The NHL has no clue when action will resume after it has paused the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus outbreak, but it has made it clear that two things remain crucial in their process moving forward.
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet that the league is set on awarding the Stanley Cup for the 2019-20 season and is making sure a full 82-game season will take place next year.
When focusing on these targets and trying to come up with a solution for this year’s playoffs, deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted to Sportsnet that he even considered bringing in just four teams into the postseason.
“In the shower this morning I was thinking about that. I haven’t reduced it to writing, I haven’t put it on a piece of paper, I haven’t discussed it with the commissioner or with Colin Campbell, so literally it’s me just thinking through, well, if we really have a very short window could we go with a four-team tournament? Is that a possibility? I haven’t run it up the flagpole so I don’t even know. Given the uncertain nature of where we are you have to consider everything.”
Daly and Bettman have been rumoured to dislike the idea of having all 31 teams included in the postseason, but you have to admit just four clubs ain’t a lot!
If the league decides to go through with this option while scratching the rest of the season, here are the teams that would take part in the postseason:
This means that the Boston Bruins, the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning would be the four teams to participate in this unique tournament in NHL history. As we can see in the standings, the Washington Capitals are just two points behind the Avalanche and the Lightning with a game in hand. However, even if it is assumed that they would have won this match and would have as many points as the other two in the standings, they would still lose the tiebreaker with the other two teams when the time comes to deciding who goes through according Daly’s rules.
What would you think of such a tournament if the virus forces the league to plan short playoffs to end the 2019-20 season?