Geoff Baker: Will the Kraken's on-ice debut be delayed? Chances are good.

By Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

Also, a November 2021 start enables the usual offseason length next summer if the finals end in July - and for more of the regular season to play out before the Winter Olympics, starting with Beijing in 2022.

The NHL has never loved taking a two-week Olympic pause. But the Beijing games, featuring NHL players, would happen just two months into the regular season if started in December 2021 - hardly anyone's dream scenario.

Then again, a November start means another full month competing with the NFL. Regardless, the pandemic gave the league an opportunity to reshape its future. For a century, the NHL's schedule was tailored to play out in cooler weather more conducive to good indoor ice conditions.

But the science of ice-making and maintaining a consistent arena temperature has greatly evolved. We just saw three playoff games daily in sweltering August heat in Toronto with no real ice impact.

And then, there's the Kraken and the possibility Climate Pledge Arena won't be ready.


Sure, that's only a one-time consideration. But why worry about them - and the Islanders - if you can provide both more construction breathing room?

I'm not thrilled about waiting even longer to see the Kraken finally play. But we've all waited this long. So, the NHL might as well give the Kraken more time to perfect its launch while separating - and maybe even distinguishing - its schedule from the muddle of others.

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