National Hockey League looking to confirm playoff teams

Ruben Hill
May 23, 2020

The NHL Players' Association met Thursday night to vote on a 24-team playoff proposal that would remedy the current season, which was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the No. 4 seed could face No. 12 Montreal (in the event the Canadiens pulled off an upset over No. 5 Pittsburgh) while the No. 1 seed would be left with the victor of No. 8 Toronto vs. Players also feel the vote to return to play should be league-wide, not only the executive board. The top four seeds, determined by their standings points percentage when the regular season was paused, would receive byes through a round of best-of-five play-in series that would feature the fifth seed through the 12th seed.

The return-to-play format under consideration includes six Canadian teams, five Original Six teams (the Canadiens, Blackhawks and Rangers would be excluded in a 20-team format) and everyone who had any hope of winning a championship when the 2019-20 season was halted. When asked about the proposed format and the two "hub" city plan, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN in an email, "I'm not aware of any agreement yet". The league is reportedly considering eight or nine cities.

Fans would not be allowed in the arenas.

"I don't think there's going to be a flawless scenario where everyone's super excited about", Nashville Predators centre Ryan Johansen told The Associated Press on Thursday before the vote.

Per the AP, it's unclear whether the sides will come together and vote the same way.

"Nothing's really certain until it's certain, so things can change so quickly and they have on different things", Return to Play committee member James van Riemsdyk of the Flyers said Wednesday. "There's been some different talks and things like that and talking about a bunch of different things and trying to sort through some different issues".

The one thing that stands out about the National Hockey League return-to-play format now being discussed is it doesn't include a meaningless game. According to LeBrun, the results should be available by Friday evening.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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