Ever since commissioner Gary Bettman’s announcement that the 2019-20 season has been suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pundits, insiders and fans have been wondering how it will be possible to award the Stanley Cup this time around.
Some pundits have recently suggested that the league would allow 24 teams into the postseason this year. It would give the top 4 seeds in each conference a bye and make the 5-12 teams play a best-of-3.
However on Tuesday during a special edition of Insider Trading on TSN, Pierre LeBrun explained how the NHL is not thrilled about this scenario and might have refused to use it moving forward. It remains too soon to tell what will be the league and players’ decision for the playoff format at this time.
“The idea of having 20 or 22 or 24 teams in some kind of expanded playoff. I spoke to a GM today who said, you know what, it doesn’t make sense to bring back some teams and they lose two games in a best of three and they’re out after their players have been working out for eight weeks. To him, you got to go back to 16 teams. I will say this in talking to an NHL source today, there is no leading option right now that they’re looking at. It’s too premature, yes they’re having different conversations about modelling potential playoff formats but there isn’t one particular format that they’re buying into heavily at this point. It’s just too early.”
There are 189 games left on the NHL’s regular-season calendar. It’s unclear what the hiatus means for those contests or the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin April 8.
What playoff plan would be best for the league according to you?