NHL’s return this season hard to envision for Wild’s Staal

Nearly two and a half months after the NHL season was indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, some players still don’t see a clear path to finishing off the season.

The NHL is sifting through numerous scenarios of empty stadium hockey played at neutral sites.

"It’s hard right now to envision, me personally, coming back and playing in a city away from your family for couple months," Wild center Eric Staal said on Thursday during a dicussion with Twin Cities reporters.

Staal, 35, is in his 16th season in the NHL and scored 42 goals for the Wild during the 2017-18 season.

It’s hard for him to fathom the Stanley Cup playoffs being played in front of no fans.

"Sure, it would still be guys competing at their highest level and their hardest because that’s what we do and that’s what players do, and that’s what guys do. There would definitely be that still, but as far as comparing it to a full building in a Game 7, there’s no comparison."