With plenty of options available to the NHL when it comes to resuming play, progress is being made towards a possible playoff format. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Return to Play Committee is leaning towards a 24-team playoff format to wrap up the 2019-20 season.
LeBrun reports, however, that there is quite a bit of work still to be done if a 24-team playoff is to become a reality, but there has been significant progress made this weekend. Talks are expected to continue over the next couple of days with the potential that a plan will officially be outlined next week as both sides are much closer on what a return to action might look like. Of course, once the Return to Play Committee does come to an agreement, it must pass through the NHL Executive Board and be approved.
On top of that, there is a Board on Governors meeting on Monday. Whether NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will have a deal ready to pass on by then is unknown unless the Return to Play Committee can come to an agreement in the next 24 hours.
The still-developing plan would not be a straight-to-the-playoffs format, however. According to LeBrun, the league will likely have some games before the playoffs would begin, likely to ease teams into playing shape after the significant break due to COVID-19. There is also the issue on whether all players will be on board to returning to action later this year as it is believed some are seriously concerned about the health and safety issues that surround a return to play.
While there are a number of 24-team format options, LeBrun writes in a separate story that there has been some opposition to a 24-team tournament, especially with teams like Chicago (32-30-8 for 72 points) and Montreal (31-31-9 for 71 points) being the last two teams to enter into the playoffs when they don’t deserve it and the concerns that a hot start after a long break could create some significant upsets in this format.
Once you get in the playoffs anything can happen.
my gosh that is crazy. should be fun if it happens though
Hard to believe that the draft may happen before the playoffs start.Should be a very interesting format.
This would be dumb. So the #1 seed would play the #12 in one elimination game? Same format for March madness?!? If this is try it makes no sense. Why not Finnish out the last 5 games of the season and do a normal playoff format??
agree. nothing better during a Pandemic than deciding we will go back so we can finish our playoffs but add 6 extra teams of players to the mix including a Montreal team in the hot bed of COVID-19 in Canada.
I’m sure they don’t want players on teams like Ottawa or Detroit to have to risk their safety for essentially nothing.
It’s funny, millions of people across North America are going to work everyday (including myself) and not getting sick but some are worried about the “dangers” of playing hockey. I guess some are more expendable than others?
Montreal is 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East. They have no business being in the playoffs.
NHL 2019-2020: The season that will go down in infamy, if the Mickey Mouse playoff format is adopted: ************************
16 Teams (time permitting, 12 or 8, if crushed for time), based on 68 games played. The usual tiebreakers come into play, just as if this is an 82-game normal season. Teams will P&M about “We *could* have made the playoffs with those extra games!” – same excuse as a normal 82-game season. Sorry, don’t have so many Toilet Seat Tuesday specials, or Mail-It-In Fridays and it won’t happen. Play better and you’re in, don’t and you get better tee times while your NHL brethren are slogging it out for an extra 4-28 games for some highly desired hardware. Best of all… NO STINKIN’ ASTERISKS & NO GIMMICKS & NO DRAFT until the season is DONE! (or a small COVID-19 shaped asterisk, which we can’t ignore or avoid.)