Gary Bettman said that starting the 2020-21 season as late as December is on the table as the league considers all options for finishing this season and beginning the following one.
"We have a great deal of flexibility in terms of when we can start," Bettman said in an interview with NHL Network on Thursday. "There's no magic for next season of starting in October as we traditionally do. If we have to start in November or December, that's something that will be under consideration. We're going to try to make good, prudent, careful judgments. This isn't a race to be first back."
The NHL paused its season on March 12th due to COVID-19.
Bettman said there is no firm timeline or target dates established.
"We're going to have to take things one step at a time, because the health and well-being of our players is paramount to anything we're focused on," he said.
"Our health concerns for the players really fit into two categories: One is obviously COVID-19, and two, whatever we're going to do, we don't want them playing games until they're back in game shape. We don't want anybody getting injured."