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  • NHL announces 24-team playoff format

    Matthew Castle May 26, 2020

    Hockey isn’t back yet, but the NHL is inching closer toward resuming its season.

    On Tuesday, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the 2019-20 regular season is over and the league will resume with a 24-team playoff format at a later date.

    The top 12 teams from each conference will be assigned to one of two hub cities that will be determined at a later date.

    Bettman also revealed the eight cities the league is considering for hub cities, including Las Vegas, Chicago, Vancouver and Toronto (to name a few).

    The top four teams from each conference will play round-robin games to determine seeding. The remaining eight teams will play a best-of-five game series to advance to the first round. From there it will resemble the standard Stanley Cup Playoff format.

    With the regular season now over, the Boston Bruins earned their second Presidents’ Trophy in the last seven years with a 44-14-12 record. They will play round robin games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers when play resumes.

    We know what the format will look like when the NHL returns, yet the biggest takeaway from Bettman’s announcement regards the safety measures. The league will be taking a slow approach to resuming the season and won’t put players back on the ice until the players, coaches and essential personnel are safe to do so.

    Players can return to on-ice facilities when Phase 2 begins — likely on June 1. The teams will convene for training camp for Phase 3 which won’t start until July 1 at the earliest. The playoff format will likely carry over into the early fall once the 24-team tournament begins.

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    Matthew Castle

    Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com


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