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The NBA and NHL should call off their seasons due to coronavirus

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

In these scary, uncertain Covid-19 times that we are living in, the idea of sports returning represents a beacon of hope- a return to normalcy. I look forward to the start of the baseball season. I welcome the return of college and NFL football.

What I don’t want to see is the return of the NHL and NBA.

Both leagues want to return. However, in making that happen, I believe it will feel rushed. I question how safe it really will be. I doubt how “true” the champion will be who is eventually crowned.

The Nuggets and Avalanche both played their last games on March 11. Let’s try and be optimistic and say sports is given the all clear by mid-May. That means both teams will probably be given a week to two weeks to get ready to resume. So lets say June 1 is the re-start date.

That means the Avs and Nugs will have been sitting on their hands for two months before they start practicing. They will not have been training like they normally would. Their preparedness to go out and play an NBA or NHL game will be well below their normal standards. That will lead to potential injuries and sub-standard play.

The next question is do both leagues finish their regular seasons?

The Avalanche and Nuggets are both playoff locks and my first response is who cares about 17 more regular season games? But the Nuggets still have a great chance of overtaking the Clippers for the second seed in the West, which would mean home-court advantage in the second round. The Avs have a chance to pass the Blues for the best record in the Western Conference and home ice throughout the entire playoffs.

There are NBA and NHL teams that still have a chance to make the playoffs and the added revenue that goes with it. Are you just going to end the regular season just like that? Is that fair? Not to me it isn’t.

Okay, I don’t get what I want. So no more regular season games and we go straight into the playoffs. How legit are these playoffs going to be when they involve teams and players who’ve done very little for over two-and-a-half months? Is this going to be good basketball and hockey? Will we have true best-of-seven series or will it be shortened to best of fives, best of threes or even an NCAA March Madness one game, winner moves on, loser stays home model?

Stay with me, I’m just getting warmed up. Oh, have I mentioned that in order to cut down on travel and multiple cities that will still be reeling from fighting the effects of the virus, the NBA and NHL may choose to play a number of games involving multiple teams all in one city?

Lets say there’s a city that isn’t hit as hard as others – I’ll use Phoenix for example. The NBA could decide to have the Nuggets/Rockets, Clippers/Mavs, Jazz/Thunder and Lakers/Memphis series all played there. The league would find another city to play the Eastern Conference matchups. Same with the NHL. That Avs/Stars first round series? Part of a bunch of hockey played in Minnesota, for example.

Oh, geez. I forgot. None of these games will be played in front of fans! You’re nuts if you think sports will resume being played to packed houses.

Yes, the games will be on TV. At the start, we will ravenously gobble up whatever is given to us because we will have missed it so much. But as the novelty wears off, what will be left?

High-stakes playoff games with unprepared players played by teams who will not enjoy home court/home ice advantage in front of empty arenas and rinks. Will whomever is left standing as the NBA and NHL “champion” really feel like a true champion?

Add into this the idea of playing NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final games in August. Will there be a thirst for those games when people’s internal sports clocks are tuned to baseball and the start of football? And in the rush to finish these NBA and NHL seasons, will it have a negative effect on next year’s basketball and hockey seasons? If you try and crown a champion in mid August/early September, what about the new seasons that are supposed to start literally in the next month or two?

I get it. I miss basketball and hockey. I was curious to see what the Avalanche and Nuggets would do in the playoffs. The Avs especially, I thought had a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Yes, I wrote “had”- past tense. It’s time to be honest and admit the NBA and NHL seasons need to be shut down for good.