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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: Completing Regular Season 'May Not Be Possible'

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he hopes to know more about the league's future by the end of April.

"I think right now there's too much uncertainty," Bettman said Tuesday in an interview with NBCSN. 

He added that while the "best thing, and the easiest thing" would be to complete the regular season and playoffs as usual, the league is currently looking at a number of different ways to finish the season.

"We understand that it may not be possible and that's why we're considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is," Bettman added.

"It doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions."

The Stanley Cup playoffs were initially scheduled to begin on April 8.

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Throughout the global health crisis, the NHL has decided not to mass test its players. 

"We said, very definitively, that our medical experts, including governing health authorities, aren’t recommending mass testing—in part because the resources aren’t available, in part because it’s of limited utility at this point," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt.

Daly told Sports Illustrated that the NHL does, however, keep a “master list” of tests obtained by anyone “associated with the league or our clubs,” players included. Teams are also asked to alert the league if any staffer becomes symptomatic.

Daly additionally sends a coronavirus-related memo that one team official told Sports Illustrated likened to a newsletter, full of everything from collective bargaining agreement-related issues to medical information to updates on other hockey leagues around the world.

The NHL recently extended its players’ self-quarantine period through April 15. The scouting combine and NHL draft, originally scheduled for June 1–6 and June 26–27, respectively, have also been postponed.

As of Tuesday evening, there are more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, causing more than 81,000 deaths. There are nearly 400,000 confirmed cases in the United States.