NHL 2020-21 season plans: Latest on format, timeline and challenges

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The 2019-20 NHL season started on Oct. 2, 2019, and didn't finish until Sept. 28, 2020, thanks to a pause of nearly five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of getting ready for Thanksgiving Week games, we're in the midst of the offseason, with the 2020 draft and much of free agency in the rearview mirror.

There's some uncertainty ahead in terms of when the 2020-21 season will begin, and what it will look like when it does. After discussions with league and team executives and other sources around the NHL, here's what we know -- and what we don't -- as of Nov. 23.

Where is the NHL in its planning for the 2020-21 season?

Wyshynski: Talks continue daily between the NHL and the NHLPA, with commissioner Gary Bettman still targeting a Jan. 1, 2021, opening date for the 2020-21 season. But the talks hit a bump in the road as the NHLPA, during an all-hands call this week, was told about two alterations to the collective bargaining agreement the two sides forged before last season was completed.