National Hockey League announces return to play plan

Scotiabank Arena

Empty seats are seen inside Scotiabank Arena on March 12

The Wild made the playoffs.

On Sunday night, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent a framework across the league outlining the NHL's Phase 2 to return to play.

That group of 24 will consist of the top 12 teams in each conference, sorted by point percentage at the time of the season's pause on March 11. A committee consisting of executives from both the NHL and the NHL Players Association, plus five players including Toronto Maple Leafs star John Tavares and Ottawa Senators defenceman Ron Hainsey, put together the plan.

Western Conference cities that are being considered are Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Vancouver.

A decision on which two hub cities will be selected is expected to come in about three to four weeks.

Gary Bettman

Professional sports haven't been deemed an essential service, which also affects any cross border travel.

Giving NHL teams a pass on quarantine requirements is not on the mind of B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Other stumbling blocks are still unresolved, including the fate of players who may feel wary of returning to play because of family complications or their own underlying health conditions.

Questions remain about when, where and how the National Hockey League would return, but Phase 2 is giving fans hope the National Hockey League may come back after the more than two-month long stoppage as a result of COVID-19.

The league envisions it will be at least early June before teams will be permitted to return to their home facilities for small group training.

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It's a big step in the process but there is still a long way to go until the puck is dropped.

The NHL regular season is officially over, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday, and the top 12 teams in each division will make the playoffs.

That lottery will take place between the qualifying round and first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Moving beyond the play-in round and round-robin tournament, Bettman confirmed the league is now still deciding whether or not the first and second rounds will be a best-of-five or best-of-seven. The top four teams in each conference will automatically advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, while 16 teams will compete in a best-of-five qualifying round to complete the bracket.

No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 11 New York Rangers, No. 7 New York Islanders vs.

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Conseiller de Jacques-Henri Eyraud, l'Anglais Paul Aldridge n'est pas impliqué dans ce choix. Selon La Provence , le Français Olivier Pickeu tiendrait la corde.

No. 8 Calgary Flames vs. "We don't want to go to a place where there is a lot of Covid-19 or we don't want to go to a place where we can't get the testing we need", he said. That means that Alexander Ovechkin and David Pastrnak will split the Rocket Richard Trophy, while Leon Draisaitl will win his first Art Ross Trophy with the league's highest point total.

Bettman said, "Although we are anxious to get back on the ice, we will not do anything until we are assured by medical professionals and the relevant government authorities that it is safe and prudent to do so".

"There's a new normal out there in this world and we have to be adaptable. I mean, yes, the economic consequences of this are bad, but finishing the season is more about finishing the season than it is about the economics - by a long shot".

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