Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin Want NHL Playoffs to Begin After COVID-19 Hiatus

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 28:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (L) talks with Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals in the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay during the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition as part of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on January 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If the 2019-20 NHL season does resume after the current hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league's biggest stars don't want to go back to regular-season games.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby said he wouldn't mind if the league just returned with the playoffs, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. Washington Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin agrees with his rival, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press.

"For us, it's better if playoffs starts right now," Ovechkin said. "We don't want to play extra games."

"I'd rather start the playoffs right away," he added, per Johnston. "Sorry guys."

Both the Penguins and the Capitals would make the playoffs based on the current standings.

The two veterans likely don't need much work in the regular season anyway with a combined 292 career playoff games and four Stanley Cup titles between them. They each would likely choose to skip to the postseason every year if given the chance.

However, a lot could have changed in the standings with each team still 12-14 games away from completing its 82-game schedule.

No team had clinched a playoff spot at the time the league was paused, while only one team—the Detroit Red Wings—was mathematically eliminated.

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Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month he plans to restart the season when given the opportunity.

"When things get back to normal, we can go back to resume the season and ultimately have the Stanley Cup," he said, per Jessica Golden of CNBC.

The NHL has since postponed its NHL draft and awards show, both scheduled for June, per Greg Wyshynski of ESPN. 

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