The NHL is in no rush to return from its shutdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with commissioner Gary Bettman saying completion of the existing season could press back the start of next season as far as December.

Speaking Thursday on NHL Network, Bettman said, "We have a fantastic offer of flexibility in regards to when we can start. There's no magic for next season of beginning in October as we traditionally do. If we need to begin in November or December, that's something that will be under factor to consider.

"We're going to attempt to make great, prudent, cautious judgments. This isn't a race to be first back. When we come back, we want it to be at the correct time, for the ideal factors, under the right situations."

As for a possible timeframe for the resumption of video games, Bettman stated, "I do not think any person knows for specific. We're going to need to take things one action at a time, since the health and well-being of our players is critical to anything we're focused on.

"We 'd like to have the ability to get our training centers open. We 'd like our men to be able to work themselves back into shape. However this is something we're going to continue to assess on a day-to-day basis."

'Cooperative, collaborative' talks with NHLPA

According to Bettman, the state of the pandemic isn't the only consider terms of the possible reboot of the season.

"Our health concerns for the gamers actually suit two categories: One is undoubtedly COVID-19, and two, whatever we're going to do, we do not want them playing video games till they're back in game shape," the commissioner said. "So we're going to continue to keep an eye on things, and when the guidance from the medical individuals is best and the governmental authorities are comfortable, then we'll take step one, which is resuming our training facilities."

SEE Speaking Thursday on NHL Network, Bettman said, "We have a great offer of versatility in terms of when we can begin."

As for a possible timeframe for the resumption of video games, Bettman said, "I do not think any person knows for specific."Our health issues for the players really fit into two classifications: One is undoubtedly COVID-19, and two, whatever we're going to do, we don't desire them playing games till they're back in game shape," the commissioner stated."Having the committee that's been put together with the gamers is essential so that we can get the feedback on the concerns that are essential to them and how to fix them, and that we can be interacting how we're focusing on the things we believe that need to be done," Bettman stated.