The executive board of the NHL Players & # 39; Association on Friday night voted in favor of further negotiations with the NHL over a 24-team return to game format.
Translation? Much remains to be solved yet, but one thing seems to be increasingly short: a champion of Stanley Cup 2020 will be crowned.
When this happens, it is still underway because of things like location, coronavirus testing, US-Canada border closure, limited access from Europe and mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering Canada.
Regardless of these variables, the NHL and the NHLPA, through its joint committee return to the game, are working together in hockey in the summer. O Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont reported Thursday (subscription required) so that the Bruins can return to the ice, albeit in small groups, until June 1, in Phase 2 of the league's reopening protocols, with the playoffs starting on July 1. Other points of sale reported Friday that games are more likely to start in late July.
Here's everything we know so far about the NHL's potential return to ice:
How many teams would return?
As reported by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet on May 20, The league, players and the game to Return Committee are focusing on a playoff 24 times.
John Carlson, speaking @LunchTalkNBCSN, not a big fan of the 24-team playoff format: "24 teams look like a lot of teams if I'm being honest."
– Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) May 21, 2020
The top 24 teams based on the percentage of points – not all teams played the same number of games when the season was paused on March 12 – would be broadcast from 1 to 12 in each conference. Seven teams would not resume the game and enter the preliminary lottery.
|1 1||Boston Bruins||44-14-12||.714|
|2||Tampa Bay Lightning||43-21-6||.657|
|7||New York Islanders||35-23-10||.588|
|8||Toronto Maple Leafs||36-25-9||.579|
|9||Columbus Blue Jackets||33-33-15||.579|
|11||New York Rangers||37-28-5||.564|
|1 1||St. Louis Blues||42-19-10||.662|
|3||Vegas Golden Knights||39-24-8||.606|
Teams that would 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?
Supports! Who doesn't love a support?
In the proposed format, there would be an NCAA-style support without any further propagation.
According to Friedman, the top four seeds in each conference receive byes and "series of play-in" would be the best of five.
Opening series of the Eastern Conference round
|(5) Pittsburgh Penguins x (12) Montreal Canadiens|
|(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers|
|(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers|
|(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets|
round opening series of the Western Conference
|(5) oilers vs. Edmonton (12) Chicago Blackhawks|
|(6) Nashville vs. Predators. (11) Arizona coyotes|
|(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild|
|(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets|
After these series are decided and the Stanley Cup playoffs are reduced to 16 traditional teams, the four teams that receive farewells would enter support for a series of the top seven.
Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported Thursday that the top four teams could play in a mini-round-robin tournament to determine the final sowing.
If sowing remains the same for all four teams, this is how the Round of 16 would be shaken – and, yes, that could mean a "first round match" of Maple Leafs-Bruins.
the second round of the Eastern Conference series
|(1) Boston Bruins x winner of the Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets|
|(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Islanders-Panthers winner|
|(3) Washington Capitals vs. Hurricanes-Rangers winner|
|(4) Philadelphia Flyers vs. Penguins-Canadiens winner|
West Conference series second round
|(1) St. Louis Blues vs. Flames-Jets winner|
|(2) x Colorado Avalanche winner Wild-Canucks|
|(3) Vegas Golden Knights vs. Predators-Coyotes winner|
|(4) Dallas Stars vs. Oilers-Blackhawks winner|
Where will the games be held?
"Central cities" is the magic word in sport at the moment and the NHL seems to be following that path. With most NHL cities, be it a COVID-19 access point or banned from public meetings during the summer, it is becoming more evident that this is the path the league needs to take.
According to reports, the NHL received offers from several teams, including Columbus, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver. In the "central city", players would be quarantined to minimize the possibility of infection.
Darren Dreger, TSN, tweeted on Thursday that the hometown Oilers is launching the red carpet for the NHL – offering everything from golf courses to a colder climate and more focused on hockey.
Curious what the NHL players think about it? Edmonton is launching an impressive "lifestyle" presentation in his quest for the city of Hub. Safe golf course. Cool temps. Large external screens for movies / other games. Some fun things planned. More tonight at Insider Trading.
– Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 21, 2020
Will fans be able to participate?
Probably not. The league has analyzed, but the complications are enormous.
The NHL and the teams created models of social distance for people in seating … in most arenas, based on people six feet apart in all directions … they could only host 2000 to 2500 fans in one game . Some not beginners.
– John Shannon (@JShannonhl) May 20, 2020