Late last week, the NHLPA voted to approve the twenty-four team playoff scenario that would welcome players back to NHL play. Since the league has determined that they wouldn’t play any more regular season games, they devised a plan that would include all the teams that were in the playoffs for sure, others that were on the playoff bubble, and several teams that have no business being in the playoffs at all (Hello, Montreal!).
The way that it would vote per the proposal is that twelve teams per conference would make the playoffs. The top four teams in each conference (Boston, Tampa, Washington, and Philadlephia in the East, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Edmonton in the West) would get a first round bye. The other teams would play a first round that would involve a five-game play-in with the fifth seed taking on the twelveth and so on.
Now, the obvious problem is that those playing in the second round would have a leg up on the teams that sat out that first round. Having played a round at playoff intensity is an advantage over the teams that haven’t. The plan addresses that with the other four teams in each conference playing a round-robin tourney to determine seeding.
Those top four teams in each conference won’t sit idly by. The format calls for these teams to face one another to remain sharp ahead of the next round of the playoffs — which had been a concern from the players. The top four teams would essentially play some form of a round-robin tournament that would potentially reseed them before the round of 16.
That’s a good idea but I’d hate for the Bruins to lose their #1 seed to Washington.
This is only one part of the grand plan. The other parts involve determining two hub arenas where the teams would play without audiences, health and safety precautions for the players and staff, and getting players who live tin Europe back to North America. Apparently the players of the NHL and other sports leagues will have an assist from the DHS as they are now exempt from travel bans.
“Professional sporting events provide much needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity,” Wolf said in a statement released by DHS. “In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”
I’m not sure how the economic benefits will play out without fans and with most arenas shuttered until Novemeber at the earliest. But I guess we could all use the distraction, as long as it’s safe for the players and other staff.