Dakota and Manchester, N.H. (though local officials in Manchester have since shot down those rumors), and are reportedly willing to play deep into the summer if that’s required. (They’ve already asked their arenas to maintain availability deep into August.)

And if Hayes, a player involved in the process here, is onto something, then August hockey is certainly coming, as a July 15 start wouldn’t be nearly enough time for the NHL to sneak in four rounds (truncated or not) by the end of the month.

But summer hockey doesn’t sound realistic to everybody.

(Fortunately for Doughty, his season wouldn’t go too deep into the summer, as the league paused with the Los Angeles Kings a staggering 14 points out of a playoff spot as the second-worst team in the entire Western Conference.)

“We’re looking at all options; nothing’s been ruled in, nothing’s been ruled out,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last week. “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.”

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.