The NHL Players’ Association’s government board on Friday night time voted in favor of additional negotiations with the NHL relating to a 24-team return-to-play format.
Translation? There’s nonetheless rather a lot to be ironed out, however one factor seems to be increasingly particular: a 2020 Stanley Cup champion might be topped.
When it’s going to occur remains to be in flux due to things like location, coronavirus testing, the U.S.-Canada border closures, restricted entry from Europe and necessary 14-day quarantines to anybody getting into Canada.
Regardless of these variables, the NHL and the NHLPA, by their joint Return to Play Committee, are working collectively for summer time hockey. The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont reported Thursday (subscription required) that the Bruins might be able to get again on the ice, albeit in small teams, by June 1 beneath Phase 2 of the league’s reopening protocols, with the playoffs beginning July 1. Other outlets reported Friday that it is extra probably video games will begin in late July.
Here’s all the pieces we know up to now about the NHL’s potential return to the ice:
How many groups would return?
As reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on May 20, the league, the gamers and the Return to Play Committee are zeroing in on a 24-team playoff.
John Carlson, talking on @LunchTalkNBCSN, not an enormous fan of the reported 24-team playoff format: “24 teams sounds like a lot of teams to me if I’m being honest.”
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) May 21, 2020
The prime 24 groups based mostly on factors share — groups had not all performed the identical variety of video games when the season was paused on March 12 — could be seeded 1-12 in every convention. Seven groups would not resume play and would then enter the draft lottery.
|2||Tampa Bay Lightning||43-21-6||.657|
|7||New York Islanders||35-23-10||.588|
|Eight||Toronto Maple Leafs||36-25-9||.579|
|9||Columbus Blue Jackets||33-33-15||.579|
|11||New York Rangers||37-28-5||.564|
|1||St. Louis Blues||42-19-10||.662|
|three||Vegas Golden Knights||39-24-Eight||.606|
Teams that may not return
|New Jersey Devils||28-29-12||.493|
|Los Angeles Kings||29-35-6||.457|
|San Jose Sharks||29-36-5||.450|
|Detroit Red Wings||17-49-5||.275|
How would the playoffs work?
Brackets! Who would not love a bracket?
In the proposed format, there would an NCAA-style bracket with none reseeding.
According to Friedman, the prime 4 seeds in every convention would obtain byes and the “play-in series” could be a best-of-five format.
Eastern Conference opening-round sequence
|(5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (12) Montreal Canadiens|
|(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers|
|(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers|
|(Eight) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets|
Western Conference opening-round sequence
|(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks|
|(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes|
|(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild|
|(Eight) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets|
Once these sequence are determined and the Stanley Cup playoffs are right down to the conventional 16 groups, the 4 groups that obtained byes would then enter the bracket for a best-of-seven sequence.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Thursday that the 4 prime groups might play in a mini-round-robin event of their very own to find out remaining seeding.
If the seeding stays the identical for these 4 groups, then that is how the Round of 16 would shake out — and, sure, that would imply a Maple Leafs-Bruins “first-round matchup.”
Eastern Conference second-round sequence
|(1) Boston Bruins vs. winner of Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets|
|(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. winner of Islanders-Panthers|
|(three) Washington Capitals vs. winner of Hurricanes-Rangers|
|(four) Philadelphia Flyers vs. winner of Penguins-Canadiens|
Western Conference second-round sequence
|(1) St. Louis Blues vs. winner of Flames-Jets|
|(2) Colorado Avalanche vs. winner of Canucks-Wild|
|(three) Vegas Golden Knights vs. winner of Predators-Coyotes|
|(four) Dallas Stars vs. winner of Oilers-Blackhawks|
Where will the video games be held?
“Hub cities” is the magic phrase in sports activities proper now and the NHL seems to be following that path. With the majority of NHL cities both a COVID-19 hotspot or beneath a ban on public gatherings by the summer time, it’s changing into extra obvious that is the route the league must take.
According to experiences, the NHL has obtained bids from a number of groups together with Columbus, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver. In the “hub city” gamers could be quarantined to reduce the risk of an infection.
TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted Thursday that the Oilers’ hometown is rolling out the crimson carpet for the NHL — providing up all the pieces from golf programs to a colder, extra hockey-centric local weather.
Curious what NHL gamers suppose about this? Edmonton is rolling out a powerful “lifestyle” presentation in its Hub metropolis quest. Secured golf course. Cool temps. Outdoor massive screens for films/different video games. Some enjoyable stuff deliberate. More tonight in Insider Trading.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 21, 2020
Will followers have the ability to attend?
Probably not. The league has appeared into it however the issues are huge.
The NHL and groups have carried out social distancing fashions for individuals in seats…most arenas, based mostly on individuals being 6 toes aside in each course…would solely have the ability to host 2000 to 2500 followers at a sport. A little bit of a non-starter.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) May 20, 2020