It was discussed on the Board of Governors call on Nov. 12. Afterwards, the league sent out a query to all 31 clubs inquiring what the level of interest was in either hosting outdoor games or taking part in them as a visiting team, sources confirm.

These are some of the teams Iíve been able to confirm as affirmative:

Boston Bruins: The Bruins answered yes to the NHLís outdoor query and are indeed exploring the possibility of playing at Fenway Park, obviously depending on state and city guidelines. And weíre not just talking one outdoor game, the Bruins, Iím told, are exploring the idea of multiple games at Fenway. They want their fans watching live hockey.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes have a football stadium across the parking lot from their arena. Itís a no-brainer for them and the club answered yes to the league. And I think the idea that the Canes have explored for a few months now is not just to play one game but a few and maybe even buy their own refrigeration system and not rely on the leagueís outdoor game infrastructure.

Dallas Stars: Letís put it this way, the Dallas Cowboys just had 30,000-plus at their Thanksgiving day game. So to nobodyís surprise, I can confirm the Stars answered yes to the leagueís query. What a great venue to have an outdoor hockey game in. Heck, why just one?

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings were actually on this early, months ago telling the NHL of their idea to stage multiple games at an MLS stadium when county guidelines allow for fans to gather at outdoor venues. I think what the Kings have shared with the NHL is that they would begin the season with no fans inside Staples Center but once (if) the guidelines were loosened, they would play in front of 8,000 or so physically distanced fans for the final two months or so of the regular season. The Kings, Iím told, have also approached the nearby Ducks about playing outdoor games. But again, all this is really depending on when Southern California health authorities loosen up the guidelines for outdoor venues.

Nashville Predators: The Predators responded to the league that they would be willing to host an outdoor game if it made sense for the NHL and in fact would be willing to have multiple games and teams play out of it whether thatís in a traditional stadium or a unique setting.

Pittsburgh Penguins: As mentioned above, the Penguins have looked at the idea of maybe opening the first month or so of the season outdoors and buy some time before limited crowds can start gaining access to indoor games. Thereís no guarantee that will happen this season at all, depending on the access and distribution of the vaccine over the coming year. But rest assured, the Penguins are thinking outside the box here.
Iím told Buffalo, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Washington, Philadelphia, New Jersey and both New York teams are among the U.S.-based teams who answered no to the league, for various reasons.