National Hockey League plans to return with 24 teams competing for Stanley Cup

The NHL officially has a return plan. Here’s what it means for the Florida Panthers | Miami Herald

NHL regular season officially over; Wild makes postseason

On Tuesday, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had taken the step of scrapping the remaining regular season games to move forward with the playoffs.

The return of hockey has some fans like Melanie Schickler excited, but also feel that things could have been more fair as teams did not all necessarily play the same number of games. Training camp will start no earlier than July 1, Bettman said.

The NHL suspended its season on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, having played 1,082 of the scheduled 1,271 regular season games. Ten cities (Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Toronto) are being considered.

Which Cities Will NHL Return To?

Bettman said the league had drawn up a long-list of candidate cities in order to retain scheduling flexibility.

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Bettman added: "We are talking to the Canadian Government about it, but if we get done with training camp and we want to go to a Canadian city and to do that we have to quarantine for another 14 days, it isn't going to work".

What about testing for COVID-19?

Forget for a moment where the games are going to be played and the testing of players, and let's concentrate on how the National Basketball Association should continue its paused season. "It must be available on wide-scale basis without obstructing local needs". The last time we did a head count, 44% of our players were in the markets in which they play, and 17% of our players were outside North America.

The tournament will begin with a 16-team, eight-series Qualifying Round and a Seeding Round Robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeds for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"From a health standpoint obviously for the players we are anxious about COVID-19", Bettman added. The league-leading Boston Bruins join the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning as +700 Stanley Cup favourites, just ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights and Philadelphia Flyers at +800 on those NHL odds, with the defending champion St. Louis Blues sitting back at +1100.

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Phase 4 participating clubs would report to their respective hub cities-one for the Western Conference and one for the Eastern Conference-and play would resume. The 16 best teams would play directly in the playoffs as of winners of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals. The Eastern qualifying rounds will have: Canes-Rangers, Pittsburgh-Montreal, New York Islanders-Florida and Toronto-Columbus.

Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks No. 6 Nashville Predators vs.

Where Will the Games Be Played?

Hockey is benefiting from what's been an effective and collaborative approach conducted by its Return to Play committee, which features player and league representatives.

A comprehensive system for testing will be in place in each hub city, according to the plan, and each team will be permitted to travel with a maximum group of 50, including players, coaches and staff. "And I am certain that, depending on which team you root for or which team you cover, you can find some element of this package that you might prefer to be done differently", Bettman said.

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He told the Committee, "It is very hard to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing ".

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