With the CDC’s recommendation to postpone or cancel all events with 50 people or more for the next eight weeks, the NHL will consider a variety of options if it has the ability to complete the season.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL was “discussing every conceivable option.” TSN and Elliotte Friedman recently shared two options that have been popular among players and other NHL officials behind the scenes. While the start dates are up in the air, these options seem to make the most sense currently.
Option 1: An unofficial proposal by players, reported by TSN
Per @TSN_Sports @PierreVLeBrun @frank_seravalli @DarrenDreger the NHL players and some of the Board of Governors are in favor of this plan to some extent. Very interesting. Situation is obviously very fluid. pic.twitter.com/qZJJbcYcTS
— Jason Myrtetus (@jasonmyrt) March 17, 2020
This plan has the NHL returning in late July (if possible).
The majority of players that have been shown this plan are reportedly in favor, and it is now on it’s way to the NHLPA.
Option 2: Elliotte Friedman’s Idea
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 12, 2020
Since each NHL team has not played the same number of games, some teams are not on board with starting with the playoffs immediately and forgoing the rest of the regular season.
“A player on a team that is just out of the playoffs in terms of points, they said they would be furious if the playoffs started with the same teams and they didn’t get a chance to compete to get in there,” Friedman said when discussing his idea on Sportsnet.
Friedman’s idea for playoff formatting was suggested by an NHL owner.
Play-in Round (East & West)
This series would be 2 games on back-to-back nights with the higher seeded team hosting both games.
Eastern Conference Matchups
Western Conference Matchups
“I had one GM who said to me today, if they can’t play until June, he would love to see a March Madness-style single- or double-elimination tournament maybe at one site,” Friedman said about his proposal.
Friedman also reiterated that the NHL is open and willing to listen to different ideas.
While this season’s conclusion is up in the air, the NHL knows whatever they decide must be well thought out.
“The most important thing will be, if we come back, that the tournament or the competition that we put on has integrity and does justice to the history and tradition of the Stanley Cup,” Bettman said while emphasizing they are looking at every option.
And while completing this season would be optimal, the league will not accept a solution that “will impact our ability to have a full season next year.”
Headline photo courtesy of TSN
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