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NHL Reveals Plan to Resume Play
- Updated: May 26, 2020
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today announced the leagues plan to resume play to finish the 2019-20 NHL season.
After a hiatus that has already lasted more than two months, the league has decided to move straight into a 24-team playoff rather than continue the regular season. This setup involves an additional eight teams in the postseason, with only 16 clubs making it in a normal season.
The playoff format, which was officially approved last Friday, involves a conference based format where the top four teams in the East and West will receive a bye and play a round robin series of 3 games to determine playoff seeding for the official first round.
The remaining 16 teams will play in a best-of-five play in series to determine who moves on. The winner of each play in series will be matched up against the round robin teams in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“As we seek some return to normalcy, this is an important day for NHL fans,” Bettman said of the Return To Play Plan. “Since March 12, we’ve been hopeful and optimistic that by developing all options and alternatives, we could get to this point. I know I join sports fans everywhere when I say we cannot wait for the players to hit the ice again.”
Despite having an agreement in place on how the season will resume, there are still the remaining questions of if, when, and where this will all take place.
The league is rumored to be reviewing different proposals from potential host cities who can accommodate all of the players, potentially their families, and also have the capacity to complete rigorous testing of all players involved. Some of the rumored cities include Las Vegas, Edmonton, Columbus, and Toronto.
As far as the remaining portion of the 2019-20 regular season, it has essentially been cancelled. There will be no more regular season games for any teams, and stats will be frozen as of March 11th allowing the NHL to hand out player awards. For example, Leon Draisaitl will win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer with 110 points. Meanwhile, David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin will be co-winners of the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals with 48.
Despite all of the delays, Gary Bettman said the league still has every intention of completing an 82-game season for the 2020-21 campaign.