ST. PAUL -- During a conference call with reporters Friday, a handful of idled NHL players answered questions about what they’ve been up to since the season was suspended March 12 and how they expect play might resume. The prospect was far from their minds.

So far, in fact, that when Vegas Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury mentioned a proposal to determine the draft lottery with a tournament, it was news to the other three players on the call: forwards Logan Couture of San Jose, Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.

“We’re looking forward to finishing the season and to being able to play in front of fans again, and you hear all these different ways about doing things,” Getzlaf said. “But ultimately the life stuff is what we’re worried about.”

The NHL, however, hasn’t wavered in its desire to resume the season, and the league believes this week’s one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has given hockey a chance to finish the season with a summer in prime time.

“The cancellation of the Olympics has created an open window for sports programming on NBC prime time in July-August,” an NHL source said this week. “That could accommodate some of the regular season, then playoffs.”

Postponing the Games scuttled weeks of prime-time programming for NHL broadcast partner NBC, which was set to televise the Summer Games from July 24-Aug. 9. League sources said the NHL is looking to a possible return of regular-season games in July with the postseason moving deep into the fall.

The NHL has vowed to play a full 82-game schedule in 2020-21 whether this season resumes or not. A source said the league believes that can still happen with a November start, a month later than usual, although it would mean only about a month off for teams advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Since 1914, 101 Stanley Cup champions have been crowned, and the league and its players don’t want to crown one next to an asterisk because of an altered playoff format.

Teams have been asked to secure dates with their arenas for remaining home games — the Wild were to play six of their last 13 regular-season games at Xcel Energy Center — so the regular season can be played in full, a source confirmed.

“For the format, your guess is as good as mine,” Kopitar said Friday. “I mean, you want to play a few games just to get in the thick of things. I don’t think playing the playoffs right away would be the best idea.”

To finish the season in its entirety, the league’s 31 teams would have to play a combined 189 games that were scheduled for the final month of the season. A full postseason could include as many as 21 games over three rounds in each conference before a seven-game final series for the championship.

Last year’s Stanley Cup was awarded to the St. Louis Blues on June 12 after a seven-game series victory over the Boston Bruins.

A lot has to be settled before the season could resume, primarily the state of North America, which is largely on lockdown as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 101, 657 cases in the U.S. as of Friday afternoon, and more than 4,500 in Canada.

Worldwide, nearly 27,000 deaths have been attributed to respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The NHL Players Association said Friday, “At this point it is too early to predict the timeline regarding whether or not play will be able to be resumed for this season.”

There are also issues to do with the collective bargaining agreement. For instance, expiring NHL player contracts officially end on July 1, before play likely would resume.

“Getting back on the ice would be a great thing, to finish this season out properly and make sure we protect the integrity of the game,” Getzlaf said. “You can’t just throw out some weird playoff format and go ahead and play for the Stanley Cup like guys have done over the years. There is history you have to take into consideration.”