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UPDATE: It looks like phase 3 of this plan, which is the teams starting training camp, won’t start until mid to late JULY. That means the play in rounds won’t be until August. What a wet blanket on otherwise great news.
There we have it. The 24 team playoff we’ve been hearing about is now set in stone as Gary Bettman laid out the plans this afternoon. The NHL is still deciding between 10 cities to host the playoffs in two locations.
I’ve personally not been a fan of the 24 team format. It gives too many bad teams the opportunity to play into the postseason that otherwise wouldn’t be there. There’s no reason Chicago, Montreal, and to an extent Florida and Arizona should be in this.
I was surprised to see the top 4 teams in each conference need to play a round robin series to determine seeding. The West was pretty tight, but that really screws a team like the Bruins who were up 8 points on the second place lightning. Now they need to play a few games to secure home ice? No thanks.
A best of 5 series for the play in teams is better than the speculated best of 3. You’re less likely to get a 12 seed upsetting a 5 that way, so I’m cool with that set up.
There haven’t been any firm dats released from what I’ve seen, although an early June start date is expected. I would assume that has to do with the host cities not being confirmed yet. The teams have put in place testing protocols and will be limited to 50 person staff limits on site.
All in all, let’s just be happy hockey is back.
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