Rutherford would be OK with all-Canadian division

Rutherford would be OK with all-Canadian division
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21: Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins speaks with the media during a press availability on June 21, 2016 at the Encore Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 NHL Award Ceremony will by held on June 22 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — There are a few certainties about the 2020-21 NHL season.

Games will be contested on artificial ice, most -- if not all -- players will use composite sticks and ... well, that’s just about it.

Everything beyond that, including when games will begin and how many of them will be played, remains to be determined -- and those decisions might not be made for a while, depending on developments with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Getting leagues up and running while the pandemic is in progress is challenging enough, but the NHL faces at least one major issue that the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball do not: Nearly a quarter of its member teams are based outside of the United States.

Given that no fewer than severn franchises are in Canada and that the Canadian border is closed to almost everyone coming from the U.S. -- and that most people from here who are allowed into that country must self-quarantine for 14 days -- operating under a normal NHL schedule isn’t feasible.

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