NHL Canceled Season: New Stanley Cup Playoffs Format, Expanded Postseason and Hub Cities Explained

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The NHL common season is formally over and the league will transfer in direction of a revamped 24-team playoff format.

The 2019-20 season was halted on March 12 because the novel coronavirus outbreak started spreading throughout the U.S. and Canada. On Tuesday, commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned the league had taken the step of scrapping the remaining common season video games to maneuver ahead with the playoffs.

“As we seek some return to normalcy, this is an important day for NHL fans,” he mentioned on a convention name.

“Since March 12, we’ve been hopeful and optimistic that by developing all options and alternatives, we could get to this point. I know I join sports fans everywhere when I say we cannot wait for the players to hit the ice again.”

Here’s what we all know in regards to the NHL’s plans for resumption.

Is the NHL common season over?

Yes. Speaking on Tuesday, Bettman made clear that the common season is formally over and the remaining video games won’t be playe. That implies that the Boston Bruins have clinched the Presidents’ Trophy—reserved for the group that finishes with the very best common season report—whereas Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers is the recipient of the Art Ross Trophy, which is awarded to the participant who leads the league in factors on the finish of the common season.

Washington Capitals legend Alexander Ovechkin and Bruins star Richard Pastrnak have completed the common season as joint top-scorers and can share the Maurice Richard Trophy.

NHL Canceled Season: New Stanley Cup Playoffs Format, Expanded Postseason and Hub Cities Explained
Zdeno Chara #33, Ondrej Kase #28, Charlie McAvoy #73 and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins have fun a aim in opposition to the Philadelphia Flyers within the third interval at Wells Fargo Center on March 10 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins received 2-0. Drew Hallowell/Getty

What occurs now?

With the common season now over, the postseason will broaden to accommodate 24 groups versus the standard 16. The high 12 groups for every convention will likely be decided on factors share versus factors accrued—as groups had not all performed the identical variety of video games when the common season was halted on March 12—and be seeded in descending order from the best successful share.

The seven groups that haven’t made the playoffs will routinely enter the draft lottery.

Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play plan, which is able to contain gamers resuming coaching in small teams at group’s amenities, is pencilled in for early subsequent month. Formal coaching camps, Phase three of the plan, will begin “no earlier than the first half of July.”

New playoff format

The expanded postseason will see the NHL undertake a model new format for the playoffs. The high 4 groups in every convention—Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia within the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Las Vegas and Dallas within the West—will play separate round-robin tournaments to find out seeding within the first spherical. The video games will likely be performed with regular-season additional time and shootout guidelines.

The remaining 16 groups—divided by conferences—will play best-of-five sequence to find out which eight groups will be a part of the 4 high groups in every convention in a conventional 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs. The convention finals and Stanley Cup Final will likely be best-of-seven sequence.

Eastern Conference spherical robin

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Tampa Bay Lighting
  3. Washington Capitals
  4. Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference qualifying spherical

  • Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs. New York Rangers (11)
  • New York Islanders (7) vs. Florida Panthers (10)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)

Western Conference spherical robin

  1. St. Louis Blues
  2. Colorado Avalanche
  3. Vegas Golden Knights
  4. Dallas Stars

Western Conference qualifying spherical

  • Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
  • Nashville Predators (6) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
  • Vancouver Canucks (7) vs. Minnesota Wild (10)
  • Calgary Flames (8) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9)

Where will the playoffs be performed?

The NHL has opted to carry the playoffs in two hub places to minimise journey and guarantee gamers and workers can stay comparatively remoted—a lot because the NBA is trying to resume the season in both Las Vegas or Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

On Tuesday, Bettman mentioned that 10 completely different cities had been at the moment being thought of as potential hub. The cities are Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Texas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Canadian trio of Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver are additionally among the many choices, however the Canadian authorities’s 14-day necessary quarantine might pressure the NHL to accept U.S. cities.

Each hub will host each recreation for one of many two conferences, with the convention finals and Stanley Cup Final to be performed in one of many two cities.

NHL Canceled Season: New Stanley Cup Playoffs Format, Expanded Postseason and Hub Cities Explained
The St. Louis Blues have fun their Stanley Cup victory following the Blues victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on June 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. s) Bruce Bennett/Getty