Many scenarios for the NHL playoffs
Shorts and skates don’t usually go together. Maintain quality ice in the NHL in August or host the Stanley Cup final in September? That too is not the norm.
With the NHL playoffs slated to go on hold indefinitely on Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, many scenarios are on the table if Commissioner Gary Bettman’s goal of completing the season is to materialize. .
What will be the format, when will activities realistically resume and could the NHL require neutral games – what do you say about North Dakota? These are questions which give rise to much speculation.
“These are all legitimate questions, but not the ones we need to resolve at this time,” NHL assistant commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press, comparing the league situation to “a puzzle.” multifaceted head “.
Over the weekend, the governors of New York and Florida have both downplayed President Donald Trump’s hope of bringing sports back to play in August. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “I would love to see sport again to fight boredom. But it’s not about hopes, dreams and aspirations and what you would like to see come true. ”
The NHL, which postponed its activities on March 12, has repeatedly postponed its self-quarantine guidelines – it’s now April 15 – before players can even consider showing up at the team’s facilities. The date should be postponed again.
But no matter where or when the Stanley Cup is awarded, one thing will remain true, according to Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.
“Whoever wins it will feel the same joy as soon as he wins it, no matter what day he wins it, as if it was normal in mid-June,” said Rutherford.
The latest cup was awarded on June 24, in 1995 and 2013, twice following seasons shortened by a lockout. However, the pandemic has no timetable.
This raises the question of whether the NHL will have time to play the remaining 189 games in the regular season to determine the seeded players, or move directly to the playoffs based on the current standings, whether based on total points or percentage points.
In the percentage scenario, the New York Islanders, ninth seeded, would have the advantage over the No. 8 Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference. In the West, the Winnipeg Jets, seventh, would be sidelined by the Vancouver Canucks.
Other options include expanding the playoff format to accommodate the uneven number of games played by teams.
These different scenarios gave rise to entertaining exchanges between players during recent NHL video conferences.
“I prefer to start the playoffs right away,” said Alex Ovechkin, whose Washington Capitals are at the top of the Metropolitan section. He then laughed and added, “Sorry, guys,” to the other three players on the call.
“Whoever wins the [Stanley Cup] will feel the same joy as soon as he wins it, no matter what day he wins it, as if it was normal in mid-June”
– Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford
“Don’t apologize,” said Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno. We have our place in the playoffs. ”
Defenseman PK Subban of the New Jersey Devils proposed a format for 31 teams – all teams in the league – which may be the only way for his team ranked last in the Metropolitan section to qualify.
Others raised the need to play as many regular season games as possible to preserve the integrity of the playoffs, as well as the need to get used to the speed and intensity of the action.
The need for games is necessary for Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Edmonton faces the prospect of starting the playoffs against the Calgary Flames – a rivalry that already includes several regular season games punished with numerous penalties this year.
“I don’t think we can just start the playoffs with a first game between Calgary and Edmonton where the guys are hitting everything that we haven’t played in two months,” said McDavid.
Flames captain Mark Giordano agreed that the playoffs would be competitive as all teams would present health training given the time players had to rest and recover.
And let’s not forget the guards.
“You can train and everything, but when you get to camp, I find that the NHL shots and the speed of the game are something you have to get used to,” Golden goalkeeper Marc-André Fleury said. Knight of Vegas. It would be nice to have a little time to get back in the bath. ”