Today it was announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that the NHL plans to resume its season. Some key notes:
- The format is the previously revealed 24 game formats.
- Qualifying rounds will be best of five, playoff overtime rules
- Two Hub Cities will be used, one for each Conference.
- Each club will be limited to 50 personnel
- Estimated that Phase 2 which involves returning to arenas and small group training is planned to begin early June
- Phase 3 of a formal training camp is planned to begin in early July
- Phase 4 will be the start of the playoffs, the date remains to be determined
- Arizona is not a Hub city under consideration
- Top four teams in each conference will play round-robin games for seeding
- Lengths and seeding of the first and second round are still being determined
- The draft lottery will be made of seven teams that won’t resume play and eight clubs that are eliminated from play in.
- Draft lottery could potentially be in two phases depending on who wins.
It was first announced that the NHL would be suspending its season on March 12, 2020 due to Covid-19. Since then the ECHL, AHL, and many teams in Europe have canceled their seasons.
Given that the NHL has yet to officially cancel the season, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before the season would resume. With this the NHL has a tentative plan to go straight to the playoffs and complete the upcoming draft.
There are still a lot of questions after today’s press conference. And with everything that has happened there is a good chance that a lot may change between now and the start of the play-in round. Many cities, states, and provinces have begun the process of reopening, but there is a chance that could change in the next few months.
This story is still ongoing and will be updated as more information is released.