The NHL has announced a plan to abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs if it is able to resume play. The decision is not a guarantee that games are coming back, according to Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Safety protocols and other issues, including where to play, must still be worked out. The NHL and its players’ union are reportedly working on that, but details remain uncertain and no timetable has been announced. Games are expected to be played without fans in 2 hub cities, and the playoff format would include 24 teams. Under the expanded format, the top four teams in each conference will play for seeding while the other 16 face off in best-of-five series. The league has been shut down since March.
The Western Conference play-in round match-ups would include:
(best of 5 series)
Chicago vs. Edmonton
Nashville vs. Arizona
Vancouver vs. Minnesota
Calgary vs. Winnipeg
The top 4 seeds in each conference will play in separate round robin tournament(s) to determine seeding in the 1st round.
West seeds (1) STL Blues (2) Colorado (3) Las Vegas (4) Dallas
East seeds (1) Boston (2) Tampa Bay (3) Washington (4) Philadelphia
>> In round-robin play, each team plays one game against the each of the other 3 teams to determine playoff seeding. The Blues for example could end up anywhere from the 1-seed to the 4-seed in the West.
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