The NHL is intensifying its discussions to restart the suspended 2019-20 season. Last week came word of a jointly formed “Return To Play Committee” between members of the NHL and NHLPA.
Now it appears the NHL has found a potential playoff scenario that could potentially work with proper testing and quarantining measures in place.
Sportnet’s Mark Spector reported on Wednesday that the top six teams from each division would play each other in the same city.
Assuming no regular season games get played, the most popular playoff scenario is the following: The Top 6 teams from each Division meet in one city. They would open with best-of-three series between the No. 1 and 2 seeds (to decide a Division winner), while No. 3 meets 6 and 4 meets 5 for the right to keep playing.
Under this scenario, the only current seventh place team that may feel left out is the New York Rangers. They are one point behind the sixth place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division but the Rangers have played two more games. There are no teams that could say the No. 6 seed had the advantage of playing more games than them, and that they were unfairly treated.
Under this playoff option, the Capitals would play the Philadelphia Flyers to determine the division winner and then would play the winner of the play-in series between the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds. That means the Caps could potentially match up with the Penguins in the first round.
Here are the current top six teams in each division.
Spector also reports that the NHL would like to play all 82 games of the regular season, but is beginning to look at options where the season would be completed after 76 to 78 games. The league is also now open to play into October if need be. The NHL does not want to play the 2020-21 season without fans in the arena.
Recently, former player John Scott claimed that players have been told to come back to North America by June 1 for the potential opening of training camp. It’s unclear if that’s true or not.
What is clear is that the league is continuing to try and find a realistic path forward when it’s safe in some areas to begin playing again.
6:45 update: ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski confirms that this is a plan under consideration by the NHL, but an NHL source questions if it’s the most popular among GMs.
Headline photo: Pixabay
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.