Montreal Canadiens part of National Hockey League playoff plans


The professional ice hockey league, which features teams from Canada and the United States, was suspended on March 12 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"We are still working with the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) on a league-wide plan to return to play".

The NHL Player Association's executive board voted to approve a 24-team, conference-based playoff format on Friday night to determine the victor of the Stanley Cup, according to a report from the Washington Post. "Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play", the union said in a statement. Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Las Vegas, St. Paul, Minn., and Columbus, Ohio, are considered top contenders.

While the Top 4 compete against each other, the other 16 teams will play in a best-of-five opening round series where the 5-seed would play the 12-seed, the 6-seed would play the 11-seed, the 7-seed would play the 10-seed and the 8-seed would play the 9-seed.

Bettman says the first- and second-round playoff matchups could be either best-of-five or best-of-seven series, but the conference finals and Stanley Cup final will be best-of-seven. The four teams with byes would each play each other once in tune-up games. The league has said it wants to ensure a full 82-game schedule in 2020-21.

If voluntary workouts can begin next week and a three-week training camp period can begin in late June, the playoffs could start in mid-July and the Cup would be awarded in September.

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The decision to call off the 189 regular-season games that were not played ends the season for Buffalo, New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ottawa and Detroit.

The Post has been told by several parties familiar with the call that a significant faction of players believe the format does not sufficiently reward clubs for their success before the National Hockey League season was put on pause. In the West, Chicago's chances sat at 2.6 per cent, while Arizona was at 16.6 per cent.

"In a time like this how can anything be super traditional?" he said. "I think for the situation we're in, for a year, I think that's fine".

Winnipeg sniper Patrik Laine said earlier Friday before the announcement that getting back on the ice is what matters.

There are some details that still need to be hammered out to make this happen.