The Danny Picard Show

This week, Danny reacted to the NHL’s plan for a return in 2020:

The National Hockey League hit the pause button on its season back on March 12, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the league and the NHLPA agreed to a resumption of play in the form of a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That means, the season is over for seven teams.

The start date has yet to be determined. Also, the NHL and NHLPA must agree on the locations of the games. The 24-team playoff format will take place inside empty arenas in only two different “hub” cities. Those cities have yet to be determined as well. According to commissioner Gary Bettman, the cities that are being considered are Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver.

A new report claims that the NHL will test players daily if and when the games actually resume.

But for the sake of having something sports-related to write about, let’s assume they figure out all the details and begin the playoffs this summer, and take a look at what that playoff format would look like.

The top four teams in each conference — eight teams in all — will play in separate round-robin tournaments to determine the first-round seeding. Those round-robin tournaments will be played with regular-season overtime and shootout rules. The top four East teams are Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia. The top four West teams are St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas.

Meanwhile, the remaining 16 teams will be seeded by conference and will play in a best-of-five series. These best-of-five series will be played with playoff overtime rules, and will determine which teams will advance to the traditional 16-team Stanley Cup playoff bracket, which will see the normal best-of-seven series for every series.

The four best-of-five series in the East will be Pittsburgh vs Montreal, Carolina vs NY Rangers, NY Islanders vs Florida, and Toronto vs Columbus. The four best-of-five series in the West will be Edmonton vs Chicago, Nashville vs Arizona, Vancouver vs Minnesota, and Calgary vs Winnipeg.

Is your head spinning yet? Sorry for the confusion. But after you go through it in your head a few times, you should be able to understand what the NHL is trying to do.

The only question is, will they ever actually start this wacky playoff format and give out the Stanley Cup this year? And then the question becomes, if they do start these playoffs in, let’s say, July, when does the 2020-21 season begin? Because there would most certainly need to be a delay for that.

At least the NHL is seemingly doing their best to make something happen. The NBA is following their lead by discussing the resumption of their season in Disney. Who knows what Major League Baseball is doing. And as of right now, we think the NFL will begin on time in September, but nobody really knows for sure.

The NHL is trying to be the first of the four major pro sports leagues to get us sports fans back to some sort of normalcy. Regardless of how complicated it might be, they’ll be praised for it.

At least, they’ll be praised for trying.

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